For most of us the CrossFit pyramid has been an image that we are all familiar with, especially for those who have attended the CrossFit Level 1 certification. However, some may be asking “What is it?” For those who may be wondering, The CrossFit pyramid is the theoretical hierarchy of development of an athlete. It is tool that we as athletes and coaches use to get better at our sport, and a tool that we can use to point out or short comings otherwise known as weaknesses.
At the base of this foundation is nutrition, then metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting & throwing, and finally at the very top is sport. A pyramid is only as strong as it’s foundation, and in this case the foundation is nutrition. To get better at our sport, or any sport for that matter, we need to build upon this foundation, however, it seems that the pyramid has been flipped upside down where sport is now at the bottom.
People want to get stronger, have a big back squat or deadlift, snatch and clean and jerk big weights, and be able to RX a workout, which is great. But by focusing solely on this puts sport at the bottom and everything else on the side. I get it, CrossFit is awesome, the people are awesome, we all share a common goal, we all love to sweat, suffer, PR together, and the workouts leave us feeling so great that we keep coming back for more. Once we’re hooked on CrossFit there are never ending goals. We set a goal and once it’s achieved then we set another goal, so we’re constantly striving to get better, it’s a good, viscous cycle. But this cycle tends to lead people to believing they need to show up to the gym to do two or three-a-days and hitting multiple WODS in one day. Again, putting sport first, and forgetting all the other important steps: nutrition, metabolic condition, gymnastics, and weightlifting. When all of the other aspects of the pyramid are skipped we start to develop bad habits, ignore our weaknesses, plateau, and may develop nagging aches/pains or injury.
Let’s flip this pyramid back over and build upon each and every step. Work on our nutrition and start eating right. When we are eating right we feel better, move better, sleep better, recover better. Then let’s hit those metcons hard and all out. Putting our food to use and using it as fuel to push us through those metcons. Next, focus on gymnastics where we can create even more body awareness, and build upper body pulling and pushing strength, which will transfer over into the next tier, weightlifting. Here we can now focus on the snatch, clean & jerk, & being explosive in our lower body. Finally leading us to the top of the pyramid of sport, which in our case is CrossFit. Now we have built on our foundation and can put all of these practices to use at once!