Program With a Purpose

“The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.” –

Ok “Mr. Crossfit,” let me get this straight.  You’re telling me that you will have an elite cage fighter (with tight hamstrings and lats, horrible pelvic tilt, and tight IT bands) do the same workouts as an elderly individual with heart disease, (a herniated L4-L5, patellar arthritis, and forward shoulders)? Anyone with ANY fitness knowledge would know that you are an idiot.

Exercise should NEVER be “generalized”. 

Think about why you work out.  What are your goals?  Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds for a class reunion?  Maybe you want to improve your balance and strength so you can continue to do daily activities as you age?  Maybe you are an athlete who needs to increase your agility, power, and size?  Each person should have a reason why he or she wants to work out.  And as a client, you deserve to have a program designed just for you

Once a client has a program, they should ask a lot of “why” questions.  “Why do you have me doing a lot of upper back exercises?” “Why are we starting out with body weight?” It’s very important that a client asks questions because a better understanding of a workout makes a more effective workout.  If a trainer explains to their client that they are doing a lot of upper back/shoulder exercises to correct their forward shoulder problem; they are doing body weight exercises to check for any muscular imbalances or a deviation, a client is more aware of how important form and posture is in order to progress towards their goals. 

After reading a couple of “WOD”s, I ask myself “What is the purpose of doing 30 snatches (WOD Isabel,, a very technical power lift that should be no more than 6 reps? (anaerobic threshold reached at 6) The correct form and speed of a snatch makes it by far, the hardest exercise to perfect.  They should only be taught in a one on one setting, focusing on the breakdown of each biomechanical movement, falling into a synchronized pattern.

 A power movement should never be used in an aerobic form due to the high impact of pressure from the weight on multiplanar joints (shoulder, hip).  So in other words, unless you want to separate your shoulder or tear up your rotator cuff, (aka, your “Supraspinatus-InfraspinatusTeres Minor-Subscapularis” muscles) don’t do more than 6 reps of a power movement.

 “Those athletes who train for function end up with better form than those who value form over function. This is one of the beautiful ironies of training.” –


Repetitive bad form= habitual bad form= nonessential pressure on unsupported joints=injury= job security for orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists. Need I say more?

A lot of times we get requests from clients to just “kick their butt”.  They want a hard workout.  Sure, no problem.  I can easily get you sweating profusely and crawling on the floor without having to run 800 meters 3 three times and do a hundred burpess for time.  Because what’s the purpose of running 800 meters three times and doing a hundred burpess? Will that specific workout get you closer to your goal? 

My point of this blog wasn’t to bash Crossfit, even though I would never recommend anyone to do it.  My point is that program design should never be generalized.  Every person is different.  They walk differently, run differently, sit differently, and stand differently.  In order for a person to continue to successfully progress, each must focus on strengthening their weaknesses. The human body is like a car; no matter how big of an engine you have in it, if you have a bent frame, you have a totaled, non-drivable car.


Kimberly Renoud & Matt Wirth, Emerge Fitness Training

4 thoughts on “Program With a Purpose

  1. I don’t normally chime in on things like this but, the “bad form” arguement won’t fly. The basis for CrossFit programming begins with the following: 1.) Mechanics and accuracy, 2.) Consistency, 3.) Then, Intensity and Load.

    I understand that CrossFit is not for everyone, especially if your fitness goals are just to lose a few pounds before a reunion or if your goal is apperance based fitness or bodybuilding. Crossfit is not the best choice for that type of goal.
    But If you are going to publish an article about CrossFit, please try to get it right and understand that Isabel is a Benchmark workout that measures the power output of a seasoned CrossFitter. The Snatch is not an exercise that is prescribed to a beginner (it is scaled until proper form is achieved and consistency is verified). And as for the anaerobic threshold, that cannot be measured by a rep count (especially a generalized number of 6) seriously, everyone hits that threshold at a different point. A more accurate statement would be suggesting a work/time measurement. Ive seen 30 reps at 135# completed in54 seconds with proper form.

    CrossFit has been evaluated and adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps, and is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Army as a physical fitness program. Functional movements that incorporate core to extremity stability work, no matter what the brand is.

    Several professional football teams have also adopted the Crossfit method and have seen a drastic decrease in injuries. All that I am saying here is go ahead and do what you do, just sell your brand on its merits, not on bashing another brand that happens to have produced measurable, observable and repeatable data.

    . And as for “bent frames’ check out Kelly Starretts credentials for a minute. He is the CrossFit mobility coach, a Dr in physical therapy who provides (free of charge) mobility wods that ensure flexibility, joint strength and solid mechanical operation during all lifting exercises

    Fitness as a lifetime goal is a great drink, It just comes in different flavors, not everyone likes them all but that doesn’t mean that they are “bad” for you.

  2. Just a couple things:

    1. While you obviously have a good working knowledge on the subject matter, your “idiot” comment significantly reduces your credibility.

    2. Your interpretations of crossfit’s concepts and quotations are severely generalized and biased to the point that I thought I was reading an article from MSNBC or Fox News.

    3. Your “different” comment doesn’t hold a lot of water. Yes, everyone does functional movement differently, but that is a representation of their level of expertise in skilled motion. In other words, some people are terrible and some are good which produces a varied sample of skill. On the contrary, inherent biomechanics don’t change from person to person. Therefore everyone should be progressed to the same level of skill, but be addressed at their current level. A core principle of crossfit.

    Key Points are these:

    There are many ways to achieve health and fitness goals.
    Some trainers are better than others, and some concepts are better than others.
    I’m sure you do a great job.
    Finally, don’t bash (or not bash?) something of which you have a “surface level” knowledge… and happens to be a direct and strong competitor.

    All the Best

  3. To post those replies showed you are confident in what you do and your stance on CrossFit. I applaud you for that. Keep doing what you are doing to serve your clients with quality and we’ll continue to do the same. We can agree to disagree. One of the things I love about CrossFit is the “community” that it creates internally. We also try to extend that community into other public service and fitness groups by hosting events, fundraisers, and competitions. We’d love to have you join us anytime.

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