In the 1970s, Greg Glassman, a former collegiate gymnast from Santa Cruz, California, put together what he thought would be an effective workout program that would lead to optimal levels of fitness. He recognized that fitness should involve some measure of applicability to everyday life and that such a program would include a wide range of physical activities to tax the human body in different ways.  Glassman's program is called CrossFit.

CrossFit demands capacity in ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.  It also requires capacity in all three of the main metabolic energy pathways driving human action and movement: the phosphagen pathway characterized by a surge of activity lasting ten seconds or less (e.g. an explosive weightlifting effort); the glycolitic pathway which dominates efforts lasting ten seconds to several minutes; and the oxidative pathway, which is primary in activities lasting beyond several minutes and as long as several hours (e.g. a marathon).  Finally, this version of fitness requires the ability to perform rigorous physical tasks and various combinations of movements when unfamiliar demands and requirements are introduced.  The idea is that the fittest of us all are well prepared for whatever life throws our way and can survive and push through, leaving behind those with a more circumscribed capacity limited to a specific domain. 

This is the foundation of CrossFit, which has now become a worldwide fitness phenomenon. One of the things that sets CrossFit apart from other exercise programs is that it recognizes that all athletes (from the senior citizen, to the stay-at-home mom, to the high school soccer star, to the weekend warrior, to the Olympic medalist, to the professional athlete) have the same requirements for an effective fitness program. The differences among their needs relate to intensity and volume, but not type of training. Functional body movements that are varied and executed at high intensity are key to the development of optimal fitness in all athletes.  To read more about CrossFit and how it leads to real results in real people, click the icon below to download the free trial issue of the CrossFit Journal..

 

CrossFit Journal: The Performance-Based Lifestyle Resource