Why CrossFit Works

If you go online and look up “fitness routines,” a lot of the results will tell you that you have to do some weight training and some cardio and that you should probably aim to complete whatever you’re doing in a short amount of time or in some kind of “super set.” It’s pretty evident that the cat is out of the bag and the rest of the “fitness” community at large has realized that HIIT or high intensity interval training works.

The reason being is intensity. Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing the rate of return on your efforts. In layman’s terms, if you want to get better at something, make it intense. Intensity is equal to power, in other words – the ability to move a large load a long distance and quickly. People figured that out. However, if you do search “fitness routines,” you will also see each program claiming that you will absolutely NOT plateau on their program and that’s false.

People plateau for one reason and one reason only. Variance. If you have a lack of variance in your program, you WILL plateau. I believe Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell, and the Russians were the first ones to figure out that a training program should absolutely have hundreds of exercises to it. Coach Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, took it to a whole other level. Coach Glassman was revolutionary in understanding that a weightlifter who can do pull-ups might be able to pull harder on the bar. A runner who can weightlift might be faster. And a power lifter who can run a little bit might have increased stamina to lift weights longer.

The human body is the king of adaptation. This means that whatever you present to the body, it’s going to get better at. This is a gift and curse for all human beings. If you spend a lot of time sitting in a chair, typing on a computer, you’re going to get really good at just that. This won’t do you much good when you have to help a friend or relative move a heavy sofa. You’ll have to squat down to lift the sofa with your legs and suddenly realize you don’t have the ability to do so. You’ll then resort to lifting it with your back and we all know how that story goes.

The same rings true though for exercises you do over and over again. If you’re constantly doing the same ones or the same amount of reps, your body is going to adapt. It’s going to send a signal to your brain that the amount of muscle it has now is adequate to complete the task so there’s no need to make more. Food has a major role in this too but for the sake of the argument let’s just look at it from the perspective of your body’s ability to adapt. This is why CrossFit uses an unlimited amount of exercises and rep schemes. As the CrossFit charter for programming says, “the only limit to your program is your imagination.”

Coach Glassman understood that if there were significant benefits to doing 1 rep max lifts; then there had to be great benefits to lifting a light barbell for 100 reps. If the body is never adapting then it’s always changing. We never want to be stagnant in our training. If you feel like you are, do an exercise you’ve never done before. Throw it into a 10 minute workout with another movement you’re familiar with and see what happens.


Ready to change up your fitness routine? Email Coach Jobes at jobie@crossfitivirlis.com, and take the first steps to enhancing and saving your life with fitness. All you need to do is write the email, we’ll take it from there.