I get asked this a lot on q&a's so thought id jot my answers down for you.
Over the years, from working with fighters, I would say the use of CrossFit has been one of the most used methods of training I have seen. I think this is probably because it is very hard. The way fighters operate, they want to push 100% and feel like they have worked, because this is mentally satisfying.
From a sport standpoint and looking at CrossFit athletes, I appreciate the sport. Those guys are animals. Anyone who tries to deny this is lying. You only have to give a session a go to see how hard it is.
Over the last few weeks, I've been taking part in some of these sessions and it has broken me, so respect to anyone who does it, especially at the elite level.
Another benefit of CrossFit I see is the community it builds. If I wasn't playing sport, I'd struggle to go to the gym by myself. CrossFit would probably appeal to me loads. You can go train in a group and have that competitive side. I see why people do it.
So before anyone says this is a anti CrossFit post, it isn't. There are times and people it is suitable for.
HOWEVER (there it is)
when looking at it, specifically for fighters, there is more we have to take into consideration. Simply put, I don't think fighters should use it.
Firstly, CrossFit is very draining and taxing. Sessions are hard and leave you beat up. Doing this on top of all the other sessions you have (sparring, runs, pads etc) will really increase your chances of overtraining.
A lot of the time in CrossFit sessions, you are working for long durations and under fatigue. There is a real high chance of injury. Fighters tend to be restricted in overhead movements, plus can be tight in the hips so adding loads to this, under fatigue is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion.
Through a camp or a year, we want to have periods of training different qualities. Maximal strength would be on of these areas. To develop maximal strength, you need to lift heavy weights (85-100%) for low reps. This requires longer rest times in order to be optimal and productive. This would be an example where CrossFit wouldn't give you the adaptations you need, or at least the required set up to elicit the most you can from every session.
One of the things I pride myself on, as a coach, is giving my fighters the best possible return with the least possible input (minimal dose). CrossFit kind of does the complete opposite. It's basically, throw as much at you as you can handle and then some more. When we are looking to prioritise recovery and skills sessions, it's not the best idea.
There is no doubt CrossFit can be useful in developing more work capacity, so we can use some of the ideas they have. Timed sets is something I utilise a lot with my guys. In a prep phase, doing Tri sets, circuits etc is really useful. So I wouldn't say I use CrossFit in my programs but there is definitely a hint of similar methods.
Overall, it's a no from me. The risks far out weigh the rewards when it comes to using CrossFit for a fighter. If you aren't a fighter, I do see why it would be appealing. If it was as simple as just doing the hardest workout possible, I'd probably be out of a job so just bare that in mind if you are a fighter.
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