Women vs. CrossFit Myths

The women of CrossFit Orange Coast show you THEIR results...
The women of CrossFit Orange Coast show you THEIR results...

I ran across this wonderful blurb on the Crossfit H-Town site.  This little article addresses some of the common misconceptions that we hear from Women who are interested in training.  Have a read through and see if any of these myths have had YOU wondering before…

Here is a summary of several of the myths:

1. Weight training will make you huge and masculine.

2. Men Train. Women Tone.

3. There is a difference between toning, sculpting and firming.

4. Women should stick to machines and stay away from free weights.

5. Women shouldn’t work on their leg and butt muscles, otherwise they’ll get to big.

6. Weight Training Turns Fat into Muscle

7. Women should only lift light weights to not get “bulky”

To quote a famous fitness author, “Women are not a special population. They are half the population.” In an article written by Mark Rippetoe he points out that Women DO respond to heavy physical stress (i.e. lifting heavy shit) differently than men. However, women get the best results when they train for performance (the whole premise of CrossFit and what we do), because even though there are differences between men’s and women’s response to training, there is no difference in the quality of the exercise needed to produce the stress that causes our bodies to change. The different responses men and women see in training are not the ones that the industry, media and popular culture have presented as fact. This unfortunately has had a detrimental effect on women’s training.

The answer to our questions on how to get there are right in front of us. The results, in terms of both performance and aesthetics, admired by the vast majority of women, continue to be routinely produced by advanced athletic programs. Which then amazes me how “body-sculpting sessions or low intensity machine based circuit programs were the approach sold to the public. But then again, “easier” is easier to sell.

The fact is that aesthetics are best obtained from training for performance. It becomes very simple, if you want to look like a lean athlete (the standard most active women strive to emulate) you have to train like an athlete, and the unfortunate part is that most people lack the “sand” for that. Despite this unfortunate truth (most truths seem to fall into this category), the fitness industry continues to see appearances first, as though it is independent of performance. Appearance cannot be trained for. Think about it: I know how to make your squat stronger, but how do you program Bun Blaster sets and reps for a tight ass? I may be able to double your pull-ups in a month, but I don’t know how to give your back that V-Shape everyone craves without increasing your pull-ups. Every single aspect of programming for resistance training that works at all does so because it increases some aspect of performance, and appearance is a side effect of performance.

Appearance is a side effect of performance.
Appearance can’t change unless performance does, and the performance changes are what we quantify and what we program. Your appearance when fit is almost entirely a function of your genetics, which are expressed at their best only when your training is at it’s highest level, and this level is only obtainable from a program based on an improvement in your performance in the gym. To top it off the best improvements in the gym occur when participating in a program that looks more like performance athletics (i.e. CrossFit) than one that looks like waving your arms or legs around on a machine.

More Unfortunate Truths:

* Your muscles cannot get longer without some rather radical orthopedic surgery.
* Muscles don’t get leaner ….. you do!
* There is no such thing as “firming & toning”. There is only stronger and weaker.
* The vast majority of women cannot get large, masculine muscles from weight training. If it were that easy, I would have them!
* Women who do look like men have taken some rather drastic steps in that direction that have little to do with their exercise program.
* Women who claim to be afraid to train hard because they “always bulk up too much” are often already pretty bulky, or “skinny fat” (thin, but weak and de-conditioned) and have found another excise to continue life sitting on their butts.
* Only people willing to work to the point of discomfort on a regular basis using effective means to produce that discomfort will actually look like they have been other-than-comfortable most of the time.
* You can thank the muscle magazines for these persistent misconceptions, along with the natural tendency of all normal humans to see reasons to avoid hard physical exertion.

I know it’s a long read, but the author raises some interesting points.  What do our Zone women think about all this info?

Today’s Workout

Buy-in: Snatch practice with bar (or pvc if brand new to this movement) – 4 rounds of:  3 snatch push presses, 3 snatch balances, and 3 hang power snatches.  Perform all three movements in a row then take a break before going into the next round.

WOD:  “TeeJ”

Named after the one and only Tom James, we did this WOD for the first time on June 30, 2010.  Check myfrantime.com for scores to beat!

this WOD has two parts –

1. 5 x 1 hang snatch – build up over the sets to a heavy single rep in the hang snatch (it can be a power snatch or a squat snatch – stand up completely with feet beneath hips to complete the movement – Rx = NO PRESS OUT!).

2.On an 8 minute timer, complete a 800m run then AMRAP of: 15 box jumps (20/24), 10 kbs (1/1.5pood), 5 ring dips

3.Your score is your top weight in the snatch combined with your total reps completed in the 8 minute metcon

Zone 2 – scale KB and box jumps as needed, jumping ring dips or ring dips with band

Zone 1 – scale as needed

GAMES PREP –  bump up to a 45-55lb kb if you’re female and give the 70lb kb a swing if you’re male

Cash-Out:  FTL Stretching!


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