Fitness techniques have existed for years

Sebastian Coe. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.
Sebastian Coe. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

In response to the question asked by Dan Black ... “should the CrossFit approach be adopted by sports worldwide”? The answer is ... it already is, maybe not packaged as CrossFit.

CrossFit may be an innovative concept, potentially highly effective for improving both general and specific fitness levels – but it is not new.

Many of its key fitness training components have been established and scientifically validated for many years.

The multi-pronged high octane approach is already used in varying degrees, and has been for many years – and long before CrossFit existed. This certainly applies to the most successful of sports. Sebastian Coe used heavy weights (power movements) to supplement his running. This was combined with extensive stretching, pliometrics and high-intensity running intervals – all carefully monitored and evaluated.

Similarly, British Cycling has employed arguably the most scientific multi-pronged approach to training for over 20 years – duly reflected in their unprecedented success.

As an athlete and past British Cycling coach and British Amateur Weightlifting coach, I employed similar scientific multi-pronged approaches – over 20 years ago. This was for my own personal use in cycling and running competition, in addition to coaching and/or assisting many prominent cyclists and athletes – culminating in winning a range of national titles.

For example, I was using Olympic lifting techniques to develop muscular strength, but primarily explosive power. Although I was predominately a cardio-vascular endurance cyclist, I was lifting 100% of my body weight for the Snatch and 150% for the Clean and Jerk – at the age of 40. Pliometrics, calisthenics, stretching were all part of methodical and structured training plans. Moreover, the majority of my training was stringently controlled by heart-monitor.

What CrossFit does, and does quite well, is to provide an effective mix of the above established scientifically validated training components supported by the necessary facilities and equipment. The aim is to produce a more holistic or multi-pronged training programme designed to stimulate a wider range of physiological responses. The desired outcome is to achieve a wide-range of training effects – either general of specific.

In summary, I don’t wish for this response to be construed as criticism towards CrossFit, but of the contrary. I consider the CrossFit approach to be an excellent method of fitness training, well packaged and well promoted. Any training package must make provision for appropriate control mechanisms to manage and evaluate individual training plans – to prevent over-training and overuse-injury. And, I am sure Clitheroe CrossFit under Chris Templeman has the necessary control mechanisms in place.

My intention is simply to make Ribble Valley residents aware the many training techniques on offer have existed for many years. Sometimes we have to look beyond the smoke and mirrors.

Nicholas Dinsdale

by email