From CrossFit Films...

CrossFit and Fitness1

1.  CrossFit defines fitness using 3 standards:

            Development of 10 physical skills widely used by exercise physiologists

            Excellence in performance of athletic tasks

            Harnessing of the energy systems that drive human function

2.  The ten general physical skills are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.

3.  Training is activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body:  applies to endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility.  Practice is activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system:  applies to coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.  Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.

4.  Fitness requires the ability to perform well at all tasks, even unfamiliar ones, and tasks combined in infinitely varying combinations.  The fitness that CrossFit develops is deliberately broad, general, and inclusive.

5.  The 3 metabolic pathways that provide energy to our bodies are the phosphagen, the glycolytic, and the oxidative pathways.  Their utility is as follows:

            Phosphagen—high-powered activities, lasting less than ten seconds

            Glycolytic—moderate-powered activities, lasting up to several minutes

            Oxidative—low-powered activities, lasting in excess of several minutes

6.  CrossFit promotes and develops each of these 3 engines in the appropriate balance.

7.  The two most common faults in training are 1) favoring one or two of the metabolic engines to the exclusion of the others, and 2) not recognizing the adverse impact of excessive training in the oxidative pathway.

8.  The phosphagen and glycolytic pathways are anaerobic, and the oxidative pathway is aerobic.  While aerobic activity benefits cardiovascular function and decreases body fat, if training is mostly spent using aerobic efforts, athletes will witness decreases in muscle mass, strength, speed, and power.  Anaerobic activity also benefits cardiovascular function and decreases body fat, but it also dramatically improves power, speed, strength, and muscle mass.

9.  CrossFit uses anaerobic efforts to develop aerobic conditioning by a method called interval training.

10.  Interval training is the key to developing the cardiovascular system without an unacceptable loss of strength, speed, and power.

11.  CrossFit advocates regular high intensity training in as many training modalities as possible through largely anaerobic efforts and intervals while deliberately avoiding the efficiency that accompanies mastery of a single modality.  Routine is the enemy.

12.  CrossFit utilizes Olympic lifts, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning in mixed bouts of work and rest intervals.  Workouts are to be kept short and intense.

1.  Reference:  "What is Fitness?" The CrossFit Journal, October 2002: 1-11.