CrossFit™ : A 100% Chance of Injury?

I stated in the comments section of a recent barbell squat post that went viral, that

I’ve been thinking a lot lately that crossfit™ might actually have a 100% chance of injury when practiced over a lifetime.

Which of course, is crazy, and should make everyone run from it.

People don’t like this idea. Probably because it’s true, and it conflicts with something they “like”.

If (true), it’s also an absolute statement, which people dislike in general, for reasons outside the scope of this post.

Now, as for CrossFit™ and it’s chance of injury, am I convinced it’s chance of producing an injury when performed over an adult lifetime  is 100%?

Basically, yes.

Now, (assuming CrossFit™ fans are anything like barbell squat fanatics) before you run to the comments section and emotionally vomit to me what a horrible human being I am, allow me to *suggest* you finish reading this post, before you make an ass of yourself; because I am going to discuss why this is true, as well as respond in advance to the most common refutations I have seen thus far, none of which refute anything.

I am going to begin with a quote from Drew Baye from his Philosophy of Exercise article (source):


It ought to go without saying that exercise should performed in the safest manner possible, but considering the sloppy and haphazard form commonly displayed in gyms and the outright dangerous antics of Crossfit, plyometrics, “core stability training” and similar activities touted as exercise it is apparent most either aren’t aware of or underestimate the potential for injury and long term damage of improper training.

While all physical activity poses some risk of injury exercise can and should be performed in a manner and with a level of control which makes it safer than almost any other activity. It would be counterproductive and downright stupid to perform an activity for the purpose of physical improvement which simultaneously poses a significant risk of causing physical injury or undermining your long term functional ability and health.

This does not mean exercise should be easy. On the contrary, to be effective exercisemust involve a high level of effort. There is no conflict between safety and intensity of effort during exercise, however; the manner of performance required to minimize risk of injury is the exact same required to maximize the quality of muscular loading and effectiveness.

Bolding was added by me, with the exception of the first word safety (section title from his post).

Now, there are a number of interesting points in this quote, not all of which have been bolded for the aim of keeping this post on point.

Of the bolded parts, the most relevant and urgent point that should be understood, is that it is in fact downright stupid to perform an activity for the purpose of physical improvement (better health) that simultaneously poses a significant (meaningful) risk of causing physical injury (worse health), acutely, or by contributing to/generating chronic if not permanent injuries, joint problems, and so forth.

In fact I would take it one step further. It’s not just stupid, it’s a fair bit of dumbfuckery to *knowingly* do this.

Or as I like to call it: this action is aggressively stupid.

Now, we need to boil this down further to it’s basic parts to fully understand what’s going on.

The Link : Exercise & Health

There seems to be no controversy surrounding exercise as it relates to health; a core purpose of exercise, is better health.

While *some* people might have additional purposes for performing a physical activity they believe to be exercise, I have never seen anyone argue that exercise should not produce better health. This appears to be a widely accepted, uncontested notion.

Which is precisely where the fate of CrossFit™ is sealed, along with most other popular fitness or psuedo exercise programs, such as P90X™.

Because any program or protocol that claims to be for the purpose of exercise, cannot contain a meaningful risk of physical injury, because such injury directly and brutally negates a core purpose of any and every exercise program I have ever even heard a whisper of : better physical health.

Physical injury is literally, and by definition, worse health.

Why is “meaningful risk” important?

I use the term “meaningful” intentionally. I use it intentionally because CrossFit™ followers, so far as I have seen, have every proud and righteous intention to practice CrossFit™ over a lifetime.

Here is one example that is by no means, an uncommon attitude in the CrossFit™ community. (source)

Note, this woman has apparently practiced CrossFit™ since September 2009.


Think about the implications of these statements.

X, that is supposed to improve physical health (positive), has now instead, caused physical injury (negative).

She now wants X to fix (positive) what X caused (negative).

She also “lives” for X, demonstrating a common devotion to CrossFit™.

Allow me to be clear: these implications are the pinnacle of irrationality, and so far as I am aware, are by no means uncommon in the CrossFit™ universe.

They also tie in nicely to the ultimate point of this section: any “exercise” program with a meaningful risk of injury, practiced over an adult lifetime, will absolutely surface and manifest those injuries.

To even further hammer this into your head : it is inconceivable that an adult human being could practice CrossFit™ over an adult lifetime (say, 40 years), and not physically injure themselves.

Never mind old age.

What this means is that the activity of CrossFit™ is a ticking time bomb. A physical activity, supposedly practiced for the purpose of better health, that inevitably damages physical health (violently negating one of it’s core purposes), in a Russian roulette fashion.

I.e. CrossFitters have absolutely no idea what that injury will be, how severe it will be, and to what degree of permanence it will consist of, when it inevitably arrives.

This makes CrossFit™ not only have a 100% chance of injury over an adult lifetime, it also makes it irrational to perform; if CrossFit™ is performed for the purpose of exercise, it is performed under an active dismissal of reality.

It is an action against your best, rational judgement on all available knowledge.

I.e. it’s irrational.

It is an activity designed to help you, that hurts you (indicating fundamental flaws).

But, but … LIFE has a 100% chance of DEATH. Haha!

This is not actually that clever, nor is it by any means an intelligent attempt at a refutation. Yes, I am aware that unless I figure out how to become immortal, I will someday die.

That is absolutely certain so far as anyone can prove.

The difference between exercise — which CrossFit™ claims to be a program of  to at least some degree — and life, is that the purpose of life is not better health, where as the purpose of exercise is better health.

Since the purpose of life is not better health, we can conclude that any chance of injury or death faced in life — 0% or 100%, — does not negate it’s purpose.

However, since a purpose of exercise is better health, we can conclude that any exercise program or protocol, must absolutely not have a 100% chance of worsening physical health.

This is absolutely counter productive, conflicting, and contradicting to the purpose of better health.

Once again, indicating fundamental flaws in CrossFit™ protocol, however vague, wide, narrow, or precise they wish to describe and design their program, prior to, or in response to, this article.

But, but … ALL physical activity has a chance of injury!

Yes, even Drew Baye who I quoted in this article, clearly stated that all physical activity has a risk of injury.

Can we therefore conclude all “exercise” is a waste of time because it has a chance of injuring us? (i.e. all exercise contradicts itself).

No, we cannot, and exercise does exist that does not injure us.

The tests in the realm of safety for any exercise program that Drew hinted at would likely be the following two questions:

  • Are you more likely to injure yourself walking into an exercise facility than you are performing the activities?
  • Can you conceivably practice this exercise program over a lifetime, without a single incidence of injury?

I can tell you definitively that, last I spoke with Drew, he has personally supervised training sessions into the tens of thousands in over a decade of personal training practice.

And he has not injured a single trainee; and I would bet he can name half a dozen other trainers, off the top of his head, that have similar track records, with equally fantastic results with their clients.

The idea is not to make the risk of injury 0%, it’s to make it so low that you have a better chance of being struck by lighting than performing exercise, or of tripping and injuring yourself while walking into a gym, than of actually hurting yourself performing the exercise program of your choice.

Hogwash, it’s all about proper form!

Any properly designed exercise movement, program, or protocol must primarily rest on a binary safety system, not a continuum.

This means that if your supposed exercise program, like CrossFit™, requires “good” form for ideal safety, rather then pass/fail form, the exercise program is flawed.

It is flawed because when “pretty good” form is not enough for effectively maximum safety, you can bet your ass that the day is coming when and where the most elite CrossFitters have that “freak accident” when they get just a little lazy, a little over confident in their high level of experience, a little “extra” motivated to perform CrossFit™ faster, with heavier resistances, and so on.

If the form and safety protocol is not on a  pass/fail binary system, the day will come for everyone, like in CrossFit™, when you fuck up. You are not a special snowflake exception.

You are not exempt from this. In fact, you are the rule.

Like in barbell squats, “proper form” to protect the user’s safety is meaningless, because one day, that form will falter.

If it can falter it will falter.

A properly designed exercise program must only become dangerous in form when the user or trainer acts out what is commonly called “gross negligence”.

I.e. you act like a complete dumb ass and get the results you asked for.

It must be more difficult to eliminate safety than it is to retain it.

CrossFit™ is about 100 miles outside of this paradigm.


Here’s an example of someone performing a barbell squat (that at best, depends on proper form for immediate safety), and then combines it with gross negligence, a rare combo.

Here’s another fun one, putting an infant between a loaded barbell and the ground.

But I LIKE CrossFit™ and want to keep doing it, what do I do?

Well first you need to fully grasp that it is fundamentally unsafe, and if practiced as an exercise program, will result in an unknown injury, perhaps multiple times over, perhaps permanent, and perhaps 10 years after you quit CrossFit™.

This would be the guy who “throws his back out” tying his shoes, after jumping around doing CrossFit™ for the previous 5 years. It’s not a mystery, it’s a predictable consequence of performing blatantly unsafe physical activities and “pushing through” traumatic pain and injury.

Not the “burn”, but the snaps, crackles, pops, tears, pulls, and “pain” your peers will urge you to push through. As if persistence fixed connective tissue injuries.

Secondly, you need to realize that fundamentally, CrossFit™ is not (actually) exercise in the first place. It’s a hybrid between a recreational and competitive activity with a random array of exercise side effects. Furthermore, many of these (random if not arbitrary) physical movements, fit quite well into the public conception of the concept of exercise.

So it appears to the untrained eye like exercise, and has exercise effects, but is not exercise.

It’s confusing, hence people do it, and will continue to do it, even after reading this post.

Bottom line: if you truly enjoy CrossFit™ and want to perform it as a recreational activity, or even a competitive activity, by all means do. Just do so with the full knowledge that it’s not exercise, and carries a high risk of injury.

That’s perfectly fine for recreational and competitive activities. In fact that’s the name of the game in most sports. But the purpose of “having fun” or kicking someone’s ass in an athletic event is not better health, it’s something else entirely.

Exercise produces better health. You must draw the lines and decide what’s best for your own life. If you want to do dangerous stuff that you are convinced is fun, or whatever, do it.

Just do it knowingly.

Not like an ignorant baboon swinging weights around like a maniac.

But … you have no PROOF. Show me PROOF (otherwise I’ll just keep doing CrossFit™)

The official message board (link) has entire sections dedicated to reported injuries.

I don’t know what further proof you could possibly need when you have that staring you in the face.

There are over 31,000 posts in the injury section alone, which only refer to injuries that are being reported there, and not reported exclusively elsewhere, never mind an unknown number of unreported injuries occurring every year.

These people have dug their own grave.

You want studies?

Newsflash : studies are measurements of data already occurring.

A 50 year study of CrossFit™ protocol that starts tomorrow, and agrees with what I’m saying in this post, means that for the next 50 years, hundreds of thousands if not millions of people will be performing a supposed exercise program with a 100% chance of injury.

It does not suddenly gain this aspect when the lab rats come to a conclusion. It was true the entire fucking time, and before they even started.

If not CrossFit™, then what do I do?

The purpose of this post is not to provide alternatives to CrossFit™. In the scope of this post, I could care less what you do.

Your body and your health is your concern, not mine. Do a search here on The Dream Lounge, it should turn up some results.

You made errors in word choice.

I am not a statistician, and have not claimed to be a statistician, amateur, professional, or otherwise.

The purpose of this post does not even necessitate an understanding of statistics.

The purpose of this post was to examine the fundamental flaws of CrossFit™ as an applied exercise program or protocol. It has absolutely flunked that examination and receives an F for safety.

The title is just there to catch attention.

CrossFit™ is flawed, independent of how I titled this post.


Please direct hate mail to me in the comments section, not Drew Baye.

(It should go without saying that I only represent myself in this article and do not represent the opinions of any other person or organization, including those in which I play a leadership role).

About Anthony Dream Johnson

CEO, founder, and architect of The 21 Convention, Anthony Dream Johnson is the leading force behind the world's first and only "panorama event for life on earth". He has been featured on WGN Chicago, and in the NY Times #1 best seller The Four Hour Work Week.    His stated purpose for the work he does is "the actualization of the ideal man", a purpose that has led him to found and host The 21 Convention across 3 continents and for 6 years in a row. Anthony blogs vigorously at and

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160 Responses to CrossFit™ : A 100% Chance of Injury?

  1. Chris Highcock June 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    This will be even more fun!

    By the way, did you see Michael’s post?

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      I saw the previous squat one but not this new one. Thanks for alerting me to it!

  2. MikeEnRegalia June 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Wow, I guess that’s what they call “flying off the handle” …

    Now that you’ve made the gigantic leap from Mark Rippetoe (back squats) via CrossFit to some lunatics doing a barbell squat on a gymnastic ball … I wonder what’s next, maybe doing bulgarian split squats with one foot on a bicycle, the other one on a pony, and a pit with razor sharp spikes underneath you?

    Thank you for providing ample examples of what they call the straw man fallacy.

    I’ll even join you in bashing CrossFit – as will Mark Rippetoe, in essence. The problem with you is that your criticism is all over the place, you’re bashing indiscriminately, without any point to it.

    The human body is, among other things, built to lift heavy things. Check out Elliot Hulse’s daughter, performing strong man feats at age 4, look at how natural those movements are, and then please tell me: Are you really going to be such a sissy that you would rather hang in your hip belt machine, looking like you’re taking a dump (and being massively constipated), while others train actual movements that are fun and useful?

    And if you’re really so scared of heavy barbells and what they might do to your fragile spine, do what guys like Al Kavadlo, Mark Lauren or Mark Sisson recommend and focus on body weight exercises – even Drew Baye would recommend that and has in fact come up with a fancy piece of gear which is essentially a power rack for body weight exercises.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      Yes, fun. Exactly what exercise needs to be.

      Why didn’t I think of that?

      • MikeEnRegalia June 7, 2012 at 1:21 am #

        It’s not like exercise always has to be fun, but I don’t buy this message of HIT that the ideal form of exercise has to be totally different from the activities you’re actually training for and no fun at all. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in HIT if the exercise isn’t “brutally hard” and the level of discomfort isn’t almost unbearable, it’s suggested that you’re not doing it right.

        This is maybe my greatest concern with HIT: They claim that *only* if you’re training that way, you’re training at all, and anything else is just a waste of time, because only in those last few reps or last few seconds under load when you read (positive) muscular failure, the adaptations in your muscle tissue occur. I think that’s BS, and obviously so – it it was true then body builders (juiced or not) would only do HIT style training. The fact that they’re not shows that this statement is, if anything, greatly exaggerated.

        The other big problem with HIT is that once you get more advanced, you’re told to simply reduce the training frequency. Been there, done that, didn’t work. When I reduce the frequency to weekly, I’ll simply get sore at every workout and still don’t improve. The better solution – as it happens, suggested by Rippetoe – is to add volume at sub maximal intensity – like in HIT you reduce the frequency of the really hard workouts where you overload the muscles, but you add in days where you do assistance exercises. Something you would never do in HIT, because there volume is the enemy.

        But even setting pure HIT aside and assuming you used your ARX machine at the factory setting speed: It still doesn’t help you develop explosive power. Maybe you’ve decided that you don’t need that – after all, who cares if you can do box jumps like Elliot’s uncle (see the video) as long as you look like you can. Well, I care – the purpose of my training is to a) make me healthier, b) improve my appearance and c) improve my functional fitness.

        And just to avoid misunderstandings: I’m nowhere near as fit as that right now – I’m a 37 years old overweight software developer. I simply think, after having read more than 30 books on the subject, watched countless videos (including the 21C presentations) and weighed the arguments, that a mix of Starting Strength and YAYOG is the best solution to get me closer to this goal.

        • Craig June 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

          “And just to avoid misunderstandings: I’m nowhere near as fit as that right now – I’m a 37 years old overweight software developer. I simply think, after having read more than 30 books on the subject, watched countless videos (including the 21C presentations) and weighed the arguments, that a mix of Starting Strength and YAYOG is the best solution to get me closer to this goal.”

          And here I thought you were an expert because you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night!

          I’m curious – have you actually done SS and gotten to the point of moving some heavy weights? (By heavy, I mean > 1.5 BW for squats or benches.) Big difference between reading about it and doing it. Some people discover that their joints, disks, and connective tissue just can’t survive that kind of lifting. Sometimes, even famous strong men have to give up the “go heavy or go home” mentality as they get older because their bodies just get too jacked up to continue training that way.

          • MikeEnRegalia June 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

            “I’m curious – have you actually done SS and gotten to the point of moving some heavy weights? (By heavy, I mean > 1.5 BW for squats or benches.) Big difference between reading about it and doing it. Some people discover that their joints, disks, and connective tissue just can’t survive that kind of lifting. Sometimes, even famous strong men have to give up the “go heavy or go home” mentality as they get older because their bodies just get too jacked up to continue training that way.”

            That’s a valid point. Well, my lean body weight is around 80kg, and I’m currently squatting 70kg, deadlifting 120kg and pressing 60kg. I’m not doing the bench press since I currently only have a power rack and no proper bench, but I’m “supplementing” with push-ups (and chin-ups).

            I am currently pretty much doing SS, but who says that one needs to go ultra heavy? I’ll be perfectly content with being able to squat my own lean bodyweight. Maybe I’ll go a little higher than that – but anyone can come up with a number like >1.5, but I fail to see the point, since strength is relative. If you mean strength as in Power Lifting, then I’ll say without any hesitation that it is not my goal at all. I’m a 37 years old software developer, it would be ridiculous for me to train like a power lifter.

    • elliot June 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

      Anthony, that’s pretty good stuff. I have to agree at the aspect of it being competitive sport instead of exercise routine.

      @mark: one request, don’t cite fallacies. Makes the argument silly. Since,may I point out, there’s is an ad homenim to anthony by you. Doesn’t make you look better, instead, kills ur credibility and turns you into a internet troll with no real support. Check timothy ferris 4hour body. This guy did a lot research on injuries from weigth lifting and such. Maybe it can help or cause hate and hostility. Most free weigth exercises contain a lot of risk factors.

      • Anthony Dream Johnson June 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

        Hey Elliot

        Regarding “MikeEnRegalia”, apparently this guy is a notorious internet troll, made infamous on the Marks Daily Apple forums.

        His daily job is as I understand it, a “music reviewer”, and apparently, professional troll.

        • MikeEnRegalia June 7, 2012 at 12:54 am #

          If you bother to look up the definition of “troll”, you’ll find that I don’t fit it. If you mean to say that I like to participate in discussions on internet forums, yes, that’s true. And as far as the “music reviewer” is concerned – it’s rather “running a music website”, and my daily job is neither related to music nor fitness.

          But go ahead basing your judgement on superficial knowledge.

          • Dan June 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

            This kid goes to great lengths to convince himself he has special knowledge that makes him better than everyone. It is so thinly veiled, as much as he denies it.

            Yes, ignore fallacies crucial to the authors argument, brilliant.

            When is HIT going to turn out a non-steriod using lifter who actually looks like he works out and is strong in a way that is not narrowly defined to the point of pointlessness?

            I think we should listen to music reviewers about exercise, since they arent tainted by the “establishment” duh.

            Why give an alternitive, its “outside of scope”… lol seriously?

            I wouldnt worry about crossfit, on a long enough timeline all those barbell squats should eliminate them with all the fatalities. Or the entire history of sports exercise will prove to be smarter than some obnoxious kid with no talents or experience in anything trying to feed his ego.

  3. Donnie Hunt June 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    I haven’t read this entire post yet. The talk about safety I think is huge. I get the feeling sometimes like it is just accepted by some that there needs to be some element of danger to exercise. If not then you’re a pussy, lol. Or maybe I’m just looking too much into it.

    Regarding exercise tools, it seems to me that using a machine like an ARX, or RenEx machines would allow one to better tap into the maximum strength end of things. On the other hand some say that you can obtain the same thing using less weight and longer TULs using a deliberately slow cadence.

    • MikeEnRegalia June 7, 2012 at 3:34 am #

      “Regarding exercise tools, it seems to me that using a machine like an ARX, or RenEx machines would allow one to better tap into the maximum strength end of things. On the other hand some say that you can obtain the same thing using less weight and longer TULs using a deliberately slow cadence.”

      For what it’s worth, Mark Rippetoe would disagree. I’m only mentioning him again here because I am currently reading Practical Programming for Strength Training, and he’s quite clear about the fact that in order to train strength you need to use really heavy weights and few repetitions (<5). This is a consensus view that will be confirmed by a broad range of experts, including mainstream trainers and other, "out there" gurus – it's a common denominator.

      A HIT workout with a TUL of 90 seconds (ending with positive failure) is brutally hard, but at the end of the day it will cause muscular hypertrophy and improve metabolic conditioning much more than raw strength or power. It is more akin to a 10-12 repetition set than a <5 repetition set which you would do to develop strength.

  4. Charles Dahl June 7, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    So many people refuse to think rationally and logically when thinking about exercise–and I don’t believe the irrationality is confined to the issue of Crossfit or barbell squats. It’s really quite simple: if you can get big and strong without doing something which is biomechanically unsound, it would be smart to do that. I want to develop my physique to the limits of my genetic potential, not put myself in a wheelchair because some brain dead moron thinks its pussy not to risk catastrophic injury.
    I still don’t understand why Anthony’s point is sooooo difficult for these cretins to fathom.

    • MikeEnRegalia June 7, 2012 at 1:38 am #

      One thing that hasn’t come up often yet in the comments on this cluster of posts: Neither Anthony nor the “experts” he bases his beliefs on have conclusively proved that their approach to training enables you to reach the limits of your genetic potential. That’s a major point of contention: Experiencend people like Mark Rippetoe, Lyle McDonald, Poliquin, even unconventional guys like Mark Sisson or Al Kavadlo don’t subscribe to this theory of “10 minutes per week is all you *ever* need – if anything, as you get more advanced you need less training”.

  5. Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    Because it’s so easy to build your life around your “workout”. Even easier if it’s more of a show-off than a workout…

  6. MC June 7, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    I just recently sent your post on P90X to someone who’s looking to start it up, so nice that you gave them a shout out.

    If somebody was completely new to exercise, I don’t think they could watch that Crossfit video and think “this is what I want to do, sign me up for whatever they’re doing!”

    I’m looking into doing a “Big 5” workout using only dumbbells right now, and dropping the pure body weight routine I’ve been doing.

    Can you essentially do the “Big 5” using only dummbells? A dumbbell shoulder press, dumbbell chest press, maybe a wall sit holding dumbbells, and a dumbbell row while standing with chest to floor, I think can cover 4 of the Big 5.

    But what about the pull down? Is there a way to make up for a pull down movement using dumbbells? Even if it’s just something that essentially works the same muscle groups, and makes it into a Big 6 instead.

    Answers always appreciated.

  7. Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    I think the optimal amount of exercises with dumbbells is about 10-11….based on Drew Baye’s dumbbell workouts.
    I do 12 exercises, but those include wrist flexion, wrist extension, shrug…so it’s not that difficult.
    stiff-leg deadlift
    standing calf raise
    bent-over row
    overhead press
    supine press
    bicep curl
    french curl
    wrist flexion
    wrist extension
    What do you think?
    It’s a training Drew presented in Dumbbell training for strength and fitness book. And in his new books, he goes for about 8-9 exercises + wrist flexion and extension=11.

    • MikeEnRegalia June 7, 2012 at 3:27 am #

      I think that this type of workout flies in the face of what Drew presented at 21C. There he said that all you need is a “big five” like routine, he also commented on how doing several different types of curls is redundant and so on.

      I can only guess that the routine you’re talking about here is specifically for body builders?

    • MC June 7, 2012 at 4:04 am #

      I think that’s a pretty solid work out. Thanks, I’ll definitely be getting that book. The Big 5 might not be my best approach if I’m working with just dumbbells.

      Are the movements still done though in a superflow, one set to failure type fashion?

  8. Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    Well, the multiple curls…the french curl is a tricep extension, while the bicep curl is the bicep curl:-)
    He recommends doing wrist flexion and extension for the grip in his book 101 high intensity workouts. Also recommends neck exercise, which is hard to do with dumbbells. But Shrug kinda compensates for that.
    Btw, the dumbbell-only (no bench) workout he presents now in his latest book 101 high intensity workouts:
    standing press
    stiff leg deadlift
    push up
    tricep extension
    one-leg calf raise
    weighted crunch
    (+ neck exercises and grip exercises)

    Doesn’t sound like big5 to me:-)
    I think his opinion is that big5 is for advanced trainees go need to reduce volume or for people with no time to train. But I am also little confused by this. Still, I’ll probably keep my original workout from 2006 Dumbbell training book. It’s made by Drew, it’s designed for dumbbells and the bench which I have..and it’s basically a one exercise longer than his latest workouts.

    • MC June 7, 2012 at 4:46 am #

      Well if you look at the Big 5, I’m sure you can fit the workouts into the particular category it might come under, and see what works.

      1. Leg Press
      2. Seated Row
      3. Chest Press
      4. Pulldown
      5. Overhead Press

      After looking at the two above workouts you mentioned I’m thinking this:

      1. Wall sit OR Wall sit plus calf raises OR squats/deadlifts of some kind(?)
      2. Bent-over row plus maybe a lower back exercise(?)
      3. Chest press/supine press
      4. I’m thinking bicep curls and something else can maybe replace pulldown(?)
      5. Overhead press

      Not completely sure what deadlifts or stiff leg dead lifts can replace, and if a bent-over row covers seated row enough on it’s own and if bicep curls and maybe something else can cover pulldown.

      I’d muc prefer getting closer to the Big 5 then having to do 10-11 exercises with too many isolated movements. Thoughts?

    • MikeEnRegalia June 7, 2012 at 4:58 am #

      My apologies for not knowing the french curl – I do however know the australian push-up and the bulgarian split-squat, so I’ll simply add the french curl to my repertoire. 😉

      Well, this is how I would reduce that workout:


      You can even ditch the dumbbells then and simply do one legged squats for the legs and pressing any suitably heavy object over your head. Add some box jumps and/or throwing medicine balls for explosive power development, and you’re done.

  9. Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 3:39 am #


  10. Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    Maybe this helps you:
    deadlift – gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, erector spinae
    stiff-leg deadlift – erector spinae(lower back), gluteus maximus, hamstrings
    standing calf raise – gastrocnemius
    bent-over row – upper back, biceps, forearms
    overhead press – anterior deltoids and triceps
    shrug – trapezius(upper)
    supine press – chest, anterior deltoids, triceps
    bicep curl – biceps and forearms
    french curl – triceps
    wrist flexion – wrist flexors
    wrist extension – wrist extensors
    crunch – rectus abdominis and iliopsoas

    The problem is…the fact the muscle is secondary involved in a movement doesn’t mean it got the maximal possible stimulus…

  11. Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    Still…Baye 2006 dumbbell + bench workout: 12 exercises, Baye 2012 dumbbell only workout: 11 exercises (+ neck, 12), Baye 2012 basic workout with free weights or machines: 8 exercises + again, wrist flexion and extension and neck…10/11 exercises, which is minimum for full-body workout. Obviously, there are some other, shorter workouts, but are labelled “metabolic conditioning” or “consolidation workouts”…all basic workouts have at least 8 exercises + recommended wrist flexion, extension and neck exercise.

  12. Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    MC: Yes, both books prefer one set to fatigue/failure. There are some details that are different, but in the end, the approach is the same. Safety, proper form, controlled movement, not much rest between…in the Dumbbell book, there are even workout finishers as the icing on the cake. Farmers walk etc. But I dropped them, they are voluntary and my workout is too long already, I also try to simplify it a bit. But I feel it is in line with what Drew recommends today as a full body routine. Did you know that Drew Baye is not against training twice a week? But he says “some might even get the most benefit training once a week or less….” So, I stay with once a week as it’s certainly better to move slower to the goal than overtrain.

    • MC June 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      I think the full body routines are more important for body building, if your goal is to get to that kind of level. I’d prefer to work the major muscle groups, and basically be in great physical condition, not too focused on developing every muscle I can to the highest capacity.

      Basically work out enough muscles groups that I hit as much as I can with as few movements as possible. Unless this results in a muscle group not getting any attention whatsoever, I’m fine with it being a secendary mover in a Big 5ish type workout.

      I’m thinking squats/wall sits, bent-over row and stiff-leg deadlifts, supine press, bicep curls, and overhead press.

      That’s 7 exercises essentially, 8 if I add in calf raises. Just need to choose between squats and wall sits.

  13. Donnie Hunt June 7, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    @ Mike,

    Regarding the TULs, I would think what you’re saying would be correct. As far as what other trainers have said regarding longer TULs I’m just regurgitating what they have said works for thier clients. I only train myself and don’t really know in anybody in person that even cares about this stuff. One of the reasons I go to these websites and blogs, lol.

  14. Nick June 7, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    While I definately agree with you on the safety problems that plague CrossFit. What I don’t think alot of people know out there is how the program is actually broken down. Unfortunately all one needs to do is spend a weekend getting the certification and then go open a gym having no prior experience within the fitness industry.Next thing you know they are running a gym with no programming experience and they think that more and harder is better. CrossFit is not an exercise program it is a strength and conditioning program built for athletes, military, and paramilitary career fields. Also built for CrossFit athletes. If one who went to the cerification process and read how the program is supposed to be built I believe we would see less injuries. I don’t think the actual problem is CrossFit itself I believe the problem lies soley on those who are training and programing. As coaches we should take pride and passion in how we train and look at the long term effects of our training instead of the instant grattification. I have been coaching crossfit and running a strength program for not onlyadults but teenagers also since 2008, while that may not be as many years as alot of coaches I have to start somewhere. I have yet to have an injury in a client, will an injury occur probably at some point but as a coach we are well aware that at any point in our career field an injury will occur I don’t care who you are. This society today is all about me,me,me I want it now,now, now. When coaching you need to build a solid foundation. If I were building a house and started putting up walls before I laid a foundation the house would quickly crumble. My biggest problem with CrossFit is the credibility it is losing everytime some random person opens a gym. But I think saying that crossfit is a 100% risk of injury is grasping at straws, to bash a program that you are not 100% educated on is irresponsible, I would at no point bash the way you program and train unless I was completely aware of what it is you do and what you are trying to accomplish. I have to say that this blog was better written and laid out than the Squat article. Just remember that not all gyms who promote Squats and CrossFit are hurting people and being wreckless, there are good coaches out there who take the time to build their clients to what they want to be.

  15. Nick June 7, 2012 at 11:55 am #


  16. Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm # you measure TUL or count reps? I think that measuring TUL is better, because a little different speed means a lot. But do you have practical experience with measuring TUL during workout? Is it in fact enough to have some sort of sound signal that says “ok, now you exceeded the 90s limit on TUL, which means you have to slightly raise the weight next time to stay in the zone.”?

    • Joe A June 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      Unless you standardize rep performance, TUL is useless as a measure. Even then, it may not necessarily indicate what you think it indicates.

      • Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

        So do you recommend a simple rep counting? And what exatclty do you mean by standardising rep performance? I try to standardise it for the concrete exercise – do it the same way, control the movement and continuously load the muscle. Why is it so important? Isn’t TUL basically a defense against doing the same number of repetitions slower than last time–>bigger effort, but the same rep number–> disappointment with “no progress”? Thanks.

        • Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

          I mean: TUL is what matters and rep counting is a desperate attempt to get appropriate TUL, but works only if the rep speed is the one we expect which is usually not the case…Right?:-)

          • MikeEnRegalia June 8, 2012 at 4:04 am #

            “I mean: TUL is what matters and rep counting is a desperate attempt to get appropriate TUL, but works only if the rep speed is the one we expect which is usually not the case…Right?:-)”

            Wrong. Your argument is built upon the premise that performing repetitions slowly is beneficial. If your goal is mainly muscular hypertrophy – maybe you have a point. But if you’re training for strength and power, performing reps slowly is actually detrimental. If you’re doing a typical scheme of for example 5×3 or 5×5, simply perform the repetitions as fast as you can while still maintaining good control. The speed of the concentric part of the movement is going to be limited by the weight anyway as soon as you’re using a reasonably heavy weight – what I said applies only to the eccentric part. And even with that some even go so far as to completely skip it (for example do deadlifts and simply drop the weight at the end of the concentric phase). Why? Because the eccentric part damages (or in BBS terms “inroads”) the muscle and by doing so unnecessarily increases recovery time while adding nothing to the development of strength.

            BTW: You don’t have to take this on my authority – read Rippetoe’s books (as only one example) if you want to hear this from people with authority in the field.

            So to summarize: No, as long as you’re doing the exercise correctly, minor differences in cadence are nothing to fret about, and you can still compare your work sets in terms of WEIGHTxREPSxSETs. If you find yourself plateauing, the key is not to look for more precise ways to measure TUL, the key is to switch to more complex programming (read: periodization).

            • Ondřej June 8, 2012 at 6:41 am #

              My goal actually is rather hypertrophy…I don’t need to be superstrong for my life. It’s good to know that counting reps is enough, as it’s easier. What about rest between exercises? Is it good to measure it? Baye says: minimum rest – conditioning, 1-2 minutes – general, 3 m. – hypertrophy. I’ll probably go for 1 minute or 2 minutes. With 2 minutes of rest, my workout lasts about 1 hour. Is it too long for once a week training?

            • Joe A June 8, 2012 at 8:25 am #

              I agree with MikeEnRegalia regarding sets/weights/reps and periodization IF the training paradigm is such that the purpose is to establish your capacity to move an object from point A to point B and then attempt to increase your capacity to do likewise in subsequent sessions.

              I do not exercise in such a paradigm…I have no desire to be a weightlifter.

              • Ondřej June 8, 2012 at 9:12 am #

                The point is to see some gains:-) But if I want workout that is brief, I have to increase weight over time. And I also need to see when I hit plateau to react…do splits, increase recovery time or do other changes.

                • Joe A June 8, 2012 at 9:32 am #

                  Gains in what?

                  Don’t limit your ability to progress over time to just load increases. There are other (and actually better) ways to yield progress than simply loading up…I structure my program so that I impose the least amount of load on my body as possible.

                  Don’t get confused into thinking that increasing ‘strength’ will equal size…especially when your measure of strength increase is not standardized (meaning you aren’t necessarily demonstrating ‘strength’ increases by advancing reps or adding weight)…these markers indicate *that* you moved something from point A to point b…not *how*. The how means more toward your stated goal.

                  • Ondřej June 8, 2012 at 10:44 am #

                    By *how*, do you mean just technique? Or do you change programmes? Because I can’t imagine how one can progress with the same workout if he doesn’t add weight…ok, he improves the technique over time and that will make exercising with the same weight more difficult if there is perfect form. But this, again, you can’t really know or measure…or, you can keep the weight, but then it should take you longer to finish the exercise if you get stronger…and we don’t want significantly longer workout. Or, you can shorten the rest pauses…then you get to the point where there are no rest pauses…:-) Fuuuh this is gets too complicated for me, I just want a way to exercise once a week without having to change the program very much, and I read in every HIT book how you should progress by adding weight, whether it’s McGuff or Brzycki/Fornicola…

                    • Joe A June 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

                      You are looking for cookie-cutter answers to questions that are not so black and white. No book is going to be able to tell you what you need…the best anyone can do is teach you how to do the investigation for yourself.

                      The absolute first thing you need to do is get clear on what you want from your exercise. You have mentioned weight progression, hypertrophy, ‘some gains’, one hour work out, one day per week. Pick what is most important and then begin the investigation into the most effective, efficient and safe way to achieve it. You cannot pre-determine how to optimize the approach…one hour/week ‘without having to change very much’ may have an effect but may not be most effective, depending on your goals.

                      That said, load is not your only means of making an exercise harder…other things can make more of a difference over time than just adding weight.

                    • Ondřej June 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

                      My goal: Hypertrophy. I eat Primal. I assume some functional and strength improvement comes with it. I find training once a week comfortable, but I can train twice a week. I originally wanted to but I am afraid of overtraining with one hour HIT twice. But I could of course choose different, shorter workout.

        • Joe A June 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

          You have to qualify the experience before you can quantify it.

          Let’s say you perform a set that is 30 seconds TUL. Next time out, you perform a set that that is 40 seconds TUL…however, your ROM was slightly less, or your cadence was faster or slower, or you inadvertently paused, or you altered form, or braced/substituted, or a myriad of other performance discrepancies. What are you left with? Does the additional 10 seconds of TUL indicate anything useful?

          The usefulness of rep counting will be limited to standardization of rep performance too. If anything, I’m saying standardize performance. Or at least have objective feedback that indicates your discrepancies (so that a comparison can be made, even if it isn’t apples to apples).

          I do not give my clients a target rep range or a TUL to shoot for…it is the absolute wrong thing to be thinking about. The mindest should be one of making the exercise as hard as possible in order to terminate the set as quickly as possible, NOT attempting to extend the set beyond a previous performance. If you happen to ‘beat’ the last performance, great…but often a qualitative improvement in performance will result in a drop in TUL…not an increase. A lower TUL may be indicative of progress…but you wouldn’t know it without standardization and feedback.

          Neither the completion of a rep nor the sustaining of a set over a given time indicates one’s effort. They are external markers that cannot draw a picture of the internal events. Their relevance in assessing performance and progress are limited to the degree variables are controlled and limited to the comprehension level and scope of the one evaluating…IME, for most people they serve only to confuse.

          • Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

            That’s obviously true. But what can an average person, like me, with one adjustable bench and two adjustable dumbbells do to ensure progression in training? I mean, I don’t want to make the entire workout longer, I want to make it harder. My initial idea was to either have a rep range or to measure TUL and then add some weight. And you can expect the need for adding weight, it’s more about WHEN to add to avoid stagnation on one side or poor form, injury because of too eary weight progression on the other side.
            There are always variables, but if you don’t measure anything, you are completely out of control over progression, aren’t you?
            The basic question is: I have adjustable dumbbells and I want to use them. How do I know when to add weight as I get better… to make my training last under 1 hour?

            • Joe A June 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

              The first thing you need to do is discontinue viewing yourself as an ‘average person’. You are an individual, not an average.

              With that in mind, optimizing your exercise experience is not going to get fleshed out in the comments of a weblog. It is a journey, a disciplined, continuous experiment. I cannot answer these questions generally…things are not so cut and dried.

              I can tell you my experience, but ultimately you will need to put in the work to draw a conclusion for your inquiry.

              The only thing I concern myself with is acute effort. I cannot control an outcome; I cannot predict progression. I focus on the only thing I have 100% control over- my effort.

              In the absence of someone training me, I don’t count reps or track TUL. I don’t write down weights or any other aspect of my workout. I choose weights for exercise based on a multitude of factors (how I feel, where in the workout an exercise falls, rest interval between sets leading up to it, style of performance, and previous experience). Note that ‘previous experience does not mean I remember what weight or how many reps I performed from another workout and try to gauge where I should be, but rather I have done the movement before and *know* what is too light intuitively. If in doubt, or if I’m torn between what weight to select, I always choose less weight. Sometimes I’ll perform a curiosity rep (or two) to help determine an appropriate load.

              Then, I try to ’empty the tank’ as quickly as possible…maybe it is 4 reps, maybe it is twelve…the only thing I walk away knowing for sure is that I did everything I could on each exercise and my ‘pop-up timer’ went off…then I go home. I use a mirror and the way I feel to gauge if I’m succeeding or if I need to change ‘something’. If you really care to *know* if you are able to exceed a previous performance on specific lifts, you can test them in isolation once a month. Personally, I don’t care about such things.

              • Ondřej June 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

                Thanks. I am rather new to long-term strength training and this post helped me a lot. I understand your approach. But I still feel like I need the illusion of control…I’ll try to write down the numbers for some time. I don’t really care if I am able to exceed repetition range or TUL. But I am not yet able to intuitively choose the weight or to recognize when it’s too light etc.
                I also don’t fully understand the concept of TUL. The authors present it like a sweet-spot, or a time capsule of the best gains…”when you do it for 90 s, it’s the best…”:-) The same for pauses between exercises.

            • MikeEnRegalia June 8, 2012 at 4:21 am #

              “But what can an average person, like me, with one adjustable bench and two adjustable dumbbells do to ensure progression in training?”

              This continues where my previous post left: periodization. Assuming that you are no longer a novice, but actually an intermediate (Rippetoe essentially defines an intermediate as someone who plateaus in a linear progression scheme), what you need to do in a nutshell is to increase the volume of your workouts, but not go as heavy as possible all the time. The basic principle that HIT guys preach is still present here: As you get more advanced, your body takes more time to recover from the hard workouts where you overload your muscles by using more resistance than they’re used to. But where in HIT you simply do less work less often, you do more work more often, but not as heavy all the time. As someone who is genuinely interested in the principles behind things, I can only suggest to you to read Rippetoe’s Practical Programming for Strength Training. It’s a short, concise book, and it rarely (if ever) mentions barbell squats. It’s really just about how to set up training concepts (programming) which maximise the results.

  17. James June 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    As far as I am concerned the squat was designed to injure, performing perfect form on an movement specifically designed to slowly kill like a poison ” key word” slowly. A slight injury will occur giving the body time to adapt and make the change needed. Maybe a slight change in how they walk or maybe posture will be slightly out of wack. The appearance changes but the inner workings are slowly being crumbled , like the Chinese water torture. That water drop hits the exact same spot each time relentlessly until the breaking point.The breaking point is not a mystery if you damage your body with stupidly iggnorant exercise tactics you will kill your body.Finally a huge outbreak hits you with an uppercut square in the jaw. Mutha fuckin K.O. Ignore and lie to yourself until you are forced to face your lies.Lead Goon says to pack of peons”My back is kinda sore but I’m fuckin boss and ima still workout hoorah!!!” it’s got a cult like atmosphere.When there whole life is crossshit they would rather die than than lose there illusory identity. I call them cowards, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes it’s fuckin ridiculous.

  18. Scott Charles June 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Anthony: I love CrossFit. But I agree, it’s dangerous. So I take responsibility for that when I workout. I would also point out (as others have) that CrossFit was designed for EMT, police, fireman, SWAT teams and other disaster response workers. Jobs where danger is an integral part of the work. CrossFit tends to mimic that (at least for me.)

    Frankly I think most people should consider other forms of exercise (Tai Chi, Yoga, riding a bike, swimming.) But if one is going to choose CrossFit, the first thing to learn is how to scale the routine to fit one’s own abilities. Just my 2 cents.

  19. Lincoln Brigham June 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Drew Baye. Yeah. Listen up about Mr. Baye.
    I have personal email correspondance with Drew where he admits that he knowlingly posted a false and defamatory article on his website because it agreed with his point of view. He saw no ethical problem with doing this. He’s kept the article on his website, with no disclaimer. That’s the kind of guy he is.
    ADJ and Drew Baye deserve each other.

    • MC June 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      By all means point us toward this article.

    • MikeEnRegalia June 8, 2012 at 5:31 am #

      Of course without any further information this is just a baseless accusation. However, it’s interesting that when you google Drew Baye the results are mostly centered around his own website plus the 21 convention. The two other places I remembered were the living la vida low-carb show and John Little’s site (max contraction). It certainly looks like a small group of people who re-inforce each other’s beliefs – like an echo chamber.

      • MC June 9, 2012 at 2:21 am #

        He isn’t very mainstream, so you’re only going to hear about him on a small number of sites. Those sites probably aren’t going to be run by vegan hippies or those who like run marathons to work on their cardio.

        I’m not surprised that a personal trainer from Orlando spoke at a convention on exercise that was hosted in Orlando.

  20. Robert June 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    I appreciate the boldness of your opinions and information but a realistically you can point to any exercise philosophy in history and find cases of injury. From martial arts, to golds gym, to sweating to the oldies I am sure there are published cases of injury. This article is like saying If I drive a red car the rest of my life because it is red I will eventually get into a wreck. Crossfit is a very public methodology and as such it will always have criticisms. I think it boils down to the quality of the instructor. As a client its about finding someone who can intelligently guide them and teach them. Regardless of if it is crossfit, personal training, or hell even zumba.. You made a point that you see bad technique in crossfit gyms. That may be true but I see Bad technique at golds gyms, planet fitness, personal trainers, college coaches/instructors, you name it. Instead of pointing fingers to try to discredit a training methodology spend the time and energy educating your clients on your on thoughts on fitness and helping them improve.

  21. James June 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    so your saying there is the same chance of injury in a knife fight as there is in walking? The same applies to exercise why the fuck would i choose a more dangerous procedure to increase my muscle mass and over general health. Why would i damage my body in order to do better police work? There are many people who have no accidents or only minor accidents while driving a car…. maybe instead of pointing the finger you should be seriously asking yourself these questions.

  22. Robert June 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Hey Anthony, I’m the one who led the charge against you in the squat post, but I just wanted to let you know that I will agree with you 100% on this one. I didn’t read your full post bc I didn’t feel I needed to bc I think we will see that the reasons behave against it are similar to yours whether it was mentioned or not. To clarify, unless crossfit is employing some new exercise that involves swinging over a flaming pit of alligators, I don’t have a problem with the exercises and lifts they perform. I take major issue with the way they teach their students. Wanna squat? Awesome. Wanna Clean and Press? Fantastic. Deadlift? Even better. But I see countless videos of people performing hundreds of reps per workout and form is absolute crap bc the trainee is trying to complete reps for time, or they were never taught proper form, or they have pushed themselves past the point of fatigue and their body just isn’t working they way it was when they were on rep 3 of 50 deadlifts. It’s the “move the weight at all costs attitude” that these instructors have that is dangerous. Injury probability skyrockets when you do things wrong(any activity, not just exercise) so I guess I can disagree with you Dream on your point of 100% injury over a lifetime…..I don’t think it will take that long.

    • Robert June 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      Edit* I have….not “behave”

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Hey Robert

      Thanks for joining the discussion again.

      At the very least I agree with your final point : it will probably take much less time than a lifetime of performing CrossFit™ to experience an injury.

  23. bsimon June 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    Your critique of Crossfit demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of what is Crossfit.

  24. Drew Baye June 9, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Since I’m mentioned a bit here I feel I should make a few comments.

    Based on what I have seen of their instruction and form online, browsing the injuries section on the official forum, and having trained and done phone consultations for people who have previous experience with CrossFit the injury rate appears very high relative to even conventional training programs, much more than the very safety-conservative forms of HIT.

    It is a safe bet that anyone who does CrossFit lifelong will either experience one or more traumatic injuries or develop joint and spine problems due to the cumulative effect of the forces involved. That being said, you have to be careful about making statistical claims. While qualifying the statement by extending the time frame to “lifelong” probably does bring the probability of injury close to 100%, there is always the possibility however slight that someone, somewhere manages not to get hurt doing it for that period of time.

    As for Lincoln, it is his opinion the article by Ken Mannie on explosive training at is false and defamatory. I have not read all the papers referenced but the general points Mannie makes in the article are correct and Lincoln just doesn’t get it.

    • Lincoln Brigham June 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      Drew doesn’t CARE if the references upon which the Mannie article is based are false. He doesn’t want to know the facts.

      Facts are not my opinions, they are facts.

      The facts are that the studies quoted in the Mannie article aren’t what Mannie claims they are, don’t support the points that Mannie tries to make, and don’t say what Mannie claims they say. One of them doesn’t even exist! Others are irrelevant, obsolete, make circular refrences, or blatantly misquote the study in order to alter the conclusion. Guys like Baye hope people are impressed with the sheer number of footnoted references and use these impressive-looking quotes to gather sheeple who are too lazy to follow up on these references.

      • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 11:24 am #

        “The facts are that the studies quoted in the Mannie article aren’t what Mannie claims they are, don’t support the points that Mannie tries to make, and don’t say what Mannie claims they say.”

        Prove it Lincoln.

        • Lincoln Brigham June 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

          What, again? Too lazy to look up the references yourself?

          Start with reference #3 “Dangles”. Footnote doesn’t even match.

          The reference to Kotani – it’s a lie. The study was not an injury rate study as claimed, instead it was a study of pre-existing injuries. Not only that, but the injuries it talked about were undoubtably caused by an obsolete exercise that neither you or I have ever seen practiced in person except in grainy video from before 1972. This obscure study became obsolete the year after it was released some 41 years ago AND it’s not what Mannie claims it is.

          Once you find the missing “Dangles” study you’re likely to find it has the same problem as the Kotani study. It wasn’t an injury rate study of the general population of lifters as claimed. It only examined preexisting injuries. No healthy lifters or control subjects were examined. And you’ll probably find it’s obsolete as well, using data from a discontinued lift that hasn’t been seen in gyms since 1972.

          The Dr. Allman reference #9 was not a Dr. Allman study and the subject matter of that study has nothing in common with the Dr. Allman reference. It’s a completely random and irrelevant reference. Mannie could footnote a study on, I dunno, international economics here and guys like you wouldn’t notice or care.

          The Brzycki reference are circular. Brzycki misquotes the same sources as Mannie and refers back to Mannie as an ‘expert opnion’. It’s a circle jerk.

          The reference to Zemper tries to completely rewrite the conclusions and introduce new and completely unsubstantiated conclusions based on phantom data that does not exist in the Zemper studies. Zemper did not study ballistic vs. non-ballistic lifting but Mannie tries his best to make sound as if he had.

          Mannie footnotes studies 4,5,8,9,10,14,17,21,22,23,29,33,34,38 as supporting the notion that explosive lifting is dangerous but many of these studies do not directly examine explosive lifting at all. Mannie is often just taking random exercise studies and CLAIMING they’re studies of explosive lifting when they really aren’t.

          I’m sure there’s more. Why don’t you find it for me?

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      Hey Drew

      Technically, I agree. There probably is someone, somewhere, who can perform CF over a lifetime and not experience traumatic injury (so excluding cumulative problems from the discussion).

      I just think it’s improbable to the point of being irrelevant, if not teetering on literally impossible.

      At the very *least*, light years outside of the realm of what 99.999999% of people WILL definitely experience.

      Sort of like I said in the post, the statistics aren’t actually super important here … it’s whether an individual can *honestly* conceptualize a lifetime of performing CF where they do not experience a traumatic injury.

      I don’t think anyone can do that with a sound mind, and a straight face.

  25. JP Mummey June 9, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Question 1 – What hurts more people per year?

    Crossfit or diabetes?
    Crossfit or heart disease?
    Crossfit or a sedentary lifestyle?

    Question 2 – What gets more people off their ass, moving, and eating better?

    Crossfit or ARX?

    You can use your reputation and this platform to push people away from Crossfit (presumably towards whatever you sell) or you could use this platform to educate people. Warn them what to look for when selecting a gym. Teach trainers how to safely enhance the lives of their clients. Seems like you care more about slinging mud then helping people. Crossfit is new, and certainly there are gyms doing things wrong but if they hurt people they won’t last. As the movement grows the coaching will get better, the movement selection will get better, the prescription will get better, and the community will continue to get bigger.

    I agree 100% in the “Do no harm” rule of training and I see the dangers of Crossfit, but I also see the reach of Crossfit. You aren’t going to see the movement die, so why not try to improve it instead of trying to fight it?

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      Generally, I have no interest in helping people.

      Helping people is not a virtue.

      I don’t know what gave you the idea that I was interested in it in the first place. Bad assumption.

      Re CrossFit™ : I say this literally, people are better off doing nothing, than doing CrossFit™.

      • MikeEnRegalia June 10, 2012 at 3:15 am #

        I wonder whether the average 21C attendant knows that you’re only doing all this to get rich and make fun of people. In the light of this objectivism bullcrap, one wonders why you bother at all to tell people that barbell squats and CrossFit are bad – if you wanted to stay true to the doctrine of selfishness, you should keep that knowledge to yourself.

        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 10, 2012 at 11:05 am #

          I’m not making fun of “people”, I’m making fun of people on my blog who deserve to be made fun of (for acting like a jackass, insulting me, etc).

          If you think I’m making loads of cash off this blog … you don’t know a whole lot about blogging.

          I run this blog because I love running this blog. I enjoy it. Everything else is second to that.

          • MikeEnRegalia June 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

            You said that you’re not interested in helping people. Yet on this blog most posts that I’ve come across are in one way or another offering advice. Whether it’s “barbell squats are harmful”, “ARX machines are awesome” or “don’t do CrossFit” – or whether it’s the 21 conference in general: Your entire internet personality is centered around helping people, and at the same time you actually think that helping people is not a virtue. If you’re not doing it to help them, then you’re doing it to exploit them for your own (financial) purposes. And sure, you don’t make tons of money with the blog, but the blog is a marketing device for the conferences.

            • MC June 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

              He did an entire post on the subject:


            • Anthony Dream Johnson June 13, 2012 at 3:15 am #

              Hey Mike

              The post MC linked explains everything very well.

              As it states, my aim is concept formation and actualization.

              How much, or in what ways people benefit from that work, is not my concern, and generally not important to me.

            • Christoph Dollis May 5, 2013 at 5:25 am #

              I think what he’s saying is he (1) values truth for its own sake (2) is entirely OK with it, and probably somewhat prefers it, if people benefit from his observations in pursuit of 1 (3) but is not willing to assume any responsibility for 2 because he philosophically believes in freedom and self-ownership.

              Besides, it’s stressful trying to change people. By focusing on 1, he’s putting the ball in other people’s court, and he’s got better things to do than track what they do with the ball.

      • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

        Agreed Anthony.

      • Scott Charles June 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

        Interesting. I was under the impression you were in the self-help business, which tends to imply that you do see a need to “help people.” I better start reading up on my Ayn Rand primer again.

        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 13, 2012 at 2:51 am #

          No. I am in the business of actualizing the ideal man. Of identifying the knowledge and actions necessary for that process. Of discovering the best ideas in the world that are a part of that process, and of making them real through live events, videos, and related mediums.

          Next to that, I could care less about helping people, regardless of how many hundreds of thousands, or even millions are helped by my work.

          Am I glad when my work helps others? Sure.

          I’m also glad when the weather is warm and sunny and my coffee tastes good.

      • Corey June 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

        “Has no interest in helping people.”

        Basically sells a self-help seminar for sniveling nerds like himself while stroking his fragile little ego.


        • Christoph Dollis May 5, 2013 at 5:32 am #

          I laugh at the sight of someone posting anonymously calling someone else snivelling.

          Now that’s some serious irony.

  26. Lincoln Brigham June 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Ironically, one of the misquoted researchers, Eric Zemper, PhD, actually showed that football players were somewhere between 50 and 135 times more likely to be injured on the playing field than in the weightroom. Other studies have similar numbers. 32% of these football players suffered at least one playing-field injury PER SEASON. 8.5% of these injuries were season-ending. The number of injuries requiring surgery was also 8%. The truth is that weightroom injuries are more of a political issue for football strength coaches than a statistical problem for football head coaches.

    So where is ADJ’s and Drew Baye’s moral outrage at the sport of football? Especially considering ADJ’s serious knee injury FROM FOOTBALL? It SOUNDS good to say you’re concerned about injuries. The reality is a football strength coach like Mannie isn’t capable of doing anything substantive about football injuries other than trying to cover his own ass by using big words and talking a big talk.

    • Joe A June 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      “So where is ADJ’s and Drew Baye’s moral outrage at the sport of football?:”

      No one is playing (or advocating playing) football in order to improve health and fitness. The risk is assumed and appropriate IF your goal is to play football (for recreation or profession). ‘Exercise’ is a completely different ball game (pun intended)…this critical point has escaped a few on this post (and the post RE: barbell squats)..

      • Anthony Dream Johnson June 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

        Joe A nailed it …. nothing more to add here.

        • Drew Baye June 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

          Lincoln doesn’t get it, never has. Can’t see past his Oly lifting fetish and used to make the same kinds of claims on Fred Hahn’s board a while back. If I recall correctly, they finally got fed up with his nonsense and banned him.

          There is no good reason for the vast majority of people to ever perform an exercise explosively. Outside of competitive lifters it offers nothing of value over exercises performed at more controlled speeds and carries a greater risk of injury.

          • Lincoln Brigham June 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

            Mr. Baye doesn’t recall correctly. I’ve never been banned from any forum, ever. Hahn’s forum has died the death it deserved, however. The real problem Hahn had in trying to justify banning me is that my claims were true, much to his chagrin.

            Andrew Baye doesn’t understand the implications of spreading false information about his competitors. He’s relying on libelous hearsay about his competitors in order to advance his business. As long as it supports his business he’ll repeat anything, true or not. That’s the kind of guy he is.

            • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 11:13 am #

              “Hahn’s forum has died the death it deserved, however. The real problem Hahn had in trying to justify banning me is that my claims were true, much to his chagrin.”

              My forum died because I left it not wanting to deal with all the nonsense anymore.

              What claims of yours are true? That Olympic lifting makes you stronger and more muscular than traditional body building/HIT training?

              No one who has experience in both believes that Lincoln. You’re all alone in the universe.

              • Lincoln Brigham June 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

                “What claims of yours are true?”

                That HIT fanatics gladly and frequently lie about Olympic lifting in order to attract trainees. It’s an old and unfortunately frequently successful tactic to attract people to your cause, blaming some minority group as the cause of current problems.

                • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

                  Say what? What cause? Building muscle? Let’s arm wrestle someday. You’ll lose.

                  • Lincoln Brigham June 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

                    Yes Fred, duck the answer and switch to an ad hominem attack. That always works well.

                    • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

                      Define the ad hominem attack please.

                  • Lincoln Brigham June 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

                    Here’s how to do it Fred.

                    I’m going to prove using a scientific study that you are quite likely an alcoholic murderer. I’m going to use Mannie’s methods.

                    Let’s say I have an ax to grind against redheads who drive a stickshift. You’re a readhead and you know how to drive a stick right? The fact that I can’t drive a stick, have salt-and-pepper hair, and may or may not have beaten to within an inch of my life by my ginger-haired father is not important. What’s important is proving you’re an alcoholic murderer.

                    Here’s what I do:

                    I go the DMV and I pull a bunch of records of serious accidents. From that list I pull all the records of reheads who were driving a stick. Lo and behold, 44% of them were drunk at the time! 32% of these redheaded stickshift accidents had fatalities.

                    So I say, “Studies show that 44% of guys like Fred drive around drunk. 32% of them caused fatal car crashes. Therefore, Fred is mostly like an alcholic murderer.”

                    Boom. See what I did there?

                    The 44% and 3d% numbers are probably true. II have a study! It’s sciency!

                    Now everyone on the Internet will think you’re a sick bastard who needs to be locked up before you kill someone. Let’s face it — there’s more idiots on this planet who will believe this than there are redheaded stickshift drivers in Manhattan. You’ll be outnumbered and you know how shit goes viral.

                    Try it. It works!

                    Here — use the same techniques as Mannie and Brzycki to “prove” that the SlowBurn exercise protocol causes fatal accidents. Use this study:
                    (Hint: it doesn’t matter that the study does not mention SlowBurn. It could have; that’s all that matters!)

                    How are your shoulders and knees, btw? Still fucked up? Back still bothering you much?

                    • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

                      Nice speech.

                      So you can’t, support your original claim, can you? Didn’t think so.

                  • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

                    That’s not an ad hominem attack.

                    • Drew Baye June 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

                      Of course Lincoln can’t support it. The basic physical laws involved are irrefutable. That’s why instead of directly addressing the issue he makes claims about the studies and straw man arguments.

                      Olympic lifts and other explosive lifts provide no general strength or performance benefits that can not be obtained more safely by other means. There is simply no good reason for the vast majority of people to do them.

          • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 11:14 am #

            Agreed Drew.

    • fred hahn June 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

      No one thinks of football as an exercise modality for building strength and muscle mass Lincoln. Football is football like boxing is boxing.

  27. Nick June 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Generally, I have no interest in helping people.

    Helping people is not a virtue.

    It was fun seeing all the rants and unfortunate that some of us who came on here to bounce ideas back and forth with the author were completely dismissed. Even the ones who conducted themselves in a respectful manner. As Anthony posted above I hope that those of you looking to get advice about exercise do not look here because as soon as someone says that he/she has no interest in helping people this will tell you that the info they bring to the table has nothing to do with helping you out, it is obviously a ploy to somehow market only what will help Anthony out. While I am not saying that looking out for your own intrest at all cost is a bad thing, just watch where you get your info from about excercise and your body when your goals are of no concern to the author.

    • MC June 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

      I’d be far more cautious of websites and blogs that promote how much they would want to help you out. Those that want to cheat others usually don’t say “I have no interest in helping you out.” Just the opposite.

  28. Drew Baye June 10, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    ANY system of progressive resistance training done hard and consistently over time, with a volume and frequency appropriate for the individual, using ANY modality (free weights, body weight, machines, motors, etc.) can eventually get a person as strong and generally well conditioned as they are capable of. A lot of different ways to train will produce results. That being said, not all ways are as safe, practical, or time efficient. If you value your long term health and functional ability and if you value your time you will choose the method that is least damaging to the body and most time efficient.

    CrossFit can improve strength and fitness. It is just a very sloppy, haphazard and relatively inefficient way of doing so (short workouts, but higher frequency than necessary). There are no general physical improvements that CrossFit provides that can not be achieved more safely and efficiently by other means.

  29. Scott Charles June 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Anthony: I would like to report an injury: left arm bicep hurts, small spasms. Also both shoulders are really sore. Feels like somebody hit them with hammers. You have my permission to add my injury to your list: 31,000 +1.

    Here is my response to your post:

    Best Wishes,

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 13, 2012 at 2:54 am #

      I saw your post. Awesome!

      You’re not missing the point. You’re getting it exactly.

      The only thing you seem skeptical of is that there is no conflict between the absolute best results, and safety.

      There are no contradictions in reality. Of course there is no conflict there! The best results CAN ONLY be had under safe conditions.

  30. Homer June 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Are you trying to pull like a Drywall/IGX meme?…because you’re failing horribly bro.

  31. MC June 12, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    Anthony, any new posts coming up about Ron Paul? Or Rand Paul’s endorsement of Romney? I just heard the news.

  32. Luke June 12, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    First of all, I would like to say congratulations on your blog finally making it big. Genius really, pick some of the most contraversal subjects that are run mostly by social media, knowing the article would make the rounds…bash it, and see your views sky rocket.

    I am not making any points about CrossFit, Back Squats or why Football is a sport not an exercise, I just want to ask a simple question about pretty much everything that has been stated as safe, unsafe, stupid, the best excercise ever, the worst and so on….who said it has to be safe? Sure there are better ways to do everything, safer ways to do things, but what if someone defines themselves by doing CrossFit, how much they can squat, or how many beers they can drink every night? You could make every point about why its horrible or great, but your writing a blog dude…stop writing in a tone TELLING people what to do. Offer information, let them make their own decision, and let them go on their way.

    I own a CrossFit, back squat my tits off twice a week, and played college football…am I banged up from all that, you bet your ass I am. Would I change a thing knowing what I know now, I could think I would be smart enough to take some things a little easier but its who I am, how I live my life, the same as most of the people who get all worked up on these boards trying to bash you for shitting on something they love. Whether what you stated is wrong or right you picked something that people literally define themselves by…if doing these activities knowingly took 5 years off my life I am ok with it, cause I honestly don’t know what else I would do.

    A little advice now that your blog is being looked at by thousands of people a day, if you want to stay in the game for more than a couple weeks, stop with the smart ass sarcastic comments in the comment section. Your the author, if someone is an idiot or says something stupid just ignore it, comment on the ones that deserve a response, build some relationships with some intelligent people. Build a rep other than what most look at as some punk kid trying to troll the internet.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 13, 2012 at 2:40 am #

      People are not entitled to their own facts. Not on this blog, not anywhere.

      Exercise *must* be safe, or it is not exercise by any coherent and rational meaning of the term.

      Exercise must lead to better health.

      Physical injury absolutely negates that. End of story.

      Thanks for commenting! Your other thoughts in the comment are appreciated.

      • Corey June 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

        “Not entitled to their own facts.”

        Spreads false information without a grain of scientific fact, and broad use of hyperbole to make his argument appear as “fact.”

        I see you ending up on memebase one day, right next to the potato girl. You’re both about as smart as one.

        • Christoph Dollis May 5, 2013 at 5:46 am #

          Corey, at least he’s a meme. You’re hiding your identity from the world. Be a man. Hell, be a confident woman. Say what you think under your full identity.

          You’re talking about exercise here, for goodness sakes.

          You can’t even discuss this technical topic without being anonymous? What, are you worried that your boss is going to one day see that you like squats and then you’re out of a job?

          That the the Department of Homeland Security will go, “Whoa! That guy isn’t into HIT. Watch him.”

          I find you very entertaining, dude. George Carlin had nothing on you.

  33. Drew Baye June 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    It was very low on my list of drafts to update and repost, but after reading this I had to dust off and update my own CrossFit post. Not sure if you read it when it was originally posted in ’98 but thought you might enjoy the updated version. Feel free to link back to this post there.

    • Lincoln June 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      That’s a nice fluff opinion piece ya got there Drew.

      “There is no transfer of skill from an exercise to any other movement, no matter how similar. Skill is highly specific. … Certain free weight exercises also teach proper body mechanics for other movements – someone who learns to deadlift properly is more likely to move in a safer more effective manner when picking up other things.”

      Those are your words, not mine. That’s quite a contradiction.

      Let me repeat your words: “… no transfer of skill…”
      I interpret that as ‘none at all’. And yet…

      You really SHOULD read up on motor learning, especially Schmidt’s schema theory. This H.I.T. mantra of yours that ‘skill practice has 100% exact or it’s a complete waste of time’ is getting old.

      The problem is that you’ve given up on teaching ANY useful skills except how to flex in front of a mirror. Other programs are teaching folks to be strong as shit AND teaching them how to do useful stuff at the same time. I’m not just talking about Crossfit either. Heck, an indoor climbing gym has that over you.

      • Drew Baye June 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

        Skill transfer and general principles of body mechanics are not the same thing. Also, you’re creating a straw man. Nothing can be exact, but it should be as close as possible and barbell movements like cleans, etc. are nothing like the various sport movements they are often claimed to transfer to.

        • Lincoln June 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

          You play fast and loose with your definition of “exact” and “no matter how similar”, don’t you? Your definitions as well as your facts seem to change depending on convenience.

          To quote you again, “Skill improvement is very specific; to become more skilled at a movement you must practice that movement, not something that somewhat resembles it, not a similar movement while holding a weight or with something heavier than you would normally use, but the exact movement.”

          The exact movement. That’s what you said. I think you like to use the word “exact” when it suits you. At other times you switch to the word “similar” when it suits you. When someone makes a point that strength “X” is quite similar, you switch back to saying no it needs to be exact.

          • Drew Baye June 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

            Again, you attempt semantic arguments because you have nothing else. The bottom line is, unless you’re a competitive Olympic lifter there is no need to perform the Olympic lifts, and no need for anyone else to perform any kind of explosive or quick weight training movements. Get over it.

            • MikeEnRegalia June 18, 2012 at 6:26 am #

              Hi Drew,

              your argument is based on the premise that any sport essentially boils down to two components: strength and skill. There’s also power, which you say does not need to be trained for, since it is already covered by training for strength. I beg to differ, and so does Rippetoe and many other authorities in the field, as you undoubtedly are aware of. So: Can you point to any studies which would support your argument – or did I not understand it properly?

              • Drew BayeDrew Baye June 18, 2012 at 6:55 am #

                Mike, see the section on speed and power at

                • MikeEnRegalia June 18, 2012 at 9:01 am #

                  Thanks for the reply – I did read the section, but it merely asserts that training at “more controlled speeds” will provide the same improvement in power as training ballistically. Your claim is at odds with that of many other trainers and experts, and while that doesn’t necessarily refute your claim in and of itself, it would be helpful if you could back it up with studies or research articles.

                  • Chris Highcock June 18, 2012 at 9:41 am #


                    Check out the section on Power, p41, in the paper

                    • Lincoln June 18, 2012 at 10:44 am #

                      Carpinelli gives a master class in how to cherry-pick studies and tip-toe through the data. Anyone can ‘prove’ an exercise recommendation is ‘unsubstantiated’ using Carpinelli’s fault-finding methods. ANY exercise program can be debunked as unproven using his approach.

                      Note that Carpinelli sets out to disprove someone else’s recommendations. There’s bias right from the start. Lo and behold, he manages to find ‘unsubstantiated proof’ with everything he looks at! What are the odds? Well, they’re 100% if that’s what the intent was.

                    • MikeEnRegalia June 19, 2012 at 10:00 am #

                      Thanks! It’s an interesting paper, but as Lincoln said: Anyone can amass citations and studies and prove or disprove almost anything. As far as this particular paper is concerned: I could only skim it so far, but most papers on the topic seem to suffer from the lack of studies specific to trained, healthy, young subjects. I don’t mean to say that there are none – there are, and the paper cites some. But the prepoderance of studies seems to either focus on untrained individuals (in which – I hope we all agree – most training methods produce results), or they focus on specific subjects like – as an extreme – post-menopausal women.

                      Nevertheless I think the paper is interesting – it refutes Anthony’s ARX machine based training BTW (read the section on eccentric training – ARX is essentially 100% eccentric).

                    • MikeEnRegalia June 19, 2012 at 10:07 am #

                      Correction: ARX is 100% eccentric for some exercises (e.g. pulldown, hip belt squat), 100% concentric for others (I guess an example would be overhead press). That alone is a problem: concentric/eccentric movements have different training effects and affect recovery differently – how can you train your whole body consistently with the ARX if the body parts are trained completely differently?

                    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm #


                      In my entire life, I’ve never had to ask this question before : how are you that fucking stupid?

                      Nearly everything you post as a comment on this blog is *aggressively* stupid. You seem to have a knack for getting something wrong, and then amplifying it 100 fold.

                      I don’t normally write stuff like this : please plant your face into a brick wall.

                      Your comments are like an bottomless pit of stupidity.

                    • MikeEnRegalia June 20, 2012 at 8:46 am #


                      it doesn’t matter how creatively you assert that I am stupid – as long as your comment does not contain any factual statement, it’s all just baseless accusations.

                      I know you’re not into helping people, but please, this one time, just for the fun of it: give me a concrete example of something that I got wrong and amplified 100 fold, and I’ll gladly respond and set things straight, or admit that I’m wrong. Both is infinitely better than just posting hot air.

                    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

                      Why would I post a legitimate response to you?

                      You haven’t earned it, and you don’t deserve it.

                      Not on this blog, not from me, and not for 1 single second of my time.

                    • MikeEnRegalia June 21, 2012 at 1:24 am #


                      Luckily you’re not the only one posting comments on your blog, so there actually is the possibility of reasonable discussion.

                    • Joe A June 21, 2012 at 9:01 am #


                      “give me a concrete example of something that I got wrong and amplified 100 fold”

                      Well, some explanation of this statement may be in order: “ARX is 100% eccentric for some exercises (e.g. pulldown, hip belt squat), 100% concentric for others (I guess an example would be overhead press)”

                    • MikeEnRegalia June 21, 2012 at 11:00 am #


                      I said that I wasn’t sure about the overhead press – maybe that exercise is 100% eccentric on the ARX, too. Since Anthony is surely more knowledgable on the ARX, he could clarify. I just don’t get how such misunderstandings would be cause for not responding in a reasonable manner.

                      I just had a look at the ARX website, and they also don’t explain it. However, from the YouTube videos I can see that apparently programs include turnarounds. What I don’t get is how the concentric phase is supposed to work then – the machine controls the speed of the movement, and you’re essentially contracting as hard as you can against that movement. I guess I would call it “quasi-concentric” – the muscle is shortening while contracting, but the shortening is not in sync with the contracting filaments.

                      If you see a problem with my statement – by all means do correct it. I’m always here to learn.

                    • Joe A June 21, 2012 at 11:43 am #


                      Concentric = shortening the distance between a muscle’s origin and insertion.

                      Eccentric = lengthening the distance between a muscle’s origin and insertion.

                      The ARX accommodates both scenarios. I don’t understand “quasi-concentric”…the muscle is shortening or not…if it is, the action is concentric. Regardless of the speed my limb travels, if my attempt to accelerate it results in movement, we call that concentric. Same if I choose to decelerate the limb, if the muscle is lengthening, the action is eccentric.

                      There is no pre-defined way to use the technology. Meaning, you do not have to push/pull as hard as possible, the user defines the experience. I believe the user can set the speed as well. Regardless of the setting, the machine will move at that rate, then it is up to the user to apply/resist force to whatever degree they choose.

  34. MikeEnRegalia June 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm #


    Thanks for the response. I agree with all you’re saying about the concentric/eccentric distinction. However, when consider the sort of forced concentric movement you would typically do with the ARX, where you push as hard as you can but the machine still completely governs the movement pattern, I’m wondering if that could have a similar effect on the filaments as the eccentric movement (tearing), since in both cases the movement is dictated by external forces which the muscle tries to contract against.

    • Joe A June 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm #


      What are you considering a ‘forced concentric movement’?

      What does ‘the machine still completely governs the movement pattern’ have to do with anything? Realize this is not limited to ARX…every machine, every tool (barbells and dumbbells included) completely governs the movement pattern of a given exercise (assuming the intent is to perform the exercise correctly).

      • MikeEnRegalia June 22, 2012 at 9:15 am #

        The ARX controls the speed of the movement in a novel way that you can’t mimick with barbells or dumbbells, or any conventional machines. With those, until you reach failure, you can always overpower the resistance at least to some extent, meaning that in the concentric phase the muscle shortens by its own power, at the rate resulting from its own power. With the ARX the muscle shortens at a programmed rate, while the muscle filaments are constantly failing to contract in a way that would result in motion. It’s not like a static hold either.

        BTW: I’m not saying that this necessarily an argument against the ARX. It’s simply something which I find curious and would be interested in seeing studies for.

    • Maureen May 30, 2014 at 12:07 am #

      Reading the comments here – Mike EnRegalia is really right on in a lot of what he says. The author just sounds like an immature twit with misplaced bravado. Me, I’m a 54 year old who does crossfit. I won’t get injured cause I’m smart enough to find a good gym and not do shit that’s beyond my ability.

  35. Don't click this please June 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Thanks for that cringe inducing video. I had my eyes closed the whole time waiting for broken bones. I’ve never done Crossfit, but I’m smart enough to know it’s ridiculous.

  36. yaktipper June 28, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Everyone I know that does CrossFit has been injured. I did scaled down versions of the workouts for about a year and had maybe 1 minor injury per week, nothing major. Things like dislocated toe I popped back myself, nosebleed after workouts, joint pain that would be gone in a few days, aggravated tendons that were problems before CrossFit, etc. Many others I know had much more severe injury. They would usually chalk it up to old pre-existing back injuries, or old sports injuries, or if it was say a wrist injury, it was just something to wait out.

    One type of injury I would like to point out as perhaps being beneficial. I am 42, and found that CrossFit exposes weak areas you didn’t know you had, having done only casual weight training and running. Unused muscles get weaker when you are older. Used muscles that were maintained suddenly overpower these weak areas, exposing them. This is not a problem faced by a younger person. Some of those injuries (minor muscle or connective tweaks) are easily recovered from and make it obvious where limits exist, and give the opportunity to learn self-therapy which is a valuable skill even outside of exercise.

  37. bobby q August 18, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    Crossfit is very safe given that the correct form is followed. Crossfit is great for athletes or competitive individuals that get fulfillment from pushing themselves to their limits. There is no doubt that the benefits of crossfit are unparalled just by looking at any crossfit athlete that has been practicing for any given period of time.

    I can tell you that efficiency and efficacy is a top priority among crossfit trainers and all crossfitters are required to maintain form throughout their exercises. Working within safe weight limits that allow for good form is a great way to minimize risk to negligible levels.

    Crossfit may not be for everyone just like being a hardworking successful entrepreneur is not something most people will want to invest into to achieve. Similarly having a high strength to body weight ratio and a chiseled body is not probably something most people have the will power to achieve as well. Considering that there are 40 million Americans who live off food stamps and two years of unemployment, the same can be said with their substandard level of fitness.

    Crossfit is going to be the most challenging exercise program to choose from and that is what makes it attractive. I suggest you ask yourself what type of person you are. My guess is that virtually everyone in this blog is a fat, lazy, skinny, average, blend into the crowd type of person. However, if inside you itch to be the best you can be, try crossfit.

  38. Jason September 29, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    I am not adamant enough of a defender of Crossfit to be able to write a long article in support of it. But, if Crossfit is not exercise because of a “high” risk of injury, then no sport is exercise because sports do not achieve the author’s standard of “(making the risk) so low that you have a better chance of being struck by lighting.” Are marathons, triathalons, cycling races, and everyday sports like tennis or basketball not exercise? As someone who plays tennis, I could make the same claim about tennis that this author makes about Crossfit: If someone plays tennis for a *lifetime*, he is almost assured to receive SOME injury at some point. Do sports not provide a net benefit to one’s health (mental and physical) even with the risk of injury? I very much resent that the author essentially labels anyone who accepts risk of injury in his exercise program as irrational. That’s ridiculous. Injuries happen, but they don’t invalidate years of uninjured physical (and mental) fitness.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson September 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      “But, if Crossfit is not exercise because of a “high” risk of injury, then no sport is exercise”

      You understood the post very well, perhaps better than you know.

      Yes, sports are not exercise. No sport. I appreciate that many are physically demanding, if not incredibly so in some cases.

      Never the less, intense physical activity does not equal “exercise”.

      Giving birth for example, is not exercise.

      Neither is taking a shit.

      Both can be or are intense, but intensity is not the sole requisite of a physical activity being exercise. If it were then jumping off the roof of my house every day, multiple times in a row, would be exercise. Or consistently constipating myself with drugs, would have a net result of “exercise”.

      Which is complete, primitive, obsolete, nonsense.

  39. joe October 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    I loved this article. I feel the exact same way. Thank you so much for writing it and putting yourself out there to all the

    • Natalie November 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

      I loved this article too!! I did Crossfit for a month and it’s kind of crazy when a trainer is screaming at me to hold a heavy barbell over my head then squat..I am girl and I’ve worked out my whole life (yoga /kickboxing/ running) I knew this didn’t feel right and was way too heavy he was humiliating me and I basically told him to fuck off and asked him if I get injured and can’t work is he going to pay my mortgage? It’s more of a cult (has it’s own weird language) and that odd enthusiasm for exhausting your muscles so that you are crippled for 3 days?? The funny thing is most of the girls at Crossfit were big fatso’s who can dead lift a car..ummm no thanks….everyone in my power yoga class has hot lean bodies! I overheard at least 3 people each time I went talking about their injuries and it really scared me…Crossfit is not the way to go if you’re an average fit person who wants to look and feel great by working out…I’m not going back

  40. C4ST3R M4ST3R (@ktc_s) October 19, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    I loled at this article 🙂 but whatever makes you feel superior who am i to judge

    • Kevin October 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      100% eh… so what about playing football? rugby? hockey? lacrosse? should people not play because there is a “high risk for injury?”

      • Anthony Dream Johnson October 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

        Coming from someone who just had knee surgery from a highschool football injury, people should play whatever they want.

        The purpose of athletic activity is NOT to improve health. It’s to play the sport, compete, win, have fun, etc.

        Athletics has nothing to do with exercise. If you think it does, you are mistaken and/or confused.

        • Kevin Bowles October 30, 2012 at 10:48 am #

          What if those who perform/excersise in CrossFit use it for just that: Sport? Just because my grandmother doesn’t compete in an actual competition, doesn’t mean she can’t get the same thrill as an NFL player, there is an athlete in every one, who are we to discriminate against that? CrossFit has done a wonderful job in exposing people to new sports ie: Gymnastics, Olympic wieghtlifting, powerlifting, strongman. What is your take on those sports? athletes are injured every day doing things that they love. You have one life, one mind, one body, I won’t discriminate against someone who uses all three to its fullest potential.

          You talk about CrossFit being condradicting of the health industry, I find your post very condradictory of itself. You are trying to be black and white with a topic that is very grey, it’s like your “trying” to sound smart.

          • Anthony Dream Johnson October 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

            If you are doing CrossFit for “sport” (or fun/competition/recreation/xyz), then it doesn’t matter how high the risk of injury is.

            I’ll put this into a personal context : I played football. I loved football. It had a high risk of injury. I got injured.

            Big whoop.

            I would do it all over again. It only becomes irrational when I entertain the ridiculous idea that I’m playing football for my health.

            It has nothing to do with increasing or improving health.

            • Kevin Bowles October 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

              Agreed, but if you think sport doesn’t improve health, you are mistaken. Would you not agree how fit you are determins how healthy you are? and that the worlds best athletes are the fittest in the world therefore the healthiest?

              And most people who do CrossFit do it because it gives them joy, like an athlete. And yes there are health benefits to the lifestyle.

              • Anthony Dream Johnson October 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

                You are delusional if you think “the world’s best athletes” are anything even approaching healthy, never-mind “healthiest”.

                What you are talking about is achieving fitness at the expense of health, a contradiction, and a very stupid one at that.

                • Kevin Bowles October 31, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

                  Just because it goes against your “theory” doesn’t make it stupid, that’s what i find irritating about your post and your responses, they are arrogant, egotistical, and you take your own opinion as fact…
                  you dont think mma fighters, hockey players, soccer players, field lacrosse players, rugby players, and 400m-1000m specialist swimmers/runners arent healthy? Ever have experience in Olympic weightlifting? I have, you don’t think we have some of the best bone density on the planet? Sport is the best thing for your health and your lifestyle, yes you risk injury, but are you not going to drive because you might be killed in a car accident?

                  However, we could go on in argument cycles forever about this, it just boils down to your post having a lot of assumptions with a statement that is so matter of fact, on a topic that is not so. Again, trying to be black and white with a very grey topic. Further, the irritating thing to me is your negative outlook on something that has positively changed so many peoples lives. Yes, CrossFit has its flaws, but most other fitness/health/athletic/human body improving program has a lot more flaws than CrossFit does. Find me anything in this world that is perfect.

                  • Anthony Dream Johnson October 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

                    I would maintain that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about on a very black and white subject.

                    Death is perfect.

                    • Kevin Bowles November 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

                      How would you know? You’ve never died.

  41. blitz442 February 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    “I can tell you definitively that, last I spoke with Drew, he has personally supervised training sessions into the tens of thousands in over a decade of personal training practice.

    And he has not injured a single trainee; and I would bet he can name half a dozen other trainers, off the top of his head, that have similar track records, with equally fantastic results with their clients.”

    Mark Rippetoe has 3 decades of experience supervising trainees who squat heavy, and he has never seen anything remotely resembling the spinal injuries or fatalities that you claim are caused by squatting.

    If Drew’s testimony is sufficient evidence for you, why isn’t Mark’s?

  42. Victoria February 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    As a personal trainer myself, I see the pro’s and con’s of Crossfit, unfortunately, the cons FAR outweigh the pros. I have tried Crossfit myself, done my share of WODS, and when I was done with my month, I was very happy that PRIOR to going into Crossfit, I had an extremely well established foundation from stability and balance training thanks to the NASM “OPT Model”; so my joints had been well taken care of, and I had the shoulder, core and hip balance and strength to take the plyometrics that get immediately shoved down your face. After my month there, I knew that the Crossfit style of training and lifting flew in the face of all the NASM programs that I had been taught. When I came in as a ‘beginner’ (beginner to Crossfit, I doubt most beginners there can already do pistols) they knew nothing of my past. Did they perform any sort of extensive joint mobility test on me? Nope, Did they perform a proper overhead squat assessment? No. One of the girls that I was with in the ‘beginner class’ had a severe asymmetrical lean to one side and a severe anterior pelvic tilt that I observed as she did a squat, but did the trainers ever identify that? No, and all I could hear is them repeatedly shouting at her to keep her chest up as she was doing squats, not bothering to find out if maybe she can’t keep good form because of muscular imbalances.( Now, you Crossfit enthusiasts may say “well, you were just at a bad Crossfit”. Well, yeah I agree! But, in the Crossfit Community, the particular one I was at is regionally regarded as the best and has had several competitors in the Crossfit Games.) Back to training… When someone can’t squat with proper form, you don’t just yell at them to ‘fix it’, because sometimes they can’t. You have to stop, identify what is keeping them from the proper form, and sometimes, isolate those muscles that are imbalanced, and rehabilitate them and THEN go back to the bigger movements, which sometimes takes weeks, sometimes months

    . My biggest gripe with Crossfit is just the overblown emphasis on ‘Prime Mover’ muscles, and everything seems to be so Quad dominant. Of the ten friends that I have that are dedicated to Crossfit, six of them have shoulder problems and/or knee problems, including ACL tears and rotator cuff tears, some needing double shoulder surgery. My fellow NASM trainers that are in just as good shape as my Crossfitter friends, do not have those problems and in addition, they also have more range of motion and better stability because of proper OPT Model Training. Oh yeah…….the Pro’s of Crossfit? They have the same goal of helping America/The World tackle Obesity. But, I worry that those people that lost a bunch of weight, may be stranded on the sidelines in ten years and not be able to work out (may get fat again) and also not be able to wash their own backs because of range of motion loss. **Disclaimer, I am not dogging on big, compound movement exercises, dead lifts, overhead squats, I use them often in my own work outs, but incorporating stability and balance exercises ensures that the tendons and ligaments around the joints (particularly shoulder, hips, knees and ankles) are up for the task of supporting those big movements and the heavy weight….it’s not all about Quads and Pecs guys. Functional Fitness should be the average person’s goal….it should KEEP YOU FUNCTIONING well into your later years, not give you a ‘few glory years’ where you’re in the best shape of your life, and then the last 25 years of your life you are plagued with injuries that impede your every day life…that is NOT functional.

    • Pamela July 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

      Excellent response! Love it when someone speaks truth! Right on!

  43. Patrick Murphy May 22, 2013 at 2:00 am #

    Anthony.. You make some valid points regarding CrossFit… Here’s my short post on it..

  44. Ryan October 17, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    I enjoyed your post Anthony. I checked out the page on the Cross Fit page on injury posts and I am totally shocked. It’s almost like some of the people take pride in their injuries. Really sad. Being in the field of sports and exercise science for the last 10+ years, I could see this Cross Fit injury epidemic coming a million miles away.
    Thanks for the post Anthony. Ryan, PhD(c) Movement Science, MS Exercise Science, BS Sports Science

    I leave you with this…whenever I think of Cross Fit a great quote from Kenny “F***ing” Powers always comes to mind “I play real sports, not try to be the best at exercising”;)

  45. Streator hinsdale December 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Maybe i am wrong but i believe that just going to get in and out of your car may cause an injury over a lifetime i think we should just sit home and not do anything so we can be safe for a lifetime, but then eventually we die…but that cant be safe either,OH MY!

    If people use common sense while lifting the amount of injuries over a lifetime will be absolutely, positively next to none. Unfortunately we have an ego and this ego affects our ability to use common sense so the chance of injury goes way up to… Well just make sure your healthcare premiums are paid up.

    I thought everyone already knew that though, sorry dude i just do not get the point of your website, it does not make sense. Pretty kooky.

    • JCS January 25, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      In light of the guy severing his spinal cord doing this overzealous activity, this article needs to be spread.


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