Although the video below is titled “The Problem with CrossFIT”, the explanation applies to almost all forms of training today. The problem that CrossFit has, is the same problem organized sport has, is the same problem that age group teams (i.e. <18yo) and masters programs (e.g. masters swim, cycling, triathlon teams… ) have. Its the same problem that has even infiltrated the arts: ballet and competitive dance programs have succumbed to the trap.
What’s the trap? Watch the video. The first 2:30 mins is paramount, the remainder digs into details by providing examples proving the illusion the health & fitness industry want to convince you of… that there are short cuts to health, to fitness, to performance.
The problem with CrossFit… “over the years, [the goal of CrossFit] has become to do as many reps as you can in as short a period of time as possible. The belief being that the faster you do your reps in the shortest amount of time equals efficiency.”
The truth… anyone who has trained seriously for quite some time knows that doing an exercise as fast as you can, in the shortest amount of time possible does not mean that you are going to become more efficient.
Reality is: the diametric opposite occurs, you become increasingly inefficient and ineffective. What does get you better, stronger, and more efficient is…
PROGRESSIONAL TRAINING with PROPER FORM and PROPER TECHNIQUE
as in DRILLS, DRILLS and then more and more DRILL TRAINING
(performed under the direct supervision of a coach capable of providing proper correction & progression)
In the video, the athlete states that he has had CrossFit athletes come to his gym capable of doing 30+ kipping pull-ups, but when asked to do just 1 simple pull up without momentum, without tricks or gimmicks… they cannot. This is the pivotal point to any athlete struggling with injury, repeated illness, with poor performance in competition, to any athlete frustrated, disappointed, who feels that their training is taking them nowhere…
Any training program which relies on momentum (i.e. HiiT), on ‘tricks’, ‘gimmicks’, or becoming obsessed with training tools – aka toys – will provide the appearance of quick gains… and that is all.
If you are not training drills – i.e. following a progressional training program where the focus is technique, posture, form – then you are limiting yourself from the start. Only progressional training programs can move body and brain towards your potential. There is no other training, there is no short cut, there is nothing else that can or will deliver you consistent peak performance. There is incredible amounts of advertising, marketing, and poorly executed sports science research performed in an effort to sell you on CrossFit, HiiT, Tabata, and bootcamps because these programs can be sold en masse, allowing everyone from trainers and coaches to fitness & health businesses to profit handsomely irrespective of whether or not you achieve your goals.
Athletes taught to train relying on momentum (i.e. HiiT), toys (i.e. training tools), tricks and gimmicks end up in the end in the exact same space: falling for the trap that its them, not the training that is the problem, so they commit to training harder, pushing themselves ever harder, trying to force performance with more and more HiiT, risking greater injury, prolonged illness, frustration, disappointment, disillusionment with their performance, and with their potential.
How does the typical triathlete training in swimming? The typical triathlete swims the way the typical triathlon coach teaches… without progression, straight to pull buoy and paddle training, trapping athletes into believing: (a) that they can actually swim, (b) that they can swim faster than they truly can, (b) that swimming with pull buoys and paddles is proper swim training (at their skill level), and (d) that their coach actually knows how to help them improve as a swimmer, and become an accomplished swimmer.
To train a swimmer properly, the starting point should be in developing: balance, breathing control, coordination via rotational control of the body via the core, anchoring, connecting the pull to kick, training both origins of stroke drive and the various combinations, the proper timing of the pull to the kick and to breathing. Instead, swimmers, triathletes and their coaches go straight to paddles and pull buoys, the CrossFit equivalent of kipping pull ups at an all out pace.
And just like CrossFitters bent on being able to do 50 kipping pull ups in a minute (as if its proof of anything), triathletes push themselves to be swim intervals of 50s and 100s, attempting to hold specific pace times in a belief that if they will themselves or force themselves to make those times, then they are improving as swimmers, as athletes. There is nothing further from the truth!
Again, like Crossfitters they may achieve their goal, but in the end they are trapped… stuck at their goal, and absolutely amazed and perplexed that they cannot get even 1 second faster. Like CrossFitters who can do 30 muscle ups based on momentum, yet unable to do 1 single solitary pull up without tricks or gimmicks or momentum; triathletes can swim with pull buoys and paddles or their prized possession – a wetsuit – yet fail to realize that they do not know how to swim because they are unwilling to take one single solitary stroke without tricks, toys, gimmicks or momentum.
Without a progressional training program there is no progress beyond a point no matter how hard the athlete tries, no matter how hard they train, inevitably they will hit an impassable wall… the [HiiT] Training Trap wall.
So you have a decision to make…
- Train with a coach who has no concept of what is progressional training, or how to progress an athlete across the three sports of swimming, cycling and running, knowing full well that at some point you will hit an impassable wall… e.g. 1:45/100m in the swim, 250 watts on the bike, 5mins/km on the run… and no matter how hard you train, no matter how committed, how dedicated, how much you sacrifice you will not go faster… ever; or,
- Train with a coach whose philosophy is based on identifying the proper entry point into sport specific technique which is based on your individual skill level, who has a proper rate of progress, has the drills, skill work and training tools, who will move you from whatever level you are, who has the care to correct and correct, and adjust and help you adjust your technique till it reaches new levels allowing you to test your potential by pursuing athletic achievement on whatever level matters to you.
Its a simple decision… dead-end training or, training with a philosophy which has no limits. Waste your money, time, effort, and energy banging your head against the [HiiT] Training Trap wall year after year, injury and illness after injury and illness, or achieve your goals, pursue your potential, and succeed.