A Violent Agreement: Part 7

By Greg Glassman, Louie Simmons and Dr. Nicholas Romanov

In CrossFit, Videos

June 08, 2010

Video Article

The seventh and final round of the Violent Agreement discussion turns toward fear and its relationship to the barbell. Athletes only reach elite levels by overcoming the fears they face in their sport and developing a related ability to push way beyond their comfort levels. Self-doubt, fear and second-guessing play no part in the development of a top athlete.

“I have no fear,” elite powerlifter Louie Simmons says, backing up his statement by talking about his experience ripping his kneecap in half under a 750-lb. back squat. Apparently that nasty injury sounds a lot like a broomstick snapping, but Simmons still got back on the bar again.

The discussion concludes with Simmons, Greg Glassman and Dr. Nicholas Romanov discussing Soviet and European training methodologies and how they could be integrated into U.S. strength and conditioning programs.

12min 23sec

Additional reading: The Mind Game by Steven Shrago, published March 27, 2010.

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19 Comments on “A Violent Agreement: Part 7”


I absolutely love how Dr Romanov equates training elite, champions to evolutionary principles. The ease with which he intertwines biological and cultural evolution in this vein is fantastic and clarifying.
Well done!
I love this ongoing series and cannot wait to meet Dr. Romanov some day, hopefully at a running cert. I'd also like to meet Louie.


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I guarantee that if you put up $20,000 in a 5k, the winner would not be doing CFE or CF.


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Were we to put up $20K for a 5k and the winner were CF or CFE regular that would be compelling evidence that our program had failed it's charter - maximize work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

I think you missed that. I think you do not understand what CF is. Stick around; the light will eventually come on.


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If the winner had to do a set of heavy deadlifts and some burpees first... I think there might be a box somewhere getting new GHDs tho ;)


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Interestingly enough, I come across a lot of people that have a very negative opinion about CrossFit. Coming from a background in Physical Therapy and being first certified through NASM I too was a skeptic. I'm embarrassed to say that I was also one of these individuals who thought the programming and exercise that CF routinely promotes was foolishness. Funny thing is that I never really took the time and did my due diligence to learn all the nuances of the program. Since completing my CF certs and educating myself on the CF programming methods I have done a 180. This is without a doubt the most comprehensive GPP program out there. Better yet, the most comprehensive program out there. In my opinion, most other trainers and coaches are just threatened by what CrossFit offers. Everything about CF is very objective, scientific, and tangible. We incorporate the many different approaches of olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, powerlifting, KB's, short sprinting and long distance endurance work; what other program openly endorses all of that and doesn't focus on just one thing.

Chris, educate yourself! Coach, Great closing comment!!


replied to comment from Steven Platek Platek

Couldn't agree more, especially the closing comment.


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Does Chris knows make an assumption that CF is a general programme and if you train CF you won't be able to compete in a 5k race against someone who is following a specialist middle distance track programme.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the point of the imaginary 5k race with the cash prize was to attract all the best 5k runners to the race and then ask the winner to describe his training programme. In that way you would discover the best way to train for a 5k race.

Everyone seems to agree that the winner's programme wouldn't be CF. What's the argument? Or have I got this all wrong?


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Dr Romanov , I think your JAMAICAN example is not a good one. There are only 2-3 millions jamaicans and how many are runnning? I think Jamaicans, even compared to kenyans who have the physique, are quite unique.


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Man do I love to hear Louie talk... Just so everyone knows, that is EXACTLY how he is in his personal life as well. The guy just lives and breathes strength.


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These are a hell of a lot of fun, no telling where they will go, not even sure I'm catching all of what they are proffering. It's a treat to sit in on this kind of expertise. So many experiences, so much passion.


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Dr Romanov

I think your Jamaican example is a very good one. Sprinting is a national obsession in Jamaica. The Jamaican schools track finals fay attracts a crowd of 100,000. If the best of the kids in those finals go on to train with the best of Jamaican sprinters than they have so many examples to follow. The basic manner in which humans learn from others is to imitate them. A young sprinter will have plenty of fast guys to imitate in training and in technique. This is where the Jamaican advantage comes from and not from any genetically inherited advantage of the population of Jamaica, and so in that sense they are not unique.

A Dutch friend of mine grew up in a village near Amsterdam. There were two football (soccer) clubs in the village each with two pitches and a clubhouse / canteen. Each of the clubs ran five adult teams plus all the age grade teams. The pitches were in constant use every Saturday and Sunday from morning till evening. Just about every male in the village played football at the weekend for a team and trained for football two evenings a week. In the 1970s Holland were one of the top teams in the world and went around beating everyone. Same thing.



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I second James and coach. I also come from a NASM backround. Once you do your homework on CF and CF endurance all the rest becomes secondary.

Good luck!


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11:40 - 12:22 in the video Mr. Glassman speaking about the $20k prize in a 5k.

"We were talking about CFE, Brian McKenzie, hosting some running events. he wanted to do a 5k, 10k, 20k all in one event and I said lets make it simple and just do a 5k but at the finish like is a north face bad with $20k in it. First person to tough the duffel bag wins. And you should have seen his face light up and I go would the be impactful on the community?" And Brian goes "Oh my gosh, we'd have a hundred thousand entrants." "That, that's what's needed and the guy that touches the duffel bag first, lets interview him and see what he did. Find out what his training was about, there's my sports science."

I guess I don't understand what Mr. Glassman is saying here and how it relates to their "Violent Agreement" discussion because the winner's training would go against all CFE training principles. Also, there are already 5k races with such large purses including Lilac Bloomsday with $12,000 just for the first American, who will not be the winner. Is Mr Mackenzie going to change his training principles based off the winner's training?

We already know what the best runners in the world do for training and it is nothing like CFE so what is the purpose of this statement? Please enhance my knowledge and explain what I am missing, I would love to hear Mr. MacKenzies thoughts on this as well as anyone else who has something pertinent to add. Thank you for taking the time to respond!



Matt Deminico wrote …

Good video. Though on Louie's comments regarding Weightlifting in America vs Powerlifting, the difference is this (and it's just my opinion):

Louie admits powerlifters use performance enhancers, and literally jokes about it. That's fine, if that's what the sport is, ok.

I can pretty much guarantee you that (almost) everywhere outside the US, most high end weightlifters aren't clean either. The difference between them and the US is, in the US, it is next to impossible to get away with using banned substances. I've spoken to Category 1 Speed Skaters, and they're under the same rules as Weightlifters. USADA can show up at your door at any moment, and if you don't submit to their test, you're assumed guilty. If you're not there, they find out where you are and may visit you there. They don't screw around. I'd put money on the line saying that most high end Olympic athletes in the US are in fact clean, due to USADA's no screwing around policy.


replied to comment from Paul Eich

Hey Paul

I think a while ago I said that a sprinter and a weightlifter of the same weight - the sprinter would be able to power clean more than the weightlifter. And you replied that you would be surprised. Yes.. What i meant to say was the weightlifter and the sprinter both with the same strength (same 1RM squat) - the sprinter would be able to power clean heavier than the weightlifter. And the weightlifter would be able to clean heavier overall with a squat clean.



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Mr. Glassman,

If you are going to continue to have discussions with Louie Simmons, then please have him only speak of accomplishments that were achieved without steroids and powerlifting equipment. I am going to make the assumption that a very high percentage of your crossfitters do not use steroids or powerlifting equipment. How many people did Louie say that he trained to a +700# bench and +1000# squat? You should have asked him how much they were spending on steroids and powerlifting equipment.

The primary purpose of crossfitting is to prepare for some other sport, such as football, baseball, wrestling, basketball, soccer, volleyball, track and so on. I have never worn a benchpress SKIRT playing football or wrestling or baseball or or or. So then why do you train with it?

As a former student of Louie Simmons, there is no doubt that he knows how to make you strong in the bench, squat and deadlift. There is no doubt that he has the passion to help anyone who wants it. I simply chose to apply his teachings without using steroids and lifting RAW.

If you truly want to do the community a service then get Louie and Mike Burgener together. Let them combine their knowledge. If you want to do the USA a service, then find some genetically gifted athletes and let them train the athlete in Olympic Weightlifting. Then maybe we wouldn't get our butts kicked every four years by the Chinese and the Europeans.

Casey Burgener is competing in Peoria, IL this weekend at the National Championships. I am sure that Mike will be there. Furthermore, it is only a 6 hour drive from Westside Barbell.


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@ Brady Mattingly, WTF?! Dude crossfitters definately use roids, look at every single top ten crossfitter, female and male. As for Louies athletes, of course they take roids, but you cant just take steriods and magically bench 700+ pounds, you have to train. You definately were not a former student of his, quit lying.
As for everything else, very good video


replied to comment from Zachary Gardner

Zachary, you care to back that up? You do know that they drug test in the games, right? An affiliate team was disqualified for using Jack3d. If you can back it up, do it. There's always haters like you when other people are doing well. Yes, there are genetic "freaks," but hard work is what these guys are on. You may want to lay down some proof before you start slinging mud. CrossFitters aren't known to be jackasses like yourself, sir.

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