Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CrossFit vs. Strength & Conditioning

Over the last few years, I have been involved in the CrossFit world.  I first heard about CF in 2006 and it immediately grabbed my attention as something different.  The workouts were unlike anything I had ever done before and was immediately hooked.  I started reading more about it and even helped a couple of local guys start a CF affiliate.  There are a lot of cool things about the CF world but perhaps the biggest thing that makes it strong is the sense of community and how everyone helps everyone.  The CF world is all about community.  It's great because there is an absolutely TON of positivity at all times.  They have gone back to the basics regarding Olympic lifting and have stressed total fitness.  That being said, there are limitations to the CF world.  Specificity, overtraining (or as they say, under-resting...tomato, tomato), and the "coaches" don't always have the best background in exercise physiology.  They may simply have a CF level I certification that they obtained from attending a weekend seminar and passing the CF test.  While those are negatives, there are countless positives, the most of which is their emphasis on mobility (what's up K-Star?).

The strength & conditioning world is a little different.  There is a lot more emphasis placed on research, specificity, and rest.  I spent last Sunday with a bunch of S&C coaches and trainers.  I was a little intimidated by the amount of knowledge surrounding me.  I have my M.S. in Exercise Phys. but the people I was around last weekend made me look very elementary.  The S&C world focuses a lot more on planned, specific, organized training in which there is a specific goal of every workout leading to a long term goal down the road.

Now, I like both worlds.  I consider them to be separate tools in my toolbox.  When I open my own place (soon, I promise), I will be taking methods from both of these worlds.  After all, they both have the same goal, they just take different ways to get there.  No program is a one size fits all where it's good for everyone that does it.  Individuality is extremely important in S&C.  My shoulder is not the same as your shoulder.  My hips do not move the same as yours.  If you have had an ACL replacement, I'm not going to load up the bar on you without putting your through some kind of assessment.  Once you have been assessed however, I am going to throw everything including the kitchen sink at you to get you to be the very best YOU that you can be.  I will take some methodologies from CF, and some from NSCA, and some from Gray Cook, and some from Mike Boyle, and some from Brian MacKenzie.  It's like the chiropractor vs. physical therapist.  Both of them are right.  Both of them have their place place.   So I will not apologize to my S&C coaches for following CrossFit.  I will not apologize to the CrossFit community for retaining my CSCS certification or seeking my FMS cert.  As many tools in the toolbox as I can get to turn you into a monster (thanks for that one Charlie Weingroff).

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