CrossFit West Sacramento is dedicated to delivering the most effective training protocols, techniques and philosophies possible to each athlete who steps foot in our facility on a daily basis. Our training protocols utilize some of the most advanced exercise techniques in the world. Drawing from the disciplines of Olympic Weight Lifting, Russain Kettlebell training, movements that stem from the discipline of gymnastics and a plethora of other training modalities, each member of the CFWS coaching staff works tirelessly to ensure we are creating the most effective training experience possible for each CFWS athlete.
With CrossFit based training, the magic is in the movements. Preserving the sanctity of each movement pattern taught in the gym is the means by which we safely and effectively work towards our fitness goals. High skill movements such as the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch are approached by mastering other, more basic movement patterns. At the foundation of the hierarchy of movements lie the most basic of all functional movements:
Squat, Deadlift, Lunge, Pushup, Pull-up, Strict Press
Mastery of each of these basic movements is the priority of each novice Cross-Fitter at CrossFit West Sacramento. This priority is not an option, but a common philosophy that is shared by every CFWS athlete and coach alike. Each of the functional movements listed above are examples of relatively strong compound movements that have the capacity to ultimately move relatively large loads — especially compared to less functional movements.
CrossFit West Sacramento is very interested in the ability to increase functional strength. The ability to increase our workloads within each of these functional movements will ultimately lead towards greater fitness. While we strive for increased fitness through functional strength, we ARE NOT tolerant of athletes who attempt to gain strength outside of the parameters of safety or full range of motion in any movement pattern. The CFWS coaching staff requires that each participant demonstrates the ability to complete the above listed movement patterns through the full range of motion with proper body position and spinal alignment. This requirement is universal; these standards apply to all CFWS athletes at all times.
Our workouts are often scored based on the amount of time it takes to complete a given task. By timing our workouts, we are able to quantify fitness by virtue of average power output. We know that average power output is increased by doing more work in a given amount of time, or by completing a given workload in a shorter period of time. This concept drives CrossFit athletes to achieve greater fitness by doing more work in less time. This aspect of CrossFit based training is a crucial component of finding intensity. As beneficial as timed workouts can be, the convention of timing our workouts has the potential to be counterproductive, unsafe or both if we do not hold ourselves accountable to the maintenance of correct technique and form in each of our functional movements.
Quantifying our fitness is an important component of CrossFit. We are able to claim to be more fit to perform certain tasks with given time domains or repetition schemes when we outperform our previous efforts. This quantification of fitness leads to the drive to find ways to complete workloads as quickly as possible. If movement standards are not upheld, the safe, effective nature of our functional movements is not preserved. When this happens, CrossFit workouts simultaneously lose the ability to make athletes more fit, while placing said athletes at increased risk for injury. Two examples of this concept follow:
• Partial ROM in each of the movements for the “Angie” workout.
o Pull-ups (chin lower than bar at the top position, or lack of full extension (lock-out) at elbows in the bottom of the movement pattern)
o Push-ups (Lack of full lock-out at top position or chest not touching ground at bottom position of the movement pattern)
o Sit-ups (shoulder-blades do not touch ground at bottom position, or hands do not touch ground in front of toes at top position of movement pattern)
o Squats (lack of full hip extension at top position, or lack of hips below knees “full depth” at bottom position of movement pattern)
When a participant completes repetitions with an incomplete range of motion in any of the given movement patterns, she/he decreases the overall efficacy of the workout in a number of ways:
• Lack of ROM = decreased distance covered within the movement pattern. (If I do 100 reps at ½ the range of motion that is available to me, then I am doing an equivalent amount of work as 50 repetitions performed through a full ROM. – definitely NOT more work in less time.
This will ultimately result in a DECREASE in fitness.
• By working through a partial ROM, athletes will actually shorten the musculo-tendinous unit as it is strengthened. The only way to maintain the adequate flexibility to perform full depth squats is to regularly lengthen the muscle and tendon to the extent that is necessary for this position. Those who do not yet possess the flexibility to perform a full dept squat can only develop this flexibility by fighting for neutral spinal alignment while focusing on proper weight bearining and torso angle position in the deepest sustainable squat possible. Unloaded squats (aka: air squats) are routinely used in this manner to improve upon athlete flexibility. Only once athletes have developed the necessary flexibility of the musculo-tendinous units involved with squatting body mechanics should an athlete be allowed to start squatting with external loads. Those who do not possess the flexibility to achieve neutral spinal alignment in a full depth air squat are at increased risk for injury when attempting loaded squats (back squats, front squats, overhead squats).
Incomplete repetitions result in a decreased work capacity within an individual, which ultimately results in sub-maximal response to exercise (decreased efficacy of our training protocols). Also, the repetitive completion of partial range of motion repetitions serves to perpetuate deficiencies in flexibility.
Utilizing incorrect body position to move loads during timed workouts.
Let’s take the deadlift as our example here. In many timed workouts, we are asked to do multiple repetitions of any given exercise at a prescribed workload. At some point in many people’s workouts, we see the manifestation of incorrect body mechanics when either too large a load is placed on the bar, or too much emphasis is placed on doing repetitions quickly. In either case, the emphasis has shifted from the correct completion of the deadlift to the attempt to achieve an improved score in the quantification of one’s of fitness.
In the deadlift, the only way to safely lift the weight is through the maintenance of neutral spinal alignment in both the concentric (bar moving away from the floor) and eccentric (bar moving towards floor) phases of the movement pattern. When an athlete chooses to forego neutral spinal alignment for any reason he/she is at risk of serious injury by placing very high, unnatural loads across the spine in a way that it was not designed to displace said load. The amount of uneven pressure that is placed on the intervertebral spinal discs in this scenario is the most commonly accepted mechanism of injury for spinal disc rupture. It is NEVER appropriate to risk a life-long back injury just for the sake of posting a faster WOD time or a higher load on a maximal lift.
Those who choose to allow themselves to perform workouts with increased workloads or work rates at the expense of correct form or technique are ultimately choosing to place themselves at vastly greater risk of injury.
At CrossFit West Sacramento, the choice to place workload or work rate as a higher priority to safe lifting technique is not an option.
CrossFit West Sacramento WILL NOT ALLOW any athlete training in our facility to approach workouts in an unsafe manner. We will always focus on exercise technique first, and worry about increasing load and intensity second. Those who do not agree with this philosophy are not welcome to train at CrossFit West Sacramento. We are very serious about maintaining a safe, effective place for athletes to purse life-long fitness.
With the importance of safety and efficacy in our approach to realizing elite fitness clearly defined, a list of athlete declarations and gym standards will now follow. Each athlete training at CFWS will be given the opportunity to sign this list of declarations. Athletes who sign this agreement do so in a show of allegiance to the principals of safe, effective world-class training at CFWS.