CrossFit makes my brain hurt. Coach Glassman has established a training model for developing fitness that works, and works well. However, the program and its results cannot be easily analyzed with a superficial examination. The system of training is innovative. Conventional exercise science thinking cannot explain why it works as it does. We have to dig deeper to solve this puzzle of human adaptation. The first piece of the CrossFit science puzzle for me was figuring out how VO 2 max gains were being driven by the interval-type training that is inherent in the system, since the conventionally wise could not fathom how these unconventional methods were developing exemplary endurance.
But as in all good scientific inquiry, answering one question spawns new questions. So a second piece of the CrossFit puzzle, a real poser, emerged, and it concerns the coexistence of strength and endurance training in a single workout. One of the observed benefits of CrossFit training is a simultaneous improvement in strength, endurance, and mobility.intended to improve strength lest there be interference in achieving optimal fitness gains. The thought is that typical endurance training will reduce the amount of strength gain achieved if the two types of training are included in the same workout or are done sequentially. So why can CrossFit-trained people get strong and aerobically fit when they regularly do strength-enhancing and VO 2-max-enhancing work in the same workout? (Dramatic pause while I take a couple of naproxen.)