A (Time and a) Place for Specialization

The demand for GPP-focused facilities has grown. Here's why we're seeing more of these.

With a growing number of CrossFitters entering their second, third and fourth year of CrossFit and beyond, I’m noticing the addition of specialty services in traditionally GPP-focused facilities. I’m sure you’ve seen it, too. Gyms have a weightlifting club or class. Others, like Dogtown CrossFit, have a gymnastics class. My gym takes it to the extreme with structured curriculums in endurance, strength, weightlifting and even strongman.


Why are we seeing this? In general, I see two main types of demands for these auxiliary specialty courses. The first is based on need. The average CrossFitter jumps into training. He/she is good at a couple things, just so-so at most things and terrible at a few things. For many athletes, it’s those areas that they really struggle at that motivate them to fill in the gaps in their training.

The idea here is that waiting around for those instances that the clean-and-jerk and the snatch show up in the programming is too far and in between for these athletes who are motivated to improve their Olympic lifts, for example. For some, an opportunity to get specific for a while is an expedited way to become a more well-rounded athlete.

The other example is the athlete who, despite the ever-exciting constant variety of CrossFit, is caught in a rut and is really only excited about one part of the modality. In contrast to the example above, this athlete can’t wait to lift weights, for example, because that’s what he/she is good at. So rather than spend 20 percent of his/her training time training movements that are enticing, he/she can focus his/her time in a more enjoyable ways.

Now, keep in mind that I’m not pointing this out as a jab at CrossFit and its efficacy. This is more a dive into strictly the demand of the athletes in the market.

What does it mean for CrossFit? It probably depends. It’s my view that when gyms provide courses like these it’s a double whammy in that it raises the game of the coaching staff to be able to dive deep in a specialized way and it’s keeping more athletes engaged. Both are a win for everyone.

Does your gym offer specialty courses? If not, do you wish it did?