Can The CrossFit Games™ really claim the title “Fittest on Earth”?

Written by Alex Rees


Part One


 

Context


I know for a fact this is going to surmount to a large amount of debate amongst fitness professionals and athletes. But the fact that someone (CrossFit®) have actually gone out to find and test who actually is the fittest on earth, regardless if you believe it or not, is pretty impressive. In this post I intend to look deeper into the subject and answer the question: Can The CrossFit Games™ really claim the title “FITTEST ON EARTH”?


History


For the most part CrossFit as a training methodology has been around a substantially longer time than most people believe. It was actually formed in 1996 and later founded in the early 2000’s by an ex gymnast called Greg Glassman. Coach Glassman didn’t believe fitness could be defined by a single modality, such as a WR marathon runner or a gold medal triathlete. Glassman believed fitness could only be defined by having an array of physical and mental fitness components, only then could an athlete produce a greater total work output or work capacity across broad time and modal domains (real fitness). i.e. how much work can you do in a specific amount of time or how fast can you complete a certain amount of work.


Of course, completing work doesn’t just consist of action or movement, but a whole series of inter-kinetic motions over a repetitive duration. Meaning, to move, push or throw objects, no different to shot-put, high-jump or powerlifting, you need to be strong and with strength being the vehicle so comes speed, agility and power (although that’s a different post altogether). Likewise, a high level of skill is also needed otherwise work rate will deteriorate due to inconsistent movement patterns and a greater amount of fatigue from the body working so hard to overcome bad technique. No different to a gymnast, figure skater or synchronised diver. With such high levels of skill comes balance, accuracy and coordination, essentially anything that is controlled by motor responses. Finally, to sustain a high amount of total work output for a longer time frame, athletes will need to have a good amount of cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, and stamina. Ensuring energy levels are maintained throughout with excellent aerobic conditioning, no different than a long-distance runner, Nordic skier or rower.


Obviously, that’s an unrealistic summary of top athletes, as many sporting disciplines require all components of fitness. I put this previous statement in to simplify the very intentions of what CrossFit is about. Which is often the cliched “jack of all trades and master of none” but in reality, it should be “jack of all trades, master of many” because to really be the fit or the fittest (total work output) you need to be strong in everything and have high levels in all components of fitness!


Enter The CrossFit Games™.


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