Preparing A CrossFit Champion… Phase 1 (Identification) Reverb

crossfit New Zeleand

CrossFit NZ

I was looking through some youtube as I often do to see where and how the mainstream of training is going, and I know that I have established apparent conclusions between world strongest man and Crossfit on television, or the similarities between jogging and Nike in relationship to Crossfit and Rebook from a marketing advertisement standpoint. However, the thing that I find fascinating about what I see is the slow but consistent development of a “type” emerging to the top in the Sport of Fitness.  For those of you out there that coach for a living and don’t just write programs (and you know who you are), you will understand what I am talking about. There are a certain number of characteristics that best represents a sport. Of course, you will always have exceptions to the rule but over the course of time, a consistent type will emerge. So for those that don’t fully understand this, let me use swimming…. They are long and lean with large extremities, the end. If you need more examples, you seriously have to stop teaching body attack and get out into the world!

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the body type of the Sport of Fitness. Or as coaches in the trenches like to call it… “Cluster Fuck” but, either way, it is a sport with championships and money, and based on today’s media existence that indeed makes it a legitimate sporting endeavor! And yes there is a body type that is starting to emerge to take the tope honors, and please don’t think that I believe there will not be someone come along outside of these norms and win… But if you are a coach in the private sector and you are trying to prepare someone for a win, trust me there is a type that will walk through your door that will look the part more than the others…

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 4.30.29 PMSo what is the kind winning the Crossfit games currently? Well, it is an athlete that will be sub 10% body fat, but still maintain a significant amount of muscle mass. They will have an average height of 69” (175cm) and a weight roughly 188lbs (85kg). They will roughly equal in torso length and leg length, with a thick core and have a slightly higher work capacity towards anaerobic capacity genetically.  They will have a build similar to an athlete that would also excel at the sports similar in metabolic and strength demands i.e., Wrestling or Judo and maintains a strong natural posterior chain.  The past winners that didn’t have the ability to gain more mass while retaining metabolic conditioning and recovery have dropped significantly in placing over the last 4-5 years. However, this may also be due to poor program design on their part.  The athletes that are slightly larger have increased difficulty maintaining the ability to stay consistently in the top spots resulting in lower scores as well. Some would argue that the athletes that are bigger and stronger play “real” sports and that maybe true to a degree, but the reality is that the majority of Fitness Athletes are a product of the events and because of that you will never have a 2.00m 125kg champion.

Since the year 2007, these have been the heights and weights of the champions.

2007  5’10” 168lbs

2008  5’9”    210lbs

2009 5’8.5”  173.4lbs

2010 5’11”   190lbs

2011 5’10”    195lbs

2012 5’10”   195lbs

For Comparison The top five women 2012 (as you can see there is a very muscular average)

5’6″  147.4lbs

5’4″ 130lbs

5’7″ 148lbs

5’2″ 133lbs

5’2″ 135lbs

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 4.31.05 PMAlso, if you compare the top 10 athletes from this season, you will see that they are all very similar in height and weight. There are a couple that falls slightly outside of the norms, but they also didn’t win. For example, the athlete that won the power events like standing broad jump and sprint, placed 12th overall but to no surprise, he was also 6’1” (186cm) and 210lbs (95.45kg). The Games are a product of many events over some days, and the athlete does not have to be the absolute strongest, fastest or fittest to win. They simply have to have the body that can perform consistently over the course of three days. So in a sense, you need a body type that is “almost” the best but more importantly has a tremendous capacity for recovery in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, we also know that the higher an athlete’s overall ratio of fast twitch fibers the longer it will take them to recover from exertions, even if they can produce better in some events this doesn’t always make for success in multiple events.

Categories: Written Word

6 replies

  1. Another consideration to “Identification” is what is the #1 determinant for becoming a Wold class CrossFitter? In other-words, what athletic background will provide more success in the long run…. Aerobic Capacity, Strength, Power? If you look at most of the top athletes profiles, endurance backgrounds seems evident with training history. As mush as people argue CorssFit is NOT just aerobic work. In reality it is….the bigger the engines, the better recovery and work capacity. Thoughts?

    • I agree as well, there’s always going to be an argument that aerobic work is counterproductive to maximal strength work and anaerobic power. But there is clearly a correlation between aerobic capacity and athletes ability to maintain high volume levels of training, so in my opinion the better the aerobic base for this nature of training the better overall performance that you typically see.

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