Prescription part four “Collectively, these three attributes (load, distance, and speed) uniquely qualify functional movements for the production of high power.”
Power exerted in exercise directly relates to overall fitness level. High-power movements are movements that move loads (your body or external objects) far distances. The faster the load is moved; the more power will be produced. “Work” is often confused with “power,” however, work is not necessarily related to fitness. An example of “work” would be if someone traveled a mile by foot. “Power” brings a time domain into the equation – an example might be if someone traveled a mile by foot in less than 4 minutes and 49 seconds. Traveling a mile by foot does not necessarily mean fitness unless there is a time domain that is trying to be challenged.
The equation for Power is force x distance / time (P = fd/t). Since Power is directly related to fitness, in CrossFit we tend to value high-power movements. For example, a hang power clean (HPCl). This is a high-power movement because you can move a ton of weight a big distance very quickly. We also tend not to value low-power movements. For example, a bicep curl. A bicep curl is a very slow movement that involves less weight. A HPCl and bicep curl are similar in that they both start at about the waist and bring weight to the shoulder. The HPCl travels slightly further down than the waist and brings the weight up slightly above the shoulder – meaning the distance is a little more, and people tend to be able to move significantly more weight in a HPCl in less time, for this reason, the HPCl would be preferred to the bicep curl in a workout.
Even though the HPCl is preferred to the bicep curl in the workout does not mean that CrossFitters will not do bicep curls. Bicep curls are a great way to warm up muscles or add accessory work to existing programming, and certainly have their place in CrossFit.
To best keep track of progress, we set measurable movement standards for functional movements. Workouts have ideal loading or timed components for consistency. We program and use functional movements most because they produce the most power. Combining these three elements together elevates a fitness program to be highly effective and efficient, which is why CrossFit is the most effective fitness program to date.
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