This week Geof Travis explains the basic core exercise platforms that CrossFit is based on.
Olympic Weightlifting: Also referred to as Weightlifting, also called Olympic-style Weightlifting, or Olympic Weightlifting, is an athletic discipline in the modern Olympic program in which the athlete attempts a maximum-weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight. Olympic Weightlifting is especially useful in the CrossFit world due to its ability to hit on almost all of the ten general physical skills. The two competition lifts in order are the snatch, and the clean and jerk.
CrossFit adopts these lifts and their various accessory exercises – push press, snatch balance, clean pulls. In comparison with other strength sports, which test limit strength (with or without lifting aids), Weightlifting tests aspects of human ballistic limits (explosive strength); the lifts are therefore executed faster and with more mobility and a greater range of motion during their execution than other strength movements.
Properly executed, the snatch, and the clean and jerk are both dynamic and explosive while appearing graceful, especially when viewed from a recording at a slowed speed. While CrossFit does emphasize traditional Olympic Weightlifting tests of one rep maxes once an athlete has exhibited competence, Olympic Weightlifting’s accessory exercises and movements are often used (at a relatively low percentage of the athletes max capability) in higher rep schemes for conditioning workouts. As stated above, the movements satisfy most of the ten general physical skills adopted by CrossFit. While there are relatively few competitive Olympic Weightlifters, the lifts performed in the sport of Weightlifting, and in particular their component lifts (e.g. squats, deadlifts, cleans), are commonly used by elite athletes in other sports to train for both explosive and functional strength.
Plyometrics: Also known as “jump training” or “plyos”, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength). This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or “explosive” manner, such as in specialized repeated jumping. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes, especially martial artists, sprinters and high jumpers, to improve performance.
Powerlifting: Is a strength sport that consists of three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Powerlifting evolved from a sport known as “odd lifts”, which followed the same three-attempt format but used a wider variety of events, akin to strongman competition. Eventually odd lifts became standardized to the current three and CrossFit has adopted these lifts as one means for gaining strength.
Gymnastics: Is a mastering of bodyweight manipulation in which complex, high-intensity movement patterns and elements of varying difficulty are executed as a sport. In CrossFit, use of pull up bars, gymnastic rings, parallettes, and other various movements using body weight such as burpees and handstands, are utilized for gains found in pursuing the ten general physical skills.
Girevoy Sport: Also known to most as Kettlebell Sport, CrossFit adopts this sport that in many ways mimics Olympic Weightlifting movements, but makes use of Kettlebells and tends to use the more simplified progressions of the sport by way of simple swings.
Calisthenics: Coupled closely with gymnastics, Calisthenics are intended to increase body strength, body fitness and flexibility through movements such as pulling or pushing yourself up, bending, jumping, or swinging, using only one’s body weight for resistance. They are usually conducted in concert with stretches. When performed vigorously and with variety, Calisthenics can provide the benefits of muscular and aerobic conditioning, in addition to improving psychomotor skills such as balance, agility and coordination.
Strongman: An extension and spin off to what is now common Weightlifting and Powerlifting, Strongman as a sport involves training that builds overall explosive strength in the gym, and training with competition implements to gain familiarity. In the gym it is necessary to train the entire body for strength, especially with variants of the squat, deadlift, and overhead press. Also important is explosive power, developed by weightlifting-style lifts, and cardiovascular conditioning. Grip strength must also be developed. Like any sport, it is necessary to train using the equipment one encounters in the sport. In the case of Strongman, these include logs, tires, yokes, farmer’s walk implements, etc.; building strength in the gym alone is insufficient.