In Combatives, CrossFit, Radio

September 29, 2008

Audio Article

This is the 2nd broadcast of CrossFit Radio, which aired 9am MDT Sunday September 28, 2008.

0min - Show intro
6min - AllisonNYC on CrossFit “haters”
15min - Mike Boyle defending his podcast comments
43min - Sean Waxman responding to Mike Boyle's podcast
54min - Best comments of the week (Cameron and nathan_t)
57min - Tony Blauer on MMA vs street defense

1hr 19min

Free Download


43 Comments on “CrossFit Radio Episode 2 080928”


wrote …

Dig the show so far. Curious as to why your file size jumped +300%? Its over 103MB and your last show was only 29MB (typical size for an hour long podcast). I'm just so impatient waiting for the download. Anyway, keep up the good work.


Aaron Shaffer wrote …

Geoffrey makes a good point. This MP3 is 224kb and in stereo and so is unnecessarily large. You could bump the bitrate down to 64kb and mono and there would be no perceptible quality differences for voice. This would cut your file size by 75% or more, make a quick download, and take up less space on our iPods.

Also, could you please consider ID3 tagging each podcast? It would only take 30 seconds or so and allows the files to be more easily organized in software like iTunes or Windows Media player. I just noticed the first episode was 64kb and ID3 tagged, hopefully you can continue in this direction -- I plan to have each episode available at our gym.

Content is solid, keep up the good work!


wrote …

I think Neil is way off base here. Mike Boyle brought up some good points that need to be looked at and Neil dismissed them like and treated Mike like crap. I lost a lot or respect for this program listening to this podcast. I love Crossfit but hope that this elitist attitude crap will go away.


I hear ya. We're still ironing out our processes for getting the show up on the blog after broadcast. I've re-processed the file to match the encoding and tagging for from last week. The file is 37 megs now.


replied to comment from Matthew Cole

I agree Matthew. Training individuals is an art. Pushing the limit of intensity and demanding mental focus on technique is imperitive to improvement. However, blatent disregard for technique and safety are not healthy either. I would say Greg Glassman does an excellent job explaining many of the lifts, and the addition of Mark Rippetoe and Coach Burgener is an excellent move. I would say that through being a Crossfit trainer and learning from many of the elite coaches through this paradigm I have learned a great deal about the human body and human movement. However, I think one must be self-motivated to find those resources and pay particular attention to form and intensity. There are the occasional videos that do not display exemplary form and some could perhaps even say it is awful and dangerous. I doubt that the majority of affiliates and trainers put intensity over technique, as they would injure many people and quickly be out of business. However, it still exists and I feel we must not turn a blind eye. Keep ever vigilant while pushing the limits of human capacity.


Vadim Noskov wrote …

folks, is there a way to subscribe to the show through itunes?


replied to comment from Matthew Cole

Matthew, It wasn't my intention to engage MB on philosophic or theoretical issues (we will let Coach and the other crossfit Titans do that). I invited him on the show to substantiate the claims he made during his podcast. I made this very clear to him. He accepted the invite and stated he could substantiate his claims. If you remember, he made many claims that were completely wrong, misinformed and downright nasty. In short, he treated all of us "like crap" and didn't have cause to do so. He owed the CF Nation, and it's founders an apology. Instead, he tried to divert attention from his shameful accusations and turn the show into a grandstand for his theoretical dogma.

I was having none of it.

For future reference, ANYONE who wants to come on CrossFit Radio and discuss differences in opinion will be welcomed with the utmost respect and courtesy. However, anyone who wants to come on CFR and try to smack down my beloved CrossFit, the CrossFit Nation, and its founders will be offered a chance to retract. After that they'd better have game, because I am going after them. Frankly, I find it suspect that you'd disagree with this.


wrote …

Matt Cole - what good points did Mike Boyle bring up? i must have missed them.

Corey Duvall - i think your paragraph sans the first sentence is what the CrossFit community at large is about and that is exactly what Mike Boyle has failed or refused to recognize.

the following trickled out of one fatigued, hungry, dehydrated, and slightly foggyheaded noggin.

haha @ YouTube vids of CrossFitters. maybe there are a buttload of people who've uploaded vids of themselves using poor form, but you won't find those in the instructional "Exercises" section of's Exercises and Demos page. i've seen quite a few YouTube vids of crossfitters with bad form, but not one of those vids said "this is good form; this is how it's done correctly." the default place to find the demos of correct technique and form is always AFAIK does not put out YouTube videos. puts out videos.

i assume those individuals who personally (not by prompting of CrossFit HQ) take the time to expose their performances (however excellent or lacking in technique) to the world on YouTube have not done so to demonstrate authority on the correct execution and implementation of the exercises they are using. i suppose i don't understand how one could assume otherwise. but it seems Boyle thinks that YouTube vids of lousy technique are representative of CrossFit paradigms.

Mike Boyle states his understanding of CrossFit;
1. as having a cavalier attitude towards technique and that he came to this conclusion from watching YouTube vids and reading newspaper stories
2. as having a cavalier attitude towards rhabdo and other injury dangers and that he came to this conclusion from pics of Uncle Rhabdo and Pukie the Clown, as well as Eugene Allen's comment at the end of his write-up informing about and cautioning against rhabdo.
3. as having a false bravado about things like inury, puking... "phony, macho stuff that goes with that" (?? i'll admit i don't really get this statement)

he says he thinks "you have to be responsible for what you're teaching." i don't think you could find a CrossFit trainer who would disagree. he says "if you look at the videos you would say, that is not the way i would want someone to lift that weight." i would agree with this in regards to a good number of YouTube crossfit vids, but not many mainsite vids. then he says "i have seen more than enough, i have read more than enough, i don't think i need to study the CrossFit website... to understand what's being done" i think this is the dumbest thing he said in the whole interview.

how else can one expect to gain a knowledge of what CrossFit is, other than to actually learn the CrossFit info? and then how does one publicly broadcast an expert opinion about Crossfit without knowing what it is?

basically his 3 problems with CrossFit above were developed from "seen more than enough"; YouTube vids, (obviously not too many vids of the demos of Exercises - cuz those are only about correct execution), "read more than enough"; mainstream media articles (hype) and a lil bit of the CrossFit writings, and deciding that he doesn't like our lighthearted approach to sometimes dealing with extreme intensity related discomfort (pukie).

bottom line is (as Neil pointed out) Mike Boyle doesn't know CrossFit, he just doesn't like what he thinks CrossFit is, and he wuz amiss in ripping on a thing he doesn't have the facts on; he's got it wrong but he's publicly passed judgement on it. he won't admit it, and he's amiss for that.


Gerard Mcauliffe wrote …

I enjoyed the podcast thanks, intersting stuff. I get the feeling Neil was holing back and trying to be nice. Be controversial Neil, stir things up a bit and get a few arguements going. The most interesting jounnalists/ D.J's are always the outspoken ones so quit being impartial and dig your teeth in, i know you want to!


wrote …

I'm not going to say much, but this podcast went past an elitist attitude. First time I've been disappointed in CF.


wrote …

MB might not totally understand "Crossfit". However, pointing out the fact that we have "affiliates" and not "franchises" is useless. Pointing out the fact that we have "limitless" numbers of workouts instead of just a few named workouts gets us nowhere. Embrace the fact that he is misinformed and educate him. Don't chastise him for mis-stating some useless facts.

The following is the link to the workout video "Nasty Girls"

I believe this is largely what the general population utilizes as "evidence" for bravado and a loose adherence to technique. For quite some time (early-mid 2007 when I started crossfitting) I recognized this as one of the most popular videos on Youtube when you typed "crossfit". Though it shows three extremely athletic and metabolically conditioned athletes it is a poor example of what daily training as part of a program to improve work capacity. Nicole exceeds her capacity in order to finish in as quickly a time as possible, nearly injuring herself in the process.

Competition or life-death situations are the time to push yourself to that limit. Constantly exceeding your capacity will lead to injury, burnout, and a decrease in work capacity. This is the exact way to approach an over-training syndrome. I believe the video above was an example of "fitness as a sport", of crossfit games in competition, and of the appropriate time to push yourself.

It is a poor example of a training program. I am not accusing Crossfit, Inc. of stressing "intensity" over technique. In fact intensity can be limited to your maximal capacity when done with exquisite form. A quote from my Crossfit certification from Greg Glassman went "Do you want it done fast or do you want it done right? Yes."

I am attempting in my profession to change the status quo. Musculoskeletal injury and rehabilitation should be based on doing these exact movements correctly. Currently the paradigm is focused on muscle isolation, stretch isolation, partial ranges, and generic "intensity" prescription (do 3 sets of 12 reps... well what if they can do 18 reps perfectly, is there an efficient benefit to only doing 12 reps?). However, I am constantly attempting to shun the idea that "crossfit is dangerous" for exactly that video above.


wrote …


"...I find it suspect that you'd disagree with this." To me, your last sentence re-enforces the tone of eletism and helps make Matthew's point. Before you get defensive, I do agree with many of your points, and appreciate that you offered him the opportunity to defend himself. I did find, however, that during your interview you often cut him off and steered the conversation or abruptly ended his. To help reject a "macho," "eletist" attitude associated with Crossfit, I simply suggest making your educated point and agreeing to disagree. I truly think your words and tone did little to educate and convince him of your beliefs and did even less as an ambassador of the Community.

Like it or not, many new faces are put off by the tone and image I write of. This "image" prevents some from even giving these workouts a chance. We must fing the high ground in these discussions and be the bigger person through knowledge and results. I know others will disagree, but while I am part of the "Crossfit nation," your words did not represent me. Just my two cents.


wrote …

Defend your statement that Nicole nearly injured herself in the Nasty Girls workout. I was there. There was no injury. She did not exceed her capacity to get the work done. Maybe what you mean is that she didn't complete all the reps to meet your aesthetic requirements for the movement. She has been training these workouts at that intensity for over four years and never been injured.

Do you mean that it would be irresponsible for deconditioned athletes to train at that intensity? With that, I'd have no argument. But saying we shouldn't show athletes like Nicole training like that is like saying we shouldn't show NASCAR events because it would be irresponsible for teenagers to drive 200mph on the street.

Boyle wasn't chastised for misunderstanding CrossFit. Boyle was chastised for making belligerent comments about CrossFit based on misconception and professional ignorance (which borders on negligence).


replied to comment from Neil Anderson

I wish I knew my HTML tags- apologies if this seems a little cramped. First off, all in all, the "haters" and Tony Blauer segments were great, but the emphasis is, obviously, going to be on Mike's interview. Second off, I recognize this radio is self-run and not meant to be taken as Scripture. Still, it's CFJ material and what happens here has some impact on the community. So... on to my rant.

"However, anyone who wants to come on CFR and try to smack down my beloved CrossFit, the CrossFit Nation, and its founders will be offered a chance to retract."

Smack down? The Crossfit Nation? Retractions? Since when did Crossfit become the WWE? Yes, some of his comments were ignorant, but this attitude characterized the dialogue on both sides:
"Cult-like allegiance to Coach Glassman" - Ignorant. 'Cult-like' allegiance is an extreme accusation. Of course... when we start talking about 'smack-downs' and 'CF Nations...'
"The worst... represents all of us" - Great job here, Neil- he deserved what he got.
"Crossfit has a cavalier attitude towards technique"- At most affiliates, this is not the case, and most of the Crossfit exercises/demos demonstrate safe and proper technique. Many solo-practicing CF'ers do not, but that's not Crossfit's fault- proper technique is presented and encouraged.
"Crossfit has a cavalier attitude towards life-threatening disease"- Again, Neil, good point- CF has increased awareness of Rhabdo in the community. The pukie and Uncle Rhabdo logos can take something altogether serious and medical and bring it to a level that people can understand and appreciate... and it's funny.
"144 cases of Rhabdo in the military"- The majority of rhabdo cases in the military, to my understanding, are the result of poor preparation for bootcamp, not CF-style workouts. It's not as though CF invented Rhabdo. I picked up rhabdo once years ago, long before I ever heard of CF, from a stupid bet.
"You don't do Crossfit, so you don't have a right to criticize." Most CF'ers don't bodybuild, yet there is a notable hostility towards bodybuilding in the CF community. We have no right?
"I think these guys (SpecOps) are the most aware of their bodies." - If you think servicemembers perform like OPT and Greg, eat well, abstain from smoking and drink, PT with intelligent progressions and ideal form, I don't know how many you've met. They are tough. They will press on at ridiculous intensities. They will get the job done. A medic once joked that SEAL/S were the most annoying patients because they would have to be hospitalized for anything more significant than a sprain. Why? Because even on light duty orders, they had a bad habit of going back out and training if they weren't confined to a hospital bed. I think that's awesome and necessary- but it also requires that the person conducting the training be intelligent about the level of intensity and the risk.
"We weren't there to defend ourselves." - Yeah, Mike... You're such a... meanie! Of course we weren't there, and neither are the half-dozen regularly indicted targets of the Crossfit Forums.
"I'm not sure he really said that" (in reference to Eugene Allen saying light doses of Rhabdo could help you) - Well... he did. Your credibility was shot all to hell right here when Mike demonstrated a greater knowledge of CF doctrine. Killer workouts is still available and offered as a free download.
"We've seen 3 cases likely attributed to CF workouts" - Read CFJ Journal Issue 38, written in 2005. That article quotes "To date we have seen five cases of exertional rhabdo associated with CrossFit workouts."
Honestly, I don't think the interview went horribly, and the two episodes of CF Radio to date have been really useful. Still, it could have gone better.


wrote …

"Boyle wasn't chastised for misunderstanding CrossFit. Boyle was chastised for making belligerent comments about CrossFit based on misconception and professional ignorance (which borders on negligence)."

I believe that this may have been the intention, but I don't feel that it came off this way.

In fact the discussion here, particularly with your comment (quoted above) and Kristan Clever's comment, has been a far more intellectual and fair treatment of the issue.

It isn't that I agree with Boyle, it is just that I feel like the interviewer did not do full justice to our side of the argument.

With that said, I still think they did a decent job on the show as a whole and I will continue to listen to the podcast.



wrote …

GREAT show...

You guys are solid.


James Beaumont wrote …

I have only heard two CF radio podcasts. This might be my last. The main reason is that Neil was clearly on the offensive and looking to get into an arguement with Boyle, rather than being an objective journalist.

I am a trainer, and have learned a lot from Mike Boyle's articles and programs. I am also a CrossFitter, and do the prescribed WOD most of the time.

As a CrossFitter and professional trainer, I think Mike has some very valid points, which any fitness professional should take heed of.

The main problem with Neil is that he is treating CF like a religion and not a training program. When it comes to exercise, variety is vital. Being so "convinced" that your system is the best is naive at best.

Neil and most CrossFitters out there would learn much from Boyle and other high-level coaches like him and probably end up stronger and faster for it...and that takes nothing from CF.


replied to comment from James Beaumont

Well said James, even though Neil might "find it suspect that you'd disagree with him." I am very happy to see that many people on here and also in the comments section on agree that Neil's interviewing methods needs to change. As a crossfit advocate who routinely recommends my friends and family try Crossfit, I would be embarrassed if they heard this interview. I really hope that when Glassman, Rip, Burgener, and other Crossfit coaches are interviewed in the future by Neil in response to Boyle's comments that it is a theoretical discussion done with respect and not turn this into worthless bashing.


wrote …

that was a really good interview with Mike Boyle, it would have been easy to degenerate into shouting at each other but it remained a respectful mature interview, in which the interviewer argued very coherently exposed serious flaws in coach boyle's comments, which seem to lack research. Since doing crossfit ive improved my technique in the Deadlift, squat, clean, push jerk, snatch, kipping pull up, based on the videos on the website, and im sure that my improvement in technique is not atypical for a crossfitter.
I saw some of the harsh comments against AlisonNYC, its very un-crossfit and pathetic. I didnt see the one which called her fat, but thats really out of order. So pathetic that they dont even warrent a futher discussion, they should just get a life.


wrote …

Neil did a decent job as an interviewer. He was fair and polite with his guest, which is necessary if he wants to continue to entice guests onto the show who are not from within the Crossfit community.

One point that Mike Boyle made that went basically unchallenged was his assertion that Crossfit is a training regimen that is prone to injury. I wish Neil would have cited studies that have been published in the Crossfit Journal that show military groups adopting the Crossfit protocol with the result that INJURY RATES PLUMMETTED. (sorry I don't remember the exact article)

The biggest problem with Mike Boyle, however, is that he knows very little actual fact about Crossfit. He readily admits that he has never been to a cert and he's probably never done a Crossfit workout. He says that everything he knows is from the mainstream media or from a cursory browsing of the main site. In my opinion, this negates most everything he has to say on the topic. This is like asking someone why they support John McCain and they say "I saw a commercial that says Obama - not ready to lead." Mike - you seem like a smart, rational guy - go past the hype and educate yourself.

To make this a conversation that both sides can benefit from: Let Boyle learn the facts and let him experience Crossfit - firsthand. Let him go to a cert or do WODs at his local affiliate for 2 weeks, then have him back on the show - then I would be eager to hear his input. Until then, he's just "talking out his ass."


wrote …

Jan. '06 "CrossFit Validity Tested"
Royal Canadian Infantry School Army Fitness Manual (AFM) vs. CrossFit Trial Results

AFM - 6 Attributable injuries
CrossFit - 2 Attributable injuries

I don't know the sample size, so I don't know if plummet is the right word. However, CrossFit is without a doubt safer than regular army PT.

The contention that only working within a pool of safe movements at high intensity is sensible. If one cannot perform a movement safely, obviously load or speed is not a desirable thing. However, CrossFit arguably expands that pool of movements, broadening the limits of one's physical capacity. 30 broomstick snatches might not "feel" like much of a workout or look like worthwhile coaching time from a conventional perspective. It might sound dumb, but one won't start snatching until they start snatching. I think the position is that a time spent achieving a modicrum of overhead or OL ability is equal or greater in value to that spent on a burn, pump, or even more performance-based metrics such as strength, speed, or endurance as far as broad, general, and inclusive fitness is concerned. In summary and hyperbole, OHS vs. 100's of crunches.

I think valid point that also hasn't been addressed is the call for screening for deficiencies. I'm sure this occurs as a form of scaling at affiliates, but the concept of looking for and addressing specific issues doesn't seem to jibe with the WOD unless in the form of "sitting it out" or "broomsticking it" or something.


wrote …


“She did not exceed her capacity to get the work done” I guess that depends on your definition of capacity and where you draw the line. Like I said, training is an art and the line can be drawn anywhere. Training beyond the point of technique breakdown is dangerous. There is a set technique for each movement, based entirely on the mechanical advantages of the specific body. Deviation from that technique creates damage, no matter how miniscule. I am not saying that Nicole "injured" herself. The load relative to her passive tissue capacity was low. The strength of the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage would require a greater load or more repetitions for her than the average sedentary American for complete rupture. Proper technique places a majority of the forces through the active tissue and maintains the appropriate axis of rotation through each joint. Doing this prevents excessive tissue damage, which is what musculoskeletal injury is.

Are you saying the “Nasty girls” video is a training workout or a competition? NASCAR races are competition. NFL games are competition. Those individuals are willing to push the limit on that occasion for the glory of victory. It is my understanding that Crossfit “WORKOUTS” of the day are training. The Crossfit GAMES are competition where that repetition would have counted if you were the judge and she would have finished with a faster time.

Her inability to finish the lock out of the muscle ups will be ignored for this conversation.

Knee and ankle alignment is aesthetic only if you ignore the muscle, tendon, bone and cartilage below the skin. Adduction (medial translation) of the flexed knee (as seen in her final rep of the hang power clean) creates relative lateral rotation of the tibia. This moves the posterior horn of the medial meniscus towards the center of the joint and creates a pinch or compression with the medial condyle of the femur. It is also the mechanism for shear stress through the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligament. The area of the meniscus that is pinched has little if any blood and nerve supply and the small amount of damage done to the ligaments in this one time incident may not create a great deal of inflammation. Therefore pain from this in a "minor" incident often goes unnoticed. However, training into that action repeatedly will create greater and greater damage, eventually resulting in a painful syndrome.

The following video shows the same mechanics that she did on her final repetition. Her actions had a relatively low load and created minor damage. Repeat that at the end of every workout for four years and she is debilitated. The following video is the same injury except that it involves macro trauma, a one time incident creating the same tissue damage. Watch for the adduction of his right knee, which is precipitated by abduction of his left knee.

She got the rep according to the "judges". Great. If this was a competition, she finished with a faster time. I challenge you to tell me that Nicole trains into bilateral knee adduction and standing from the weight entirely on the medial fore-foot every workout for four years. She would have terrible knee pain on a regular basis, if not ankle pain as well. It was not my contention that she injured herself with macro trauma. It was an incredible performance of human will. My statement was that she “nearly injur(ed) herself in the process” which is inappropriate for training but more than appropriate for competition.

I was merely using that video as evidence that not all technique faults are addressed on the site. I understand it is difficult to cover your ass on everything and it would be overkill to nitpick every detail. But that means perhaps we should acknowledge our own faults and limitations instead of getting defensive towards other people’s idea.


James Beaumont wrote …


Absoluely outstanding description of the situation.

The goal of training is to get the athelete, fireman or soldier as strong and resistant to injury as possible. This can not be the case if they are nursing injuries from training sessions.

Remember: It is often easier as a trainer to smoke someone than it is to make them stronger. Let's not lose sight of that.

Good advice is good advice, even if it comes from someone who hates CF. Boyle might not say good things about CF, but that doesn't make his observations invalid.


wrote …

Now, I'm not sure exactly what your point is. Are you disappointed that we don't point out every technical flaw demonstrated in every video? You acknowledge that would be impractical. Do you think we recommend Nicole's technique for the last few reps as standard procedure? That is of course ridiculous.

You say that Nicole injured herself in that workout, but just a little. If you say that, then all of us are injured by your definition. And, by this definition, I will assume that you make your living around injuries (I just checked your email address and it says "stayactivechiro." Does this mean you're a chiropractor? If so, your argument makes sense. Convincing folks that they are injured puts more money in your pocket.

I am much more interested in real world results. I have watched Nicole, and the likes of her, train for over 5 years. She is extremely fit and healthy. I don't know anyone who wouldn't be happy with her level of fitness (except perhaps the most elite who might be fitter). How did she get that fit? By training the way she does. If that was as bad as you make it out to be, there is no way she could have achieved the results she did.

Safety, efficacy, and efficiency are three interrelated concepts that need to be managed together. A perfectly safe program is either completely ineffective or arduously inefficient. You can't have it both ways. I wish it weren't true, but it is.

All of the CrossFit trainers I know pay very close attention to injuries. I am not advocating, nor does CrossFit in any way, throwing away a tremendous attention to technique and proper mechanics. Our certifications are primarily about coaching proper mechanics. There are hundreds of videos on our site (mostly free) explaining the most effective, efficient and safe ways to move. But, if you only train with perfect mechanics, you necessarily limit the intensity. Intensity, in the end, is what brings results. Of course it can be overdone, and of course there is no substitute for common sense. But we would never see the physical achievements demonstrated every day in the CrossFit world if everyone followed your (and Mike Boyle's) call for perfectly safe movement.

Millions of CrossFit workouts have now been performed. What is the injury rate? If we were to assume a 0.5% injury rate, we'd see thousands upon thousands of injuries. And we do. So you and Boyle can point out thousands of injuries from CrossFit workouts. But what about the other 99.5%? At what point do we accept a small risk for greater benefit.

If you and Mike are correct, you should be able to demonstrate fitter athletes because we are always so injured as to not make progress. If you can, we will happily adjust our programming and training methods to achieve your results. If you are not able to demonstrate better real world results, your theoretical injuries are of little concern to me.


"Safety, efficacy, and efficiency are three interrelated concepts that need to be managed together. A perfectly safe program is either completely ineffective or arduously inefficient. You can't have it both ways. I wish it weren't true, but it is." -- Well stated. This articulates my understanding of doctors in a way that I haven't been able to do before. I know that doctors understand their material, it's just that sometimes the levels of safety prescribed by them dilutes program effectiveness to the point that I don't understand their recommendations.

Thank you for the clarifying comments Tony!


Alex Europa wrote …

After poking around and having a few discussion with people on Mike Boyle's side of the fence, it is clear to me that they simply have a different agenda than Greg Glassman and CrossFit.

Their number one concern is safety. Is this a bad thing? Obviously not. There are many reasons to take this position, whether it be moral, professional, monetary, or otherwise.

CrossFit, on the other hand, places a premium on results. As Tony stated, considering the capacity and fitness that CrossFit has proven to develop, a 0.5% (theoretical) injury rate is a worthwhile risk. The juice is worth the squeeze.

The Mike Boyle camp (read: anti-CrossFitters) will never bring a group together to answer CrossFit's challenge because they believe that it is silly and pointless. They feel this way because they do not put a premium on performance like we do. They would rather develop mediocre fitness and ensure that the only place their athletes get injured is on the field. We take a slightly greater risk of injury for significant increases in performace. To each their own...


wrote …

Boyle speaks the truth about NSW. They probably would complete a WOD just because they won't quit, and won't fail. I think it's horrible that he criticizes CrossFit but fails to know anything about CrossFit. The truth of it is operators aren't seeking out Mike Boyle but they've already found CrossFit.


Kristopher Germain wrote …

FYI: if we're gonna be offended by people referring to our dedication to Crossfit philosophies as "Cult-like", we might want to remove the phrase "Drink the Kool-Aid" from our own vernacular.


wrote …

Waxman brings up a good point during his portion of the show, which i've noted on youtube as well. If you look at his style of training and how he teaches oly lifts, it is apparent that his assessment of good technique is horribly off.


Daniel Schmieding wrote …

I'm pretty sure injuries happen all the time with "perfect" movement, too. It's cold outside, and you pull a muscle. You sneeze on the rings and hurt your wrist. You trip walking over to the next station in the middle of a routine. You can always overextend yourself, regardless of intensity.

I think if Tony's projected injury rate was a statistical certainty, we'd see a comparable % in less-intense training as well.


I think valid point that also hasn't been addressed is the call for screening for deficiencies. I'm sure this occurs as a form of scaling at affiliates, but the concept of looking for and addressing specific issues doesn't seem to jibe with the WOD unless in the form of "sitting it out" or "broomsticking it" or something.

Two points here: There is the notion of screening in CrossFit, we just don't call it screening. Point two: Looking for and addressing specific issues not only jibes with the WOD but is the reason for the WODs.

Screening at affiliates:
"Teaching a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat, teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal mistake." Greg Glassman - "Virtuosity"

Robb Wolf addressed the screening comment in his post on the forum but it looks like it needs to be addressed here more thoroughly. The Affiliates, or at least the one I run and the others that I have visited, do a screening of new clients in either a specific "fundamentals" or "elements" class, through personal training or, in a group workout/free workout setting, use a CrossFit of basic movements to determine ROM, fitness and athleticism. The warm-ups usually consist of movements (squats, push-ups, lunges, etc.) that are very similar to Gray Cook's own Functional Movement Screen (FMS). I don't like the Cook's FMS because I don't think the movements are that functional or appropriate or tell you that much more than doing properly scaled CrossFit movements. The FMS starts with an overhead squat. This movement in a screen is inappropriate because it is not clear the person knows how to do a basic squat.

Screening on
The "Start Here" section of the website is very clear about who should be doing WODs. I think it is pretty obvious that if you don't know what a thruster is, you shouldn't do Fran. There are numerous articles, videos, and other resources (e.g. the message board with a section for both "starting" and "digital coaching") for a new person to self-screen, far more than on either Mike Boyle's or Gray Cook's (which by the way, don't even have a video of how to do an OHS). All of these are free of charge.

Looking for and addressing specific issues:
"We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs. " Greg Glassman - What is Fitness"

Programs, i.e. (WODs), don't change because they address the majority of most "specific issues." In my experience, athletes think the WODs are hard because they aren't used to doing functional movements correctly at intensity. Athletes can't do the movements correctly because they have some sort of "specific issue" with one or all of the ten physical skills necessary for "optimum physical competence." All of the CrossFit exercises are chosen precisely because they train all ten skills. It is up to the coach, at the affiliate level, and/or the athlete, if working off, to understand both the movement and the intensity/weight appropriate for the movement if they want to improve all ten skills with a specific movement. If both parties do their jobs, and barring a major physical impairment, doing the WOD, correctly first then adding intensity, will improve most "specific" issues (e.g. lack of mobility in either hips or shoulders, balance, agility, etc.), certainly any issues found using Mr. Cook's FMS.


Saul, class post brother!


wrote …


What IS my point? That is certainly a valid question. Training is an art and we, as artists, are allowed to draw our own lines between safety, efficacy, and efficiency for our athletes, clients, or patients. I suppose my point was to draw attention to the "risk" of injury when training incorrectly. It was to draw attention to the shades of grey that training has and perhaps spur a debate on technique versus intensity and how to draw the line. It was to shine the light on ourselves for some self-examination, instead of shunning outsiders for shining the light. Do I know all of what Mike Boyle said? I will admit that I don't. What I heard him say was that when we are fatigued that is the time to hammer on technique, not forget technique and hammer out a terrible last few reps. It was not my intent to say Crossfit is negligent, that they do not advocate proper form, just that we as a community could have a discussion on where to draw the line.

My line is drawn based on the goals of my patients. For many of them, reduction of pain is a primary goal. Often, the pain is due to a mechanical abnormality, they move differently than the “optimum”. Many manual therapists utilize modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound, or MD's use medication and surgery. I use varied, functional movements at relative intensity in conjunction with soft-tissue therapy and joint manipulation to enhance muscle extensibility, the sliding of muscles past each other and the neurovascular bundles between the muscles to improve the axis of rotation of the joints. I tell everyone I treat that they could do everything I do on their own, and prevention of these injuries or painful syndromes is achieved by regular full range movements in multiple directions correctly. The reason they come to see me is I am better at it than they are. You could do your own taxes, or defend your own legal case, but an accountant or lawyer is better. I am better at human movement, just as most Crossfit trainers would hope to say as well.

When rehabilitating patients I have found that the Crossfit ideals are far superior to the status quo. "The needs of our grandparents do not differ from those of an Olympian; one is looking for functional competence, the other functional dominance". If I were to injure a patient doing these that would be counter-intuitive to the goals. So perhaps my focus on technique is slightly greater than the average trainer.

My original point was to make others aware of the potential for injury if intensity exceeds safety by too great a margin. I think and Crossfit, Inc does a great job with the website and whole program. I maintain my challenge to you, "tell me that Nicole trains into bilateral knee adduction and standing from the weight entirely on the medial fore-foot every workout for four years." If she does, I stand corrected. However, if she doesn't, that video shows us the difference between training and competition. She was competing for a faster time and significantly (my opinion) increased her risk of injury.

I don't appreciate an ad hominem argument against me assuming I am a snake oil salesman "convincing folks they are injured to put money in my pocket". That is poor argument technique and often not supported by intellectual debate. My posts have been nothing but civil and I would hope you could do the same.


The Hippocratic Oath is undertaken by many health care providers and states "first, do no harm". What this means is, whatever you do, don't make the situation worse. This is where the advice to "rest" comes from by many medical doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists. If they better understood the exact injury mechanics they could advocate functional movements, as these movements all but eliminate injurious mechanics. If they don't, they advocate rest so that the pain stops. When the pain is still prevalent, they are told to rest more. However, what is being shown in many scientific papers is that rest causes more damage in the long run as it increases abnormal muscle tensions and decreases conditioning. When many people just correctly do the exercises that Crossfit endorses they recover from the injury at a much faster rate.

It is a tricky task to improve performance while limiting injury. In someone with an unstable spine, that margin for error decreases greatly. One poor dead lift and they have three days of terrible back and leg pain. Now, many don't even advocate dead lifting, and I believe they don't understand the human body. I have worked with a number of people that failed doing many of the "core stability" work with those giant balls and crazy maneuvers and they succeeded greatly with dead lifting and squatting. So yes, some avoid dead lifts because they are "dangerous" and lower the standards so low that they are ineffective. The functional movements are safe, effective, and efficient, as long as they are done correctly. Where you draw the line depends largely upon your room for error.


wrote …

Classy response. I appreciate it. I apologize for the harshness of my comment about your income. The point, though, is fair, and you back that up yourself. Most of your patients have a different goal than athletes like Nicole (paid reduction vs elite fitness). And, therefore, they will have a different threshold of safety, efficacy, and efficiency.

I agree with you that it is essential for us to shine the light on ourselves. In this case, there is nothing new in this argument that hasn't been front and center on the minds of all who run this program. The bristling you felt from me is because you didn't start out with "wanting to draw attention to the shades of gray."

The only fair way to address this question is to look at the success rates of those who adhere to the program most closely. Are they getting the results they seek, efficiently and without injury? The answer is a resounding (not a perfect) yes. Therefore, we are doing very well in our task.

What about those who are new or confused, or who don't adhere as closely? Should there be different considerations for them? Absolutely. Casey Burgener trains hard and heavy 6x/wk. Should a novice lifter wanting to get strong do that? Of course not. Folks like Nicole train hard consistently. And they are not getting injured in significant numbers. Now, are novices watching videos of folks like Nicole training like that, making poor choices for themselves, and getting injured? That, I don't know. Certainly not in huge numbers.

Perhaps you are simply advocating a more robust discussion of how to manage safety, efficacy and efficiency. I think we've made a good start. I also think we have more than enough information on the site, in the Journal, and at the seminars for an intelligent person with a bit of common sense to make good decisions for themselves. And, that is exactly the type of person we have built the site for.

In all seriousness, if you think there are considerations of safety, efficacy and efficiency that need greater clarification, AND you can back them up with some degree of measurable, observable, and repeatable data, write an article for us. The entire community would benefit. You'd have to demonstrate that at least some portion of our population would get better results following whatever recommendation you present.

But remember that most CrossFitters are not willing to reduce the efficacy and efficiency of their efforts for the sake of reducing the risk of a potential injury.


wrote …


This has actually been an excellent debate for self-reflection. I will admit I did not think through my original statement as thoroughly as my follow-ups and it really helped me to understand a line I had drawn in my own training versus my athletes versus my patients. One thing I was forced to acknowledge is I am much less "safe" in my own training and the training of my healthy athletes, to no ill-effect. However, I am often hyper-sensitive with my patients and can be VERY critical of videos and other lifters techniques.

With that, the variety that Crossfit has all but eliminated overuse injury. Even if Nicole finished her cleans so poorly, it will more than likely be sufficient time for the micro trauma to heal before she does something similar and have no overall deleterious effects (as shown by the results of so many of your athletes). Joggers pounding out 20 miles a week on pavement are MUCH worse off than any average crossfitter. (We were finding some overuse injuries occuring from the 100-day burpee challenge, and I believe that is because many of our people were doing multiple burpees without warm-up or technique drilling and were starting to get some serious problems popping up. This was obviously not a direct correlate to the .com and has no bearing as such).

My original statement was ill-stated and I certainly understand your terse replies (there are only so many times you can respond to the same criticism). In all honesty, I have enjoyed the banter and appreciate you forcing me to define my terms and restate my positions. It has helped me to further understand my paradigm and will in the future allow me to better educate my trainees as to their positions and technical lee-ways.


wrote …

I know CrossFit is an advocate of proper technique, but correct me if I'm wrong, CrossFit does not seem to advocate much prehab and mobility work. I have trained for many months at an affiliate, and I felt that they emphasized correct technique. No emphasis was put on prehab and mobility work. Powerlifters and athletes from many sports are practicing prehab and mobility work. I know many people in the CrossFit community are knowledgeable of such subjects, but I don't feel as if much of this knowledge comes from within the CrossFit community.

When you don't get injured, everything feels fine. But when you do get injured, everything changes. After injuring my lower back from squatting, I began to read works from Pavel, Eric Cressey, John Brookfield, etc.

If CrossFit prefers to focus on athletic performance and not on injury prevention, that's fine. But I believe that the CrossFit community would be richer if people with similar expertise as Mike Boyle and Grey Cook were to contribute, though not them specifically.

Basically, I am arguing that performance and injury prevention are not at opposite continuum. The knowledge that physical trainers, chiropractors, etc. hold doesn't need to be shunned because a vast majority of them are misinformed. There are good ones who could make valuable contributions to fitness, health, and performance.


Corey, all I can say is wow. I wish I had the humility that you just displayed. :-)

Donald, when you say prehab and mobility work, what do you mean? This isn't a bash, but an honest question. Would you not consider something like the Greg A. Warmup as effective mobility/prehab? Or how about Coach Rut's Warm Up Moves? I realize that these aren't put out to the general public (i.e.: one has to dig a bit to find them), but would you consider these to be useful tools?

Links (both W/F/S):


replied to comment from Corey Duvall

Corey, CF is community developed. While I don't know what you have in mind when you talk about prehab and mobility work, if you think it's important, by all means develop a protocol, test your theory and present the measurable, observable repeatable results (OMRR) to the community for review.

Until then, give consideration to whether there's any way to evaluate (beyond opinion) whether the 'prehab and mobilility work' (P&MW) you've seen provided a desirable result - ? How would you know the result? Was the P&MW evaluated in OMRR or was it just a guy's opinion that it was useful?

If Coach says the official CrossFit warmup and CF is the best protocol that creates the best fitness with the least injuries, and I said doing hand stands and drinking my urine in the morning was the best way to get the best fitness with the least injuries, and you said doing CF with P&MW was the best way to get the best fitness with the least injuries, how would anyone know which was right? Coach at least can say this: "the CrossFit protocol as implemented in this study with the Canadian Military (and others) provided better fitness with fewer injuries." Coach has also said "If you can demonstrate a better protocol through testing a better protocol, we’ll be advocating that protocol the next day."

IOW, I hear your heart felt opinion, but can you take it any further than that? If you can, “bring it,” you'll find open ears. Paul


wrote …

I never knew Coach Rut had a DVD on warm-up moves. I might have considered purchasing it if I had known.

I know that CrossFit is all about highly varied functional movements moved at high intensity. I also know that they do put out some good stuff through the CrossFit Journal. I enjoyed the "Hamstrung" article and some of the other stuff, but in general, CrossFit is sorely lacking in both depth of content and emphasis on issues of injury prevention and performance enhancement through mobility drills, unilateral work, stability work, etc. This could be because CrossFit isn't about training elite athletes, in whom addressing minute weaknesses are essential to keep them injury-free and performing at elite levels.

Getting people to do functional movements is awesome, but an added emphasis on or an additional expert in this other stuff would make CrossFit an even richer community.

And I think most people only do the CFWU or other warm-ups in order to warm up their body so that they can do the workouts. Most people don't do warm ups for joint health. Most people don't do ankle mobility work so that they don't sprain their ankles. Most people don't strengthen and stretch their shins so that they can avoid knee pain and shin splints.

These are just a few examples of the types of things that could be put more in the forefront. If you look in the forum, people are asking all the time about what they can do about wrist pain, shoulder pain, etc.

Almost every athlete, professional or non-professional, has weaknesses in their body, whether it be tight muscles, etc. that make them prone to injuries. Andy Stumpf mentioned in CrossFit Radio 3.5 that the majority of injuries among SOF are sustained from playing basketball and soccer.

If we're just training to be able to train in the gym, maybe all this stuff might not matter as much. You're not going to twist your ankle doing air squats. I think the point of why a lot of CrossFitters train is so that they can be healthy, fit, strong, etc. for their daily lives outside of the gym. Prehab, flexibility, mobility, and so forth usually doesn't seem important until you get injured or start experiencing chronic or acute pain.

I didn't mean to type so much. I don't even really like Mike Boyle and Gray Cook's stuff. If you look into some of Mike Boyle's stuff, he comes across as a guy who takes a lot of things from other people, but never really has a deep understanding of anything. But, sadly a lot of good people seemed to be associated with Mike Boyle and his website.

I know a lot of the time we ask, "Why doesn't CrossFit do this or that movement?" IMO, a more in depth emphasis on this stuff would be a nice addition to have. I don't really want to get into an argument about it though, so don't expect any back and forth from me.


Kevin LaCoste wrote …

I hope in future interviews the guest is given the opportunity to finish his statements and make his points, no matter how ridiculous we might find them. Shortly after the interview began it became clear to me that Mike had wasted his time coming on the show. I don't think he came away from this experience with any recognition that he had misjudged CrossFit or it's supporters which is what could have happened (even if he wouldn't admit it) if the interview had been more professionally conducted.

I look forward to hearing from more of the CrossFit community on the show and hope that Neil will continue to work on his interview style when venturing into hostile territory.


I never knew Coach Rut had a DVD on warm-up moves. I might have considered purchasing it if I had known.

Every few months I check out the the first 10 or so affiliates and see what they are doing. They have been CrossFit for a while and have some good information. I am on Coach Rut's email list that is how I found out about his DVDs. I would highly recommend getting on his email list and/or checking his blog regularly. As noted before, Performance Menu is a great resource, checking their site and store regularly will probably be very helpful.

This could be because CrossFit isn't about training elite athletes, in whom addressing minute weaknesses are essential to keep them injury-free and performing at elite levels.

Go to the CrossFit Games next year and check out both the athletes and the expo area. I think you will find both elite athletes that are addressing "minute weaknesses" and at least one company (Jeff at that is helping people be more proactive about joint mobility. To learn more about OPT's diet and attention to detail, check out "Feeding The Machine" posts.

Sounds like you know a fair amount about joint mobility, you should write an article to make "CrossFit an even richer community."


Alex Europa wrote …

Posted by Saul J, "Sounds like you know a fair amount about joint mobility, you should write an article to make 'CrossFit an even richer community.'"

My thoughts exactly.


wrote …

completley agree with "I think Neil is way off base here. Mike Boyle brought up some good points that need to be looked at and Neil dismissed them like and treated Mike like crap. I lost a lot or respect for this program listening to this podcast. I love Crossfit but hope that this elitist attitude crap will go away."

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