CrossFit Training is Not (Sport) Specific!

No to CrossFit

-September 13th, 2012-

Yesterday an article on The Problems With CrossFit (link at bottom of page) started flowing through the Strength Coach community and I thought I’d share it.

CrossFit is popular, especially in the lacrosse world where Reebok is a main sponsor.

If you’ve read any of my posts in the past (like this one, or this one) you know I don’t think lacrosse players should be doing CrossFit to train for the sport of lacrosse.

As CrossFit is ‘half training/half cult’ I get to hear from many players about how I’m wrong.

Because they are doing CrossFit and the workouts are brutally hard and intense which obviously means they are making them better players right?

I like the article I mentioned as it lays out the positives to CrossFit as well (yes I agree there are some positives!).

These positives include:

  • The use of Olympic Lifts
  • Not using machines
  • Tough workouts, not just going machine to machine at a Golds Gym without breaking a sweat
  • Multi-Joint movements like squats and overhead presses, not curls and tricep extensions

However these positives are outweighed by more negatives if you are a lacrosse player training to improve at your sport. Here’s a quote from the article:

See, Crossfit does not train you for anything specific—their one brilliant stroke of marketing genius was to declare themselves “The Sport of Fitness,” making it an end in itself. You’re not doing those 1600-meter bear crawls and timed rope climbs to get in shape for anything; you’re doing them to get better at doing them so one day you can go to the Crossfit games and do them alongside a dozen other people in front of a small crowd. The simple counterpoint to Crossfit is that if you are training for something specific, you’ll want to train for that thing, rather than training for “what if you’re caught in a burning building and you have to climb out while carrying someone on your shoulders and then run away at top speed and then throw a kettlebell at an angry dog that chased you,” as Crossfit does.

It goes on:

Do you want to be a powerlifter? Don’t do Crossfit. (As your MAIN WORKOUT.) Do you want to be a distance runner? Don’t do Crossfit. Do you want to simply add muscle bulk at all costs? Don’t do Crossfit. Are you training for a specific sport which requires you to sharpen very specific physical skills? Don’t do Crossfit. Instead, train for what it is you actually want to achieve.

The list is pretty long and I actually disagree with one of the negatives posted by the author. He states Group Training is a negative.

I think having a group of people to cheer each other on and push you to get better is a good thing and CrossFit has done that extremely well.

The only other main points I would direct you to please read would be:

  • #4. Their Pullups Suck (Kipping pullups, there can’t be an exercise I hate more and the author explains why very well!)
  • #5. You Will Get Injured (I hope everyone can realize why that isn’t a good thing if you are training to be a better lacrosse player!)

CrossFit is great if you are a 20-something in good shape already who only has 30 minutes at your lunch to workout and you don’t play a specific sport. The workouts are intense and short. They are tough and will get you in good shape.


There’s a reason I have yet to see a Professional Athlete outside the Lacrosse world promoting he trains in the off-season using CrossFit. Imagine Sidney Crosby trying to improve by completing WOD’s all summer. Or Derek Jeter? Or Peyton Manning? Or Steve Nash? Not a Chance!

So why is it acceptable for lacrosse players?

P.S. Here is the Link to the Article. It contains foul language so if you are offended by that please do not open: The Problem(s) With CrossFit

If You Agree or Disagree Please Let Me Know In The Comments Below!!

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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)

  1. Mark Lisica
    5 years ago

    Crossfit is the combination of the basics in gymnastics/plyometrics/olympic weight lifting. Using these three training styles, with the main focus on proper form, flexibility, balance and focus you have Crossfit.

    A ton of atheltes (pro and amateurs) use crossfit to increase their overall fitness levels. Brent Burns is of the most popular names in the NHL who actually joined Crossfit where other athletes continue to follow their personal trainers but incorporate the basic ideologies of what is Crossfit.

    Circuit training is huge in many of these sports you mentioned and thats a huge part of what crossfit is. Sidney Crosbys workouts incorporate a ton of plyometrics. Look at Kris Letangs youtube video on his work out. Very similar to Crossfit.

    Maybe they dont call it Crossfit, but it practically is the same thing.
    Your right. Cross Fit cannot make you a better shooter in basketball, a better hitter in baseball or a better thrower or catcher in football. But it can serve to be your strength and conditioning to increase your fitness and give you the correct functionality with your muscles.

    In fact. The Soviet Union hockey team incorporated CROSSFIT into their team that dominated the hockey world for nearly 60 years. Their dominance inspired the rest of the Soviet Union sports to take on similar training methods of cross sectional training with weights, running, sprinting, plyometrics and gymnastics. As you should know the Soviet Union served to dominate or put their name on the map in every sport they ever participated in during their reign.

    The training was so inspirational, NHL coaches started to adopt similar methods. The first ever NFL pro trainer, Marv marinovich, studied for years the training and incoprorated it into his workouts… Pro elite athletes like BJ Penn, Troy Polamalu and others have nothing but great things to say about the Marvs teachings which is very similar to crossfit hahaha.

    FULL BODY FITNESS! How can it be bad?

    They dont choose to do “incorrect pull ups” to cheat or what have you. Their types of pull ups are more intense and target more of the body.

  2. Sean Holmes
    5 years ago

    Mark, thank you for taking the time to reply.

    CrossFit does use many different types of exercises like plyometrics and Olympics Lifts like you stated. However they prescribe them horribly.

    21 reps in a row of an Olympic lift is easily 15 too many! I’m 5’9″ 170lbs. Dan Dawson is 6’5″ 220lbs. In CrossFit we would both use the same weight in a workout. Not appropriate.

    I’ve been doing Olympic Lifts for 10 years. Studied them, videotaped myself, always work on technique and mobility to improve them. I’ve taught thousands of athletes how to perform them properly. .

    CrossFit dictates I use the same weight as someone who is doing a CrossFit workout for the 2nd time. Not appropriate.

    CrossFit is a brand. They did not invent circuit training, or HIIT training. These methods have been around for decades.

    I use mini-strength circuits in all my programs. The difference is they aren’t random WOD’s. They are specific to the goals and training level of the athlete I am training. They are specific to improving that individual. They are designed to make that athlete better.

    Sidney Crosby doesn’t do CrossFit, he’s a Reebok sponsored athlete and Reebok is now CrossFit so it’s assumed he does.

    Check out this link with his Strength Coach Andy O’Brien

    CrossFit is very tough. It’s literally it’s own sport. If that’s your sport, great. But you don’t train to be a better lacrosse player by doing Strongman competitions.

    Tough Mudder is a brutal race that requires strength, power, endurance, mental toughness, speed. But I wouldn’t run a Tough Mudder race every week to make me a better lacrosse player.

    Full Body Fitness is great. I like CrossFit more than I like BodyBuilding body part split workouts (Chest and Back, Shoulders and Arms, Legs if you have time).

    But CrossFit isn’t how you TRAIN for a sport. It’s a tough workout. It’s better than nothing, but too much risk for injury, not enough ability to track improvements (your Fran time doesn’t make you a better athlete. It makes you a better Fran workouter).

    And the major area I disagree with you: Kipping pullups. They certainly are not more intense than a regular pull up. Please tell me how they work more of your body?

    Do proper pullups. Then as you struggle to finish them see what your first instinct is. I bet its to start swinging and raising your legs to help you do more reps. That’s not more intense, that’s cheating.

    Mark, again thank you for taking the time to reply. I’d love to debate this more, so any points of contention please feel free to comment about!

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    1 year ago

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