Functional Training, CrossFit, the Kipping Pull-up, and problems with “doing it all” in regards to training?
I have been training my whole life, mostly conventional body-building gym type workouts- up until a few years ago when I found myself stuck on boats. I used to lug 300lbs of Olympic weights from boat to boat, just so I could get in my curls and bench press. When this got old, I started looking for different ways to get a workout without the hassle and added danger of having to secure weights in various locations throughout a boat.
The type of boats I worked on, Fast Supply Vessels, were loaded with heavy ropes, shackles, places to hang from, 5 gallon buckets, and chains. At the docks we had heavy tractor tires, sledge hammers, even bigger chains, and misc. pieces of heavy ass equipment. Before I knew anything about “unconventional training,” I started to use all of these pieces of equipment to train. It went hand in hand with the type of work and conditions we experienced offshore. I then abandoned everything I had known about training, and began to develop functional strength- enough so that I can recall a time my brother and I heaved a 350lb man from going overboard during a boat to boat transfer in 15 ft seas.
Things seemed much simpler then- I wasn’t bombarded with dozens of training methods and differing opinions. Everyone has the perfect way, which is of course the best. I just went out and trained, and honestly, I tried to make myself look good naked. For someone who doesn’t have a specific goal, what training method is the best? All of them have different aspects which are appealing and give good results, but it always seems that there are pieces missing. I’ll get to that shortly.
For those of you who loathe CrossFit and all that it stands for, stuff something non-paleo in your mouth and read on. Prior to what I now know about CrossFit, I though the whole movement was BS. To me it seems like a bunch of people running around smelling their own farts while cheating on their pull-ups. I would see people doing kipping pull-ups on YouTube and shake my head in disgust. About a year later, I entered into a competition at the late CrossFit Conquer- sponsored the event as well. I remember telling the owner Evan that I wasn’t going to hold back- I was 200 lbs of functional sandbag training goodness. Well, I got my ass smoked, and came in next to last. This caused me to re-evaluate what was going on, and I found some major holes in my training. I swallowed my pride, and began training at CrossFit Unbroken near Denver. I found out that there were ordinary people doing extraordinary things, with camaraderie that’s hard to find anywhere else. So began my love for CrossFit. And playing poker with the French http://www.partypoker.fr/
Now here is the problem, and the real topic of this post-
In almost 2 months of training, I began missing a few elements. Namely, sandbag training, agility ladder, parkour, even muay Thai and MMA. These can be some tough things to integrate into a daily CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) that caters to many different people of different skillets and abilities. I ended up taking a little time off, to get back to the roots of what I knew I was missing.
The problem I feel that people are plagued with sometimes, is that we can’t do it all. Unless you have an absolute specific goal, training should be like cooking. Many of us just want to be well rounded to handle whatever life throws at us. In my opinion, the magazine My Mad Methods has it right in their approach- sprinkle a little variety here, sprinkle a little there, and find/do what works best for you. We all have our own path to live, and none of us should or care or judge how everyone else is training. (Sometimes Guilty)
Back to the kipping pull-up.
Yes, I know it looks like someone is having a mid-air seizure. But guess what? It’s functional. If you found yourself in a situation where you had to get somewhere high real fast, you aren’t going to “strict” your ass to the top. You will swing and fight anyway you can. Give it a try and mix it up.
Never feel sold on one method or ideology.
Brute Force Sandbags
Days before getting smoked at the CrossFit Conquer event!