The question regularly arises as to the applicability of a regimen like CrossFit’s to older and deconditioned or untrained populations. The needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. One is looking for functional dominance, the other for functional competence. Competence and dominance manifest through identical physiological mechanisms.

We have 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 do not change programs.

We get requests from athletes from every sport looking for a strength-and-conditioning program for their sport. Firemen, soccer players, triathletes, boxers and surfers all want programs that conform to the specificity of their needs. While we admit that there are surely needs specific to any sport, the bulk of sport-specific training has been ridiculously ineffective. The need for specificity is nearly completely met by regular practice and training within the sport, not in the strength-and-conditioning environment. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bikers and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.

Figure 4: Energy pathways and sports.

About the Author: Greg Glassman is the Founder and CEO of CrossFit Inc.

Cover image: Dave Re/CrossFit Journal

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