One of the approaches we use at TJ's Gym is called CrossFit. CrossFit is a workout program based on functional body movements and drawing from the disciplines of Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardiovascular fitness. Workout components (strength, skill, conditioning) vary in length, ranging from a few minutes to a full hour, with intensity being a consistent component. The idea is to challenge the body and psyche beyond previously experienced limits, through increases in speed, weight, and reps, as well as combinations of movements. Workouts are almost never exactly the same, an element that keeps the body guessing and challenges participants in ways other workouts don't. Our athletes run, jump, row, lift weights, do pull-ups, throw balls, squat, jump rope, and more. The methodology of CrossFit is appropriate for athletes of all levels; workouts are scalable and adaptable across functioning.
In the 1970s, Greg Glassman, a former collegiate gymnast from Santa Cruz, California, put together what he thought would be an effective workout program that would optimize user levels of fitness. He recognized that fitness should involve some measure of applicability to everyday life and that such a program would include a wide range of physical activities to tax the human body in different ways. Glassman's program is called CrossFit.
CrossFit demands capacity in ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. It also requires capacity in all three of the main metabolic energy pathways driving human action and movement: the Phosphagen pathway characterized by a surge of activity lasting ten seconds or less (e.g. an explosive weightlifting effort); the Glycolitic pathway which dominates efforts lasting ten seconds to several minutes; and the Oxidative pathway, which is primary in activities lasting beyond several minutes and as long as several hours (e.g. a marathon). Finally, this version of fitness requires the ability to perform rigorous physical tasks and various combinations of movements when unfamiliar demands and requirements are introduced. The idea is that the fittest of us all are well prepared for whatever life throws our way and can survive and push through, leaving behind those with a more circumscribed capacity limited to a specific domain.
This is the foundation of CrossFit, which has now become a worldwide fitness phenomenon. One of the things that sets CrossFit apart from other exercise programs is that it recognizes that all athletes (from the senior citizen, to the stay-at-home mom, to the high school soccer star, to the weekend warrior, to the Olympic medalist, to the professional athlete) have the same requirements for an effective fitness program. The differences among their needs relate to intensity and volume, but not type of training. Functional body movements that are varied and executed at high intensity are key to the development of optimal fitness in all athletes.