I thought I had seen it all, but I guess I was wrong. I’m sorry, but this just hurts.
Update: Albany Crossfit finally took the video down, and I don’t blame them! Fortunately for you, someone else re-uploaded the footage on another Youtube account so you can still see what happened.
Now, let’s see here:
- Dropping barbell on head – check
- Filing down teeth from excessive gritting – check
- Knees bowing inward/outward during jerk catch phase of the lift – check
- Breaking spinal alignment – really check!
- Hyper-extending neck – check
- Nearly being crushed by barbell – check
- Trying to do something again that you clearly couldn’t do the first time – check
- Not paying attention while barbell falls to the floor – check
- Bent elbows during the clean portion of the lift – check
- Lifting weights that are clearly too heavy for you – double-check
- Nearly killing oneself in the pursuit of better health – check
And if that wasn’t enough already, here’s a little snippet I took from the Youtube video description (bolding mine):
“Taken from an event with veteran CrossFit athletes. Hitting axle clean and jerks. Supervised by Strongman Certified Coaches. Axle weight is about 10-15lbs. This lift is not a standard Clean and Jerk.”
So, those are veteran CrossFit athletes, eh? I can see that. Although, I’ll be honest when I say I’ve seen a lot of scary things both online and offline, but I’ve never seen anything this bad. And if that’s what we can expect from veteran CrossFit athletes, then I think there’s no hope for this community. They will continue to churn out very fit-looking, albeit broken people.
Of course, they’ve made sure to inform us that “This lift is not a standard Clean and Jerk.”
REALLY? I couldn’t tell. For a second there, I almost thought I was watching the Continental Clean and Jerk, but it couldn’t be that… Actually, it doesn’t look like a standard anything, except maybe a standard operating procedure for herniating a spinal disk, dislocating a shoulder, or giving yourself a sudden brain aneurysm.
It’s good to know these good people were “supervised by Strongman Certified Coaches,” too, because that makes everything so much safer and acceptable. Give those guys a raise!
All kidding aside, I know that not all CrossFit gyms would allow this type of nonsense to happen. The quality of CrossFit training has entirely to do with the individual professionals doing the coaching, and the standards of quality control upheld at each particular gym. But suffice to say, CrossFitters are infamous for neglecting basic technique methods in exchange for higher intensity, or a new personal record.
Now, I know some CrossFitters who clearly do not match the description above, and I’ve also spoken before about the positive aspects of CrossFit here and here. So, that’s why I’m hopeful when I announce…
A Challenge to the CrossFit Community
I’m busting out the BIG #1 HEADER because I want everyone to see this.
I’d like to see one – JUST ONE – CrossFit workout video where everyone shown is using good technique in whatever exercises are being performed – preferably by a group of athletes (not just one or two). If you know of one, please post a link in the comments below.
Honestly, I’ve watched dozens of CrossFit videos over the years, and I can’t say that I’ve ever seen one where everyone was using good, or at least fair, technique. Most of the time, I’m looking for the odd guy or gal who is actually adhering to most of the common technique recommendations, and I literally have a hard time finding them. I see this as a fundamental problem with the CrossFit system. Using good technique in an exercise program is just one of the BASICS, folks, and an extremely important one at that.
So, the first person who finds a CrossFit video that passes my technique rating meter (completely based on my judgment) will win a free coaching video not available to the public.
And you’ll get Siffer-points if it’s footage taken from the CrossFit Games.
So, CrossFitters, what say ye?
Update October 2014: So, it’s been nearly 3 years since this challenge was posted, and no one – I repeat, no one – has submitted anything that would qualify to win – despite this post being seen by thousands of people and has been shared hundreds of times. So, let’s just say that the official challenge is over now, but if you happen to find a video of a group of Crossfit athletes demonstrating good technique (not just one or two, and ideally, a whole class), then please send it my way. I’d be more than happy to watch it, and maybe even share it (gasp!).
In all seriousness, while I like to poke fun at certain aspects of CrossFit and raise awareness of the very real risks and dangers (as I’ve done here and here and…HERE!), I do want the very best for Crossfitters and the Crossfit community, in general. That said, I cannot put my name behind this system. I just can’t. And until I can, I’m going to recommend some alternatives for those who are interested.
So, if you’re looking for something with a Crossfit flavor – with many of of the advantages that Crossfit offers (e.g. high intensity exercise), without the disadvantages (e.g. high injury risk), then consider trying something else. There are many good options out there, and if you’d like my recommendation, take a look at the TACFIT system here: Interview with Scott Sonnon about TACFIT – The Premier “Tactical Fitness” System. That would be a good place to start. And believe me, if you’re an aspiring – or a recovering - Crossfitter, I think you’ll be glad you did.
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CST Coach, CST-KS
Health-First Fitness Coach