In this video, CrossFit Media’s Tony Budding and Pat Sherwood discuss CrossFit’s updated definition of technique. They also delve into the broader boundaries of definitions and knowledge, as well as what can be measured and what can’t, all in an effort to improve dialogue within the CrossFit coaching community. CrossFit is about measurable, observable and repeatable results, and knowing what you know and what you don’t are key to understanding how to improve fitness.
Technique can be defined as the movements the athlete completes to accomplish the task. A technique is considered better if it improves work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Understanding these definitions, what they mean and also what they don’t mean is extremely valuable.
For example, great technique for a one-rep-max snatch might not be ideal for 75 snatches at light weight. Another example is considering short-term and long-term results. Most people want results over the long term, so techniques that accelerate short-term progress but limit long-term gains are considered sub-optimal—unless, of course, unusual circumstances require accelerated short-term gains.
The majority of the methods and programming found in CrossFit are those that optimize training for most people most of the time under most circumstances.
“It’s very important to recognize that when we say, ‘most, most, most,’ this is the analysis that we’ve done over the years. This is all of the results that we’ve seen. If you are not an exception—and most of you are not—you should be following these techniques most of the time,” Budding explains.
He adds: “There are lots of times where an individual athlete or an individual coach will go outside these boundaries, but it will be done with the knowledge of risk and reward. When you go outside of this, you have to have some very specific piece of information that is pushing you in one direction or another.”
Finally, any and all claims to improvements in techniques, methodologies and programming must be supported with measurable data. This is easier said than done when talking about something as complex as fitness. This difficulty, though, is not an excuse to shun data. Instead, it is a call to elevate the effort and discussion to meet the challenge.
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Additional reading: Understanding CrossFit by Greg Glassman, published April 1, 2007.