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CrossFit Radio Special 3.5 - Addressing the Boyle Rant by Neil Anderson - CrossFit Journal

In Coaching, CrossFit, LEO/Mil, Medical/Injuries, Radio

October 07, 2008

Audio Article

In this special episode of CrossFit Radio, Coach Glassman, Mark Rippetoe, Lon Kilgore, Robb Wolf, and Andy Stumpf come to the table with facts and science to combat the attack waged against CrossFit, its participants and its co-creator Greg Glassman by the NSCA’s Mike Boyle and Gray Cook in their podcast.

Here are a few of the topics discussed:

  • Why bother?
  • Uncle Rhabdo and the so-called “cavalier attitude” of CrossFit toward injury
  • The “cult-like” allegiance to Coach Glassman
  • The accusation that CrossFit is simply a “bastardized version” of Alwyn Cosgrove's approach
  • Injuries in the military that are supposedly results of CrossFitting
  • The assertion that adults cannot learn Oly-lifts
  • Kipping pull-ups are cheating and harmful

Neil plays clips from the Boyle podcast and the five respond.

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15 Comments on “CrossFit Radio Special 3.5 - Addressing the Boyle Rant”


wrote …

I don't know that there is a cult like allegiance to Coach, but there sure is a healthy amount of RESPECT for him. Shouldn't there be? It may be that Mr. Boyle is mistaking one for the other with his accusation.


wrote …

Wow! These guys gave it back to Boyle and Cook with both barrels! Coach especially didn't hold back on what he thought about Boyle and Cook.

However, unlike Boyle and Cook's SC podcast 19.5, this interview was filled with ACTUAL information. I found myself laughing when Coach Rip addressed the Oly lifting statements that Boyle and Cook made.

I guess Boyle has his work cut out for him.

Step 1: Get enough clients to gather meaningful statistics. I fear that if I use big phrases like "Sample Size" and "Degrees of Freedom", Boyle and Cook would not understand... But Coach did offer to hire them a tutor to understand things like "words" and "numbers" :-P

Step 2: Prove that his program is safer, more effective, more efficient etc... by logging real numbers.

Step 3: Come to terms with the fact that when you say "I stand by my statements", and it turns out your statements were uninformed rubbish, you make yourself look like a moron.


wrote …

thanks for posting that radio special so quickly. way to put the smack down with actual facts. nice work crossfit crew.


wrote …

Someone can't take a joke. Saying we're in a cult and mentioning drinking the cool-aid is simply a joke based on how the efficiency of crossfit has led the majority of us endeavor to proselytize everyone we know. Crossfit works so well, and is so enjoyable, that we're all so very thankful for it and we wish to share the experience with others. Since the positive effects of crossfit are obvious, evident, and universally relevant I see nothing wrong with that behavior. The similarities between that behavior and cultish behaviour leads to the in-joke. But then again he can't understand uncle rhabdo or the 3 on 1 off schedule so it's obvious he can neither take a joke nor understand whats right in front of his face.


wrote …

Great Show one of the best to date, keep it up.


wrote …

I think Andy Stumpf said it best and most succinctly in three words: then he backed it up with cold hard data.


wrote …

Thanks for a great show. I love the fact that this additional medium means I can drive to and from work and still learn from the CrossFit Titans and community.
Having just had the privilege of meeting Coach and also Andy recently at the UK cert just helps maintain the momentum of that ‘high’ gained from the cert. More of the same please.


Ned Ferguson wrote …

It was interesting to here the mention of Alwyn Cosgrove. I just spent about a year going through the "The New Rules of Lifting" cover to cover. My son and I performed all the exercises. That is what got me looking on the web for more, and ultimately led me to Crossfit. The two are somewhat similar, but certainly not the same. Crossfit is far more variable.


wrote …

I enjoyed this episode much more than the Boyle interview. I thought all the arguments were well thought out and effective.

I didn't enjoy the personal attacks on Mr.Boyle, but I can understand how his comments would have raised an emotional response from Coach and the others.

Boyle was not well researched, and even if some of his concerns were valid (which is really what the dispute should have been about), he should have refrained from making broad assertions about, and attacks on, CrossFit and the community without becoming more informed. Many of his comments were irresponsible.

In the end, his attitude very much comes off as a "knee-jerk" reaction to CrossFit hype... not the actual foundations of the system.

Well done by all of our respected Coaches to have so logically and effectively discussed the arguments for CrossFit's methodology. Backing it all up with data on the spot was the icing on the cake.


wrote …

As I listened to what Boyle said, and the critiques of his comments, it struck me that he comes from the mindset of the old days of fitness (old days, like, 2-3 years ago) when you could just throw your opinion out there about what worked for you and that was enough. It was enough because no one had data about what worked and/or how well, ‘opinions from the experts’ set the course of the practice of training for fitness.

CF has kicked that paradigm in the butt by providing a protocol and submitting it to testing. Now instead of opinions, CF has generated have observable, measurable, repeatable tests of how CF generates fitness compared to other protocols.

So these guys, not clued into the fact that the data is out there, are looking at what to them seems radical and they offer their opinions, and attempt to throw CF’s highlighting of rhabdo back at CF as a critique, and use that as the basis to criticize something that they clearly (the more they speak, the more clear it is) don't understand - but they don't understand that they don't understand CrossFit.

I think that's what makes them worthy of being a target of ire for doing nothing more than offering an opinion (which Mike Boyle clearly thinks is no sin).

If they were informed enough to even offer a credible critique, I don't think they would have drawn so much ire. Since they were uninformed about the statistical comparisons between CrossFit and traditional mil/leo fitness programming (which prove their opinions of CF safety wrong), and since they cannot articulate the safety/efficacy of their programming in any observable/repeatable/measurable setting, and since they don’t perceive the fact that no could articulate that NO ONE TALKED ABOUT RHABDO (and they don’t even seem to realize what it is and how to diagnose it) before CF began to make the fitness world aware of it, I can see why they didn’t get a pass as "well intentioned professionals." Instead, they appear to be buffoons with an axe to grind.

Regrettably, I think many of the fitness world’s “professionals” would appear to have an equivalent level of buffoonery – as Dr. Kilgore said, the majority of these professionals have never been taught, and have not learned, how to teach the Olympic lifts to the average athlete. The inputs on other aspects of fitness may be similarly deficient, as Dr. K has explained in previous CFJ articles.

I think one thing that’s crystal clear is that if you expect to take a shot at CrossFit, you would be well advised to know more than Mr. Boyle and his cohort did. Paul


wrote …

Cult-like status?
"The entire website is devoted to hating me."



wrote …

I went to a conference in Vegas back in march and Gray Cook was there really hammering home how important the deadlift is, which is 100% true, but for a guy who should know his stuff, he should have attended a CrossFit cert before opening his mouth about the dangers of our workouts, and the principle behind CrossFit. Also Alwyn Cosgrove was there and he's a no holds barred speaker (very informative and entertaining), and he claims that he's a results guy so I would really enjoy hearing his comments on all this since his name was mentioned.

Thanks for posting the interview, great stuff. Please keep up all the great work you all have been doing.


wrote …

I just read the first CrossFit Journal installment, aptly titled "Foundations", which was dated April 2002. I found the following excerpt to be fitting to the discussion at hand. (Page 2, last sentence of first paragraph).

"Through painstakingly thorough coaching and incremental load assignment CrossFit has been able to teach anyone who can care for themselves to perform safely and with maximum efficacy the same movements typically utilized by professional coaches in elite and certainly exclusive environments."

This speaks directly to the accusations of alleged cavalier attitudes toward injury, the alleged propensity to overwork inexperienced clients and alleged disregard for form.

Perhaps someone should forward this PDF to Mr. Boyle and Mr. Cook. On that note, I did submit a comment on the following website (this site also contains a link to the mp3 of his CrossFit rant podcast):

It appears that comments on his page need approval. I bet he doesn't approve it.

I'm pretty proud of the letter, and it would be a shame to have it go unread, so here it is, for your enjoyment.

Mr. Boyle and Mr. Cook,

Please find and read the Crossfit Journal article, aptly title “Foundations,” dated April 2002. In particular, please note the first paragraph on the second page. This paragraph speaks directly to your accusations of alleged cavalier attitudes toward injury, the alleged propensity to overwork inexperienced clients and alleged disregard for form.

I’ve listened to this pod-cast a number of times. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

Cook – “The number one problem of the Us Military is injury prevention.”
I agree, but I don’t think that preventing the military men and women from using CrossFit will put an end to IED’s, suicide bombers or insurgent attacks, all of which seem to me to be military problems ranking higher than Exertional Rhabdomylosis.”

Cook – “When you look at the history of rhabdomyoloysis, it’s comin from basicially situations of extreme torture.”
I’d like to know how many cases of rhabdo were caused by torture, as opposed to distance running, crushing injuries and CrossFit. Where did you gather your data?

Boyle “I don’t think that most adults orthopedically are geared for Olympic lifting anymore.”
I disagree. To say that most have not been trained properly, may be accurate, but to say that, notwithstanding a prior injury, that most adults aren’t geared for Oly lifts is speculative hypothesizing.

Cook - “What this guy probably did is he’s toastin his legs, then he’s toastin his arms onpullups, then he toasts his core on some dumb-ass sit-up then he goes and toasts his legs again.”
Probably? Sounds like you are not educated on the topic and therefore speculating as to what Mimms may have done based on your limited, narrow exposure to CrossFit.

Cook – “ The Undiagnosed multiple orthopedic injuries that are probably coming out of this…”
Probably? Sounds like more speculative hypothesizing, which any skilled debater would pounce on. In any debate, please come armed with facts.

The following link was posted by CrossFit HQ on the main website for the general population. The link contains full disclosure pertaining to the details of the Mimms suit. I strongly recommend you read the details of the suit.

If I may offer some advice to you gentlemen, it would be thus; please educate yourselves on any topic or organization which you plan to criticize, much less accuse. To fail to educate yourself prior to casing such criticisms is to do yourselves, your view and your cause a great disservice. I think Mr. Boyle said it best with,
“One of the problems with the internet, you can’t take it back.”

I agree, things on the internet have the propensity to live forever. I now have your podcast saved to my hard-drive, and I’m embarrassed for you.

I’ll close with my favorite quote from your podcast.
Boyle – “…but it makes for really good radio.”

Now that’s debatable.


Steve Price


wrote …

Wow. Great work. Solid facts, credibility, everything you would expect in a reasoned response. You can't argue with results.


wrote …

Seems to me like the (two-sided) hostility is unnecessary. Mike Boyle has more in common with Greg Glassman (i.e. crossfit) than either seem to know...because I don't think either really has a comprehensive view of what they're criticizing across the table.

I've taken useful ideas from a lot of camps. I'd caution not to throw the baby out with the bath-water...there are useful ideas to be taken from Boyle, Cook, Tate, Simmons, Wendler, Rippetoe, John, McGill, Francis, Poliquin, hell even Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc. etc. As all of these have at least two (truly useful) cents to throw in the piggybank, I'd hate to have an emotional reaction be the only thing separating each from being a Glassman-endorsed SME or a crossfit community pariah. The "emotional reaction" I mention is on both sides of the line...the outsider's and the crossfitter's...and insofar as alienation results I think the same's a true loss.

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