I Guess I Have To...

When I first saw the following video, I wrote a series of rants and diatribes and saved them in my drafts. Some days passed, my anger subsided, followed by apathy and acceptance. But I figured, fuck it, hate's no fun if you keep it to yourself.

If you haven't seen it yet, watch here. It's Bob Harper's CrossFit Challenge on some asinine doctor show. In it, Bob puts Jillian Michaels and Dr. Handsome through a brief CrossFit-style workout. Bob and Jillian are both famous for yelling at fat people on The Biggest Loser. I yell at fat people on the streets of DC and I'm still waiting for Hollywood to call. But let's focus on this video.

First off, I would like to take some time to dissect Jillian Michael's performance in the workout. Considering she's lauded as one of the best trainers in the country, I expected her to man-handle Dr. High-Cheekbones. Instead, I saw the following:

1) Box jumps. Look at how caved in her knees are on her landings. This isn't good, especially considering women are highly prone to ACL injuries (JAHSP).

2) Sumo deadlift high pull. Where do I begin? This movement is dumb enough already as I discussed here, but Jillian manages to make it worse. She has no hip extension and is primarily letting her back and arms do the work. Also, a very slow eccentric portion. Basically, if you're gonna do something stupid, at least do it right.

3) Push press. She makes no use of the shelf, which limits efficiency of the movement and will further fatigue her shoulders. She's pretty much just holding the bar in her goddamn hands which is a perfect way to do it completely wrong. If you watch her last rep, check out those knees again. Bad news bears. They should be pushed out over the toes. Hard to say if she was driving through her heels as I only saw her legs during one rep, but I imagine she was creeping onto her fore-foot during the dip and drive.

4) Ball slams. These should be a powerful, hip/abdominal driven movement. Again, she seems to mainly be using her arms. The real issue here is how absurdly winded she appears to be by the conclusion of this two-minute workout.

Perhaps this isn't how Jillian typically trains. Maybe she goes running, does some light weight training, follows an absurdly caloric restrictive diet, and takes supplements. Maybe CrossFit is not her preferred method of training. But when I see how she performs during this workout, it's kinda... pathetic? To her credit, it appears that bar was loaded with 65lbs, so I can forgive that. Nevertheless, I could name roughly 10 women just from CrossFit Balance that would annihilate her in that workout. The workout lasted two minutes and she looked visibly destroyed. I just expected a little more.

A little more rabid wildebeest, for instance.

Two different, but viable claims can be made here: 1) A trainer doesn't necessarily have to be in great shape to get his or her clients great results, or 2) Jillian Michaels fucking sucks. Either one is applicable, both are obviously true. The bottom line is this: the general public thinks Jillian Michaels is an awesome trainer, while the knowledgeable people in the strength and conditioning community know she's a fraud. But really, enough about this disaster. Let's move onto Bob Harper's CrossFit Challenge...

Epic grunt 10 seconds in.

The problem with this whole stupid segment is that it highlights almost every bad aspect of CrossFit. You'd have figured CFHQ had done enough of this already. Exhibit A. Instead, this mincing vegan pussy gets on national television and shows the fat daytime viewers of America everything that's wrong about CrossFit.

1) No Instruction. Bob spends about 0.003 nanoseconds explaining to Jillian and Dr. Hairgel each movement. One could assume this wouldn't be a big deal since it's Jillian Michaels who is, presumably, competent at simple exercises she makes her clients do on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this isn't the case and we're left seeing some pretty poorly executed everything.

2) No Correction. Going hand in hand with the above, Bob offers no further instruction or correction to either subject. Instead, he yells about going faster and harder. When he does correct something, it's a cue that's relatively worthless i.e. "make sure that weight touches the ground every time." Yeah, that'll help them do it better.

3) Poor movement selection. Look at that... sumo deadlift high pulls and box jumps. Two exercises I've already criticized. Aces, Bob! Top fucking notch. High rep box jumps and a movement essentially designed to fuck up your shoulders. Bully!

Dude, you're a personal trainer; not David fucking Beckham.

Now, for the most part, this whole thing isn't a big deal. But to trainers like myself that actually want to make you stronger, fitter, hotter, awesomer, it is kind of a big deal. For the worst reasons.

While the general public may not be aware enough to see the flaws I've outlined, it lets Jillian and Bob off the hook. Meanwhile, any real athlete who has heard of CrossFit will continue to laugh at it. But the average person sees this and they see a workout that crushed Jillian Michaels (because she sucks) and they think it will make them look just like her.

So, this kind of exposure will bring clients into the door, but when their form is taught, corrected, and reinforced with light weights, people may not think they're getting what they came for. "But Jillian and Dr. Jawline just jumped right into their workout!" Well, that's not how it works. Plus that workout was stupid. So these ass clowns from The Biggest Loser, who've proven to be more cheerleader than trainer, have given some exposure to CrossFit, but in doing so, they've unknowingly emphasized many of its faults. This, in turn, makes the job of actually decent trainers more difficult.

Essentially, getting people in shape shouldn't be approached in such a willy-nilly* fashion. Therefore, the responsibility lies on us, the trainers, to let you know that safety and movement quality are far more important than intensity, speed, and acting like a bitch.

*I'm so mad that I used the phrase "willy-nilly." Surprised I haven't been censored yet.