“At CrossFit we endeavor to develop our athletes from the inside out, from core to extremity, which is, by the way, how good functional movements recruit muscle, from the core to the extremities.”
That sentence comes from the Foundations sections of the CrossFit L1 Training Guide. It’s right at the start of the book, naturally, and it of course contains all the aspects required to develop a fit and healthy body. But who cares about foundations, right? Let’s just build this here and hope for the best. Let’s just learn how to do butterfly pull-ups before strict or kipping, and hope that my shoulder doesn’t fall apart.
You can rebuild a material structure, but without bionic body parts, you can’t rebuild your body.
The little piece from the CF-L1 training has more than one meaning to it. Firstly, it pertains to all movement originating from the core/midline (hips and trunk) of the body. Functional movements cannot be performed properly unless the midline is stable, and the ability of the extremities to complete a movement will be diminished unless the hips begin the movement.
When I look at what comprises the body’s core, however, I see all the small muscles set deep below the big superficial muscles. Many will refer to these deeper muscles as stabilisers. They do stabilise joints while creating small movements. Therein lies another meaning of the above sentence. By developing your body from the inside out, we’re developing your musculature from deep to superficial. We’re laying a strong and broad foundation BEFORE developing the outside.
There’s an annoying misconception that CrossFit only develops your big superficial muscles while neglecting smaller and stabilising muscles. That’s not so. A well structured CrossFit program performed under the guidance of a good coach and performed with good mechanics is and should be a preventative AND performance based program. That means it will increase your fitness while keeping you safe and free from injury.
It also means you shouldn’t need to spend hours doing “accessory” work. I don’t know when it started happening, but we noticed it in our gym too. People started waddling around gyms with bands wrapped around their legs, knees strapped and wrists taped up. “I’m activating my glutes and warming up my small joints,” they say. “You’re forgetting about what is and why you’re doing CrossFit, bro,” I say.
Follow the program consistently, move as well as you possibly can (which is determined by how well you scale workouts to your abilities) and stretch your sticky areas all the time. Don’t be a geek either – there’s not fancy reason like “my glutes aren’t activating” for the lack of performance increases in any area. Move like you’re taught and built to move, and ensure that your BROAD foundation is rock solid before building up.