CrossFit is a strength and conditioning system built on constantly varied, if not randomized, functional movements executed at high intensity. Let’s give life to this description and see how this program, honed from years of clinical experience, goes about forging elite fitness. Man’s world, nature, is full of movement. Our standing, sitting, throwing, lifting, pushing, pulling, climbing, running, and of course, punching are all quite natural. They got us where we are. They are part of our design. These natural, primal, movements influence the exercises included in CrossFit’s workouts. A major and natural division occurs in movement types between those requiring control of the body alone and those that require the control of an external object
We have also denoted movement types as being from the “arboreal” or “terrestrial” realms in recognition of man’s history. The anthropologist’s notion that our ancestors practice of brachiating (swinging through the trees with relatively straight arms) effected an upright view and posture that transferred perfectly to bipedal movement on ground allowing the hands to use weapons and other tools is captivating in that it gives a full range of man’s physical capacities. Those intertwined yet distinct demands are wonderfully expressed by the classical sports of gymnastics and weightlifting and what are for us their subsidiary domains, climbing and throwing. In the combined capacities of the weightlifter and gymnast we see a broad and powerful representation of the physical abilities of man for moving himself and things. It’s from these wells, gymnastics and weightlifting, that we’ve drawn the exercises that form the basis of CrossFit’s programming. We use the term “functional” to describe the exercises utilizing movements most representative of natural movement. Functional movements generally use universal motor recruitment patterns, recruit in a wave of contraction from core to extremity, move the body or other object effectively and efficiently, and are multi-joint.