Categorized as: CF Naples

Origins of CrossFit

Technically, CrossFit as a company may have been born in 2000, but one could say its roots were planted years earlier, when founder Greg Glassman was a teenage gymnast. Like many other teenage athletes, Glassman wanted to be stronger. And so, he turned to dumbbells and a barbell and found he could get stronger than any other gymnast he knew, most of whom were working with bodyweight only.

But Glassman didn’t have just one outlet for his athleticism. He also spent a lot of time cycling with a group of friends. Competitive natures being what they are, Glassman realized that he could crush his gymnast-only friends in weightlifting or cycling and out-tumble his cycling friends. In short, he could find a person who was better than him in one arena but not in all arenas. This realization prompted Glassman to ask a serious question: “What price are you paying for a certain expertise?”

CrossFit Culture

In many ways, that question lies at the heart of CrossFit training. The program’s “jack of all trades, master of none” approach defines the strategy it uses to achieve fitness. Glassman’s early athletic experiences directly influenced CrossFit’s goal of achieving “greater work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” In CrossFit’s view, the goal is not to achieve specialized abilities and fitness that applies to one particular set of movements, the goal is general physical preparedness.

The CrossFit ethos holds that adherents train to enhance 10 key physical qualities: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. This list may be well-known to the CrossFit community, but members of that community will be the first to tell you that it’s borrowed from Jim Crawley and Bruce Evans of Dynamax, makers of the medicine balls found in boxes across the nation. However, early CrossFitters understood that they could build these skills by incorporating movements from a variety of disciplines, including gymnastics, weightlifting and sprinting and high-intensity work in various forms. In addition, CrossFit also stresses repeatable, measurable results. There is heavy emphasis on specific weights, specific distances and specific movements over specific times. This allows athletes to make clear measurements of their performance.

Community Theory

In 1995, Glassman established a gym in Santa Cruz, Calif., and was hired to train the Santa Cruz Police Department. Until that point, his work had involved private training with individual clients. But as he began to get overbooked, he doubled up clients and found that not only could he make more money (charging a reduced rate to two clients still equaled more money per hour), but that those clients often enjoyed the group activity. By keeping the groups small enough, Glassman found that he could still offer individual attention to each client to ensure safe and effective training. Thus the CrossFit community was born.

CrossFit was formally established in 2000. The company’s first affiliate was CrossFit North in Seattle. By 2005, there were 13 affiliates. In 2012, a mere dozen years after the company started, there are 3,400 affiliates worldwide.

The History of the Workouts

From its early days, CrossFit sought to create workouts that simulated the feelings athletes and fighters felt during real competition. As Glassman described in a 2009 discussion, coming off a two-minute gymnastics routine in front of judges, you felt spent but had to look solid and strong or points were deducted. The short-duration, high-intensity workouts of CrossFit achieved that goal. Athletes often say that the workouts simulate the feeling at the end of a competitive event. Law-enforcement officers will describe a CrossFit workout as similar to a foot pursuit and fight with a suspect. Fighters will tell you that these Workouts of the Day are similar to the feeling of being in a fight. In fact, the WOD “Fight Gone Bad” was developed to mimic a mixed-martial-arts bout and was named by fighter B.J. Penn. Read More…

You Only Get One Body

It’s no secret that the sport of CrossFit is super demanding on the body. We ask a lot of ourselves when going into a season of heavy weights, high volume and a variety of movements. It can be easy to get carried away with volume and intensity. Often times competitive athletes will make the mistake of training volume and intensity versus quality movement and focusing on their recovery.

Assess Your Body Daily

We all have good days and bad days. I am fortunate enough to train with some of the best athletes in California. I’ve seen each of them make decisions about training based on how their body was feeling. The best athletes know when to say enough is enough. If they aren’t feeling great and their bodies aren’t cooperating with the program volume, they will trim the workload and focus on something that doesn’t cause them pain or discomfort.

Don’t Risk It

If you feel pain. Stop! It’s as simple as that! All it takes is one step past that line and you can compromise your entire season for one workout. Listen to the signals! Your body is trying to talk to you and if it says something isn’t right, you better believe it. Pain is a great tool and it can tell us when we’ve pushed too far. Be grateful that your body is communicating with you and respect what is it saying.

Mobility and Circulation

If you are forced into a day of rest and can’t deal with the boredom, use this time to focus on a your range of motion and getting some blood circulating! Blood is a great healing agent and it is super beneficial to get a low intensity sweat going. You don’t have to do sprint intervals on the assault bike to get your blood moving, 20-30 min of light cycling will suffice. Follow up with some mobility drills and corrective work. This is a great way to spend your time on a day of rest. Read More…

The Hook Grip

MILO and IronMind readers all know how important a strong grip is in lifting things.  Here I want to discuss how you can grab and hold on to barbells, dumbbells, and other things that require a strong, secure grip even better by using the hook grip.

The hook grip is where you push the palm of your hand tight against the bar, grab the bar by wrapping your thumb around it, and then grasp your thumb and the bar tightly with your fingers.  Most people can grab the thumb with the first two fingers while their other two fingers directly grab the bar.  This technique really helps you lift more weight off the platform, especially when you accelerate for the second pull.  The hook grip is the best grip you can have without using straps.

I don’t know who first used the hook grip, but I asked Tommy Kono—Olympic weightlifting champion in 1952 and 1956 and silver medalist in 1960—when he learned about the hook grip, and he said he used it in 1948 when he took up weightlifting.  He said he read about it in a book or magazine.  I’ve asked many other weightlifters who have been around for a long time, and they all said they don’t know who was the first person to use it, but that someone showed them and they usually can’t remember who it was.  I know I learned it in 1966 from Walt Gioseffi, many-time California state champion and record holder in the 1960s.  I can’t find any mention of it in my old books and magazines on weightlifting. Read More…

Teaching Certainty

Here’s how we’ve organized traditional schooling:

You’re certain to have these classes tomorrow.

The class will certainly follow the syllabus.

There will certainly be a test.

If you do well on the test, you will certainly go on to the next year.

If you do well on the other test, you’ll certainly get to go to a famous college.

After you repeat these steps obediently for more than ten years, there will be a placement office, where there will certainly be a job ready for you, with fixed hours and a career path.

People telling you what to do, and when you respond by reciting the notes you took, people rewarding you.


We’ve trained people to be certain for years, and then launch them into a culture and an economy where relying on certainty does us almost no good at all.

Broken-field running, free range kids, the passionate desire to pick yourself—that seems like a more robust and resilient way to prepare, doesn’t it? Who’s teaching you what to do when the certain thing doesn’t happen? Read More…

A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit

Starting any new exercise practice can be daunting, but entering a CrossFit box can be particularly nerve-wracking. It’s a community rife with demonstrations of hardcore feats of strength and endurance — and, worse, its members speak their own language. To better integrate you, here’s everything you need to know to begin your CrossFit life.

Are you ready to pull the trigger on a CrossFit gym membership, but the only thing you know about the program comes from 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games highlights or your CrossFit-obsessed officemate? There’s a lot more to consider, from how to avoid injuries to finding the perfect box for you, so to ease your transition, we’ve assembled this everything-you-need-to-know guide.

CrossFit’s Quirks

When attempting to integrate into any new community, it helps to understand a bit about its members and unspoken rules. Here’s a quick overview to some of CrossFit’s more unique aspects.

WOD Words

CrossFit is full of its own lingo, and none is more important than or as simple as the “WOD” (Workout of the Day). Scribbled on whiteboards in CrossFit boxes across the country every morning, the WOD is likely the first thing you’ll look for when you walk into your new gym, and it’s what your body will remember on your way out. That workout will involve “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” — the theory underpinning CrossFit that makes athletes better, faster and stronger  — and will be the focus of your training that day.

Other CrossFit words to live by:

The Girls: a series of iconic WODs, each given a girl’s name. When asked the reason, CrossFit founder Greg Glassman reportedly said: “Any workout that leaves you flat on your back, staring up at the sky, wondering what the hell happened deserves a girl’s name.” Read More…

Greet Each Day With A Smile

“I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

“It’s just one of those days.”

“I’m having an off day.”

How many times have you heard someone say this? Well, all I hear are excuses. All of these statements are merely an attempt to justify a poor attitude and outlook on one’s current situation.

You know what is awesome about being a human?

Our ability to make choices.

We have the choice to wake up every morning with a smile on our face, ready to take on what the world throws at us. We also have the choice to make one of these excuses. But why do the latter when the former leads to a much happier outlook on life?

Rather than waking up and dreading the day ahead, try simply smiling and telling yourself that you have the choice to find the positive in what lies before you.

This mindset transfers over to the gym as well.

Rather than walking into the gym and making the excuse that the workout or lift just wasn’t a good one for you, try reversing that thought and taking a positive outlook. You’ll be surprised with how much better your body will feel and your performance will be.

If we are constantly making excuses like the aforementioned, we are continuously setting ourselves up for failure. The opposite, greeting each day, each workout, with a smile, can lead to incredible success.

You have the choice to have a positive attitude! So give it a shot, but just a warning, smiling is known to be contagious! Read More…