In Athletes

September 14, 2010

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Over 1,000 elite athletes have been tested at IMG Academies, including a group of top CrossFitters. Dave Castro describes the test protocols and shares the results.

In the spring of 2010, we sent a group of elite CrossFit athletes to the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. The purpose of the trip was to put them through Under Armour’s Combine 360 training protocol, “the global measurement standard for improved performance.” We were excited about putting our best CrossFit competitors up against a testing protocol of which we had essentially no knowledge.

We selected our group from the current crop of outstanding CrossFit competitors. They fell into a few different categories: winners of the CrossFit Games, high-placing 2009 Games athletes and 2010 sectionals winners or runners-up. At the time of this testing, we had not started the regionals.

Including our group, over 1,000 athletes have been put through the testing. This list comprises pro football players and other pro athletes from baseball, lacrosse, tennis and golf, as well as one of Canada’s top 100-meter sprinters and a host of other elite track stars. A host of elite amateur athletes have also been tested.

This purpose of this piece is not to judge, evaluate or criticize the testing protocol or the Combine 360. The purpose is to report how our CrossFit group measured up against the athletes who have gone through the 360 protocol.

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30 Comments on “CrossFit Athletes Vs. the Combine 360”

1

Dane Thomas wrote …

Way to represent!

You guys and gals knocked this one out of the park!

2

wrote …

This is some awesome stuff, thanks Dave for sharing, I always wondered what happened when you guys went do there. For this type of testing it does help to have a sports background to help with the lateral movements in this type of testing. But for the CF'ers doing the 5-10-5, L Drill, 10, 20, and 40yd dash takes tons of practice to top out.. Football platers work on those drills for months before testing, so in hind sight our guys did great. Great job to all the guys and gals that proved a point that modern kinesiologist, biomechanist, and physiologist wont admit in textbooks and classrooms.

3

wrote …

Atta boy Doos!

4

Rob McBee wrote …

Thanks for this article Dave. This type of stuff is really interesting. What an awesome group of athletes and seems like they had a blast participating at IMG. Great work!

5

Josh Groves wrote …

Very good read Dave, I enjoyed it thoroughly and I think it's cool to see our CrossFit athletes do so well. I'm curious as to why you chose to use median values instead of mean values though.

6

wrote …

It's great to see more information come out of your IMG C360 trip. I imagine the whole event was a field day for you guys!
Dave Castro, the next dark horse...

7

wrote …

That was an awesome article.

8

wrote …

"D’Qwell Jackson of the Cowboys scored 223"
Should that be
"Dez Bryant of the Cowboys scored 223" or
"D’Qwell Jackson of the Browns scored 223"

9

wrote …

crossfit rules!
enough said :)

10

wrote …

This is very cool. I would love to see an elite athlete from outside of CrossFit with an established baseline attempt to improve their score through CrossFit.

11

wrote …

Mr. Castro is too shy. If he did the testing, I would love to see his results. We know the fire-breathers would do well, but how about more "normal" people?

12

Rob Barrese wrote …

Great stuff! The only thing I did not understand was the "pressing squat."
At the risk of insulting anyone involved, how is Spealler not a 10?! Even Sevan did some prompting from behind the camera.
It seems the instructions for the test were counter productive to what good movement would be through that movement pattern. Jason had it right, a 20 for Spealler!

Outstanding article, excellent embedded videos to accentuate the article! Thanks Dave

13

wrote …

Yeah sounds like the pressing squat is garbage. Glad to see CF'ers doing well on non CF measures of fitness... imagine that.

14

wrote …

They gave Chris Speal a 6 out of 10 on his OH squat! What a joke!

15

wrote …

I can see the usefulness in judging an athlete by all of the measures with exception of the pressing squat. You would think an un-laden (basic 20kg bar) overhead squat, full snatch, and full c&j based on actual Olympic judged movements would be more telling of athleticism and flexibly. It looks like they have almost everything covered, but they need to consult with an Oly coach for that specific test.

It was interesting to see all the results across the board. Cool article.

16

wrote …

Alright, really...let's talk about priority topics here.

Namely, what was going on in the background while Kris was doing her balance test? Was Heather pole dancing? :-)

Seriously, though. Nice article, Dave. Very cool to see how CF athletes match up with elites from other arenas under controlled circumstances.

17

wrote …

"The men were Patrick Burke, Spencer Hendel, David
Millar, Pat Barber, Rob Orlando, Chris Spealler, Tommy
Hackenbruck, Jared Davis, and ’09 champ Jason Khalipa."

Sorry, I had to find the only flaw in a great article but, Khalipa didn't win in '09?

18

wrote …

Interesting. However, I think it should be mentioned that the VAST MAJORITY of athletes going through IMG are HIGH SCHOOL AGED!!!!

19

wrote …

CF definitely has some amazing athletes!

20

wrote …

Josh,
This may be partially true but also cited is the highest score on the 360 combine is a Div 1 Football player that only managed the same score as a CF'er.... It also states in the article that professional players from a vast number of sports have tested the 360 combine. Quit trying to be the debbie downer, only citing facts YOU see to be relevant.

21

wrote …

Dave, great article.

As stated above the pressing squat was a joke of a test. no active hip? are you serious. Pat put it well "are you a 10?" the dude was never below parallel. Spealers squat was functional and his arms were vertical, Hack's squat couldn't have led a load as his arms were pitched forward. I guess that what you get for not understanding functional fitness.

22

wrote …

Show us a ten.

23

wrote …

Good read! Did anyone else notice 1 out of the top 4 and 2 out of the top 15 are golfers? word!

24

Josh, you are correct that the majority of those attending the IMG Academies are high-school age, but that does not mean that the majority of those who have participated in the 360 Combine testing are that age, or even from the academies. There are a great many college and pro athletes from a variety of sports who have trained and tested at the center who have little (if anything) to do with the Academies.

25

wrote …

Sorry guys but the pressing snatch balance was a joke. how can spealler only get a six for having near perfect OH position and with all respect to hackenbruck get a ten? no offence but that part of the testing was ridiculous

26

replied to comment from Dane Thomas

I think Josh might have a point, though it's all speculation. It would be very cool to at least see some averages and standard deviations on age, height, and weight for the 1000 athletes who have taken the test.

Overall, great article. Very cool to see how CrossFitters perform in standardized sports tests.

27

wrote …

Top tier athletes putting out top tier performances. Did you really expect anything less?

28

wrote …

I quit doing crossfit about a year ago because I'm focused on jumping higher, moving faster, throwing further, etc. I started crossfit when I got into MMA. I believe crossfit is excellent for improving energy output, endurance, and pretty good for increasing strength and power. It definitely revolutionized the way I think about fitness. However, all the research I've done to increase my vertical leap and speed shows that Crossfit is just not the right way. The oly lifts are good for increasing explosiveness, but crossfit also includes too many exercises like 30 box jumps, or 50 burpies, etc. This is detramental to developing fast twitch muscle, speed, power, explosiveness...things that universally are what make the best atheletes the best. I noticed that the crossfitters did quite well in the vertical jump test, but most of them (if not all) were atheletes before starting crossfit and likely had a higher vertical before crossfit. I wasn't an athlete before crossfit. I've increased my vertical over 5" in less than 5 months since quitting crossfit.

Also:
I don't trust the crossfit wod programming. It seems completely random. Crossfit doesn't take into account 1RM or anything. The latest research shows that the best way to increase power is to use very specific percentages of your 1rm. Crossfit programming seems completely random.

I think Crossfit is a great way to achieve overall fitness, and it is lightyears ahead of the typical bodybuilding/gym workout, but it won't be creating the fastest, most powerful, highest jumping athletes anytime soon.

Anyway, I'm grateful that crossfit got me to evolve out of the bodybulding/"fitness"/gym nonesense. But I've evolved again. I hope crossfit continues to evolve. Maybe someone could start Crossfit Athletics...a program designed specifically to create the best athletes in the world. The metrics should include:

- CMJ (vertical jump)
- 100m sprint
- Throwing distance
- Throwing velocity
- Agility tests
- Max power output
- Arobic endurance
- Anarobic endurance
- Reaction time
- Limit Strength

I think Crossfit maybe the best workout for "jungle fitness" (being prepared for any random physical challenge). But I don't live in a jungle. I want a physical advantage in the ring/court/field because of superior athleticism.

I'd love to see crossfit apply more science to it's wod programming.

29

wrote …

Does anyone know the weight used in the med ball throw? I think this is a very interesting look at the potential impact crossfit programing and training can (and I think will) have on the major sports.

30

Evan Davidson wrote …

Hi Kurt B. :-)

Are you the same Kurt Boyd as on the message board?

Started CrossFit around 2/11/10?

I'm trying to get some background in order to better contextualize some of your statements and your experiences with CrossFit.

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