In CrossFit Football, Videos

April 16, 2012

Video Article

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a gym rat, and Raphael Ruiz of CrossFit Football says it’s easy for you to fall prey to the “curse of the gifted.” Those drawn to the gym-rat mentality likely spend time doing what they love—and not much else, he adds.

“How many of us stretch as much as you’re supposed to stretch?” Ruiz asks. “How many of us do the things that we suck at?”

When training athletes, you must remember the end goal, he explains. Always focus on the type of demands you’re imposing.

“My job is to make my athletes as perfect as possible for whatever situation that they are being called to perform in,” Ruiz says. “If my job is to put up big numbers on the board but that doesn’t translate to on-field performance, there’s something wrong with what I’m doing as a professional.”

8min 27sec

Additional reading: Sport-Specific Training Using CrossFit Fundamentals by Kevin W. Cann Jr., published May 14, 2011.

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15 Comments on “CrossFit Football: Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands”


Darren Coughlan wrote …

Great Video


wrote …

I like this guy, he gets into my head and makes me think about the sport I train for.
Thank you Mr.Ruiz


wrote …

Coach Quiz


wrote …

This video and Mr. Ruiz's lesson about on field performance could not have come at a better time for the CrossFit community. While the games are a wonderful step in the right direction for CrossFit, we cannot forget that CrossFit games are not the final test. Like Mr. Ruiz's football players on game day, the true test for CrossFit comes when our Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardmen go down range; when a firefighter goes into a burning building and drags out someone bigger than himself/herself; when the police officer goes out on patrol and saves his buddy; when a mother or father is able to live a more fruitful life with their children. I have left some groups out for the sake of being brief. Thank you to CrossFit and to the community for everything that you are doing.


wrote …

nice talk but i need some more depth. maybe more is coming but i would like to know what he does then to counteract his early mistakes


wrote …

I have been to Cf Football cert and Raphaels gym also and he is one of the best S&C coaches around. If anyone is ever in Tampa, Fl don't hesitate to stop by and learn from him! He's a great all around guy!


replied to comment from Sherman Merricks

I live near Tampa, what's his gym name?


wrote …

great video for understanding the sport of football in crossfit


replied to comment from Trevor Ulm

Check it out! You won't be disappointed!


replied to comment from fernando martinez

Hey Fernando,

That moment forced me to take a huge step back and to completely view, review and re-review everything that i did as it contributed to on-field, on-court, in water and eventually downrange performances. i quickly recognized that many of the goals that i had were not the eventual goals of my athletes. i also recognized that i wasn't adequately preparing my athletes. For example, i studied the anatomy and function of the shoulder girdle and the stresses that we placed on it in a game, race, event and down range. The more conceptual understanding i developed, the more i recognized that the pull up/chin up can either be one of the best but also one of the worst exercises for the shoulder girdle depending on the form and technique. Then building upon that, the shoulder girdle function either positively or negatively contributes to posture. This in turn allows that athlete to reduce, absorb, redirect force for more effective performance. In reference to the squat, i began studying the kinematics of injuries that athletes suffered from. Again, the more conceptual understanding of this forced me to recognize that many of the techniques and coaching cues that i implored our athletes to utilize in an attempt to put up bigger numbers in the weight room actually reinforced poor biomechanics that contributed to the increased probability of injuries. The greater movement away from a neutral position in the hips and knees leads to mechanical failure (especially multi-planar and at the highest velocities that are seen under game speed). So we work hard to develop a neutral position in those joints (toes & knees neither in or out) when we train and one or combination of the lower body primals. So my focus shifted to teaching and developing the perfect kinematic positions as their default. Then i challenge the athlete to maintain the default under "chaotic" environments. These are just two little but very important changes that we made in our training system.


wrote …

Great speech and great points! It really gets you to think about your own S&C philisophy. But the discussion on the role of sport coaches has to be addressed. Is it the defensive line coach's fault for not teaching the kid how to get off blocks? Or is the S&C coaches fault? How much ownership should a S&C coach have in every loss/win? Is your influence as a S&C coach in a match/game/meet greater that a referee, the opponent, equipment, environment, or teammate's influence? These are important topics that also need to be considered & discussed.
-A D1 Collegiate S&C Coach


replied to comment from Drew McMillin

Drew! Its great to hear from coaches in the trenches. i tell each and every new trainer, s&c coach, PT, ATC, performance coach to get in the trenches and work/volunteer in a collegiate program. Its only there where you'll see and do and learn more in a day than most will learn in a year. The volume of athletes that you have the opportunity to affect is tremendous. Most outside of your community will see 10-30 athletes a day. Whereas collegiate s&c coaches get at least 200-300 athletes a day. There is no greater lab. and learning environment.

my answer to your questions about the role of the s&c coach is a philosophical one. i believe that each and every coach needs to approach their role as if they have 100% ownership in each and every win and loss. It is only then that we take on the full responsibility and the urgency to program and effectively coach well. For instance, what if the techniques that i teach my athletes to utilize creates biomechanical habits that predispose my athletes to tearing their ACLs? We all know that an excessive valgus (knock-kneed) AND varus (bow-legged) exponentially increases negative kinematics and thus increases the probability of injuries. If my lifting techniques develop and further contribute to excessive external rotation of the femur, then who is inherently responsible for those injuries. Then the re-evaluation of my programming reveals that an algrebraic "self-check" exist only one way on this topic. i realized that increases in weight room performance parameters didn't always equate to better game performances. But, developing better kinematics always led to a decrease of injuries and an increase of on-field performances. So i made the decision as a coach w/ the dire responsibility to give my athletes the "biggest bang for the buck" in the weight room. A good s&c coach develops the psycho-motor evolutions that demand an athlete go as hard and as fast as he or she can go no matter the field conditions, equipment, the discomfort, teammate's lack of contribution and situation in its entirety. Yes an athlete and their position coach is ultimately responsible for techniques. But in my very humble opinion, it is the s&c coaches responsibility to give the athlete and the position coaches more tools, the right tools and to sharpen those tools. If a position coach can't teach a technique because of the short comings of the the athlete's abilities, then it falls upon the yoke of the s&c coach to find a way to develop this so that the athlete and coach and eventually the team can be successful. If you take on this role, you will never be unsuccessful in this community. If you take the other road, then the diffusion will never allow s&c coaches to be utilized to their fullest potential. For this reason, most successful football coaches have recognized that the most important coach on their staff is you, the S&C Coach!


wrote …

I think your ending point cannot be stressed enough. What are the requirements that you are training for? In the end, you can have superior strength, knowledge, skill and attitude and still fail if you do not adequately understand the requirements you are training for. As someone focused on training Soldiers, I always come back to what is the requirement or mission? What are the conditions under which you will perform? Considering the Personnel, Training, Environment, Equipment and Job/Mission considerations is critical when looking at desired performance. When I work out in the garage, my goal is GPP. When I train a Soldier for a mission, there are specific KSA's that I'm looking to enhance so that he/she survives and completes the mission. There is very little difference between that and training someone for the games or a professional sport. Understand the uniqueness of the mission/function that the athlete will perform be they a service member, professional athlete, law/public safety enforcement officer or GQ public. Tie specific attributes of the individual back to the mission/tasks to be performed. Doing so will guide you in how to coach, teach and mentor.

Great video. Great insight. Keep up the great work!


LTC Glenn A. Hodges
PhD Student, MOVES
Naval Postgraduate School


wrote …

Agreed! Thank you for your feedback!


wrote …

It still never explained why squatting with knees straight forward is more beneficial for the football player as opposed to squatting wider with knees out. Any explanation would be greatly appreciated!

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