Rising popularity of CrossFit within military and law enforcement circles has led to sufficient institutional and group adoption of our program to draw important lessons on the differences between traditional military PT and CrossFit PT. Some of the differences were wholly expected others were less expected but no less significant.
One glaring advantage with the adoption of CrossFit PT is improved fitness – dramatically improved fitness, but what is singularly unique about our program is the manner in which the improved fitness has been demonstrated. CrossFit PT has been measured against other PT programs by testing its adherent’s performance against the testing standards of the program it replaced! At first this may not seem significant but testing of traditional PT trained athletes against CrossFit-like demands produces more DNF’s on test day than above average performances.
Constantly varied programming built from functional exercises executed at high intensity is the key to CrossFit’s physiological advantage. Our distillation of load, range of motion, exercise, power, work, line of action, flexibility, speed, and all pertinent metabolics to a single value – usually time, has conferred other less expected benefits as well.
With CrossFit PT every workout provides a useful data point. We collect relative and absolute performance measures every single workout. Measurement is important and no PT program we know of offers as many opportunities for metrics as CrossFit. The information that can be mined from an individual’s, team’s, or company’s performance is incredible, invaluable, and generally not available with traditional PT.
One surprising result of the deliberate and public performance ranking for each workout has been the motivation and acceleration of improvement of those less physically capable by temperament, training, or natural limitation. Ranking has seemingly done more for bottom performers than top performers.
Our reliance on functional movements, including many presumed too complex or technical for mass application, has returned skill to PT. Over the past 60 years traditional PT has been flensed of nearly all skill elements that train for coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. The costs here are enormous and extend to losses in speed and power as well producing an athlete generally less capable of dealing with variances and vagaries of opponents, movement, and terrain.
Our use of functional movements has also reduced the chronic overuse injuries that plague traditional PT program participants. Injuries to the back and knees, shin splints, and other “sick day” maladies have been greatly reduced with implementation of CrossFit.
Finally, the intensity of our workouts was designed with the sole objective of maximizing adaptation. One critical side benefit has been a dramatic reduction in PT training time while greatly improving the payout. (Gregg Glassman CF Journal Dec 1st 2004)