Improving all aspects of fitness at once is CrossFit’s goal and claimed effect.By arguing against the efficacy of non-specific fitness training, Dutch must come to face with the ever growing body of evidence of the success of non-specific CrossFit training, as best exemplified by Crossfit.com.
Every person I have known since 2003 who has followed CrossFit.com programming and nutritional recommendations has made impressive progress in many different aspects of fitness.
Furthermore, beyond the main page programming, Dutch’s statement would imply that gyms which aim to improve all aspects of GPP at once will fail.
Let us consider some data points specific to the experience of EYF’s authors. We have trained one athlete, Toren, who exemplifies the efficacy of general fitness training. Over the course of two years of CrossFit programming, coming in with no background in serious strength training, Toren raised his deadlift to 565 lbs., can do 300 jump rope rotations in 1:03 and did Nasty Girls (3 rounds of 50 squats, 7 muscle-ups, 10 hang power cleans at 135 lbs.) with bar muscleups in 6:50.At 225 lbs. Toren can do 16 consecutive bar muscleups, more than some experienced gymnasts have achieved, as witnessed by EYF's authors.He made this improvement with no strength or power focus in his training and despite a knee injury which prevented him from performing many of CrossFit’s most effective exercises.
On the female side, Kari is a former semi-pro soccer player who started CrossFit in March of 2008. When she started CrossFit, she had a max deadlift of 125lbs, a max back squat of 100lbs, and a max press of 40lbs. After a year and a half of CrossFitting, and at a bodyweight of 128lbs, she deadlifts 270lbs, back squats 210lbs, and presses 82lbs. Those are some pretty (read: very) significant strength increases. She has also taken her 5k from over 25 minutes to slightly over 22 minutes, as well as decreasing her times in running at all distances (she is now faster than she was while playing semi-pro soccer.) These improvements, on opposite ends of the power/duration spectrum, seem to indicate that Kari has successfully improved all aspects of her GPP over the last year and a half.
At Evolve Your Fitness’s headquarters, CrossFit Monterey, our athletes are regularly making the very progress that Dutch denies is possible.Our muscle-up club board has 19 members.We have guys deadlifting above 400 and often much more within the first year of consistent training without specialization.In the first week of October, six separate athletes got their first bar muscleups.Again, if Dutch was right, these broad improvements in fitness would not be happening.
However, we do not bring up this data to show that EYF is unique in its application of effective general fitness programming. We have found general fitness programming to be effective anywhere coaches and their athletes have pursued it intensely and intelligently.
For example, a good friend of EYF, Serge Sarkissian, started training CrossFit in August of 2008, but his first reliable stats come from October of 2008:
No pull up
500m Row 1:50
Couldn't run a mile
After a little over a year of training, primarily on his own in a globo-gym environment, Serge is a dramatically fitter man, in as general a sense as is possible:
15 CTB Pull Ups
235 Clean and Jerk
25 min 5k
None of the athletes we have mentioned are finished products, but it should be obvious from this data that it is possible to improve many different, seemingly contradictory, aspects of fitness at once.
Dutch advises to focus training on weak points. This is good advice, however, there is not necessarily a contradiction between this goal and a general fitness program. As we have covered previously, one can perform consistent skill work on weaknesses while also performing more varied and intense WOD's. This option allows an athlete to shore up weak points while still making dramatic improvements in all aspects of fitness. If this impossible, then we at EYF must be hallucinating our results.
Though we don’t deny that specially programming WODs can be effective, we disagree that it is necessary for progress. Generalized CrossFit programming coupled with targeted and consistent skill work will be sufficient. We also disagree that the currently available performance data so far has demonstrated specialized training’s superiority to standard CrossFit programming.General CrossFit programming works exceptionally well. We will keep applying and refining this method of programming until the data indicates that we should change course.