CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > CrossFit Forum > Fitness
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

Thread Tools
Old 01-27-2010, 05:47 PM   #1
Charlie Michel
Member Charlie Michel is offline
Charlie Michel's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Cincinnati  OH
Posts: 39
Why is CrossFit so effective?

I have heard a lot of critics of CrossFit (specifically Mark Twight) say that CrossFit is "just a bunch of really hard, random exercises" thrown together. I have personally seen huge benefits from CrossFit in strength and power. I also believe that CrossFit is responsible for the time I've shaved of my 5k, mile and 800 times. How does it work? How does Coach plan a week of WODs? I've followed the mainsite for some time now. Does the randomness of the workouts make them so effective, or is it all meticulously planned out?
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 07:30 PM   #2
Justin Z. Smith
Member Justin Z. Smith is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Alexandria  VA
Posts: 390
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

Originally Posted by Charlie Michel View Post
Does the randomness of the workouts make them so effective, or is it all meticulously planned out?
Hi Charlie,

I'm not sure about CrossFit (but would like to hear from the experts) but I am sure that "randomness" and "planned out" do not have to be mutually exclusive. Consider assigning a probability of selecting an exercise for all exercises. This creates a probability distribution which implies structure and planning. Then just sample exercises according to this distribution to create a workout.

See the attached picture below for an example illustration of the idea. Each color represents a specific exercise, and the graphic represents workouts for ~365 days. The main idea is described in more detail on my website (link in signature file).

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	randomizer1year.jpg
Views:	679
Size:	260.4 KB
ID:	5755  
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 09:18 PM   #3
Adam Acosta
Member Adam Acosta is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Whittier  CA
Posts: 243
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

Doing anything that is really hard will result in a training stimulus and ensuing adaptation, and the constant variety ensures that there will always be something to adapt to. It never gets easy because you can always go faster or add weight, and even when you can't do that, you can still introduce additional training modalities.

Aside from that, I don't know that there's any magic trick to it. It's great metabolic training that doesn't completely neglect strength, utilizes bodyweight movement patterns that closely mimic that way people actually move around and over real obstacles, and avoids the hormonal and chronic stress problems that often arise from other forms of great metabolic training.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 10:40 PM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
Member Katherine Derbyshire is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Seattle  WA
Posts: 7,596
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

There was a CFJ article about the programming a while back: (WFS)

It includes the caveat that the mainpage does not necessarily follow this programming, but it's a good start.

The basic idea as I understand it is to combine intensity -- to maximize adaptation -- with variety, which both promotes a bunch of different adaptations at once and reduces the risk of overtraining. (And incidentally reduces boredom.)

  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 06:39 AM   #5
Lawrence "Bo" Boland III
Member Lawrence "Bo" Boland III is offline
Lawrence "Bo" Boland III's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fairfax  VA
Posts: 1,645
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
(And incidentally reduces boredom.)
For a lot of people starting out in fitness, this is the most important part. If you're not bored, and you're actually doing something consistently over a long period of time, you'll see results. And if it keeps you coming back, you'll perceive it to be better than anything else you've tried (which coincidentally you may have been bored with).
30/m/5'9"/175-ish lbs Workout Log
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 08:07 AM   #6
Kevin McMahon
Member Kevin McMahon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Montgomery  AL
Posts: 238
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

To add and repeat what others have said, there are several factors that contribute to crossfits success as a fitness regiment.
1) It is varied. Both for the mind and body this is extremely important. You dont hit plateaus because the stress on your body is always changing, also you dont have to dread an "Ab day" or a "leg day" because you know that whatever comes up, its going to suck, and you just need to do it.
2) HIIT. In essence it is a high intensity interval training method, which, anybody in the fitness world can tell you is very efficient and effective. You challenge your muscles more, for short bursts to stimulate them greater than long term low intensity workouts.
3) Competition. You should be logging your workouts, and when an exercise comes up a second time, you should look back at what you did before and want to beat that. Sounds simple, and it is, but it works for anyone that has even the slightest sense of competitiveness.
4) Rest. Rest and recovery is something that too many people take for granted. Sure the workouts only take 20 minutes, your at the gym for maybe an hour. That gives you 23 hours rest till the next workout, or another day on top of that for the scheduled off days. Many people workout for an hour or more, keeping them at the gym for 2-3 hours. What for? To overwork their muscles and start breaking them down for energy instead of stimulating them for growth and recovery? And now they only have 20 hours till their next workout, where they are going to ignore the part of their body they just worked out
5) Which leads me to functionality. In the CFJ describing the idealogies behind crossfit, gymnasts are referenced as the model athlete. Rightfully so. They have the whole package of speed, strength, balance, and precision. Although it is hard to replicate a gymnasts workout, especially with untrained athletes, it is easy to see that their whole body has to work in harmony to attain the feats they do. Thats why we dont need curls, and triceps pushdowns, and leg extensions, they take the body part away from the chain that its attached to, and you know everything is only as strong as its weakest link. At first crossfit will show you your weaknesses, but the compound movements and workouts will build them up so that your body is well balanced and prepared for what you throw at it.

Sorry that was long, but its something that i tell people often when they ask me about getting in shape and or working out. I wish i was a little better at staying on track myself, but thats my problem, not anyone elses.

Hope that clarifies things a little for you.
I'm just sayin...
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 08:09 AM   #7
Angelica Graham
Member Angelica Graham is offline
Angelica Graham's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Kettering  OH
Posts: 51
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

I like that I do not get bored, and I am being challenged!! What fun is running or doing a treadmill 5x a week...
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 09:54 AM   #8
James Reynolds
Member James Reynolds is offline
James Reynolds's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Austin  TX
Posts: 689
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

EPOC - excess postexercise oxygen consumption.

Tons of details here (WFS)
Truth comes in the form of a 6 to 9 round burst - Maj Brown 1/75 Ranger Bn
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 10:30 AM   #9
Oliver Gould
Member Oliver Gould is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Santa Cruz  CA
Posts: 436
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

It works to the extent that you take advantage of the novice gains from a bunch of different types of training. Novice gains are awesome but they usually get exhausted after a couple months, by trying to do lots of different things are once you stretch the period of progress out over a couple years.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2010, 02:43 AM   #10
Thomas Bailly
Member Thomas Bailly is offline
Thomas Bailly's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Girdwood  AK
Posts: 629
Re: Why is CrossFit so effective?

Originally Posted by Charlie Michel View Post
I have heard a lot of critics of CrossFit (specifically Mark Twight) say that CrossFit is "just a bunch of really hard, random exercises" thrown together.
I've seen alot of people critical of Marc Twight, but he should be respected for giving Crossfit an honest guy when he was already at the top of his game ( alpinism) and accept that it helped him in some areas and not in others. He continues to develop old and new training paradigms that suit his needs and those of the athletes he trains. I've read a lot of Marc Twight and never seen that quote.

Hard work makes the body and mind respond, doesn't matter what you call it.
  Reply With Quote

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Most effective sprints workout? Luke Hale Fitness 44 05-18-2009 09:15 AM
7 Most effective exercises Lawrence "Bo" Boland III Exercises 52 04-06-2009 10:34 AM
Effective Strength/CF program Andrew G. Greenberg Fitness 0 03-09-2008 06:56 PM
Effective Carbs? Matt MacKenzie Nutrition 3 09-13-2007 04:24 PM
Relevant/Effective non-CF information. Jonathon Edward Fitness 16 04-03-2006 08:42 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:01 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.