"Ef that jazz, Holmes, we ain't got time for that shizz, Son!" says Zach Even-Esh. So how do you increase your fitness in less time? Like Zach says, use movements that are easy to teach and easy to learn. Eliminate the high skill activities that only burden the original intent of the goal. If your general goal is to increase your fitness, and you include an exercise like the muscle-up and perform high reps as fast as possible with little control and substandard form and everybody is cheering on your awesomeness, then you tear your labrum, you almost instantly lose your super duper awesomeness.
Unfortunately shit happens, but you can decrease the likelihood of injury with smarter planning. Killer Kate Rawlings, owner of Coco CrossFit in Ohio, a highly respected Crossfitter and great athlete who is in phenomenal shape, recently popped her achilles tendon during a set of high rep box jumps. I feel bad for her and respect her and know her strength and resiliency will get her back in top form asap. But, I can not help but disagree with doing high frequency, high rep box jumps for most people, even elite athletes. Sorry about your luck, but you kind of asked for it. Similar thing happened to me a few months back, I tore my MCL during a gang tackle playing a football game. Of course it took 12 guys, all over 250 pounds, to tackle me, but pop went my knee bone. Playing football is a good way to get in shape, but it also is a great way to get injured. Such is the price of competition, so it might not be your first choice if fitness is your goal. Playing football was my goal, so it was mandatory. In Kates instance, competing at Crossfit is her goal, she is actually endorsed by Reebok I think, so doing certain exercises like kipping muscle-ups and high rep box jumps are mandatory for her sport. The ONLY time I would ever recommend doing certain exercises programmed in a weird way is in a timed CrossFit competition, and that is only if your goal is to compete at CrossFit. At no other time do I find it acceptable. The CrossFit rules say, "do this..." so thats what you gotta do to win. It does not mean you are the healthiest or the fittest or the most elite, it just means that you are a good CrossFit competitor and you can do exercises really fast. I think a lot of athletes who kip like crazy during a set of ten muscle-ups would struggle their ass off doing one single slow technically sound and controlled muscle-up. So, which guy is fitter? The one that can do "more work in less time" doing 10 ring flings, or the guy that can do one slow strict muscle-up? That leads to my next point. Like Dan John says, keep the goal the goal. If you want to get fit, do no harm, be consistent and you can achieve greatness relatively quickly. If you want to enhance your skill, it will take a long time to master, period. You know all the cliches, "Nothing great happens in Rome" and "Anything worth building in a day is going to take a lot of peanut butter" or something like that. So much for getting right to the point...
Separate high skill movements from your training and simply practice them and get better at them before you program them at high intensity in your training.
I think that is the take home point of this post. Keep safe, do no harm and keep your athletes and fitness clients healthy for their sport and their life. Again, do no harm, do not risk foolishness to try to impress your YouTube fans or give yourself a good name, by potentially injuring someone with the intent to make them awesome. I do not mean to bash anyone by this rant, just hope to keep some of you healthy and able to keep training longer without injury if it is preventable.
Big boy muscle-up vs ELITE muscle-up, you be the judge. What would you rather do?
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