Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Functional Training

I saw this on the Mountain Athlete site today. Very useful and is making me think more about my training for hillwalking.

One of the dangers of our programing is we can lose site of the goal. We train in the gym to complement and improve our training and performance in the field, or for our sport. The gym training can become its own "sport" - which can lead to neglect of our sport specific training and practice.

The CrossFit advocates argue that their approach is the best preparation for many sports and they point to how well CrossFitters do in competitions as proof.

They could be right, but this has not been my experience. Hybrid training may take you far down the competition road, but to truly be elite, I believe most athletes need to more and more sport specific in their training the closer they get to the competing season.

Often I'll get questions from people living far from Jackson who are scheduled to vacation here in a few weeks and climb the Grand Teton, take a long back packing trip, or something similar. They'll see the website, check out the workouts and ask where they should begin.

My answer - Load up a back pack with 25-75# and climb hills, stairs, or whatever. In a short time frame, this will most prepare them for their vacation and give them the most bang for their short preparation time.

I do this myself, along with grip-intensive training at the rock gym, to complement my gym training.

By having my athletes run more during the dry season during their gym training, hopefully I'm adding to this sport-specific goal.


dmarsh said...

I disagree with the comment that CrossFit argues their approach is the best way to prepare for sport. CF only claims to provide a training stimulus that will elicit a broad, inclusive and generalized fitness response. In other words, it will make you pretty good at a bunch of stuff, but elite at nothing. Hence, the need for more specific training in the world of competitive athletics. The more popular CF is becoming, it seems the more misunderstood as well.

Chris said...

Maybe. Crossfit does claim a lot for itself though...

If you read the Mountain Athlete archives and site you will see that he speaks highly of Glassman.