While I understand there is an enormous amount of variation in dosage, teaching and application of the CrossFit model, I recently heard a comment that got me thinking. This particular person described her experience with CrossFit movements as “not a good match for [her] body.”
Surely, her perspective might view human movement in a very branded way, as if Zumba movements work for some bodies while other bodies are made for more yoga than others. From the outside looking in, I hope this perspective seems a bit ridiculous. By no means am I trying to defend the CrossFit protocol when I say that, either.
As it turns out, movement is movement and our bodies aren’t hip to the latest fitness trends, nor have we evolved to specific training regimens. In fact, what comes to mind is a quote from an old CrossFit Journal video of Kelly Starrett, which went something like, “The practice of these movements is the perfect human training system. It’s us who are the messed up ones.”
When we come in deficient, broken and incapable, it’s movement that exposes us. Deadlifts, box jumps, kipping pull-ups and Olympic lifts never hurt anyone; plenty of poor attempts at them have, however. If we look through the lens of “Hey, maybe there is some user error here” or “If squatting hurts me, the pain is probably saying more about me than it is saying about squatting,” I think we have the opportunity not just to get populations much fitter but also to rehabilitate a population that is often chock-full of deficiency and poor movement habits.
Remember, CrossFit didn’t really invent anything on the movement side. Squatting, pushing, pulling, running, jumping and throwing movements were here before CrossFit, and they will be here long after, as well. With that in mind, it pains me when folks explain away movement issues as a CrossFit problem and jump around training systems until they find something that offers little enough resistance to stick with it.
Have you found that looking at weaknesses as a personal problem has yielded more opportunity than not? I have. In fact, I wasn’t mad at CrossFit at all when I fell on my back trying to overhead squat an empty barbell for the first time.
If for nothing else than the element of a litmus test for movement, CrossFit will always hunt our deficiencies. I think it’s up to us to view that as an opportunity rather than a program flaw.