The original stated aim of CrossFit was General Physical Preparedness (GPP). Training for the unknown and unknowable. Many of the early CrossFitters were military, fire, or law enforcement, and their need for a non specific form of fitness influenced early CrossFit training and programming methodology. Out of this idea of GPP has come the CrossFit Games with its very broad range of time domains being contested. Athletes, in the sense of playing a specific sport (with the possible exception of mma and jujutsu competitors), were not as large a part of CrossFit as now.
However, CrossFit has grown so much in the past 4 or so years that, in my opinion, the concept of GPP needs to be redefined. CrossFit now has different branches with focuses on different kinds of fitness–Endurance, Football, strength bias, dot com, for example. GPP is still very much a part of CrossFit and of each different branch. The profound line of Coach Glassman’s about special forces, Olympians, and grandparents fitness needs differing by degree, not kind, still rings famously true. That said, CrossFit has progressed even further as it more and more bumps up against varying stimuli with varying demands of a strength and conditioning program.
These progressions have resulted in the various emphases seen currently in CrossFit. True GPP, as envisioned by CrossFit 10 years ago, is either, depending on one’s point of view, a thing of the past or only the domain of dot com. This is not a bad or lamented thing, however. As CrossFit travels more and more into the domain of what I call area specific GPP, it is more widely disseminated and practiced. Each of these areas still have large elements of the original GPP within them. A strength and power focused box still runs, rows, and plays on the rings, and an endurance focused box still cleans, squats, and plays on the rings. Each still have a large aspect of the other, but there is a definite purpose at play other than the original unknown and unknowable GPP.
Area specific GPP is still CrossFit. In fact, if the benchmark storm WODs are used as a measuring stick, area specific GPP may be even more effective at creating fitness than the true GPP of yesteryear (admittedly this is a contentious and debatable subject). However, it seems unarguable that understanding the needs of the trainee will allow for the most effective and efficient programming. And this is what area specific GPP attempts to do, understand and serve the needs of the trainee.
A SWAT or HRT officer does not share the Ranger’s need to regularly hump a weight 10+kilometers to a target. A wrestler’s overwhelming need for explosive speed and power is not shared by the decathlete. But, and this is the but that unites so many under the CrossFit umbrella, area specific CrossFit is the most efficient and effective strength and conditioning program–fitness methodology–for all four examples. Not to mention that such programs will have much in common, more than they don’t.
When I was a fighter, I came up against men from many different disciplines. These various disciplines all seemed to me best suited for different situations, but getting hit by them all hurt. Some hit harder with gloves, some hit harder without gloves, but they all hurt. CrossFit is a big umbrella and area specific GPP allows many to happily shelter under it without jostling.
Thoughts, arguments, musings? Please post to Comments.
40 Double Unders
5 rounds of:
10 Power Cleans 155/100#
80 Double Unders
5 rounds of:
1 Deadlift 365/255#
3 Bar Muscle Ups
40 Double Unders