CrossFit chooses to define fitness as (partially) as the 10 general physical skills: Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
A triathlete excels in cardio and stamina, but doubtful they are very fast or have a lot of strength. Weightlifters are very strong, but they do not have any cardio endurance. Yoga folks are very flexible, but can they run or lift anything heavy? CrossFitters on the other hand….
How well did the 2016 CrossFit Games test those 10 general physical skills?
- Cardio – I think a 7k trail run or Murph will test this just fine
- Stamina – Same as above, but also the plow pull tested stamina
- Strength – doesn’t get much better than seeing how much you can deadlift
- Flexibility – I think doing a muscle up….into a handstand push up on the rings tests this pretty well.
- Speed – suicide sprints required athletes to move fast, same with 100%
- Coordination – Again, 100% required coordination on the box jumps….oh…and let’s walk on our hands for 280 feet
- Agility – suicide sprint, 100%, the 7k trail run, ability to do double unders with a heavy and heavy handled rope
- Balance – rope climbs, muscle ups, staying on your feet going up and down the steep inclines of the trail
- Accuracy – you better be pretty accurate when you climb those ropes or properly position your hands to push the snail
And I didn’t even touch on all of the events. I would say the 2016 Games tested all 10 of the general physical skills.
Another standard CrossFit uses is the whole “unknown and unknowable” standard. Presented with any task a fit person will be able to do it. Ask a weightlifter to show up and do Murph. Ask a triathlete to show up and start a deadlift ladder at 400 pounds. Ask a marathon runner to show up and…well…do anything other than run.
I would say the snail, the ring handstand push ups, the heavy ropes, the trail run and peg board all satisfied the unknown and unknowable pretty well.
Finally, there are the three metabolic pathways: Phosphagen (very short), Glycotic (medium) and Oxidative (long). The Games certainly tested all three. Ranging from 35+ minutes in the 7k trail run to about 3 minutes in 100% (or even shorter in the single deadlift attempt).
So, ya, I would say the CrossFit Games found the Fittest People on Earth. Don’t agree? Toss your hat into the ring and sign up for the CrossFit Open in 2017. Or try to find a better way to define fitness, but I would say Glassman has the bases covered.