CrossFit has been a global sensation within the fitness industry for a few years now, with a CrossFit-type gym opening in most towns and cities.
But what’s the lowdown? Is it overly hyped and is it on the decline?
Let’s start with how CrossFit came about within the global health and fitness industry.
I’m not talking about how it was formed or by whom, but more on why it has dominated the industry.
Where it all started
If you remember the 80s, you will more than likely remember the colourful Lycra-wearing aerobic personalities like Jane Fonda, or in the UK ‘Mr. Motivator’ (Derrick Evans) on GMTV. The exercises were mostly based on dance-type aerobics.
Then the commercial gyms started to take hold in the mid-to-late 90s, and soon every gym was filled with what are called ‘fixed axis machines’.
Resistance work was found to be essential in exercise, but very few people knew how to lift weights correctly. Those who did usually followed a body building approach, which consisted of mostly isolation exercises.
An isolation exercise is where specific body parts are targeted. For example, the leg extension machine (a fixed axis machine) is where you used to sit in a chair (usually wearing a seat belt) and perform knee extensions to work on your quads or maybe an ab roller to target the six-pack!
This approach was formed so that anyone could do resistance exercise, even if they didn’t know how to exercise. On paper, this was a very commercially viable model.
The problem is it failed to take into account that the human body does not work in isolation! In the late 80s and early 90s, Paul Chek, an ex-US Airborne trooper and boxing coach for the US army, started to publicly challenge the approach. This was much to the annoyance of the commercial gyms and the machine manufacturers.
What did Paul Chek do?
Paul Chek then formulated his own system for exercise and all aspects of mind-body health required for optimal health called the CHEK system.
Paul advocated a 3-phase system for exercise, of which people were determined their specific phase following a comprehensive musculoskeletal assessment.
Paul is recognised as the father of ‘functional exercise’ which started to boom around 2003 and is still popular today.
Paul was also very interested in seeing a return to classic lifting techniques (squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, Olympic lifts). This is likely where the birth of the CrossFit sensation took place.
BUT here is the catch!
In Paul’s comprehensive 3-phase system, the CrossFit-type exercise regime is within the phase 3 stage and can only be achieved by successfully progressing through phases 1 and 2.
This is the same for military-type exercise regimes and high-intensity exercise of any type.
It’s a basic fact: the more you compound an already misaligned joint (think poor desk posture), the worse that dysfunction gets. It’s one of the reasons why so many people are experiencing pain and long-term injury from CrossFit/military fitness and high-intensity group exercise classes.
This does NOT mean these exercise regimes are a bad thing. They simply don’t suit the majority of people needing to sort out their dysfunctions before putting themselves through these very demanding activities.
Correct way to achieve lasting results
So, let’s cut to the chase. Here is the correct way to achieve fantastic long-term results through exercise:
- Correct postural imbalances
- Re-establish optimal core function
- Stabilise any area of the body that has pain or is prone to injury
- Reset the length of the muscular system through specific stretch protocols
- Clean and detox the skin, internal organs and muscular system
- Integrate complete body movements into your exercise programme
- Build functional lean body tissue
- Integrate functional sport or job-specific power exercises into your programme
How we incorporate the system
This incorporates our 3-phase system and it works like a dream!
We also build into the 3 phases a lot of work on goal setting, lifestyle coaching, stress reduction and diet planning.
Hopefully this has cleared up any confusion and will help you make an appropriate choice when deciding how you would like to get back into fitness or how to prevent getting injured!