Essentials

The CrossFit stimulus—constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar—prepares you for the demands of a healthy, functional, independent life and provide a hedge against chronic disease and incapacity. This stimulus is elegant in the mathematical sense of being marked by simplicity and efficacy. The proven elements of this broad, general, and inclusive fitness, in terms of both movement and nutrition, are what we term our CrossFit Essentials.

Never is the stabilizing role of the abdominals more critical than when attempting to drive loads overhead. We train our athletes to think of every exercise as an ab exercise, but in the overhead lifts it is absolutely essential to do so. It is easy to see when an athlete is not sufficiently engaging the abs in an overhead press—the body arches so as to push the hips, pelvis, and stomach ahead of the bar. Constant vigilance is required of every lifter to prevent and correct this postural deformation.

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“Excessive fructose intake (>50 g/d) may be one of the underlying etiologies of metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. The primary sources of fructose are sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup. First, fructose intake correlates closely with the rate of diabetes worldwide. Second, unlike other sugars, the ingestion of excessive fructose induces features of metabolic syndrome in both laboratory animals and humans.”

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Done right, fitness provides a great margin of protection against the ravages of time and disease. Where you find otherwise, examine the fitness protocol, especially diet. Fitness is and should be “super-wellness.” Sickness, wellness and fitness are measures of the same entity. A fitness regimen that does not support health is not CrossFit.

Read the 2002 CrossFit Journal article

“The Framingham Heart Study laid the groundwork for the obsession we’ve had with cholesterol and saturated fat and may well be the study that has been most damaging to the health of the U.S. population. This damage comes not necessarily from the study’s data but from the misreporting, deception, dissembling and outright prevarication about the data that have made it the wellspring for both the diabetes and obesity epidemics that afflict us.” —Dr. Michael Eades

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A first-class lever is a very simple machine comprised of a beam placed upon a fulcrum. A load is placed onto one end of a beam, while an effort is directed onto the other end to counter the load. In human anatomy, the skull as it sits atop the first vertebra and the ankle and foot are examples of first-class levers.

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A frame-by-frame sequence showing excellent mechanics during performance of an air squat.

The squat is a beautiful, natural movement. It demands midline stabilization, posterior-chain engagement and core-to-extremity movement, and it can be used to move your body weight or very large loads held in a variety of positions. At one end of the spectrum, the squat is an essential component of weightlifting and powerlifting, and at the other end, the squat is essential to getting off a toilet seat. Regardless of what the problem is, the answer is to squat.

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Athena Archives

CrossFit programming provides a more effective stimulus for improving cardiorespiratory endurance than running, rowing, cycling or other traditional monostructural protocols. Additionally, cardiorespiratory endurance and the rest of the general physical skills are best perceived of as aspects or qualities of functional movement.

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A diagram showing the body’s cardinal planes (sagittal, transverse and frontal), as well as the body’s center of mass; i.e., the point at which all three planes intersect.

The point at which all three cardinal planes—or their axes—intersect defines the point around which body mass is equally distributed. This point is called the center of mass. When we move a body segment in a direction, the weight of that segment moves away from its equilibrium state, and an opposing displacement of equivalent weight is required to maintain balance.

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Julie Deadlift

The deadlift, being no more than the safe and sound approach by which any object should be lifted from the ground, keeps company with standing, running, jumping, and throwing for functionality but imparts quick and prominent athletic advantage like no other exercise. It is unrivaled in its simplicity and impact while unique in its capacity for increasing head-to-toe strength.

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