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National War College Speech: Part 3 (Q&A 1) by Greg Glassman - CrossFit Journal

In Audio, CrossFit, LEO/Mil, Videos

January 27, 2009

Video Article

On January 6, 2009, Coach Greg Glassman was invited to give a presentation on CrossFit to over 100 future leaders of our nation’s military from the National War College at the National Defense University’s Baruch Hall. He presented on the same stage where President Bush, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, and Colin Powell also addressed the students of the National War College. Present in the audience was Lt. Gen. Frances Wilson, President of the National Defense University.

This is the first Question and Answer video from the talk. In it, Coach Glassman answers two questions thoroughly: Is there any role of cycles or periodization with the CrossFit program? And, is there an issue with connective tissue adaptation with the intensity of CrossFit workouts, particularly as one ages?

The simple answers to both are no. GPP (General Physical Preparedness) is more important to creating a ready state conducive to elite performance training in any realm than any specialized physical training. To the second question, the CrossFit program, when introduced responsibly, has resulted in a statistically significant reduction in all-cause injury whenever it has been tested against existing PT programs.

14min 44sec (An audio-only version is also available)

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19 Comments on “National War College Speech: Part 3 (Q&A 1)”


wrote …

As always, another great lecture from Coach. I really enjoy watching these videos. It's especially exciting to know that Crossfit is making its way to the eyes and ears of our commanders and policy makers.


wrote …

Amazing insite and wealth of technical, yet easily understood, exercise physiology.

Thanks CFHQ.


wrote …

Being a formar Marine SSgt of 10 years I'm so happy to see crossfit getting into the military community. I wish I would have had it as a young devil dog. It will make a huge impact on our warriors!
Semper Fi CFHQ!!!


wrote …

I love coach's humility in the face of his program and the rapidly growing phenom that is CrossFit. His comment on "if you want to get better at Rugby, you gotta play rugby", and the thought that specialzed sport specific training is the best way to get better at that sport is a jewel. Josh Everett mentioned the same thing in his discussion with Neil on CrossFit Radio. This stuff is the juice.



wrote …

I know this may seem a bit overstated but everytime I listen to Coach speak I'm awestruck. My list of celebs/historical figures I would love to meet or have met is Lincon,Reagan,Elvis and Coach, I can't wait until FilFest!!!!! 3...2....1....go!


wrote …

"Virtuosity is defined in gymnastics as 'performing the common uncommonly well.'”
G. Glassman - 'Virtuosity’

While his lecture was compelling, coach’s ability to field questions reveals true virtuosity. No dodging and weaving, no in your face appeals to authority, just concise articulate answers derived from knowledge and experience.


wrote …

As a past BUD/s graduate and having been doing CF more 2+ years, I can certainly see how CF is benefiting the current BUD/s students. I'm just pissed Coach hadn't developed CF when I went through.

As always the presentations by Coach are inspirational.



wrote …

I just wish we could get the entire lecture at one time. This 4 part series is killing me.

Coach the problem is that you make too much sense. Thanks for what you are doing for the military in general and the Marines in particular.

Semper Fidelis,
Ric Thompson


wrote …

This stuff is gold! As a physician with a special interest in sports hernia surgery, the anatomy, physiology and real-time,practicle application of CrossFit is amazing. As a former rugby player, I like the All Black reference as well. Coach has such a command of the subject at hand that no question seems challenging or difficult. I hope the audience is as impressed as I. Bring on part 4.

Dr. H


wrote …

Thank you for the kind words of support.

Several corrections/elaborations:

1. I meant to say that not enough is known about human performance so that "highly specialized S&C" programs are optimally effective to sport training, not "highly specialized sporting programs" are not optimally effective. (Though, that too may be true.)

2. The BUD/S experiment including reduced injuries, no PT rollbacks, and significant performance gains was conducted at Phase II and not all phases. Andy Stumpf conducted this experiment and he can be reached at

3. I referred to combat's applications to CF, when I obviously meant CF's applications to combat.

4. USA Skiing was not cooperatives in our experiment but several of their best were, men and women, and to remarkable effect by USA Skiing's own measurement. My sense and experience is that no governing body in any sport is willing to take outside inputs on anything - especially if it improves the athletic performance of it's charges. (Crazy world, I know.)


wrote …

Relatively new to Crossfit but starting to drink the kool-aid...the workouts have certainly added new life and fun to my exercise "routine"...

However, the cooler thing about crossfit has very little to do with the WOD.

-First you have a group of people that really get off on what they do...very contagious.

-Second, they are arguably even more passionate about delivering "value first" to all of us (clients - whether we actually pay anything or not)

Two things very difficult to find in any industry...Crossfit should be studied in business classes not just fitness ones...there is a lot to learn from these guys aside from the WOD that we can apply in our professional lives...

Wishing you all continued success!!!


Phil Hamar wrote …

Theses presentations/lectures are stunning!

I am just a rookie at Cross Fit. Got the word from some firefighters I had met, they were talking about Cross Fit and suggested I workout with them one day to see what it was all about. I prided myself on being fit and able to excel at any task or sport put in front of me, and was ready to show them how fit I thought I was.

I could not finish their WOD…

They suggested I check out Cross Fit, I did, and was addicted.

I was being challenged in my personal fitness more then any other fitness challenge I had ever tried, even more then playing professional sports with some of the best coaches/trainers in the country. (Which was a few years ago now) However pride got the best of me, I didn’t scale the WODs’, worked out my 6 days a week with only one-day rest, figured I was already an athlete and could do the Olympic lifting without working on form and technique. Four weeks latter had to suck up my pride and ended up on the hospital because I did not listen to Coach.

Moral, listen to Coach and believe him that when he says these workout are lethal. I only wish I had the brains too.


wrote …

I am particularly interested in your comments about CF and sport specific training. I have some high school football coach friends who know that I do the CF workouts and wonder about incorporating some of it into football weightlifting and if it would help. I really don't know what answer to give them.


wrote …

Congratulations, Coach.

You are incredibly eloquent and your deep convictions, excitement, and fire have never wavered over the years. The depth of your knowledge is reflected in your ability to walk on that stage and present CrossFit to the National War College without the props of a podium, power point, slides, or overheads and then field all and any questions with humility, humor, and confidence.

You are missed every day in the gym here in Santa Cruz. Thank you for what you have given us in those early years---your guidance, fire, love, and generosity, and for what you are now doing for our great country, our armed forces, and our youth. You have my respect and love. I am proud to know you.


wrote …

Coach, I hope someday you do an autobiography or that someone does a good bio on you. You follow your heart and your passion. You live your weird balls out and full blast. We have much to learn from you that doesn't even relate to fitness.

My life if tremedously improved because of what you do and how you've choosen to share it with the world.




Johnathan Millen wrote …

I Love it spread the word to the world!!!


replied to comment from Ken Smithmier

Ken, I would like to comment relative to your question about football and CrossFit, although I speak merely from the role of an observer, not a trainer.

If you watched any of the Jet games this last season, you may have noticed the rookie cornerback, Dwight Lowery #34. I saw only the games broadcast in my area and he was in the starting defensive lineup for all of those games and distinguished himself. He is CrossFit to his very crossfit core--including Zone. He started training with Jason Highbarger at CrossFit HQ in Santa Cruz while he was playing for San Jose State and later, still with Jason, at CrossFit North Santa Cruz. You can GOOGLE him and see some of his San Jose State videos. He is a natural athlete, but gives much credit to CrossFit and to Jason for his success in the NFL.


wrote …

OK to the football coaches out there. Some people say crossfit does not make you strong. My comment to them after being a head football coach is what are you looking for in a football palyers game? You are looking to develop strength and work capactity. The ability to repeat and repeat again through an intense attitutde and concentration. No tell me that a power lifter has the same characteristics as a crossfiter. What irks me is that crossfit embraces training and others who do not understand the make up of techniques and the sequence of intensity put down crossfit. I just put athletes thorugh a 15 minute round of 5 pushups, 10 burpies and 15 air squats and they were spent. Full range of motion and no good morning aquats. This is not drinking the kool aide this is the real deal in developing a mind set for success. Thank you for developing, designing and presenting crossfit training to many people. It becomes part of your soul.


wrote …

Wow! Well said Coach Charles Bova.

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