Thursday, July 26, 2012

You can keep your Sexy Metcons.

Ok this post has been brewing in me for a while. First of all, I want to say that I love CrossFit. I love everything about it. It makes me stronger, faster, better not just physically but mentally so this is by no means a bash on CrossFit. I'm irritated though. For anybody that doesn't know, I have been a part of the CrossFit community for a while now. I did my first ever CrossFit WOD back in 2007 at Body Armor in San Antonio. I didn't really get serious about it until 2009 and since then I have been coaching and competing continuously. Before CrossFit I was a powerlifter and collegiate volleyball player. Yeah I've been doing cleans, back squats, front squats, name it since I was 14! For anybody whose counting that's 13 years of barbell work and 3 solid years of CrossFit. What does this have to do with me being irritated?
I just want to emphasize that I've been at this a long time and there are many new trainers, new affiliates who can't boast this kind of track record. And those are the people that are making me irritated.
In my gym we have spent the better part of our 4 years honing and evolving our programming to give our community the best combination of strength, speed, power, endurance, etc. that we can. Our programming is precise. It has purpose. It's simple and it's really effective. We have taken good athletes and made them great and we do it without any frills and with very few "sexy met-cons". Look people, I get it. Chippers like the Filthy Fifty and the WODs that got thrown out at Regionals..they're fun! They're awesome! I mean come on, which looks cooler to you? A complicated multi-bar WOD with hang cleans and push presses and HSPU and like 7 different movements....or Deadlift 3-3-3-3??? But which one is going to actually make you a better athlete? Which one are you going to be able to sustain for years and years?
When I went to my first L-1 Cert., Pat Sherwood said something about programming that has stuck with me. He said good CrossFit programming can be described in less than 20 words. "Live your life in Couplets and Triplets. Lift Heavy. Sprint once in a while." That's it. That's the heart of quality CrossFit that can last over the years and will continue to make you better. I look at some of these newer affiliates getting sucked into the Sexy Met-Con. One affiliate in the area in the last three weeks has programmed 6 days of metcons using over 3 different barbell movements just for one WOD...some of these WOD's had three different barbell weights as well. Now it is very hard to properly coach three different barbell movements, test out how much weight is appropriate for people and effectively and safely implement it into a WOD and yet they are doing this multiple times a week. Now, I am not saying that this is impossible. Maybe you are sitting there reading this and thinking, well she must not be a very good coach then if she can't do that....and you'd be wrong. We will periodically throw in a complicated multi lift met-con with say hang cleans and front squats and push press in it. But we do these WOD's maybe once every 3 months. We don't do them twice a week. Another thing that irritates me is the over abundance of 1 Rep Maxing. 1 Rep maxes don't do anything but test how much strength you've gained. When you do 5 different one rep maxes in three weeks with zero days of multi-rep strength, you get nowhere. And I'm not talking about lifting in a met-con. I'm talking tried and true 5X5, 3X3 lifts. Most of our athletes do not have 10+ years of barbell strength under their belts. They need to continue to do these simple movements to build a base of strength. CJ Martin over at CrossFit Invictus has his competition athletes doing strength sets every day that they train right now and he's arguably one of the best trainers/programmers in the country. But the thing I think that makes me the most irritated is that I don't expect new CrossFit athletes to know any of this. I expect their coaches to know it and often times, they don't! It's our job as coaches to keep our clients safe, to teach them properly, to build them up... and most importantly, to keep them CrossFitting. The fastest way to break someone down and sideline them from overuse is through the Sexy Met-Con. I want all my athletes to be in the gym CrossFitting for years to come and that's exactly what I tend to do. So you can keep your Sexy-Metcon, I've got some 5X3 Deadlifts to get to.....

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