Bringing CrossFit to your Physical Education Program and Your School

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Bringing CrossFit to your Physical Education Program and Your School

  • Dr. Steven Dion
  • Salem State University: Sport & Movement Science Department
  • Owner/Coach: CrossFit IronSpider, Salem MA,
  • B&S Fitness & B&S Sport Science, Salem MA

Discussion Objectives/Overview

  • By the end of our discussion, participants will be able to:
  • have a working knowledge and definition of what is “CrossFit”.
  • identify how the missions of physical and health education and CrossFit are aligned.
  • share and utilize success stories to plan for future endeavors.
  • identify walk away steps to begin a CrossFit curriculum/program into your school/environment.
  • discuss the future direction/possibilities.
  • apply and demonstrate a CrossFit type WOD.

CrossFit Tenets

  • “Constantly Varied, High Intensity, Functional Movements”
  • “Moving Heavy Loads, Long Distances, Quickly”
    • Power (Intensity) = Force (Weight) x Distance / Time
  • Accountability & Measureable outcomes

Quantifying Fitness / Power

  • Power = Force x Distance / Time
  • Force (wt) x Distance (rom) / Time = Power
  • How much weight, how far you moved it, and how fast you moved it.
  • A quantifiable way to measure intensity and workload.
  • “Your ability to move large loads, long
  • distances, quickly, in the broadest variety of domains is fitness.” Greg Glassman

CrossFit’s 1st Fitness Standard

  • 10 recognized general physical skills.
    • cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy (slide 9)
  • You are as fit as you are competent in each of the ten skills.
  • Improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training.
  • By contrast improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice.

CrossFit’s 2nd Fitness Standard

  • Fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable.
    • Your fitness can be measured by your capacity to perform well at any/random tasks in relation to other individuals.
  • Fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks, even unfamiliar tasks, tasks combined in infinitely varying combinations.
    • This encourages the athlete to disinvest in any set notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, periodization, etc.
    • Keep the training stimulus broad and constantly varied.
    • Fitness vs Specific Sport Performance

CrossFit’s 3rd Fitness Standard

  • There are three (3) metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action.
  • These include the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway.
  • Phosphagen = highest-powered activities (< 10 sec)
  • Glycolytic = moderate-powered activities (up to several minutes)
  • Oxidative = low-powered activities (last in excess of several minutes)
  • reference for additional information:

3 Major Metabolic Pathways

The 10 General Physical Skills

  • Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance - The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
  • Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
  • Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  • Flexibility - the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
  • Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  • Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  • Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
  • Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  • Balance - The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
  • Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

CrossFit’s 9 Foundational Movements

  • The CrossFit 9 Essential Movements include:
  • 1-Air Squat, 2-Shoulder Press, 3-Deadlift, 4-Front Squat, 5-Push Press, 6-Sumo Deadlift High Pull, 7-Over Head Squat, 8-Push Jerk, and 9-Medicine Ball Clean
  • Progressive movement order: (basic to more complicated sequencing)
  • 1-Air Squat => 4-Front Squat => 7-Over Head Squat
  • 2-Shoulder Press => 5-Push Press => 8-Push Jerk
  • 3-Deadlift => 6-Sumo Deadlift High Pull => 9-Medicine Ball Clean

CrossFit and P.E. Mission

  • Learning movements like squatting, pushing and pulling are/should be the foundation of PE as these movements have the most direct and broad application to all life’s experiences…. Teaching and learning of the use and care of the body…
    • Traditionally however, movements taught are sport specific (swinging a bat, throwing a ball, shooting a basket).
  • CrossFit type curriculum puts priority on the foundational movements of the body which will increase proprioception (int.) and kinesthetic awareness (ext.) as well as work capacity.
  • Competency in these basic movements translates into:
    • increased fitness, improved physical abilities and injury prevention.

Health/Wellness & Fitness

  • One of our goals as physical and health educators is to promote a healthy lifestyle and fitness and wellness.

Temperature Gauge

  • Do you need to discuss more background information (additional resources are provided online/attached to session) or shall we move forward toward implementation?

Where to Start

  • Attending today was a good step
  • Next step: familiarize yourself with the community and the website, read the CF Journal and view and/or post your questions on the CrossFit discussion board.
  • Reach out to others that have done what you want to do – they welcome the contact.

Starting Your Own

  • Contact CrossFit Headquarters:
    • Look under “Affiliates”
    • As a non-profit school – the 3k fee is waived
  • You must have a Level 1 certified coach as the manager (1K expense for each certification)
    • Level 1 Coach should have independent insurance (can be through CrossFit) as most schools will not add CF onto their insurance binder.
  • After Level 1, look at getting CrossFit Kids Certification (18 and under – another 1K)

To Affiliate or Not

  • Although there is no affiliate fee – it is a process and will require admin “buy in”, financial support, creation of a website and staff training.
  • Do you call it CrossFit or simply embrace the philosophy and practices?
    • Can’t use the name CrossFit without affiliation.

Steps to Affiliation

  • Fill out an application and write an essay.
    • The essay should contain info about your background, what CrossFit affiliation means to you, why you want it, and what you want to achieve. It doesn't have to be long or formal, but it should be from the heart.
  • The other (informal) step is to educate yourself and become a part of the community.
    • Do the workouts and post your results to the WOD Comments, join the Message Board, subscribe to and read the CrossFit Journal, come to a Seminar, and make friends with (and visit, if possible) other affiliates.
  • CFHQ requires an applicant to be at least a Level 1 Certificate Holder before applying for affiliation.
  • Once you are will be linked on the CrossFit site.
    • This is CFHQ primary vehicle for promoting you; therefore, they expect you to maintain a good site. DO NOT register a domain with the CrossFit name in it until AFTER you have been accepted. CrossFit is a licensed trademark and its use without our prior permission is illegal.
  • Every affiliate website to display the CFJ link on the front page of their site.

What You Get From CFHQ

  • Once application is approved – you are linked to the main page and the affiliate page of
  • You will also have access to the private Affiliate Forum on the CrossFit Message Boards, where you'll be able to interact with other affiliates and tap their knowledge and experience to help.
  • A yearly Affiliate Conference - exchange ideas, learn what works etc…
  • Send stories and photos to be used on main site.
  • Very responsive main head quarters and support staff.

Example Programs

  • San Francisco

What CrossFit did for our school

  • CrossFit at Sierra High
    • (for future viewing)

“They’ll hate you for making them sweat”

  • “I teach at a school where the expectations for PE are low and the department is looked down upon by most of the admin and staff.” “I choose not to accept mediocrity from my teaching and I set very high expectations from my students.”… “Trust me, they (students) all don’t like me but they do respect the program I deliver.”

Steve’s Club

  • Our Mission: "Steve’s Club and its participating members provide a national network of programs through which at-risk or underserved youth of any socioeconomic background can join in the CrossFit Community at a reduced, low or no cost structure.”

The Good, Bad and the Ugly

  • As in any profession, you have very good and very bad professionals / educators.
  • Numerous videos posted – even by professionals with poor form at times
    • (Students performing for the camera)
  • The weight may be light and less likely to initiate injury, however – if CrossFit is going to be brought into your school – technique and safety should be priority number one.
    • Training and more training for the educators.

Facilities & Equipment

  • Equipment Vendors: or CrossFit discussion board for recommendations.
  • State Vendors: Many of the traditional equipment vendors that are State Approved are getting on board with the equipment (jungle gym rigs esp.) but cost is significantly higher.
  • $16-20K – “Gut and redo facility” as opposed to $150kGrant funding (SPARK Grant Finder:
  • Trade-in previous equip / scrap metal

Equipment Needs by Level

  • K-5: Mostly body weight exercises and technique. PVC, mats, small tires maybe – most likely existing resources are sufficient.
  • 6-8: Costs begin to rise as training barbells (PVC) and weights, boxes, medicine balls etc are brought in. More specific equipment is more costly but much less than traditional “Wt. room equipment”.
  • High School: Heaviest cost with most extensive equipment list – but still less expensive than traditional equip.

Resources / Programming

Common Repetition Schemes

  • AMRAP (As Many Repetitions As Possible)
    • Usually for time
  • EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute for ?# of minutes)
    • 20 squats – rest remainder of time left in that minute
  • 3 on - 1 off (work for 3 mins, rest for 1 for ?# rounds)
  • Triplet (Rep scheme with 3 movements)
    • Squat, pushup and sit-up for 20-15-10
  • Couplet (Rep scheme with 2 movements)
    • Thruster & Pull-ups 21-10-9 (FRAN)
  • Chipper (One large set of different exercises/movements)
    • 50 squats, 40 sit-ups, 30 pushups, 20 burpees, 10 pull-ups for time

Benchmark Workouts & “The Games”

  • Fran – 21-15-9 Thrusters & Pull-ups for time
  • Diane – 21-15-9 Deadlift & HS Pushups for time
  • “Murph” 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats – 1 mile run for time.
  • The CrossFit Open: A worldwide 5-week fitness competition- over 209K participants.
  • The Regionals: the best individuals and teams from around that various regionals around the world
  • The CrossFit Games: Crowning the Fittest on Earth

Let’s Move

  • Tabata (20 sec on 10 sec rest for 8 rounds)
    • Score is the lowest number of reps you completed in one of the 8 rounds.
    • Attempt to keep your reps consistent throughout without sandbagging your first few rounds.
  • Tabata “anything”
  • We’ll do: ??? Viewers Choice ???
  • A: Tabata squats
  • B: Pushups
  • C: Sit-ups

Additional Questions

  • Additional Questions
  • Significant resources posted online
  • Thank you
  • Come visit when you are in town

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