CrossFit has 3 Fitness Standards. Understanding these Fitness Standards will give you a better idea on what CrossFit is all about and keep you focused on what is important: long term fitness.
CrossFit’s First Fitness Standard
There are ten recognized general physical skills. CrossFit believes that in order to be fit, you should be well adapted to all 10 skills. These skills are either learned or improved through training or practice. We will get into that a little bit later.
The 10 physical skills are: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.
- Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance: The bodies ability to gather, process and deliver (aka use) oxygen. This is the stereotypical cardio that most people do, we just add more intensity and progressions.
- Stamina: The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy. Classic CrossFit wods or every minute on the minute work.
- Strength: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force. This might be the most important one since it affects every other one. We lift heavy on Mondays to help build our strength.
- Flexibility: the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint. If we are able to move without fighting our own body, it will decrease the chance of injury as well as allow us to use our energy to do work.
- Power: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time. This is why we Olympic lift on Thursdays.
- Speed: The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
- Coordination: The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement. Wallballs and Double-Unders!
- Agility: The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another. Bounding is a great example. We bound in single-unders, double-unders, running and we can also bound box jumps.
- Balance: The ability to control the placement of your body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base. Anybody know someone who is clumsy?
- Accuracy: The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity. This is one of the reason’s why a snatch is so hard.
When you look at these 10 physical skills, we all can point to our weaknesses. In order to be a well rounded CrossFitter, you need to work on your weaknesses. Working on your weaknesses can be challenging, but very rewarding! How do you work on weakness? That really depends on what weakness you are working on. Some things can be trained while others need to be practiced.
But, what’s the difference between training and practicing? Improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come through training. Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body. Improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come through practice. Practice refers to activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system. Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.
Let’s take wallballs for example.
Do wallballs require a certain amount of strength? Yes they do. If you have a 300lb front squat, a 20lb ball doesn’t feel like much. Lifting on Monday and Thursday at SOAR will help. To do wallballs, you also need a certain amount of endurance that you gain by doing WODs with intensity. The part that most people don’t think about is that wallballs also require accuracy, coordination and agility. That requires practice. You cannot practice during a WOD. You can focus on technique, but you cannot practice. Practice needs to be done with the ability to stop and make a change to improve the skill you are working on. Suck at wallballs? Try throwing 10-20 in a day before class and see how much better you get. You need to make sure they are a perfect 10-20 wallballs. Don’t count no reps! It takes practice to hit the target each time with ease and with minimal thought.
In part III we will cover the different metabolic pathways and the benefits of training in each. For more info on all things CrossFit, I highly suggest checking out the CrossFit Journal.
CrossFit SOAR is a CrossFit Affiliate serving Bergen and Passaic Counties, including the towns of Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Hawthorne, Paramus, Ridgewood and Wyckoff. At SOAR, you will find an inclusive community offering more that a workout; we’ll provide you with a CrossFit Family. We provide a range of programs, including traditional CrossFit, Boot Camps and Kid/Teen fitness programs. The first class is always free, and there are never any long-term commitments.