When I found CrossFit in 2010, I was like many people where I wasn’t necessarily sure what I was looking for but I definitely knew I needed a change. What I found with CrossFit was a blend of strength and conditioning where I was able to improve my general physical conditioning and strengthen my body to continue to do what I enjoyed doing.
What I learned thereafter was and is still applicable today. In 2003, Jim Cawley and Bruce Evans of Dynamax (Yes, the wallball brand) dumbed down to help us understand fitness by listing the 10 components of fitness and it was immediately adopted by CrossFit as an explanation to programming and fitness.
The 10 Components of Fitness:
1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance – the ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen. Endurance is crucial; it doesn’t matter how strong you are or how fast you jump right into a workout if you cannot hold a pace or you are unable to finish.
2. Stamina – the ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy. This is why we often program higher repetitions of a movement or exercise so we can build up stamina to handle volume. An example would be Murph, an upcoming hero WOD we do on Memorial Day that will test our stamina with a volume of certain movements.
3. Strength – the ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units to apply force. The best way to build strength is to lift weights. This is why we squat, push and pull weight. These are functional movements we will be doing for the rest of our lives.
4. Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint. Flexibility or mobility are key to joint and muscle health and also a key component to preventing injuries. Things we do in our day to day world at Ardent are designed to increase general movement patterns.
5. Power – the ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time. A great way to increase power is the use of the Olympic lifts; snatches and cleans or even Handstand Pushups. I like to say that these lifts are a blend of speed and power. Our muscles must fire and react quickly in such a complex movement. This is why we snatch and clean weekly!
6. Speed – the ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement. Speed is developed in many ways. We often use work-to-rest ratios and/or sprints within our programming to develop speed. We will also use methods like EMOM (every minute on the minute) to develop a volume of work in a faster cycle time then possibly comfortable.
7. Coordination – the ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movements. Have you every fallen on your butt during a wallball or a clean? We often are testing our coordination through complex movements which require our brain and body to work in cohesion and coordinate.
8. Agility – the ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another. We often put in place lateral movements. Unlike just relying on running as our source of fitness which in generally moving our body in one forward direction, we incorporate movements that allow and require us to move unilaterally and push in all different directions.
9. Balance – the ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base. I feel balance is almost always required just to get through our group warmup. Constantly testing our body in different positions and working large muscle groups which almost always compliment our core strength continue to help our balance.
10. Accuracy – the ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity. Everything from pulling yourself under a bar in a snatch or hitting the line during a wallball throw requires accuracy.
It is important to understand that all of these components go into our week to week programming at Ardent. It is also another reason to not cherry pick workouts because you do not enjoy them or feel that you are not “good” at them. Some without the others can be helpful but to get the full benefit we need an inclusion of all of these components.
Lastly, if you look at the graph attached below it breaks this down slightly further. The components on the left; Strength, Stamina, Endurance and Flexibility are all things that we can train. We get better at them by working and training them often.
The components on the right; Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy are components that come together by practice. We come to Ardent Barbell class to work specifics of the lift or gymnastics class to work on technical aspects, etc.
The middle components are power and speed which are adapted with a balance of both training and practice. Power and Speed are also increased by utilizing all of the other components.
So, now when all of your relatives ask you about this new CrossFit thing that you’ve been posting about, you can all feel qualified to explain why it is you are doing what you are doing. At Ardent we hope to help you live a long and fruitful life by incorporating these 10 components and make you a functionally fit human being.
– Coach Ryan
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
5 Burpee Pull-Ups
10 Alternating Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatches (50/35)
20 Wall Balls (20/14)