Albany Crossfit has some explaining to do

Let’s get one thing straight before I get started, I do not oppose Crossfit.  I am all for anything that gets people motivated to lift weights, exercise regularly and watch what they eat.  What I am not okay with is encouragement of improper form on difficult lifts.  There is a video that has been making the rounds on the web and as of right now it stands at 2102 dislikes on YouTube.  I am assuming it has been disliked by people like me.  The video was taken at Albany Crossfit in New York and in the detail lines it says it was from an event with ‘veteran Crossfit athletes and Strongman Certified Coaches.’  The ‘strongman certified coaches’ are trainers who have attended the course, which is one of many offered exclusively by Crossfit.  I promise you that there are no Crossfit coaches training professional strongman athletes.

I can still feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about the video.  The ‘coaches’ can be heard in the background as men and women (including teens) take turns attempting to clean and jerk a loaded axle bar.  An axle barbell is just a thick barbell, usually about two inches in diameter.  This extra thickness makes the bar harder to hold onto, so it forces you to use more grip strength.  In the video, client after client is encouraged and cheered on in using absolutely horrendous form.  They are basically doing whatever it takes to get the bar overhead.  In the first seconds of the video a girl drops the bar on her head!  I was hoping that would be it, but instead more clips are shown, more irresponsible coaching is yelled out, and more people swing their backs into hyper extension and pull improperly trying to do what these Crossfit coaches tell them.  Not one person appears to be lifting a reasonable amount of weight for their strength level.  If you are lifting a weight that is so heavy you feel like you have to swing your back to move it, then you are using too much weight, plain and simple.

The main problem here is that they are coaching regular people, who are not strong, to perform a strongman lift.  Strongman is a sport, and it’s a sport for an elite class of weightlifters.   Farmer walks are one thing, but axle clean and jerks? Really, Crossfit?  There is a lot to be said for risk versus reward.  Crossfit has really taken the nation by storm and I really hope some voices of reason will step up in that movement.  Crossfit instructors are taught that perfect form is not important, they want maximum effort on everything, and every workout is against the clock, basically trying to get the best time out of anyone in the room.  Read this if you don’t believe me. Power cleans are not about time, this is not a race for the finish line.

I’ll get off of my soapbox.  If you are someone who is considering Crossfit, please make sure you work with a good coach, I know they are out there.  This video does not represent Crossfit as a whole, but how could no one in this gym not see that what they are doing is grossly irresponsible?  You even hear people saying ‘you got it, you got it’ to the girl who drops the bar on her head.  No, you idiots, she does not.

Please be warned this video might make you angry…

  1. JonJon12-21-2011

    I take “fitness magazine” articles with a grain of salt, but Men’s Health had a pretty good one about the negatives of CF a while back:

    Like most media reports, I’m sure the broad reality is less worse than all this & these are probably the worst of the bunch…but yeah, people should really investigate what they are getting in to & not get swept up in hype.

    • adminadmin12-22-2011

      I enjoyed that MensHealth article, it made me laugh. Just thinking about being forced to compete with a class full of women and having everyone of them beat you, and then turn to cheering you on… it’s enough to make any man run for the hills.

      Working out is not about competing with one another, it’s about making yourself better. When I lift, I am only competing with myself. I could care less about how quickly I can perform the Fran.

  2. SeanSean02-17-2012

    Your pre-video warning of this video does not do it justice. I feel like my back should be hurt just for watching it.

    • adminadmin02-17-2012

      Good point… This vid may cause anger and a sore lower back.

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