So, I’m not sure how it all happened, but I ended up enrolling in the CrossFit Endurance Class at CF CrossFit North Fort Collins a few weekends ago (April 7&8, 2012). I’m not a CrossFit Kool-Aid drinker by any means, so I think I can offer a fairly objective review. I also have a few credentials under my belt, as listed above. So I’ve been around the Strength and Conditioning block…
Anyway, I assume if you care enough to read this post you know what CrossFit is – continually varied strength and conditioning work to basically make sure you’re ready for anything.
Crossfit Endurance (CFE) is an interesting off-shoot of the main movement. In a nutshell, the CFE folks believe that most endurance athletes spend too much time going long and slow – running slowly, riding slowly etc. They advocate basing marathon, triathlon and other endurance training on shorter and more intense intervals with occasional forays into longer outings.
So I show up for class on Saturday morning. We start with the usual 45 wasted minutes of going around the room and having everyone introduce themselves. Personally, I always think this is a huge waste of time as who gives a sh*t anyway? After that we get a basic overview of the CFE approach.
The lecture is interesting as it contrasts traditional long-slow base training with CFE’s keep in intense rationale. Since their approach is really at odds with the mainstream of the endurance world, it is interesting to see them lay out their view point. They do admit that no pros are training their way. They also admit that they have no scientific studies to back them up. (And let’s face it, NONE of the so-called research in the strength and conditioning world is actually scientific, right?) So I can roll with that.
If I understand correctly, the idea is something along these lines- don’t sacrifice your strength, power, agility, etc to go long. Don’t become skinny and weak. Maintain your other skills while also training to go long. I’m willing to try this for this racing season and see what happens. I’m far from a great triathlete, so I’ve never been in danger of winning anyway. But I do like to be strong, and I’ve never liked how my strength starts dropping as try season progresses.
After an hour of lecture, we go outside to have the instructors film us while we run. We run a few 200′s around the building and then go live for the filming. We will watch this in a few hours to see how bad our form is, and then compare it to more filming tomorrow.
We then move into the technique part of the class. The powers that be behind CrossFit Endurance are into the Pose Method. This is the movement that espouses leaning forward, mid foot striking, blah blah blah. They favor minimalist shoes (almost everyone was wearing Innov8 shoes). So we did drills. And more drills. We heard about efficiency and blah blah blah.
I personally found it a little annoying. Too much time spent on drills and too little on theory. We alternated lie that for the 2 days: an hour lecture, and an hour of drills.
The lectures were interesting. The details behind the planning based on CrossFit strength workouts and interval work was one of the most interesting hours I have ever sat through at a seminar.
All-in-all, I thought the seminar was interesting. I have no idea if they’re on to something here or are just selling something that’s rogue to be contrarian. I guess we’ll see. Getting inside some of the CrossFit jargon is a bit of a chore, as I had to keep asking “What’s a Chippy?” Or “Can you define MetCon please?” They patiently tolerated me as an outsider and answered all of my questions.