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Fitness, Mastery of Training, Competing and the Method Behind the Okie CrossFit Madness

25
Jan

Fitness, Mastery of Training, Competing and the Method Behind the Okie CrossFit Madness

Three things that Jake Crandall loves.  Learning, compiling data, and teaching.  It should be obvious by now that he love datas and numbers (so you don’t have to), but we’re going to take some time today to break down some numbers ‘behind the curtain’ so you can understand some of the data behind what Okie CrossFit doing, as well as how it is different than many other programs out there.
We want our members regardless of their goals (look great in a bathing suit, beat Type 2 Diabetes, or go to the CrossFit Games) to be able to do a cartwheel when they’re 80.  Well conditioned (strong heart and lungs) and strong (bones, joints and muscle tissue).  Below is the Method to the Okie CrossFit Madness.
 
Today, we’ll be honing in on the movements themselves. Here is a list of the top 50 Movements logged in BTWB for 2017 as well as our top 25 from a monthly frequency standpoint.
Beyond the Whiteboard Top 50 of 2017
1. Snatch
2. Back Squat
3. Deadlift
4. Clean
5. Row
6. Front Squat
7. Run
8. Pull Up
9. Jump Rope
10. Bench Press
11. Clean & Jerk
12. Wall Ball
13. Single Arm Dumbbell Overhead Press
14. Push Press
15. Jerk
16. Thruster
17. Overhead Squat
18. Toes to Bar
19. Burpee
20. Handstand Push Up
21. Push Up
22. Box Jump
23. KB Swing
24. Chest to Bar
25. Air Squat
26. Ab Mat Sit Up
27. Hang Power Clean
28. Strict Press
29. Assault Bike Calories
30. Burpee Box Over
31. Dumbbell Snatch
32. Muscle Up
33. Bar Facing Burpee
34. Rope Climb
35. GHD Sit Up
36. Hang Power Snatch
37. Ring Dip
38. Dumbbell Power Clean
39. Dumbbell Front Rack Lunge
40. Bar Muscle Up
41. Shoulder to Overhead
42. Hang Squat Clean
43. Box Jump Over
44. Sumo Deadlift
45. Snatch Pull
46. Snatch Balance
47. Sumo Deadlift High Pull
48. Clean Pull
49. Ring Row
50. Bent Over Barbell Row
Okie CrossFit Top 25 and Frequency (per month)
1. Run (6.4)
2. Row (6.2)
3. Snatch (5.8)
4. Clean (5.1)
5. Front Squat (5.0)
6. Pull Up (4.6)
7. KB Swing (4.1)
8. Lunge (4.1)
9. Deadlift (3.7)
10. Push Press (3.6)
11. Back Squat (3.4)
12. Thruster (3.2)
13. Jerk (3.1)
14. Double Under (3.1)
15. Wall Ball (3.0)
16. Burpee (2.7)
17. Box Jump (2.5)
18. Toes to Bar (2.5)
19. Overhead Squat (2.3)
20. Burpee Over Bar (2.1)
21. Air Squat (1.8)
22. Ring Dip (1.7)
23. Sit Up (1.7)
24. Clean & Jerk (1.6)
25. Handstand Push Up (1.6)
Now if you look back at our training over the year, you’ll notice that we track our movements differently than they way they do (we have 5 categories for the clean for example, and don’t overlap squat cleans and power cleans). We also keep track of the average frequency per month to make sure that people are getting the correct volume per movement and there isn’t any ‘holes’ in people’s fitness.  We do this for Mastery.  We want you to practice movements and refine for 6 week “cycles”.  By doing this, you get better, faster.  Rather than randomly doing power cleans every 19 days….
 
Using that data, we are able to come up with a similar report to what BTWB came up with we are able to compare our frequency and overall fitness to gyms around the world.  Our progress and longevity of athletes is in the top 5% of the world.  Others may get strong really fast, but fizzle out.  We don’t put the cart before the horse.  We build a base, and continually refine.  It’s the Okie way.
 
Running and Rowing… REALLY!?
The first thing you’ll notice is that running and rowing are at the top of our list. The reason that we run/row more often than many other programs is that is because it is one of the safest ways to create intensity and cardiorespiratory adaptations, especially when added to the beginning or ending of a workout. So while some people see Okie CrossFit’s programming of a lift and a short metcon about half of the days as a ‘strength bias’, we aren’t ignoring the metcon piece by any stretch!
 
We also think that that we do more runs than most is because we are finding that runs 200 meters and under are underutilized in many programs. The vast majority of workouts in other programs are dominated by 400m and 800m runs compared to shorter, more intense, sprints.
 
Front Squats vs Back Squats
The next difference is that we place a much higher emphasis on front squats than back squats compared to most gyms in the world. We have found that while the back squat enables people to lift more load, the front squat has much more ‘carry over’ to other movements (especially in regards to ‘functional fitness’). Thrusters, wall ball, push press, cleans, snatches, carrying a box… all of these things require the ability to stabilize the weight out in front. How often are we squatting or carrying loads on our spine?
 
We have also found that people who do many more back squats than front squats (especially of the low bar back squat variety), end up with issues on other movements. They’ll lose a lot of their cleans out in front. Their low backs will blow up on wall balls. They will throw the jerk out in front more often…
 
It isn’t that we don’t want to do back squats (you can see they are just out of the top 10 on our list), but for regular folks coming in 4-5x per week on average, front squats are going to pay off more than back squats in the long run.
 
Deadlifts
The fact that deadlifts are showing up a bit ‘low’ needs some explaining. First, we’d like to point out that we did not include single leg deadlifts into our calculations. That would have moved it up significantly. Second, we believe that heavy-ish deadlifts are over used in many CrossFit metcons.
 
In the last 12 years or so, we have seen far too many people end up with back issues from getting sloppy on deadlifts in workouts and/or going for a PR on heavy deads. Sometimes we can point to the gym or the coach for letting people do ‘not perfect’ form, but I’ve found that in general, the risk to reward isn’t worth it. People will have to go so slow on the metcon, or drop the load so much, that they won’t get the correct stimulus for that workout.
 
That being said, when it comes to posterior ‘hinging’ movements and glute work, you’ll notice that I use a lot more lunges and kettle bell swings…
 
Lunges and Kettlebell Swings
Suspiciously absent from the BTWB list are the lunges. Now it could be that they have so many variants added (more than just db front rack), it is just that they are outside of the top 50. But, clean pulls, snatch balances, and bent over rows are on here and not walking lunges and/or step ups?
 
Lunging and step up variants should be considered crucial to human development. Much (if not most) of life outside of the gym happens with our legs having to work independent of each other. People walk up and down the stairs, sprint to catch the bus, etc., FAR more often than they squat up and down with both feet planted!
 
With regard to the swings, we wonder if the kettlebell swing ended up so low because I combined Russian and American Swings for my list. But we also suspect that the swing may be a bit under utilized because it isn’t likely to show up in the CrossFit Open…
 
There Seems to Be a Trend…
We believe this is confirmed when you look at the most logged workouts later in the BTWB article… A lot of people are programming Open workouts or workouts that are geared toward the Open.
 
Front rack dumbbell walking lunges in the top 50!? Burpee box jump overs?! Have you tried to fit 15+ people into a regular sized gym and done burpee box jump overs?! They take up way too much space!
 
Why are ring muscle ups ahead of ring dips and rope climbs!?
 
We think this is an indication of a larger trend that we have seen for years: The emphasis on CrossFit Competition when it comes to CrossFit Programming!
 
Program for the Rest and Scale Up for the Best
We are firm believers that the needs of the vast majority of folks, especially for the long term, is significantly different than the demands of the ‘Sport of Fitness’. Okie CrossFit’s programming is designed to help people have more awesome lives, not just get better at the movements that end up at the different levels of the CrossFit Games.
 
People seem to forget that from the beginning of CrossFit (certainly since our owner Jake Crandall started in 2009), ‘competitions’ didn’t exist (beyond some thrown together ‘throwdowns’ where locals got together).
 
We all only did CrossFit because it made us better at other activities, it helped us look better in our bathing suits, it was fun to do, and it didn’t take a lot of time to get results (time spent at the gym and time to see/feel changes)!
 
We do hope that the CrossFit community as a whole can get back to the original mission, while appreciating the sport as a separate (but awesome) example of what can be achieved for those who want to specialize in it.
 
In the meantime, Okie CrossFit will keep leading the charge by taking care of both our regular folks and competitors by teaching them the differences between becoming ‘fit’ and competing in fitness!  Then they can chose the path that is right for them. 
Jake Crandall
Owner / Head Coach
Okie CrossFit