CrossFit Theoretical Hierarchy Pyramid
This is the theoretical hierarchy pyramid produced by Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit. We are a CrossFit gym and believe in the methodologies and principles passed on by CrossFit HQ. In following that vision it guides everything that we do in relation to fitness.
Why am I writing about this? Well, we have always attempted to pass on the knowledge we have gained so that we are enabling our community to be better able to hold themselves accountable. You know, ‘give a man a fish and he has a meal. Teach him how to fish and he will never go hungry again.’
How did the pyramid come about? After many, many years of trial and error with thousands of training sessions with athletes in the original CrossFit in Santa Cruz, CA. MAny of you reading this may not realize that CrossFit has been around much longer than the CrossFit Games as seen on TV in recent years. In fact it started way back in the 80’s and 90’s and first went live on the internet back in 2001. So, the history is rich.
Back on track with the pyramid. It all begins with Nutrition. We harp on this every day in the gym. If you are eating shitty, you are going to get shitty results. Simple. Very few can eat fluff regularly out of the jar and still perform at a level that achieves a great degree of fitness. Without getting too complicated – eat meat and vegetables, some fruit, nuts and seeds, little starch and no sugar. Eat only enough to support exercise but not to add body fat.
The second level is metabolic conditioning. This is the essence of CrossFit when it is written about training for work capacity across broad TIME domains. Be able to perform in short, moderate, and long duration activities. If you are not training in all of them then your fitness will be limited. So, if you skip out on certain workouts because you its too long or too short, then you are blunting your improvement.
Level 3 is gymnastics. Being able to control your own body in space and time and being able to perform in the necessary ranges of motion. This is why we emphasize the mobility and skill work. If this groundwork is not given proper attention then movements end up having to be substituted for for safety concerns. Progressions are delayed and improved fitness opportunities are lost.
Weightlifing. This is the step that everyone wants to jump to so quickly. I get it. Lifting barbells and continuously adding more load to bars is exciting and rewarding as you get immediate feedback of progress. Far faster than in the nutrition, metabolic conditioning, and gymnastics components as those require more discipline. Its important to understand that if you have not gained some mastery of your own body (gymnastics) and that you have not developed some aerobic and anaerobic capacity (metabolic conditioning) then your gains in fitness will once again be blunted.
Sport. Right now we are in the middle of the CrossFit Games season. The NorthEast Regionals are this weekend in Canton, Ma and many of us will be attending as spectators. On display will be our regions best at applying the first 4 principles and the will be competing to earn a trip to LA for the CrossFit Games Championships. Most persons that walk in the doors of any CrossFit gym do not have the goal of competing in The Games. But it can still be appreciated the discipline, time, sacrifice necessary to successfully reach that level. For most, it takes many years of training, eating right, getting plenty of rest and recovery, etc to qualify for Regionals and The Games. It is only rare circumstances where an individual can be CrossFitting for less than one year and immediately be competitive. These cases typically are athletes that have an older training age and have been exposed to the 4 previous principles in some manner though not formally through CrossFit.
If you wish to aspire to the sport of CrossFit, then you must have a realistic idea of what it entails and know the road ahead is a long one. It is important to lay the foundation with a solid nutrition plan. You have to train all of the metabolic pathways and not allow biases to cloud your judgement. Learn how to move your body through many skills and progressions while continuing to improve your mobility. Attack the weightlifting and continue to make gains in strength so that loads used in conditioning become a smaller percentage of your work capacity. If any of the principles are out of place, you will blunt your longterm health and fitness.