As CrossFit has become increasingly popular over the past several years, and has raised a lot of discussion regarding its use and efficacy. In the next few days I plan on discussing CrossFit the good, bad, and ugly. Enjoy!
Poor program design. Programs do not cater to individual dysfunction and pathology and are relatively inflexible.
Poor coaching. The certification process is essentially paying 1000 dollars and spending two days at a “conference” that I’ve been told is more similar to a workout than an actual seminar. Of course, some CrossFit coaches are outstanding and are able to cater specifically to individuals and make appropriate adjustments but I find that few and far between.
Lack of progression. While there are many makers for improvement, CrossFit tends to only advocate the use of time and load. Movement quality takes a backseat. Furthermore, the program (on a national level) offers no periodization scheme and very little true “deloading.” This can lead to both injury or stagnation. Based on the conversations I’ve had, the burnout rate is extremely high despite having clients pay for many sessions up front. Good business plan, not so good for the client.
Lack of focus on proper lift execution. While the exercise selection is generally “functional” (read as multi-joint, high metabolic cost lifts), the emphasis tends to not be on lift execution. As you know, there are not necessarily contraindicated lifts but rather contraindicated individuals or poor technique. For example, while some may have knee pain during a back squat, it’s not that the exercise that is the problem, but rather the lift’s technique or an individual’s dysfunction.
A “hard-core” mentality. This is one of those things that avid Cross-Fitters see as a perk, but for the lesser fit individuals it can be a problem. Personally, I have an issue with the fact that they revel in how difficult their training is. In reality, an buffoon can make another buffoon breathe hard and get sore. The company has two mascots; one named “Pukie the Clown” who is often depicted vomiting, surprise, surprise. Further there is a mascot called “Uncle Rhabdo.” “Rhabdo” being short for Rhabdomyolysis–a condition caused by rapid breakdown of muscle tissue leading to myoglobin leaking into the urine (while damaging the kidneys). It’s not a pretty occurrence. There are three (to my knowledge) lawsuits against CrossFit from deaths and severe injury from Rhabdo. Not a pretty occurrence.