CrossFit is the rage, it’s everywhere. In fact, there is one right down the block and around the corner from me.
CrossFit is a product of two former gymnasts, Greg and ex-wife Lauren Glassman. The first CrossFit affiliate gym opened in Santa Cruse California in 1995 and near immediately started training police and fire personnel; then was soon embraced by other tactical police and military groups.
The time was ripe for the functional forms of training that CrossFit was offering, as we at the time had just come through the fog of the anti-functional cosmetic bodybuilding routine years.
At the same time, there was a collision of these functional training notions with new findings about “the core” by such research pioneers as: Manohar Panjabi of Yale University; Paul Hodges, University of Queensland, Australia; Carolyn Richardson, University of Queensland, Australia; Gwendolen Jull, University of Queensland, Australia; Stewart McGill, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Julie Hides, Australian Catholic University, Australia; all pioneers and major heavyweight voices in the in the realm of core function, many of whom maintained an intellectual synergy for years following and can be found cited together on numerous key research projects that have revolutionized, and continue still to move the standard forward in the world of spinal rehabilitation, and sports functional training.
To add to the madness of the time, sports periodization concepts were entering the mix too, as defectors from the eastern bloc countries brought their methodological sports conditioning practices west. Needless to say, it was a great time for those of the sports and conditioning world who were paying attention. At the time (late `90’s, and early into the new millennium), I was building my golf conditioning program around this new information as it was still falling to the ground. The information was as fresh as it gets. It was truly an exciting time, and CrossFit was on the forefront of the movement.
CrossFit admittedly has many positives, one of which is specified on the navigation board of their web page under, “What is CrossFit?”, and explains what they are about by saying: “Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.” So, they are about general, but very functional fitness. Sounds great so far: were that everybody be in CrossFit shape.
While there is truth regarding CrossFit’s concerns pertaining to specialization, periodization and its scheduled rotation of conditioning modalities and stresses guards against the potential negative effects of specialization.
So, while the general conditioning that CrossFit provides is good for the conditioning needs of the general public, providing them with the functional capacity that allows them to enjoy physical challenges that once seemed unreachable; and for the competitive athlete to maintain excellent general offseason condition, it is not sufficient to prepare an athlete for the specific rigors of his sport and competition.
Obviously, the MMA competitor is not just Mr. General public nor is he simply just another athlete: MMA competitors are competitive athletes who have very specific conditioning and skill needs. Sports and conditioning specialists are trained under the auspice of periodization to consider such specialty needs when they perform their needs analysis when consulting with a new athlete. The sport of MMA has well defined needs that all MMA competitors must address in order to be in the best physical condition for their sport at the time of competition.
The magnitude of skills necessary for today’s MMA competitor to possess in order to successfully compete in the octagon require that he hone his training program so that all components (i.e. conditioning, weight/water loss, and skills, such as Muay Tai, boxing, jujitsu) are sufficiently addressed so that a well balanced athlete results.
Warrior Combat Sports is the first to periodize conditioning for the sport of MMA. Our periodized training is both efficient and eminently productive. As a result, all of our athletes trained under the WCS system have the luxury of knowing that they can function at the highest power output rate possible, as they each have along with their trainer reached repeatedly for their individual performance ceiling, but without overtraining.
WCS training and conditioning is very intense, but limited to the constraints of the duration of the match trained for. Therefore, if one of our athletes is a pro who is training for championship match, the duration of the conditioning session will be limited to the match time of (5) five minute rounds plus rest times for a total of 29 minutes—this, the longest session as most MMA competitions are rarely professional title matches.
This added efficiency in conditioning allows the athlete more time to focus on more important things like managing nagging, performance stealing injuries, shoring up weak links, and gaining new skills—an approach that will contribute to a well balanced and finely tuned fighting machine.
So, at the end of it all, what is the conclusion? What of: CrossFit training vs. Warrior Combat Sports MMA periodized training for MMA competition preparation? Well, there I go again, dishonest me, I only used the title as an attention getter—cheap, I know. But, I do think that there will be a natural tendency for the two to pair off, and sides taken that are unnecessary given the fact that CrossFit is relied upon so heavily for competitive match preparation in MMA.
So, where does Warrior Combat Sports stand? We recommend both! Each has its respective place. CrossFit gives the athlete a broad conditioning base and a general, but very large movement skills and power base. The importance of the broad base that CrossFit provides cannot be overstated as it allows the athlete to function at greater efficiency than he otherwise would, this allows for greater work output; and most importantly, its greatest contribution is injury prevention.
The bottom line is, CrossFit trained athletes simply make our job as sports conditioning specialists infinitely easier.
Warrior Combat Sports is unique in that it is the first to periodize the sport of MMA.
(Side note: to get a true sense of what Warrior Combat Sports periodized conditioning’s collision with the sport of MMA looks like, Watch Sam “The Bull” Nadeau’s July 31st , HAPPY BIRTHDAY fight above! Indecently, this was Sam’s first full cycle through our training system. After the fight, when asked how he felt, he said that he was tired, but not exhausted and felt that he could go another two rounds if he had to. How scary is that? No telling how scary Sammy will be next time he’s in the cage. Great job Sam and Happy Birthday!!!)
By Jeff Moynihan CSCS
Contact Warrior Combat Sports for more information about our periodized training and conditioning.
If you feel like you have what it takes to be Warrior Combat Sports Sports and Conditioning certified contact: WarriorCombatSports.com for more information.