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‘Mechanics,’ then ‘Consistency,’ and then ‘Intensity’

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“Learn the mechanics of fundamental movements, establish a consistent pattern of practicing these same movements, and, only then, increase the intensity of workouts incorporating these movements.‘Mechanics,’ then ‘Consistency,’ and then ‘Intensity’– this is the key to effective implementation of CrossFit program methodology.”
-CrossFit

 

This quantification of fitness is a part of a broader concept that is at the heart of this movement: We call it evidence-based fitness. This means measurable, observable, repeatable data is used in analyzing and assessing a fitness program. There are three meaningful components to the analysis of a fitness program: safety, efficacy, and efficiency.

 

The efficacy of a program means, “What is the return?” Maybe a fitness program advertises that it will make you a better football player. There needs to be evidence of this supported by measurable, observable, repeatable data. We want to increase your work capacity across broad time and modal domains. This is the efficacy of our program. What are the tangible results? What is the adaptation that the program induces?

Efficiency is the time rate of that adaptation. Maybe the fitness program advertises that it can deliver 50 pull-ups. There is a big difference whether it takes six months versus nine years to achieve that.

 

Safety is how many people end up at the finish line. Suppose we have a fitness program. We start with 10 individuals: Two of them become the fittest human beings on Earth and the other eight die. While we would rather be one of the two fittest than the eight dead. The real tragedy comes in not knowing the safety numbers.

 

These three factors of safety, efficacy, and efficiency point in the same direction, such that they are not entirely at odds with each other. We can greatly increase the safety of a program by turning the efficacy and efficiency down to zero. We can increase efficiency by turning up the intensity and then possibly compromising safety. Or we could damage the efficacy by losing people. Safety, efficacy, and efficiency are the three meaningful aspects of a program. They give us all we need to assess it.

 

This quantification of fitness, by choosing work capacity as our standard for the efficacy of the program, necessitates the qualification of movement. Our quantification of fitness introduces the qualification of movement.

 

For the qualification of movement, there are four common terms: mechanics, technique, form, and style.

 

Now let’s take a scenario here, Someone could potentially expend a lot of energy and do very little work by being inefficient. Ideally, what that individual would do would see little energy expended for the maximum amount of work. Technique is what maximizes the work completed for the energy expended. For any given capacity, say metabolically, for energy expenditure, the guy who knows the technique is going to be able to do the most amount of work safely.

Suppose we take two people at random and they are both trying the same task. One is familiar with how to deadlift, and one is not. One knows how to clean, one does not.

One knows how to drive overhead, one does not. Suppose they are loading a truck with sandbags. The one familiar with lifting large objects and transporting them is going to do a lot more work.

You can have the argument as to who is stronger. For example, you can use an electromyogram and see with what force the biceps shortens. If you are defining strength as contractile potential, you may end up with the guy with enormous contractile potential—but not knowing the technique of the clean, the jerk, the deadlift, he cannot do as much work.

 

This is related to safety, efficacy, and efficiency because technique (quality of movement) is the heart of maximizing each of these. Technique maximizes the work accomplished for the energy expended.

 

Reference:  Crossfit L1 Training Guide

 

 

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