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CrossFit is based on measurable, observable and repeatable results, and extensive data support the safety, efficacy and efficiency of the CrossFit method. Criticisms of the program, however, are seldom based on data or valid science.

An Answer, by CrossFit Chief Scientist Dr. J.A. Glassman, presents a thorough, evidence-based response to the unsubstantiated claims made in the Consensus Paper by the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

In the Consensus Paper, multiple authors claim there is a growing concern with “well-marketed” Extreme Conditioning Programs (ECPs) in the military, and the authors lump CrossFit in with programs such as Insanity, P90X, Gym Jones, etc. despite the fact that CrossFit spends no money on advertising and offers free workouts. In the body of the paper, this claim is presented as an initial observation of a potential emerging problem, but the Consensus Paper is now being used as evidence of an existing problem in various circles.

Dr. Glassman contrasts the numerous assertions of the Consensus Paper with the actual existing data and with the original sources quoted. He highlights the extensive misrepresentation of both data and recommendations. There is also a section on the ACSM’s “dog in the fight” and potential benefit from the Consensus Paper’s implications that CrossFit may be inappropriate for today’s military.

When subjected to rigorous review, the Consensus Paper is utterly devoid of substantial supporting data and scientific merit, and its conclusions are therefore rejected outright. CrossFit stands by its record of safety, efficacy and efficiency. Indeed, no other training program in the world has established better results using definable, objective metrics.

Dr. Glassman is the Chief Scientist for CrossFit. He has a B.S., an M.S., and a Ph.D. from the UCLA Engineering Department of Systems Science, specializing in electronics, applied mathematics, applied physics, communication and information theory. For more than half of his three decades at Hughes Aircraft Company, he was Division Chief Scientist for Missile Development and Microelectronics Systems Divisions, responsible for engineering, product line planning, and IR&D. He is the author of Evolution in Science, a 600-page exposition defining science and the scientific method. He has for several decades been a vocal proponent of rigor and accountability in public proclamations.

Additional resources:

Science and Skepticism by Jeff Glassman, originally published May 2, 2009.

Science and the Rest Day Discussions by Jeff Glassman, originally published Nov. 1, 2007.

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Comment

44 Comments on “Consortium for Health and Military Performance and American College of Sports Medicine Consensus Paper on Extreme Conditioning Programs in Military Personnel: An Answer”

1

wrote …

Very impressive response. I am assuming that CrossFit Chief Scientist Dr J.A. Glassman is no relation to the founder of CrossFit? ie. that the last name is pure coincidence?

2

wrote …

I count 2 of the authors of that paper as personal friends and know several of the others. I've told them I HATE that paper and that it does a disservice to the fitness community. Their 'evidence' is nothing more than anecdotal evidence in lay publications and their conclusions are NOT supported by the (lack of) evidence.

3

wrote …

You cannot possibly be claiming that CrossFit is not "well marketed" with a straight face. It doesn't matter if Reebok is footing the bill, it is ridiculously dishonest to say otherwise.

4

replied to comment from Tony Webster

Tony, your assumption is incorrect.

5

replied to comment from Steve Gillanders

;)

6

replied to comment from Bart Shackleford

Bart, refer to page 50 for details.

7

wrote …

Fantastic article that NEEDED to be published. I was fortunate enough to be in a meeting with Coach, Jimi, Brian, and the authors of the Consensus Paper back in April of this year. The Consensus Paper is nothing but an inflammatory hack piece with absolutely no scientific data, on which to stand. In truth, it's an editorial piece that they tried to pass off as factual.

The authors in the room even admitted that it lacked data on which to stand and also admitted that CrossFit programs like those at Fort Hood and West Point were well executed and

Many personnel in the room were also so emotionally tied to their programs and their belief that standard military physical training was ideal that they could not conceive CrossFit could possibly be a superior means to prepare Service Members for combat. One individual from Fort Benning became so irritated when his program was questioned that he hung up on everyone in the middle of the meeting.

As an Army officer with 20+ years of service in and 10 tours in combat, I am professionally embarrassed by his actions and many of those associated with CHAMP and this article. To many, their own rice bowl / pet project is far more important than actually preparing Service Members for combat and articles with a dearth of true scientific data like their Consensus Paper are a waste of tax payer's dollars and a simply unconscionable for an organization that espouses itself to "focus on the health and performance of the warfighter".

This is their mission statement: "CHAMP is a Uniformed Services University (USU) and joint service effort that focuses on the health and performance of the warfighter. We are a joint medical resource for the Department of Defense for education, basic and clinical research, and clinical expertise in the area of military unique human performance optimization."

Here is their link: http://www.usuhs.mil/mem/champ.html - it is work and family safe - let them know what you think; your tax dollars fund them.

Thank you Coach and Dr. Glassman for writing this important document and I just hope it is able to viewed objectively by those at CHAMP and perhaps they will move in a direction that is beneficial to the warfighter and also demonstrates responsible use of tax payer dollars.

Don

8

wrote …

From what I understand CHAMP has expressed concerns, not with the research or methodology of CrossFit and other ECPs, but more in the delivery of the workout and the likelihood of war fighters becoming injured. From my experience as a soldier with the British Army, these sessions would be led by a Physical Training Instructor. It would ultimately be his or her responsibility to use an Extreme Conditioning Program(ECP) and to ensure the safe, effective use of the program to achieve the desired result.

Coaches in civilian environments are equally responsible for the execution of the program and the safety of their clients.

Whilst I am unaware of how other program's train their coaches, I am impressed by the depth of knowledge that a Level 1 Coach is expected to have. Coaches need to be respected by their box members in ONLY allowing for progression once technique and form is faultless. The "Jock" mentality needs to be unhinged from the military if it is to fully appreciate the benefits of an ECP like CrossFit, a difficult task in an environment where performance can prove the difference between life and death.

9

wrote …

I'll have to do a little digging but 2 CFJ citations apply. Andy Stumpf did a study while he had a command position at BUDs in which he instituted the use of CrossFit as the Fitness program for SEAL candidates. If memory serves, unlike a typical class or classes, there was NO attrition due to injuries incurred during PT while utilizing CF. This was noted in an extensive CF Radio segment in which Justin Judkins interviewed Andy.

Again, if memory serves, because of this data a very well-known CrossFit athlete and former Games competitor left a position as S&C coach at a Division 1 California school and is now S&C coach/director at BUDs.

It would serve the Military better if senior ranking officers would look to their own data rather than using opinion and supposition when making these types of decisions. "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; they are not entitled to their own facts." Heinlein.

--bingo

10

wrote …

Dr. Glassman, I sincerely can't thank you enough for providing a voice for us! Since starting CrossFit in 2008, it's been getting harder to argue my point for functional movements done at high intensity. It's only a few groups of people that are making decisions for the "best" of the military. Its articles like this that make them earn their pay check!

Thank you.

11

wrote …

Several of my members have been deployed, including to Afghanistan and thankfully returned home without a scratch. One of them had a brother in arms killed before his very eyes. Whatever the military "thinks" is the right way to train, I'll sleep proudly knowing I've done my small part in helping our soldiers stay alive.

12

Christopher Elgee wrote …

On 3 July 2012, I asked the sources in the CHAMP article:
'Does the Army have a list of certified CrossFit instructors? They're trained to "on-ramp" athletes safely.'


They responded on 5 July 2012:
'Crossfit is not an Army program, so there is no official list. We do recommend caution when using extreme conditioning programs. I have attached a couple of papers on ECPs, if interested.' (CHAMP article and EXSUM attached)


So on 6 July 2012, I asked:
'Roger, thanks. But the Army sponsors CrossFit certifications all the time at Army posts. I guess it'd be more helpful to read, "Do these things with one of these people we've paid to train safely," versus, "Don't do these or you'll die of rhabdomyolysis!"'


Never did get a response, but I suppose that wasn't really a question either. (-:


-Chris

13

wrote …

Firstly let me say that I agree with most of the article written by Dr Glassman and that from what I can see, his main argument is that correlations don't equal causation. Very true. However can I make the following points?

From what I've heard, Dr Jeff Glassman is Greg Glassman's brother? I'm thinking he might be slightly biased towards CrossFit. The ACSM from what I know has no bias for or against CrossFit or anyone involved in CrossFit

Second is Dr Glassman appears to have a very substantial resume. In fact it appears he is literally a rocket scientist. However what I didn't see was any qualification in sports science, exercise science, exercise physiology, or experience in coaching / training athletes, military or general population.

Dr Glassman's answer is extensive, has many sources quoted and he obviously has spent a great deal of time researching it. But when the article he's written goes on to question the bias and underlying motives of others (Vandenburg from Heavens Fitness, Calgary) we should at least be questioning his own bias, and the fact that he appears to have no qualifications or experience at all in the field of health and fitness.

14

replied to comment from Tim Langridge

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t see how not having a background in exercise science, health or fitness degrades the argument. And as for the idea of bias, for me a fact is a fact as long as the supporting documents are accurate and not misinterpreted. The way I see the article is a point by point or fact by fact scientific review of the Consensus paper. I have read it several times as part my job with DND Canada Human Performance R & D. And every time I review it I ask myself where is the evidence to support the statements made. As Dr. Glassman has pointed out, the evidence either doesn’t exist to support the claims or has been conveniently overlooked or ignored. If there are concerns on the part of those that attended this workshop, then by all means get together. THOROUGHLY review the evidence and provide a detailed, fact based, thorough referenced position paper on the issue. But from my point of view the thoughts and ideas and positions presented were established long before the group gathered to “discuss” the issues. I have a hard time believing that there is not significant bias in the panel regarding their personal views towards CrossFit. As many of them are academics of some form, if a student handed in a paper on this topic surely it would receive a failing grade when it comes to scientific rigor. This does nothing to help the cause for those of us involved in Human Performance research.

15

wrote …

16

Bart Shackleford,

You are correct. I was not “claiming that CrossFit is not ‘well-marketed’”, with a straight face or otherwise. What I was claiming to the point of belaboring was that CrossFit is not well-marketed in the sense that almost all the other so-called ECPs are well-marketed. I was claiming that CHAMP and ASCM were using well-marketed as a Madison Avenue pejorative, and lumped CrossFit in with the other telemarketed and infomercialed sales programs to create guilt by association.

You were dishonest in your false assertion about what I had claimed.

Your charge of “ridiculously dishonest” is a misassociation quite like CHAMP’s and ACSM’s. It is misplaced, fabricated to create an ad hominem attack, and it altogether reduces your comment to spam.

17

wrote …

I have always marvelled at how sensitive/defensive many CrossFitters become when the words "injury" and "safety" are mentioned. The words are like waving a red flag to a bull! The efforts at discrediting any individual or agency who claim that CF has a high safety risk are always extraordinary.

The authors of the paper state:

"Unfortunately, to date, the short- and long-term physiological, functional, and readiness outcomes or safety of ECPs has not been carefully studied. Accordingly, the evidence-based, peer-reviewed literature does not yet support the efficacy for or clarify any notable injury risk potential with ECPs to validate or dismiss the claims, clinical observations, or media reports." I don't sense any bias against "ECPs" there.

Many of the citations/references within the CHAMP article are indeed weak (extracts from newspapers or websites) which is unfortunate. However, when one reads their recommendations I don't see why CrossFit has been so touchy about it. They all seem perfectly reasonable and common sense to me.

"CrossFit Chief Scientist" (tough to stifle a chuckle at that title) Dr. J.A. Glassman is obviously an extremely intelligent man who has a very good handle on scientific matters and research. He makes many good points. I think he would agree that impartiality must be an integral part of any scientist or scientific analysis. He also happens to be Greg Glassman's father. I think any organization that appoints a "Chief Scientist" who is also the father of the founder of the organization opens itself up to ridicule. It's important as well to understand that Dr. Glassman is an engineer by training. As Tim Langridge correctly points out, he has no background in physiology or training. Now I don't know about anyone else but if I were to be operated on by a surgeon I would want to make sure that said surgeon indeed has training and extensive experience in the type of surgery he is about to perform on me.

I agree with Tim's point that the personal criticisms he raises in his "answer" are quite disturbing and they are certainly not scientific. See the "Beneath the Surface" and "ACSM has a dog in the fight" sections in particular. I find it hard to believe a scientist of Dr. Glassman's calibre actually wrote these sections. They really stand out to reinforce my concerns around bias and impartiality above.

The big wigs at CrossFit are quick to highlight or use elements of academic research when it reinforces their message but are even quicker to discredit and attack scientists when they don't. Just a reminder to all CFJ readers of a well known Chinese proverb: "Mind like parachute, must be open to work".

Bottom line: CrossFit and other forms of "ECPs" are not perfect. They have advantages and potential disadvantages. Ultimately the success of these types of programs boils down to their appropriate application in individual circumstances. It's not rocket science.

18

Tim Langridge,

When you worry about my résumé or qualifications you may be engaging in the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority.

You worried about my experience “in coaching/training athletes, military or general population”. Does the rat in the maze gain experience in behavioral psychology?

Sports science, exercise science, and exercise physiology are all obedient to a higher authority, and that’s not me, but instead science. I have candled the eggs and found them putrid. See if you can tell me where my candling technology went wrong.

You claim that I went “on to question the bias and underlying motives of others (Vanderburg from Heavens Fitness, Calgary)”. I dispute that with respect to Vanderburg, and have no clue as to whom else you imagine I maligned.

19

Jeffrey Glassman wrote …

Tony Webster,

>>Tony Webster has a PhD in exercise physiology and currently works within the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He has his Level 1, Basic Barbell and Olympic Lifting certifications. He trains and coaches at the recently expanded CrossFit Taranis. [B.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Bristol, UK; Masters, Exercise & Health; U. Bristol; Ph.D. Exercise Physiology, University of Alberta, Canada.]

This minibio is from his Journal Article, “How We Got Here: CrossFit vs. the Fitness Industry”. In his paper, he refers to ACSM 17 times, outlining its recommendations for fitness over the years and where it might need to go. Nevertheless, it is “still probably the most respected institution around the world for all matters related to exercise.” Articles like the CHAMP/ACSM on Extreme Conditioning Programs will erode that respect.

Webster recites a three-sentence paragraph thoroughly dissected in An Answer on page 53. He seems oblivious to the criticism leveled there for CHAMP and ACSM (a) saying that a higher incidence of injuries is a reality, (b) ignoring that Textbooks on Military Medicine teach that better conditioning increases military readiness, (c) implying that military trials on CrossFit were carelessly executed, and (d) relying on academic standards instead of military and industrial (pragmatic science) standards.

Webster overlooks that An Answer repeats the last sentence of his paragraph, to wit,

>>Accordingly, the evidence-based, peer-reviewed literature does not yet support the efficacy for or clarify any notable injury risk potential with ECPs to validate or dismiss the claims, clinical observations, or media reports. An Answer, p. 70.

It goes on to criticize the authors for relying on unreliable peer-reviewed (a redundancy) literature for anything. Id., p. 77.

Webster ignores that An Answer cites the same last sentence a third time for its contradiction with the CHAMP/ACSM position that

>>health care workers “have identified … disproportionate musculoskeletal injury risk” (P. 383, above) … . An Answer, p. 71.

In full context, the last sentence cited above is from the following two sentences in the Consensus Paper:

>>However, physicians and other primary care and rehabilitation providers have identified a potential emerging problem of disproportionate musculoskeletal injury risk, particularly for novice participants, associated with ECPs (13,16). Muscle strains, torn ligaments, stress fractures, and mild to severe cases of potentially life threatening exertional rhabdomyolysis are reportedly occurring at increasing rates as the popularity of ECPs grows (4,27).

An Answer dissects those four references, #4 (MSMR), #13 (Hadeed), #16 (Mimm), and #27 (Tilghman). The conclusions are that not only do these four references NOT support the implied CHAMP/ACSM claims, but none of them is from the CHAMP/ACSM standard of peer reviewed journals. CHAMP and ACSM fail to meet their own standards.

Not satisfied with his defense of the indefensible, Dr. Webster launches a personal attack on my credentials (besides being discourteous, the logical fallacy of Argument by Authority), underscored by adding,

>>I agree with Tim's point that the personal criticisms he raises in his "answer" are quite disturbing and they are certainly not scientific. See the "Beneath the Surface" and "ACSM has a dog in the fight" sections in particular. I find it hard to believe a scientist of Dr. Glassman's calibre actually wrote these sections. They really stand out to reinforce my concerns around bias and impartiality above.

Alleging “personal criticisms” in An Answer is shameful. Personal attacks do not exist my response under the paragraph titles claimed, nor anywhere else, including Tim’s comments. Webster like his champion ACSM relies on empty references.

Webster’s conclusion is,

>>I don’t sense any bias against ‘ECPs’ there.

As a professional teacher promoting ACSM methods, and as a PhD in exercise physiology, Dr. Webster has extended a professional courtesy to CHAMP’s and ACSM’s sham conference and to their thoroughly unprofessional, thinly disguised, hit piece against CrossFit. Dr. Webster’s recent comment belongs stapled to back of the Consensus Paper.

20

wrote …

Glassman's not being a physiologist and his attack on the ASCM for having 'a dog in the fight' might raise some eyebrows, but consider the current state of scientific writing:

http://theamericanscholar.org/flacking-for-big-pharma/

This is an article from THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR on the corrupting influence of the pharmaceutical industry upon medical journals. This includes the quashing of data or articles, particularly dissenting views, critical of products advertised in these journals. Doctors willing to endorse a product are treated to 'educational' junkets or lucrative speaking fees. Studies are be rigged to create the best possible findings, and troubling data never sees the light of day.

It seems necessary now to analyze the manner in which a study is constructed as well as what interests lie behind the effort.
(Wasn't there just a big hub-bub about a study describing eggs as 'worse than cigarettes,' which turned out to be both faulty in design as well as bankrolled by Big Pharma?)

Experts in their field, whom we would usually laud for their academic achievement and presumably being champions of truth and discovery, are being bought and paid for. Translation: physiologists doing physiology stuff is not necessarily any guarantee of quality work.

Glassman, it would appear, is holding up the algebra behind his findings for analysis. (I'm not in the position to pass judgment.)
His attack on another paper's motive and objectivity is unfortunately a sign of the times.

21

replied to comment from Barry Stockbrugger

Hi Barry,

Interesting you mention you are with DND. I was just reading where a CANFORGEN message was release advising that it was not safe to participate in CrossFit due to the increased chance of rhabdo.

Have you seen that directive? Is this just in response to the US study? Or are you aware of increased cases of rhabdo among CF members that is directly attributed to CrossFit.

Thanks!
Paul

22

replied to comment from Paul Wing

I am aware of that directive, although I have yet to see it. Many of my colleagues have been privy to the process and discussions regarding it's development. From what I know, there is no specific reason for it. I have not heard of any cases of rhabdo attributed to CrossFit or injuries for that matter. Although I would not suggest that they do not exist. Those that persue optimal/elite fitness will certainly push to the line. Expectedly, occasionally the line is crossed and injuries can happen. It has happened to me as it has probably happened to many others. I would speculate that the directive is either based on the Consensus Paper or the same information used by the Consortium to develop it. Based on Dr. Glassman's "Answer" take it for what its worth.

I can say that within our group there are definitely negative opinions regarding CrossFit. It creates interesting discussions anytime it comes up. From my personal opinion usually from lack of understanding of CrossFit methodology, or false or inaccurate information or just because its CrossFit. I can only shake my head.

I also know that there are individuals from the group that troll the CrossFit message boards and Journal and interject into discussions under false names. I am not suggesting that is the case here, but I will pass on elaborating too much on details of what I am aware of or my personal opinions regarding it.

23

replied to comment from Jeffrey Glassman

Extraordinary - I am saddened to see that such offence was taken. Remember taking offence is a choice.

I am indeed impressed by the investigative efforts on my bio. That makes me sound far more intelligent than I really am. The implication that I am some sort of crony championing ACSM methods is hilarious! I must show this to my students next class! :)

A close read of my CFJ article that you refer to will reveal quite quickly that you missed the central point of my article which was to praise the novel elements of the CF methodology in comparison to traditional methods promoted by the ACSM (of which I have never been a fan). My finishing statement in that article was "Used safely and sensibly, I believe CrossFit has potential not just to change people’s lives, but also to change the fitness industry for the better".

I noticed a conspicuous absence of a response to my concern around impartiality as CrossFit's Chief Scientist. You seem to know far more about scientific method than I ever will so I am genuinely curious to know your thoughts on that. Maybe in words that I can understand as like I said, I am not that bright!

24

replied to comment from Jeffrey Glassman

Hi Dr Glassman

Thanks for taking the time to reply to me personally. You have challenged me to show where your arguments in An Answer are incorrect. I can't do that. And the reason I can't do this is the same reason I questioned your authority to write the response in the first place. I am a lowly personal trainer with quite a good understanding of exercise science, but would be laughed out of any conversations with Gary Gray, Gray Cook, Paul Chek, Charles Poliquin, Michael Boyle etc. I am simply unqualified to make certain arguments.

However let me be clear on this. I'm not saying your article is wrong. Far from it. If I thought it was wrong, and CrossFit was dangerous, id quit. But I don't. I love CrossFit, and for the basic aim of your article, I agree.

However the point of my comment was more directed at many of the readers of the CrossFit journal, who see your response and say "yeah see CrossFit is the best and answer to all of mankind's problems - just look what the scientist said!"

Someone else made the point about bias in studies, journals and reporting etc. They're right - it is unrealistic to expect people not to be biased. If I hire a lawyer, they'll argue their opinion of the law in my bias. If a pharmaceutical company pays for a study, there will be bias in the results (either that or sometimes they dont get released!) and in this case, while you're on the payroll for CrossFit and related to the founder, of course you will be biased. Because you deliberately want to lie and deceive us? Of course not. But because its what you believe in and where your conclusions naturally take you. You see it all the time with other respected authorities - they have their beliefs and funny enough, they seem to find more evidence proving their beliefs (see Charles Poliquin and supplementation)

My final point. If I was on trial for murder id hire a criminal defence lawyer. Not a divorce lawyer. Sure, they "both obedient to a higher authority" (common law!) but its not exactly the same is it. And even if my divorce lawyer cum defence attorney promised me he'd read all the books and "cradled the eggs" correctly - id still rather have the defence attorney who's spent their entire life studying and practicing criminal law represent me.

25

wrote …

Page 65 of this document, referencing the 2005 Glassman article, point 3...
"Rhabdo from attempting 50 consecutive KBS. The closest CF workout to this athlete's ill-advised experiment is sensible. It is Helen...21 KBS..."

Sorry but my gym just did an Arnie benefit which has 3 sets of 50 KBS.

26

replied to comment from Brooke Salaz

Not even the Chief CrossFit Scientist can define what CrossFit is and is not. The next page, however, tells us that "reckless approximantions of CrossFit" can cause rhabdo.

When did CrossFit become the "safest of all fitness programs"? I thought if we weren't willing to fall off the rings and break our neck, we weren't welcome. I always assumed this to be an analogy, not taken literally, stating that CrossFit requires some risk to achieve the benefits. I view that balance as much more in favour of the benefits, but where do these stats depicting CrossFit as the safest even come from?

The article was unneccessarily long-winded, and at times incorrect, or simply misleading.

CrossFit workouts are frequently more than 20 minutes, especially for the vast numbers of non-elite. The claim that CrossFit contributes to the prevention of rhabdo by incorporating aerobic and anaerobic exercises is dubious. Lots of things do, so they would 'share' the benefit. Certain workouts don't mix them, and thus the statement would not apply. Overall, it's mostly correct, but what utility came from breaking down every word?

27

wrote …

You said it much better than I Matt. I felt many of the points were way to easy to poke holes in and why go down those paths at all? Anybody can take any physical endeavor and turn it into something unsafe without some combination of common sense and the right instruction or just life experience.

28

replied to comment from Dave DeGroot

After reading Dr Glassman's full paper (I had just read the abstract when I originally commented), I feel the need to comment again.

In retrospect, I don't *hate* the ACSM consensus statement, there's actually a good bit of information in there along with some good recommendations for future research. My concern is that there's a bias against ECPs because they don't fit the mold as defined by the ACSM exercise guidelines. The ACSM guidelines are good, especially for those who are starting an exercise program and/or are looking to realize the health and wellness benefits of exercise. When it comes to maximizing performance, however, the ACSM guidelines (except with respect to safety and credentials) don't give the athlete much to go on. The popular of ECPs is a testament to their ability to fill that void.

Dr Glassman, you do yourself and CrossFit a disservice when you engage in personal attacks on those affiliated with the consensus statement. You have a problem with the points raised in the statement? Refute the statements, don't go after the authors credibility. That's no different than the commenter questioning your credentials, which you vigorously went after him for doing.

29

>>Extraordinary - I am saddened to see that such offence was taken. Remember taking offence is a choice.

So is being offensive.

>>I am indeed impressed by the investigative efforts on my bio. That makes me sound far more intelligent than I really am. The implication that I am some sort of crony championing ACSM methods is hilarious! I must show this to my students next class! :)

Impression given, impression taken. And don’t play the naive card.

>>A close read of my CFJ article that you refer to will reveal quite quickly that you missed the central point of my article which was to praise the novel elements of the CF methodology in comparison to traditional methods promoted by the ACSM (of which I have never been a fan). My finishing statement in that article was "Used safely and sensibly, I believe CrossFit has potential not just to change people’s lives, but also to change the fitness industry for the better".

I read your article critically, and found it well-balanced. I would have preferred you to have given the source of the “current guidelines” you quoted on page 6. It is “ACSM Position Stand: The Recommended Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory and Muscular Fitness, and Flexibility in Healthy Adults”, June 1998. It was your foundation for this opinion:

>>I happen to believe that regular stretching or yoga practice is an excellent physical and psychological complement to the demands of intense CrossFit training. WEBSTER (2009) p. 6 of 8.

As you pointed out, this recommendation was challenged in your own gym. The ACSM Position Stand noted findings both for and against stretching and flexibility. It’s a surprising recommendation, but if you can show that this training increases work capacity, then it belongs in the CrossFit repertoire.

>>I noticed a conspicuous absence of a response to my concern around impartiality as CrossFit's Chief Scientist.

>>"CrossFit Chief Scientist" (tough to stifle a chuckle at that title) …

You thought that would elicit a response?

>>You seem to know far more about scientific method than I ever will so I am genuinely curious to know your thoughts on that. Maybe in words that I can understand as like I said, I am not that bright!

The first time I wrote about the scientific method was 20 years ago, and it required over 600 pages. I’ve been struggling with a revision for over a year now. The problem has been explaining Post Modern Science and how it has supplanted Modern Science in academia and in the legal system. In the past, PhDs came out of university well-steeped in their scientific field, but on their own to extrapolate from their training to the meaning of science. Today, PhDs emerge steeped in Post Modern Science with its five tenets for scientific knowledge, all traceable to Karl Popper: falsifiability, peer-review and publication, error rate, consensus, and social consequences. The US Supreme Court adopted the first four of these as the legal basis for scientific knowledge, and expressly rejected the fifth. Daubert v. Merrell Dow, 509 US 579 (1993). Omitted by this scheme are elements of science rooted in Francis Bacon from 1620, including modeling, Cause and Effect, prediction, and validation, and what is inserted is alien and irrelevant. Popper called the latter the pragmatic science, and sought to replace it with philosophical truth. Science had slipped away from philosophy, much like military exercise skittering away from ACSM.

30

>>Page 65 of this document, referencing the 2005 Glassman article, point 3...
"Rhabdo from attempting 50 consecutive KBS. The closest CF workout to this athlete's ill-advised experiment is sensible. It is Helen...21 KBS..."

>>Sorry but my gym just did an Arnie benefit which has 3 sets of 50 KBS.

Good catch. Consider it saved for Rev. A.

The “Arnie” is one of the recognized Hero Workouts, first posted on the CrossFit website on May 29, 2010. It includes three interleaved sets of 50 swings with the 2-pood (36 kg or 64 lb) kettlebell. Of course, like all CrossFit workouts, it can be scaled, and there are lighter kettlebells. It is also an example of a workout that easily doubles the nominal 20 minutes at full scale for the top CrossFitters.

Later you asked,

>>I felt many of the points were way to easy to poke holes in and why go down those paths at all?

The reason for using the finest sieve is to find the cause. In light of “Arnie”, the explanation for the rhabdo case needs reexamination, and the explanation is obvious in the record. The case history is in Eugene Allen’s article, “Killer Workouts” from May 2005. It is missing the weight of the kettlebell, but that might be yet another consideration. Allen writes,

>>My interest in this topic peaked when a very close friend of mine spent a week in the hospital after I put him through his very first CrossFit workout. Brian was no couch potato who suddenly jumped into exercise, but he did have a long layoff from intense exercise for nearly two years before that fateful afternoon with me. He was a state champion wrestler from Iowa, an Army Ranger, and a pretty serious weightlifter and member of our department’s SWAT team. Although he was not working out hard he had not degenerated to full-blown spudhood. He was running and “staying in shape,” as he said, but he did nothing that could be described as intense. Until he came to my house.


>>Our workout was nothing crazy hard, but the thing that did him in was the swings. His second set of 50 swings (an eccentric contraction to be sure) was difficult for him and proved to be his undoing. Afterward, he was unable to kneel in my driveway to change from shoes to boots and had to sit. He could barely do that and had to use all the force of his will to get on his Harley and ride home. No pain to speak of during this time, just complete muscle weakness. Brian thought his muscles were tightening up (in fact they were dying) so he put on a heat pad to loosen things up. Instead of relaxing the muscles, the heat released even more fluid and within two minutes the pain started. Excruciating pain. Pain is frequently quantified in the medical community on a scale from 1 to 10. Brian said the pain was way past 10. Once he was at the hospital, our SWAT team doc, who works at the emergency room Brian went to, worked his morphine dose up to 16 mg every two hours, and Brian said that only dulled the pain enough that he didn’t scream.


The rest of the story is well worth reading, and in the end, Brian recovered fully and the wiser. He now does what Allen calls “true CrossFit”.

The bottom line is that this case of rhabdo is traceable to CrossFit only in name. Instead it is traceable to three major co-factors: (1) a former athlete with a memory of what he used to be able to do, (2) an athlete who thought he was in shape but not CrossFit, and (3) an athlete with a very long layoff. These are prime danger signals for all trainers and self-trainers.

Brian’s is a case of missing out on the true CrossFit, the prescription for a gradual build up of physical activity.

The bottom line for An Answer remains unchanged. CrossFit is a conditioning program, so it intentionally induces a little mild rhabdomyolysis with each workout. Anecdotals aside, the first case of CrossFit induced intermediate rhabdomyolysis is yet to be verified.

31

replied to comment from Jeffrey Glassman

I absolutely agree there are many concerns with "post modern science" as you say. Both in terms of the education of scientists and the current social climate in which they must operate in disseminating their work. 100% agreed.

Please note that below I am being very very careful to try and ensure that I don't offend you again so we can have dialogue uncomplicated by emotion.

I'm going to ask you some clear and simple questions. They are important given the controversial climate in which this discussion has arisen (CrossFit "vs." ACSM/CHAMP). You have been introduced to the CrossFit community as "CROSSFIT CHIEF SCIENTIST" which is a grand title. One, in fact, that the CF community has never seen (at least I just searched for it on the CFJ: no result). I don't think any of us were aware there was such a position. You may disagree but I believe that it is important that you are transparent with the CF community about your role and relevant relationships. Particularly for those that are not easily brainwashed (the rah-rah types) and who have a genuine scientific curiosity/interest in the system of CrossFit.

Here are my questions:

(1) What are the roles and responsibilities of the CrossFit Chief Scientist? Are you tasked solely with "defending" CrossFit against its detractors? Are you also conducting original training studies, controlled trials of CrossFit's efficacy, etc? (or whatever other forms of research you believe are appropriate). Are you publishing your work on CrossFit in locations other than the CFJ? If so, as a teacher, I would be interested in knowing where I might be able to find this information.

(1) If I were to "invent" a new and controversial process/method/system, boldly claim that it is unrivalled in its efficacy over other systems and then hire my Dad as the chief investigator/researcher of my system, would you have any concerns around bias or impartiality of his conclusions?

Please let's not get bogged down in aggressive or tedious word analysis and minutiae. I think these are relatively simple questions that deserve a straightforward answer.

Respectfully, Tony Webster.

32

MATT SOLOMON 1209111215


>>Not even the Chief CrossFit Scientist can define what CrossFit is and is not. The next page, however, tells us that "reckless approximantions of CrossFit" can cause rhabdo.

>>When did CrossFit become the "safest of all fitness programs"?

CrossFit became the safest of all programs when Coach designed it. He made the workouts scalable, substitutable, mixed on short and long term scales, containing prescribed rest periods, and individualized. These are all safety measures, certainly not significantly present in military PT, nor in any of the sketchy material describing the so-called competing fitness programs.

Or, CrossFit is the safest of all fitness programs because CHAMP and ACSM relied on the authority of Mitchell, who accepted as evidence Coach’s article which says,

>>What the rhabdo outbreak teaches us is that CrossFitters are trained to perform more work, more effective work, and more work more safely over a given time period than any other athletes.

This is equivalent to a witness for the prosecution, CHAMP and ACSM, confessing that the charges are false. And note it is not from the Chief Scientist but the CEO.

>>I thought if we weren't willing to fall off the rings and break our neck, we weren't welcome.

CrossFit is a group blast, but you should consider working out somewhere with fewer crazies.

>>I always assumed this to be an analogy, not taken literally, stating that CrossFit requires some risk to achieve the benefits. I view that balance as much more in favour of the benefits, but where do these stats depicting CrossFit as the safest even come from?

The only numerical stats are from CrossFit UNR, reported in An Answer—87,000 supervised workouts with one injury due to a preexisting condition. This has extra weight because it was from a presentation by an ACSM fellow at an ACSM sponsored conference.

Or, CrossFit is safest because two extensive trials, one from the Army and the other from the Marine Corps, reported no injuries. Of course this could have been a failure to report, but the studies were competent in all other regards to the credit of their managers.

>>CrossFit workouts are frequently more than 20 minutes, especially for the vast numbers of non-elite.

That’s why An Answer says about 20 minutes.

>>The claim that CrossFit contributes to the prevention of rhabdo by incorporating aerobic and anaerobic exercises is dubious.

An Answer on p. 25 relies on the paper by Robergs, et al., for the finding that aerobic exercise counteracts the buildup of acidosis from anaerobic exercise. An Answer on p. 13 also relies on Efstratiadis, et al., for the information that acidosis is essential in the debilitating effects of rhabdo. Who finds these facts dubious. and based on what evidence?

>>Lots of things do, so they would 'share' the benefit.

Yeah, but that doesn’t detract from CrossFit emphasizing the benefit, and perhaps doing so uniquely among fitness programs.

>>Certain workouts don't mix them, and thus the statement would not apply.

Just as rest is prescribed between movements, sets, reps, workouts, and the three-day workweek, exercises are mixed on all levels. Is the mix optimum? No one knows yet.

>>The article was unneccessarily long-winded, and at times incorrect, or simply misleading.

All those c’s in unneccessarily are what is unnecessary.

>>Overall, it's mostly correct, but what utility came from breaking down every word?

Science is that way—persnickety and exhaustive.

33

replied to comment from Jeffrey Glassman

Comments from a witness (regardless of which side brings them to the court) do not mean truth. You are the last person I would expect to believe that 'authority'. Seriously, one of your previous CFJ discussions with 'The Gift' was extremely stimulating. I recognize the folly of the prosecution's witness saying the charges are false - but that kind of ignores the science.


>>I thought if we weren't willing to fall off the rings and break our neck, we weren't welcome.

CrossFit is a group blast, but you should consider working out somewhere with fewer crazies. >>

A quick google search identifies the CEO as the person who made that 'crazy' claim. (Whoops!)


There are numerous athletes with injuries reported on the mainsite, the message boards and occurring during the CF Games. Claiming CrossFit causes no injuries is ignorant. Low is likely appropriate, but apparently the numbers indicate a rate of zero, meaning they are likely inaccurate. (And, as a result, reduce the strength of your evidence.)

>>That’s why An Answer says about 20 minutes.

That's why I said simply misleading. Your tone inferred a specific time frame for the workouts. It's either sloppy, or not true. For example, Workout 1 (and 2) of the 2012 CF Games. There are obviously many others.

I used the word dubious because most exercise programs put the body in a state of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. The statement applies to the majority of CrossFit workouts, but it also applies to the majority of workouts. The advantage is hardly unique to CrossFit.

Persnickety, yes. Petty, well that's unnecessary.

34

wrote …

Interesting discussion, but coming across as "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

35

Jeffrey Glassman wrote …

>>You have been introduced to the CrossFit community as "CROSSFIT CHIEF SCIENTIST" which is a grand title. One, in fact, that the CF community has never seen (at least I just searched for it on the CFJ: no result).

http://journal.crossfit.com/2010/04/glassman-sgw.tpl

>>I don't think any of us were aware there was such a position. You may disagree but I believe that it is important that you are transparent with the CF community about your role and relevant relationships. Particularly for those that are not easily brainwashed (the rah-rah types) and who have a genuine scientific curiosity/interest in the system of CrossFit.

You are asking for credentials, an essential element of Argument by Authority and a tenet of Post Modern Science (trust in peers, journal staffs, consensuses). Reliance on authorities invokes a logical fallacy and is outside science. Do not rely on anyone because of his credentials or experience. Be first skeptical. Rely on the applicable work product. Look for writings that are transparent in the sense of not being opaque, being fully supported, and unambiguous.

>>(1) What are the roles and responsibilities of the CrossFit Chief Scientist?

My duties are to support my son, Greg, aka Coach, as his science conscience, continuing my job since he was in grade school, and all through his development of CrossFit, and as he sees fit.

>>Are you tasked solely with "defending" CrossFit against its detractors?

Not at all. An Answer is probably a first in that vein.

>>Are you also conducting original training studies, controlled trials of CrossFit's efficacy, etc? (or whatever other forms of research you believe are appropriate).

I have done analysis and presented on how to score the Games. I have critiqued prominent books on nutrition. I have made charts for presentations. From time to time, I participate in dialog on the CrossFit website.

>>Are you publishing your work on CrossFit in locations other than the CFJ? If so, as a teacher, I would be interested in knowing where I might be able to find this information.

See the Rocket Scientist’s Journal. www.rocketscientistsjournal.com. It presently has five major papers, all on climate. I recommend the dialog there and on crossfit.com over the years for a wide range of discussions. The brunt of my professional work before retiring from Hughes was cloaked.

>>(1) If I were to "invent" a new and controversial process/method/system, boldly claim that it is unrivalled in its efficacy over other systems and then hire my Dad as the chief investigator/researcher of my system, would you have any concerns around bias or impartiality of his conclusions?

No. Personal recommendations rely on personalities and pedigrees, and they are peculiarly Post Modern Science (PMS) standards where consensus is good.

Instead, controversial is good. It leads to progress. I would accept your written data and analysis at face value, giving your predictions a sniff test for accuracy, consistency, believability, and validation. I would look to others to repeat your results with similar statistics. Those are dictates of Modern Science.

>>Please let's not get bogged down in aggressive or tedious word analysis and minutiae.

Science is tedious work, a lady who protesteths by nature. She doesn’t suffer fools very well at all, and that might be what makes her appear aggressive.

36

replied to comment from Richard Oh

R. Oh -- That was my initial reaction but Comment #7 by Donald Clarkson (above)made me think that CrossFit didn't want to leave the CHAMPS article unrebutted.

Dr. Glassman -- A few years ago Coach said that CrossFit had "Fran" or other benchmark times for the Indianapolis Colts. Are you looking at that data and can you tell me how fit Peyton Manning was?

37

>>>>I thought if we weren't willing to fall off the rings and break our neck, we weren't welcome.

>>>>CrossFit is a group blast, but you should consider working out somewhere with fewer crazies. >>

>>A quick google search identifies the CEO as the person who made that 'crazy' claim. (Whoops!)

Your quotation compounds an error first committed by Stephanie Cooperman of the New York Times in her CrossFit piece of 12/22/05. Here’s what Coach had to say

>>There’s a big difference between saying that if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of broken necks, we don’t want you around and saying that if the possibility of breaking your neck from falling on your head is unimaginable, we don’t want you around. Please.

>>Interpreting my statement, "If you find the notion of falling off the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don't want you in our ranks” to show that we want to weed out the weak-willed is ludicrous, and, I think, no accidental misreading.

>>Look, everyone, if your kid doesn’t believe that you can be killed in a car wreck it’s immoral for you to give him the keys to the car. Is that simple enough?

>>I bring up Ms. Cooperman, the “journalist”, who wrote the NY Times piece deliberately. We could on the face of it say that she just didn’t get it. But here’s the rub: Stephanie Cooperman spoke at length with Captains JT Williams and Wade Rutland of Canadian Infantry School, Major Jon Barba of Colorado State Patrol and several unnamed SEAL/S who’d implemented CrossFit in their training duty. Each made ample point of the fact that CF had reduced injuries of ALL sorts across the board and dramatically. Why was this not mentioned in the article? Can it really be an accidental oversight, when the subject, tone, and tenor of the article is the dangers/risks of a fitness program? I maintain the only rationale answer is a resounding, “no!”

>>Were I to have to decide if Ms. Cooperman were stupid or unethical, perfectly aware of the possibility/probability of hybrid combination, I’d pick unethical.

http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=36932&highlight=mike+boyle&page=13

Cooperman’s article in the NY Times was a hit piece. It was among the papers Makimba Mimms gave to Priscilla Clarkson so she could testify that Mimms’ rhabdo was induced by CrossFit and its eccentric exercises.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia.crossfit.com%2Fcf-video%2FMakimbaPkg.pdf&ei=yrpQUO7oAuKQyQGxmIHQCA&usg=AFQjCNG-BGaAbWRWXVJ-kUT6IQZBDXS-jg

The Consensus Paper relied on a Navy Times article by B. Mitchell about the Mimms case. Priscilla Clarkson, his expert witness, was a policy-level ACSM spokesperson and a professional defense witness for claims of injuries from exercise. Cooperman poisoned the well, and it is not limited to the Mimms case and the Consensus Paper. Google returns 54 hits on Internet for her out-of-context quotation.

Cooperman misrepresented Coach’s statement. He was talking about the lethal possibilities of the “notion of falling off the rings” as a low IQ threshold. By her placement of the quotation in her article, Cooperman made it appear that he was talking about an inherent risk in CrossFit exercises. Solomon then made Cooperman’s error explicit, with a misquote, saying that Coach claimed that CrossFitters must be “willing to fall of the rings and break [their] necks”.

Cooperman’s article opens with the Brian Armstrong rhabdo case, for which she had interviewed Eugene Allen. Her article can be read at
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/fashion/thursdaystyles/22Fitness.html?pagewanted=1&adxnnl=1&emc&adxnnlx=1317125309-urrT6v84/l1Hp9lbAQ0u0A

She wrote,

>>While many gymgoers complain that they might not survive a tough workout, Brian Anderson can speak from experience. For his first CrossFit session, he swung a 44-pound steel ball with a handle over his head and between his legs.

This is a distortion on three counts. First, the Brian Anderson story as published by Allen in May 2005 shows that his ill-advised experience was not in a gym, but in Allen’s driveway, and that was at a time when Allen was a mere CrossFit advocate. Allen would later have the privilege of attending a CrossFit seminar (11/4-6/2005) to earn a certificate to become an affiliate. He launched CrossFit Pierce County on the web on about 11/10/05.

http://www.crossfitpc.blogspot.com/2005_11_01_archive.html

Second, this was Anderson’s “first CrossFit session” all right, but not of the day as Cooperman’s article might be implying. It was his first CrossFit-like workout of his lifetime. At the time, it was not a CrossFit exercise, but more importantly, it did not follow CrossFit’s prescription to develop power gradually with more difficult exercises. (Today, the “Arnie” workout calls for three sets of 50 kettlebell swings, but this was invented in 2010 following the loss of Arnaldo Quinones in 8/30/09.)

Third, Cooperman interviewed Allen, and she should have read his written summary of the Anderson case online. She should have done a fact check. Anderson was not only not following CrossFit, he was neither supervised by a CrossFit trainer, nor was he following CrossFit’s Getting Started prescription. He brought with him at least three cofactors for being an athlete at risk of rhabdo, as discussed in this column above on 9/11/12 at 5:33 PM. Cooperman’s “Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You” implication of CrossFit in Anderson’s case is unsupported and unsupportable.

Coach was not recruiting crazies for the CrossFit program as Solomon thinks.

Solomon continued,

>>There are numerous athletes with injuries reported on the mainsite, the message boards and occurring during the CF Games. Claiming CrossFit causes no injuries is ignorant.

I hope no one claimed that CrossFit is perfectly safe. Or dieting, for that matter; ask Mama Cass. Or quoting in the blind, or worse, quoting from the New York Times, or misquoting.

38

replied to comment from Jeffrey Glassman

Dr. Glassman. I applaud you on your direct (and emotion-free) responses to my questions. As my energy level on this has fizzled, I will leave further comments to others (if anyone else cares at this point, which I sincerely doubt!)

39

wrote …

This could quite possibly be the most civil discussion that has ever appeared on all of the internet.

40

wrote …

Who are those guys?

Take the top 30 athletes from the recent games...
(even some of the women..but thats another issue those generals can't deal with yet.)
Add military skills training to the highest level.
Who in their right mind wouldn't want this bunch on their team.

CF is designed to make this possible from practically anybody.

41

wrote …

A quote from- Consortium for Health and Military Performance
and American College of Sports Medicine
Consensus Paper on Extreme Conditioning
Programs in Military Personnel

"to date, the
short- and long-term physiological, functional, and readiness outcomes or safety of ECPs has not been carefully
studied."

I keep hearing this. Come back when you have something. Now kick rocks.

42

replied to comment from Jeffrey Glassman

While we are chastising embarrassing moments of misquoting, I'll just repost what I initially wrote.

"I thought if we weren't willing to fall off the rings and break our neck, we weren't welcome. I always assumed this to be an analogy, not taken literally, stating that CrossFit requires some risk to achieve the benefits. I view that balance as much more in favour of the benefits"

I'm not sure what part of "always assumed" and "not taken literally" you missed. I also QUALIFIED my stance quite clearly. In fact, fairly similar to Greg's defence of his own statement. I never stated we, Crossfitters, MUST break our necks.

I'm sure your straw man is quite good in its field.

You referenced three data sets that imply a zero injury rate:

"reported in An Answer—87,000 supervised workouts with one injury due to a preexisting condition." and "Or, CrossFit is safest because two extensive trials, one from the Army and the other from the Marine Corps, reported no injuries."

87000 workouts plus two extensive trials with no injuries due to CF?

You also imply that the timing and memory behind the development of a workout affect it's ability to be CrossFit, and it's risk level. Either 50 kettlebell swings is dangerous, or it's not. 50 kettleswings with 2 pood three times not only demonstrates inaccuracy in The Answer, it invalidates half the defence of why Helen is safe ("The work CrossFit asks of the athlete in the Helen is spread over different sets of muscles and different metabolic pathways"). Assuming, the 50 swings and Helen were the closest two workouts was poor judgement given CrossFit's limitless scope. Again, referencing the CF Games gives an easy example. The 2010 workout 'Pyramid Double Helen' had a death-defying 63 kettlebell swings in a row! It's a miracle, they all survived without broken kidneys - although that could have been from the tularemia or African honey bees!

We are making a mountain out of a molehill. I have myself wondering again, as I did in my initial comment, "Overall, it's mostly correct, but what utility [comes] from breaking down every word?"

43

Jeffrey Glassman wrote …

On 9/12/12 at 5:58 PM, Sports Doc posted a response to An Answer on the main site Rest Day for 9/9/12. It is answered here.

>>Dr. JA Glassman,

>>First, I again remind you that I am both a Cross Fitter, and a member of the ACSM/CHAMP writing team.

You are anonymous here, so I have no prior information to remember, no way to check your prior positions. Regardless, your credentials are meaningless in science where facts and predictive power transcend everything. Perhaps with your experience you could testify to the conference voting that established the alleged Consensus.

>>READ the paper. See the forest through the trees...PLEASE. All ellipses original from Sports Doc.

What is your evidence that leads you to shout, “READ the paper. … PLEASE.” You are dismissing my response to ACSM/CHAMP on the empty charge that I didn’t even read the paper. Your request that I dolly out to see the “big picture” instead of responding meticulously seems to me to contradict your complaint, and An Answer speaks volumes in that regard.

>>What does it conclude? What does it STATE? It concludes that there is no evidence in the literature to support that any extreme exercise programs have been shown to increase risk of injury.

An Answer explicitly recognized the confession by the Consensus of “no evidence in the literature” on pages 53, 70, and 77. This “no evidence” clause is a disclaimer by CHAMP and ACSM that contradicts and disqualifies their other claims.

Recognizing that ECP is the logical fallacy of miscategorization and a codeword for CrossFit, those claims include these:

(1) The gains in CrossFit conditioning are anecdotal.

(2) The efficacy of functional training is only a belief held by some Warfighters.

(3) ECPs are causing a disproportionate increase in injuries.

(4) Physicians and other health care workers have identified claim (3).

All four are positive statements, grammatically belying the authors’ disclaimer that they have no evidence. For example, they could have safely said, “The gains in CrossFit condition might be anecdotal”, or that “ECPs might be causing a disproportionate increase in injuries.” The four claims they did make would be acceptable in law if evidence showed, for example, that some ECPs were causing a disproportionate increase in injuries. But science, based in logic, has no excluded middle. Science has are or are not without a may be. And the law replaces missing quantifiers with some while science replaces them with all, so some physicians does not mean physicians. The lack of evidence falsifies each claim.

>>More research is needed, and if you do engage in extreme exercise...don't be stupid.

The call for more research has four objectives. (1) It is a pitch for more government funding for ACSM and CHAMP. (2) It is a standard bureaucratic defense intended to cause delays if not paralysis. (3) It is an attempt by ACSM and CHAMP to regain their lost grip on military fitness. And (4), it is one prong of the three-prong charade (not evidence-based, neutral, and a call for study) to disguise the Paper as responsible.

>>If I were the Chief Scientist or Chief Medical Consultant and I wrote "An Answer", it would not be 92 pages...it would be closer to 92 words...again reiterating..."no evidence." .

The CHAMP and ACSM authors required 4,585 words and 27 references to say ignore this Paper because (a) we have no evidence, (b) its just our personal opinion, and not that of our prominently featured organizations, and (c) its all pending further study.

>>The CHAMP/ACSM paper is peer reviewed and literature cited by pubmed....the standard. The article was critically reviewed, screened by blinded peers and reviewed by an editor as well.

What does it mean that the Consensus Paper is peer reviewed, and not has been peer reviewed? Does any evidence show that it was screened as you say? No more evidence exists for procedural (publication) matters than exists for substantive (exercise) matters. It was published as a “Special Communication” in ACSM’s Current Sports Medicine Reports (CSMR), where it seems to be a letter to the editor instead of a journal article. In one place, it claims to be no more than an opinion piece. Where are the criteria for critically reviewing opinion? Can a reviewer reject a paper because the author was not entitled to his opinion?

CSMR’s criteria for acceptance of articles do not specify that they will be peer reviewed, nor do they recognize categories for either Special Communications or letters. The criteria say most articles are by invitation only. Does an invitation constitute pre-approved peer review? The instructions for submission of articles mentions peer review just once, but that is in connection with criteria established by “a number of research funding agencies”, and neither ACSM nor CSMR.

PubMed has most articles behind a pay wall. It is science for sale, and unworthy of public support. Publication used to mean to make public.

Regardless of whether the Consensus Paper has been reviewed, peer review is almost universally anonymous, enabling it to be a gatekeeper for dogma instead of an ensurer of scientific quality.

>>It is not painted or intended to be an evidence based paper...it is a thought paper reflecting a meeting to discuss a topic that is a concern in the sports and medical community.

The Consensus Paper, however, pretends to be an “evidence based paper” in two ways: with the unqualified positive statements, above, and as shown in the following two paragraphs. The claims are false, and the references are not ornamentations, but instead imply evidence.

>>However, physicians and other primary care and rehabilitation providers have identified a potential emerging problem of disproportionate musculoskeletal injury risk, particularly for novice participants, associated with ECPs (13,16). Muscle strains, torn ligaments, stress fractures, and mild to severe cases of potentially life-threatening exertional rhabdomyolysis are reportedly occurring at increasing rates as the popularity of ECPs grows (4,27). Consensus Paper, p. 383.

These references provide no support for (1) a plurality of health care workers, (2) any identification of problems, much less potential or emerging problem, (3) any strains, tears, or fractures, proportionate or not, (4) any increasing rates except for “presumed exertional rhabdomyolysis”, or (5) any significant increase in ECP activity.

>>Your "An Answer" is undoubtedly not peer reviewed...you should send it into a journal for publication in the peer reviewed medical or scientific literature for publication... .

Surely you jest. You know peer review is a bulwark against criticism.

In industry, peer review exists by open, formal design and program reviews, each within the confines of need-to-know. Anonymous peer review and publication have no place in Modern Science, as evidenced by most industry. Peer review dates to 1665, but Einstein published five papers in 1905 skipping any peer review. http://www.spe.org/ejournals/jsp/journalapp.jsp?jid=ESJ&webcurl=%2Fejournals%2Fspe%2FESJ%2F2012%2F06%2FJournal_Article_000440.jsp . Einstein had a paper on gravitational waves rejected by Physical Review in 1936 so he went elsewhere, and Watson and Crick published on DNA in Nature only after getting a waiver on peer review. http://blog.joerg.heber.name/2010/11/10/transparency-in-peer-review/ .

The failings of peer review and publication in professional journals were well summarized by Richard Horton, MD, Editor, The Lancet. See An Answer, p. 77. One of the principle reasons for the creation of the Internet, and for its gargantuan popularity, is to overcome the throttling of information, abetted by the peer review system.

You recommend

>>you might want to … add a co-author who has at least one peer reviewed publication in the medical or exercise science literature.

Do you see no problem here with publication requiring membership in a restricted club?

>>As you have heavily criticized the authors of the Consensus paper in your manuscript, you might also note that they collectively have hundreds of peer reviewed publications on exercise, nutrition, exertional heat illness and exertional rhabdomyolysis.

I did not actually criticize the authors—I criticized their work product. Those experts, some of whom had published articles on rhabdomyolysis, failed to detect that the rhabdomyolysis injury reports were in gross error. Exertional rhabdomyolysis is undergoing an epidemic in misdiagnosis.

>>I have no comment on your science interpretation.

The existence of an error in the rhabdomyolysis reports was an AFHSC conjecture in 2004 leading it to record “presumed exertional rhabdomyolysis” for years. The error is now confirmed by science.

>>The meeting consisted of experts...again, their conclusion was no increased risk and a call for research.

Your “no evidence” escape clause is not in the Consensus Paper’s timid Conclusions on p. 388. It appears four pages earlier as an afterthought (p. 384) where it reads as an apology and excuse for its preceding extravagant claims.

>>You are absolutely naive to think that Cross Fit is exempt from causing injury...that there is no evidence for rhabdomyolysis.

I hold no such belief. To the contrary, An Answer says that CrossFit intentionally causes rhabdomyolysis, while providing mechanisms to minimize it. Also, my response points out that rhabdomyolysis is difficult to impossible to diagnose according to the Textbooks on Military Medicine, which accounts in part for the misdiagnoses.

>>All you need to do is go to a sports medicine meeting and take a look at the posters and abstracts...you can note a small but real number of reports of injuries associated with an extreme exercise program...to include Cross Fit.

An Answer went to the Internet to seek information from sports medicine meetings, discovering two, and reports extensively on them, including reviews of specific papers presented. One is the HIT Conference behind the Consensus Paper. Id., ¶2.1, pp. 30 ff. The other is the ACSM Health and Fitness Summit of March 27-30, 2012. Id., ¶2.3, pp. 36 ff.

I dispute that CrossFit is extreme in any sense but results.

>>I have personally treated a number of injuries associated with Cross Fit, as well as regular training injuries. I have personally managed patients (soldiers) in the hospital with exertional rhabdomyolysis from Cross Fit workouts lasting less than twenty minutes...two of which have not fully recovered for over two years...do I write them all up for the literature...no...did they happen ...yes they did.

Without publishing case histories, your stories are doomed to be mere anecdotes. To be anything more, they need to be subjected to objective review. An Answer contains just such an example where five cases Greg Glassman categorized as “CrossFit Induced Rhabdo” are shown to have major cofactors or unknowns challenging the diagnoses. Id., ¶3.2.2.1, p. 65. Any diagnosis of exertional rhabdo for an individual case defies textbook knowledge that such diagnoses are difficult to impossible. Rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome, a subset of possible symptoms, with neither a unique agent nor any fixed criteria in its milder forms. A background incidence of rhabdomyolysis from a hundred different causes including exertion exists in the general public, and just because a CrossFitter presents with some symptoms does not mean he has either rhabdomyolysis or exertional rhabdomyolysis.

You claimed to have managed cases of exertional rhabdomyolysis from CrossFit workouts. What were the case histories of each? What was your method of diagnosis? What were the sensitivity (ratio of true positives to the total) and specificity (ratio of true negative to the total) for your method?

Someone needs to subtract the incidence of rhabdomyolysis in the general public from the incidence among CrossFitters. The difference could be attributed to CrossFit, for better or worse. Even if CrossFit is inducing clinical rhabdomyolysis, if the incidence is less than that from all causes in the general product, then CrossFit is beneficial. Unfortunately, this task is also complicated.

>>Estimates of the incidence rate and prevalence of rhabdomyolysis are not available. As the diagnosis is a result of a multitude of disease entities, its occurrence must be thought of as a complication of each specific illness or traumatic event. Statistical analyses detailing its diagnosis within each causal process are unavailable or difficult to delineate.

British Medical Journal, Best Practices. http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/monograph/167/basics/epidemiology.html . Either CHAMP or ACSM, along with AFHSC, has the resources and the charter to complete the task, and since CrossFit is becoming standard replacing traditional PT in the services, these organizations have a duty to complete the task.

>>A recent Cross Fit instructor reported to me they had a rhabdomyolysis while in competition...it happens...if you deny that injuries and rhabdomyolysis occur associated with Cross Fit...you are out of touch.

“If”, yes. But I didn’t do that, did I? I actually stated the opposite. Your complaint is like the Consensus Paper—not evidence based.

>>That being said...injuries and rhabdomyolysis occur with all other exercise efforts all the time...but don't tell me, or your membership, it doesn't happen with Cross fit...insulting to the intelligence of the Cross Fit membership.

Nor did I say that. You’re knocking down straw men.

>As the Chief Science Officer, I am sure you have read the latest Best Practices Recommendations for Collegiate Conditioning Sessions...jointly endorsed by multiple organizations including the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the NCAA, the National Athletic Trainers Association, The American Medical Society of sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, among others. This manuscript Casa et al: Journal of Athletic Training 2012;47(4): 477-480., lays down the gauntlet on dangerous conditioning in collegiate athletics that causes injuries and death. A great read with prudent recommendations for all of us...including Cross Fit.

No, I had not. I read such papers only as they might be uncovered in research. This Best Practices would not have appeared in my searches because the subject is Sudden Death, and because it does not mention CrossFit. More importantly, the paper should be dismissed because it is another (1) fact-free, (2) peer-reviewed, (3) contradictory, (4) self-promoting, (5) consensus paper, (6) invoking multiple tenets of Post Modern Science, which shares nothing important with Modern Science.

(1) Fact free. Casa, et al, is fact-free where it says, sans references, “the incidence of exertional rhabdomyolysis in collegiate athletes appears to be increasing.” It also has no usable data on the incidence of sudden death in sports. (Continued below.)

(2) Peer reviewed. To the scientific mind, peer review raises suspicion more than it satisfies skepticism. As Lancet Editor Richard Horton said in a moment of candor, peer review assures that an article is acceptable, not valid. An Answer, p. 77. But if you want to argue from authority, consider the contrary report Noakes, T.D., “Sudden Death and Exercise”, Sportscience 2(4), sportsci.org/jour/9804/tdn.html, 1998, discussed below. You should find Noakes acceptable because it was overtly peer-reviewed.

Noakes is an MD with the department of Physiology, University of Cape Town Medical School, South Africa. http://www.sportsci.org/jour/9804/tdn.html . Much to Dr. Noakes credit, peer review is explicit in his paper. His reviewer was George D. Swanson, PhD, Professor of Kinesiology, California State University, Chico, California, former Dean, Division of Science and Health, College of the Redwoods, Eureka, California.

(3) Contradictory. Casa, et al., contradict their own authority. Their NCCSI link in turn links to 15 articles, of which six mention Division I. The six contain 19 case histories among Division I schools, plus three sentences referring to sickle cell screening among Division I schools. Casa’s stated value of 75% has yet to be found anywhere in these articles.

The articles do contain two tables of football fatalities, one for direct and another for indirect causes. Casa’s reported total of 16 fatalities appears as the number of indirect college fatalities for the period 2000 to 2006 inclusive. Division I is a subset of all colleges. The total number of fatalities for sandlot, pro and semipro, high school, and college is 84, for a ratio of 19.1%. The corresponding figures for direct causes are 1:27 = 3.7%. The total for the period 2000 through 2011, inclusive, which could have been reported by Casa, et al., is 29:200, or 24.6%.

A justifiable statement by Casa, et al., one supported by its own authority, could have been “Seventy-five percent of the fatalities (n = 171) were other than college football players.”

Moreover, Noakes also disagrees with Casa, et al., where they say

>> [A]thlete’s development, health, and safety are sometimes overshadowed by a culture that values making athletes tough, instilling discipline, and focusing on success at all costs. [¶] This ill-conceived philosophy has been a contributor to the alarming increase in collegiate athlete deaths and serious injuries during conditioning sessions. A total of 21 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football players have died during conditioning workouts since 2000. Fn. 1. The 3 most common causes of the fatalities were (in order) exercise-related sudden death associated with sickle cell trait (SCT), exertional heat stroke, and cardiac conditions1. Seventy-five percent of the fatalities (n = 16) were Division I football players. Casa (2012) p. 478.

Fn. 1. National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. www.unc.edu/depts/nccsi/. Accessed March 14, 2012.

Noakes says,

>>Pathology of Sudden Death. The first component of this issue that needs attention is whether these deaths during exercise actually prove that exercise is the real culprit and therefore a dangerous activity; or, stated differently, whether exercise and sudden death are causally related. The overriding conclusion from a large number of studies of sudden death, including sudden deaths that occur during exercise, has shown that virtually all persons who die suddenly during exercise have a serious disease, usually of the heart, that adequately explains the cause of death. Noakes, id, p. 4 of 15.

Noakes key observation is that sudden deaths are, not too surprisingly, neither cerebral events, as, for example, from heat stroke, nor exsanguination. He goes on to observe that people with cardiac disease are at risk of sudden death at all times, a risk that is significantly reduced by conditioning even though the probability of sudden death occurring during exercise is far greater than it is at rest. His data show that an individual with cardiac disease is three times more likely to experience sudden death without conditioning than he is with the conditioning of regular, even intense, exercise. If one has asymptomatic cardiac disease, he should exercise, even CrossFit.

Noakes also published on "Heart disease in marathon runners: a review" in 1987, on which he relies for adding that "fully 81% of these cases had warning symptoms", and that they were frequently ignored.

Noakes paper should be mandatory reading for anyone concerned with sudden death or exercise, including CrossFit staff.

(4) Self-promoting. Casa, et al., is a printed infomercial. Two of the 13 organizations comprising the Casa consensus are the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The latter is responsible for certifying Strength and Conditioning Coaches (S&CCs).

Casa, et al., use the phrase “strength and conditioning” 17 times, and “S&CC” another 22 times. According to Casa, every athletic program is for strength and conditioning, and each requires a certified S&CC, and not a cardiologist, to avoid sudden deaths. Not at all clear is how the vaunted certified Strength and Conditioning Coaches, below, might reduce the number of sudden deaths beyond what would be gained by a notice to all athletes never to ignore cardiac symptoms, and to increase the intensity of their workouts gradually.

(5) Consensus. Casa, et al., says it is a consensus statement. Consensus forming is the fourth of five Post Modern Science tenets. Daubert v Merrell Dow. To the contrary, science is about facts, not opinions. It is never decided by a show of hands. It is about models with predictive power, regardless of the beliefs of any consensus. Science perpetually upsets the consensus, relying on it as a point of departure.

(6) Modern Science vs. Post Modern Science. Consensus and the combination of peer-review and publication are two of the five tenets of PMS. The other three are established error rate, falsifiability, and situational truth, or truth in the consequences. In PMS, Error rate is a consequence of falsifiability. In Modern Science, it is an incomplete part of scientific binary hypothesis testing. It has two components, false positives and false negatives, which with sensitivity and specificity complete the probabilistic part of the scientific theory. The other two tenets, falsifiability and social validity are irrelevant to Modern Science.

>>Finally, we have the military. In the military there are regulations and standards...they wear the uniform the same way, they load heavy weapons with a system, they run firing ranges with a system familiar all over the country, and they used to run PT by standard. That has changed with the advent of many excellent off the shelf programs like Cross Fit. Obviously there have been problems with military physical training buy in, and there are many excellent concepts in programs like Cross Fit.

The military has had a problem in using PT both for conditioning and for regimentation and discipline. It has major problems standardizing on PT “all over the country” without regard to differences in weather, climate, and recruit conditioning. The Textbooks on Military Medicine, as well as CrossFit, recommend individualization in conditioning, putting it in conflict with traditional PT. The mistake was to have ever used PT for regimentation and discipline.

>>The new Army PT program has adopted many elements you would find familiar.

Yes, it and others are quite familiar. The new Army PT program called RAW adopted Gym Jones, a CrossFit knock off. An Answer, p. 38. CrossFit was also adapted by the Navy and the Marine Corps (id., p. 52), and for Canadian Forces (id., p. 8).

>>This is an issue the military is confronting...as you know, many leaders firmly believe in Cross fit and its warrior ethos...talking to some of them...I concur and would not challenge them.

The US Army has adopted a “Warrior Ethos — • I will always place the mission first, • I will never accept defeat, • I will never quit, • I will never leave a fallen comrade.” http://www.army.mil/values/warrior.html . Is that how you see CrossFit? How does any kind of “warrior ethos” fit with CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Longevity, or No Excuses CrossFit. An Answer, p. 42. CrossFit is optimized conditioning following the best science available on the subject. It is not about “‘getting ripped’” (Consensus Paper, p. 384), it’s about getting healthy. It fits all, but it is not one size. It is individualized and gradual. It is open source, adaptable to new science. Applied to military PT, it shifts the emphasis away from regimentation toward mission readiness and survivability.

>>CHAMP, a military organization, which hosted this conference, IS dedicated to the health and welfare of warriors, and is tackling many tough topics....the impetus for this conference came from the ground up...from warriors from all services who were either injured or concerned about injury. Individuals like "Don" should be glad there are organizations like CHAMP that will step up to the plate to address tough questions that may not be politically correct...to be skeptical...to question.

CrossFit is dedicated to health and welfare of persons, and it fills voids left by CHAMP and ACSM. It is not stealing away trainees, but opening their eyes. Warfighters are rejecting traditional PT in favor of CrossFit principles, such as functional movements, and safe cross-conditioning to the three kinds of metabolic pathways. CHAMP and ACSM have failed to take a stand on these principles, even to the extent of implementing textbook military medicine.

Why weren’t Warfighters represented at the Conference or among the authors of the Consensus Paper? The Paper explicitly cited Warfighters 6 times in the third person, and their absence was discussed in An Answer. ¶2.1.6, p 34. Was this omission part of the plan by CHAMP and ACSM not to write an evidenced based report? But if so, why did the authors insert 27 references in their Paper?

The Consensus Paper exposes CHAMP and ACSM. Their failure to study functional movements in conditioning and their failure to detect the problems with rhabdomyolysis diagnosis and reporting belie their charters. They need to shift their emphasis from training qua training, irrespective of their Textbooks, to the exchange of training injuries for better field readiness and for combat survival. If only Warfighters can have that larger perspective, then CHAMP and ACSM need to recognize the limited scope of their work product.

>>In summary...again...READ the paper....don't read into it. It’s actually extremely neutral, and helps more than hurts programs like Cross Fit...while there is a concern...that is real among health professionals...there is no evidence to support an increased risk of injury. Hopefully it assists in moving science forward by generating true research in this exciting area. Bold added.

Perhaps the shortage of evidence extends to the CHAMP and ACSM libraries, and perhaps to the nearly universal capture of the peer review process by cabals.

To see how it neutral it was, read “Extreme Conditioning Programs and Exertional Rhabdomyolysis: Public Health Advisory from the Director of Force Health Protection” that leaves the impression that it announces a new direction for Canadian Forces.

https://public.cfpsa.com/en/AboutUs/PSP/DFIT/DFIT_Newsreel/Pages/News-Reel-3.aspx

This is from Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services (CFPFSS), formerly Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA), a private Canadian corporation under a military director appointed by the Chief of the Defence Staff.

This Health Advisory reiterates the view with alarm from both the Consensus Paper and its condensation, the Executive Summary. The Advisory addresses the threat of so-called ECPs, taken from the Consensus Paper, again pointedly including CrossFit. The Advisory, however, misrepresents its position on CrossFit when it says,

>>ECPs are not endorsed by Personnel Support Programs (PSP), Directorate of Fitness (DFIT) or D FHP for reasons noted in para 4.

“Para 4” immediately preceding is a summary of the Consensus Paper, the Advisory’s Reference B. The next paragraph of the Advisory refers to “ECPs, such as CrossFit®.” The following from the Army Fitness Manual Supplement contradicts CFPFSS distancing itself from its endorsement of not just ECPs, but of CrossFit:

>>1. The development of the Army Fitness Manual Supplement has been the result of collaboration between numerous groups of people. The project was spearheaded by the Canadian Forces Infantry School at Combat Training Centre (CTC) Gagetown based on their experiences with the CrossFit® Training Program and their own functional physical fitness program. The Infantry School’s successes with their programs led them to propose an addition to the Army Fitness Manual to incorporate some of the training methods that they were using. The Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA) contracted Dr. Howie Wenger (the original author of the Army Fitness Manual) to review both the CrossFit® training program and the proposed program submitted by the Infantry School, and to provide recommendations for using a CrossFit-type program in the Canadian Forces. With these recommendations from Dr. Wenger (Fn 1) and the input from the Infantry School, CFPSA has produced these three new chapters for the Army Fitness Manual outlining a high intensity functional fitness program called the “Combat Fitness Program” (CFP). Thank you to the following individuals who have contributed to the development of this manual: … Bold added.

Army Fitness Manual Supplement: Combat Fitness Program, B-GL-382-003/PTZ01, 1/1/08, p. i. http://tinyurl.com/combatfitness . Wenger’s response is “The AFM-CrossFit Final Report”, submitted for Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency, 12/11/06, under the scientific authority of Wayne S. Lee, PhD, Director Human Performance Health Promotion, Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency. http://www.bookidoc.com/text-id/4d949b9bh35i0

By contracting with Howie Wenger to be a CFPFSS spokesperson, CFPFSS recommended adopting CrossFit into a new Canadian Combat Fitness Program. CFPFSS denied it made that recommendation under pressure from Sports Doc’s “extremely neutral” Consensus Report.

>>Finally...your paper was outrageous in its personal attacks. I am embarrassed as a new Cross Fitter in your approach...and if you have a professional conscience, you should be ashamed! Professionals know how to communicate without making it personal...in particular those who claim to be a Chief Scientists. If you can't see how that would detract from true science and credibility, you need to go back and review how scientific literature is written...even literature that is just a summation of a meeting.

A factual challenge in Modern Science becomes a personal attack in Post Modern Science as a simple matter of perspective. In Modern Science, scientific knowledge is contained in models with predictive power achieved by mapping past facts onto future facts using Cause and Effect, endorsements notwithstanding. It is pragmatic.

In Post Modern Science, scientific knowledge is validated by peer review, professional journal publication, and consensus. Professional reputations are determinative, model performance notwithstanding.

Consider: • Fleishmann and Pons wire-brushed for their cold fusion claims * Sigmund Freud for Psychoanalysis * Dawson, Woodward, and Smith for Piltdown Man * Margaret Mead for her Samoan culture model * Jan Hendrik Schön for his nanotechnology papers * Diederik Stapel for his score of papers on human behavior * Andrew Wakefield for his MMR vaccine link to autism * Anil Potti for his oncogenomics breakthrough * Hansen, Jones, and Mann for their anthropogenic global warming. Valid criticism arose out of bad data and useless models, notwithstanding any personal outrage engendered.

>>And if you choose to respond, try not to use your technique of criticizing line by line by line...look at the big picture first...what the message is, and craft a response to what I am sincerley trying to communicate to you.

The fifth of the tenets of PMS, the one even Daubert could recognize as false by applying it to the law, is that science is a moral endeavor, so models should be adjudged not on their predictive power but instead on their social consequences. That is not what experts are allowed to do in court. This tenet though supports the “big picture” that the Consensus Paper was noble—neutral, and merely a call to study.

Whether the “big picture” or the categorical line-by-line analysis, seen as nit-picking by the uninitiated, comes first is not a chicken and egg problem. The late Paul Feyerabend, a prominent and influential philosopher and along with Popper, the founder of Post Modern Science, a pair of Professor Stove’s four irrationalists, wrote that the scientific method does not exist. Feyerabend’s error stemmed from his misreading the logical organization of the scientific method as a temporal recipe. Science does not require models to be built in any particular order. Validation can come first, and Cause and Effect last. Logically, however, models generalize first from facts which next support patterns leading to hypothesized Cause and Effect relationships. A grave but everyday error disqualifying pretenses of science is to start from conclusions and then select data to support them.

Forming the big picture then looking for supporting evidence is alien to a scientist, and disqualifying of his work and himself. Accepting the big picture as anything more than a “what-if” proposition to be disproved runs contrary to skepticism, a virtue among scientists.

The line-by-line method is an example of the categorical examination of facts, the method by which Modern Science is able to assess the foundations and quality of models. Just as one model can upset a consensus, one fact can invalidate a model.

That fact-by-fact examination of the Paper paints a different big picture than suggested by Sports Doc. The Paper provides no data to support its claims about either the existence of strains, tears, and fractures from ECPs, or their appearance in disproportionate numbers. The military experience with heat related injuries is not especially alarming, rising about 7% per year and reasonably attributable to the sharp rise in military deaths coincident with the War on Terror. No data exists to show that CrossFit belongs in a category with other fitness or condition program, or that CrossFit in the military correlates with any military injury or disease rates. Thus, the facts paint a big picture that the Consensus Paper is an unscientific, manufactured hit piece.

On the other hand, clusters of military training injuries approaching 100 per day at single facilities, reported among documents cited by the Consensus Paper, may be another cause for trainers and trainees alike to seek an alternative to traditional military PT. An Answer, p. 14.

>>I would be happy to talk off line about a real research project, as you suggest, if you are sincerely interested...let me know how to contact you.

While I’m not in the business of conducting laboratory projects or field trials, I do consult on them. Feel free to contact me at drrocket@crossfit.com. Should we have further dialog on CrossFit, it should be published on the CrossFit website because that is where objective peer review survives. For example, see the exchange above between Brooke Salaz (9/11/12, 12:15 pm) and myself (9/11/12, 5:33 pm).

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wrote …

Sports Doc = Francis O'Connor

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