There has been a lot of discussion lately about the role of strength/power in developing elite levels of CrossFit performance. We all know it's important...strength and power are, after all, 2 of the 10 standards of fitness. But just how important is it?
Mark Rippetoe has said that he considers strength the most general of the 10 physical attributes, because "all of the others to some extent depend on strength or the process of its acquisition and strength depends on none of them." Some seriously legit CrossFit names, including Dutch Lowy, Michael Rutherford, Robb Wolf, and Steven Low postulate that without a strength/power background, it is necessary to specialize in strength/power development in order to play catch-up with those athletes who have the advantage of being very, very strong. And the amount of people doing programs such as CrossFit Strength Bias, CrossFit Football, and Max Effort Black Box seems to indicate that the general opinion has shifted more in the direction of developing higher levels of strength and power.
On the other hand, Josh Everett, who is possibly the highest level Olympic weightlifter who is also an elite CrossFitter, said in a Performance Menu article that if he were training seriously for the CrossFit Games, he would do the main site WOD. Mikko Salo, Tommy Hackenbruck, and Moe Kelsey, respectively 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the 2009 CrossFit Games, all have deadlifts between the high 400s and low 500s, presses under 200#, and Olympic lifts that, while certainly respectable, are not indicative of strength/power specialization.
Is the idea that we need to specialize in strength and power contrary to CrossFit's prescription of constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity? Or is it necessary to focus on strength and power in order to maximize performance across broad time and modal domains?
Post thoughts to comments.