“How can a set of workouts prove anything?”
Coach Glassman explained that you can’t claim to be the best hockey team in the world without winning the Stanley Cup, and you can’t claim to be the world’s fittest athlete unless you win the 2009 CrossFit Games.
“We’re going to get this thing to the point where, if you’re not participating, then it really has no meaning to claim to be fit or fitter than other people,” Coach Glassman said.
As the pool of elite CrossFit athletes becomes exponentially larger, the top competitors from previous years will find themselves battling—perhaps unsuccessfully—to remain at the top.
Coach Glassman disagreed with the athletes and spectators who weren’t sure how driving a pole in the ground during the row/sledge/row workout could measure fitness. Swinging an implement is as functional a movement as squatting or picking something up off the ground.
“This is ancient. It’s functional. It’s one of the most significant ways you can impart power from your body... to a third object....I think that if you can’t with just minimal proficiency wield a bat, strike something with a hammer, defend yourself with a club or work a machete to some advantage, it speaks to a deficiency in your fitness.”
The idea for the sledgehammer WOD actually came from the real world: Coach Glassman thought it up after struggling to drive a grounding rod into hard earth a few years back. “It was remarkably not fun,” he said.
Tony Budding poses the questions and Coach Glassman responds in Part 3 of this interview captured by CrossFit by Overload on Aug. 8, 2009, in Tustin, CA. Additional reading: How Fit Are You? by Greg Glassman, published April 1, 2003.