Simply to be, we need to be able to move. Our ability to move is a strong component of the life we live. If we move well—we will do more; however, if we are unable to do a specific movement or tire easily will reduce the things we do—in other words, will limit the life we live.
Our ability to perform any useful movement defines the range of activities that we will use going though our daily lives. CrossFit focuses on Functional movements, incorporating them into the working exercise. Functional movements are those kinds of movements we do in our daily activities—or those that would be used, if we continued to have the ability to do. An example would be simply sitting, then standing from a seated position: this is the basis for the Squat. The Squat and variations derived from that movement improve the basic ability to sit or squat and then to stand. Adding repetitions to this improves endurance for this activity. Adding intensity, or the rate we are able to perform the movement repetitively, improves the basic foundation movement. Adding weight is another way to increase intensity and support the activities we do that involve a squat motion with weight, like lifting the grocery bags.
The ability to do these movements is not limited to the range of motion and strength, but extent to the heart supplying blood and the lungs supplying oxygen delivered by the blood. These ‘systems’ need to be maintained or we tire too easily—again limiting what we do, what we ‘think’ we can do or are willing to do. Another component of CrossFit is to incorporate cardio activity into the workout. This is usually achieved adding intensity, but is also brought in with the ‘mix’ of movements performed in a workout.
Beyond range of motion, strength and cardio, there is the ease with which we do these living movements—involving balance and coordination. CrossFit includes activities that improve this aspect of movement. Often brought in with the warm-up movements, but certainly not limited to warm-up. Some of the workout include activities that are normally thought of as Gymnastics. Using these movements improves not just the ability to do the specific gymnastic movement, but improves overall balance and coordination.
All of these workout movements are tailored to the individual, for their ability perform them. The intensity and / or the weight involved are tuned to allow the person to complete the workout. CrossFit trains the coaches to recognize and adapt to support the ability of the individual and recognize real limitations that must be accommodated. We are all at different levels of ability… it is likely that we will not all be ‘top’ athletes, even after years of training. So, the workouts are defined for the top athletes, with the expectation that the workout will be adjusted to support ‘real’ people.
Additionally, CrossFit fosters an environment with knowledgeable coaches, real people trying to improve their capability—building a sense of community. Everyone is pushed by the workout, at the level they are doing the workout. Everyone succeeds simply by finishing ‘their’ workout. This creates a common sense of success and a general feeling of ‘we’ doing this—whether the individual is using a 2 pound or a 50 pound weight. When you finish, you are tired, exhausted… but more importantly you are pleased that you finished, that you were able to finish.