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OUR BLOG

Is a focus on heavy strength training all it’s cracked up to be? Perhaps…

By Todd Seabaugh | In Blog | on October 22, 2019

I recently was forwarded an Instagram quote from a long-time CrossFit Titan by Cory. We even have pull-up bars in our box that bear his name.

Chris Spealler, now entering his 40’s, recently posted the following on Instagram:

“I wanted to squat today, so I did.

Reality check. My strength has dropped more than anything from when I was competing. My lifting went from 4-5 days/week on top of metcons with varying weights in it to now lifting heavy 1 day/week.

It’s brutal mentally, but I know I’m better for it. I ride my bike, ski, dirt bike, have less joint pain, and still have more strength than I need for all of these things.”

Stop! Did Chris Spealler stop CrossFit? Does he no longer think there is value in heavy strength training? No. Chris is still an avid CrossFitter and owner and head coach of CrossFit Park City. But he slowed his competing and training like a CrossFit Competitor.

The word is getting out. GPP is more than lifting heavy. For our affiliate members, GPP may be a foreign term. GPP stands for General Physical Preparedness. It is foundational to CrossFit’s message and DNA. Greg Glassman was not out to create a class of people that could all look and lift like CrossFit Games competitors. His intent was to take we mortals and help us to move better, to be generally physically prepared for what life can throw at us.

We may not outrun a cheetah, but we can get out of a burning building and fast. We may not be able to lift a car off of someone, but we can carry a heavy bag without any assistance. Doesn’t sound nearly as sexy does it.

I would venture to say that coach had more in mind though, sure, we want to be able to carry the groceries ourselves for a lifetime, and yes, we certainly want to escape a burning building. But we also see our members outperform their peers in many events without any event-specific training.

On multiple occasions, I have run half marathons with members, pacing them to a 2-hour half, with their having NO marathon specific training in preparation for the event. I’ve gone to the work gym and seen CrossFitters out lift coworkers who do nothing but lift every day. To what do you attribute this? General physical preparedness, that makes one more capable that the common person and even more capable than many that train exclusively in a domain.

Is CrossFit St. Louis the gym that will prepare you for the CrossFit Games? Probably not. You can find support and help in our community, but we are not coaching for the games, though we have sent multiple athletes to the games in the past. If that is what you are after, speak to us. We can help you with programming that can get you there (given that you possess the genetic composition to enable that level of training and accomplishment).

Our mission is to focus on your general good health through programming and coaching for general physical preparedness. There is nothing that makes this focus on GPP take our eyes off of the benefits of occasional heavy strength training. The training is just more rounded. Work with us, and you will see your abilities grow across multiple domains and fitness elements such as power, strength, speed, agility, flexibility, coordination and more.

Most CrossFitters go through a period where they ask themselves, can I be a competitor? For many the answer is yes, for a time. Take Chris for example. A leader of the pack for years. It’s good to see him back to living life beyond competition training. And we hope that our gym is a place that you can find a balance of good health, good training and good coaching.

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