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.
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.