Exercise For Just 20 Seconds?

People keep asking me “Tabata What?”

Practically every new exercise program these days is using some form of High Intensity Interval Training. The reason for this is because of a study you’ve probably heard of called the Tabata study.

This study showed that people who exercised for 4 minutes using 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest were able to get better results then people who exercised for 60 minutes!
Sadly, most trainers get it WRONG!

8/10 – Top Reasons to Drop Cardio for HIIT

8/10. Burns 9X More Total Fat Than Endurance Training


Did you know you can burn more fat doing HIIT than your typical steady-state endurance training, even though burning a fraction of the calories?

It’s true. This is where the con of a ‘fat burning zones’ rises it’s ugly head! You see if we just counted used calories while exercising no- one would ever do weight or resistance training! The important thing to understand is that cardio calories are only burnt while you continue, your burn rate drops back to normal as soon as you step off your treadmill. However, if you spend time pushing yourself your burn rate will continue for hours and hours after your training ends.

A study comparing a 15 week HIIT program to a 20 week endurance-training (ET) program showed that despite its lower energy cost, the HIIT program induced a more pronounced reduction in body fat compared with the ET program.

When the scientists adjusted the numbers so the calorie burn was equal, the decrease in the sum of six skinfolds induced by the HIIT program was nine times greater than by the Endurance training program [13].

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Reference Study [13]

Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism
Angelo Tremblay, Jean-Aimé Simoneau, Claude Bouchard
Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada.

The impact of two different modes of training on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism was investigated in young adults who were subjected to either a 20-week endurance-training (ET) program (eight men and nine women) or a 15-week high-intensity intermittent-training (HIIT) program (five men and five women). The mean estimated total energy cost of the ET program was 120.4 MJ, whereas the corresponding value for the HIIT program was 57.9 MJ. Despite its lower energy cost, the HIIT program induced a more pronounced reduction in subcutaneous adiposity compared with the ET program. When corrected for the energy cost of training, the decrease in the sum of six subcutaneous skinfolds induced by the HIIT program was ninefold greater than by the ET program. Muscle biopsies obtained in the vastus lateralis before and after training showed that both training programs increased similarly the level of the citric acid cycle enzymatic marker. On the other hand, the activity of muscle glycolytic enzymes was increased by the HIIT program, whereas a decrease was observed following the ET program. The enhancing effect of training on muscle 3-hydroxyacyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (HADH) enzyme activity, a marker of the activity of β-oxidation, was significantly greater after the HIIT program.
In conclusion, these results reinforce the notion that for a given level of energy expenditure, vigorous exercise favours negative energy and lipid balance to a greater extent than exercise of low to moderate intensity. Moreover, the metabolic adaptations taking place in the skeletal muscle in response to the HIIT program appear to favour the process of lipid oxidation (fat usage).

6/10 Top Reasons to Drop Cardio for HIIT

6/10 Boosts Favorable Hormones


High-intensity interval training does more than just burn calories.
It primes your body for fat loss by creating a favourable metabolic environment. Internally, your body undergoes many hormone changes in response to intense training.
Specifically, HIIT boosts growth hormone and testosterone levels after just 10 minutes, and the amount secreted is correlated to your exercise intensity [10] [11] [12].

Growth hormone and testosterone are a potent combo for both fat loss and muscle growth.
Engaging in HIIT will provide you with this amazing benefit which appears to give magical results.

One of my clients, Sandra, was getting a little despondent when after 3 weeks of careful eating and metabolic training sessions at 6:30 am three times a week she hadn’t seen any change in her scale weight.
I’d seen a terrific increase in her fitness level and changes in her body shape, but she couldn’t see it.
I remember her glee when she told me that while walking along a corridor at work the weight of her radio almost pulled her trousers off!
She was ecstatic !! Her body had changed so much she could get her trousers off without undoing the button or zip. She had dropped pounds of fat and built pounds of muscle – so her weight hadn’t really changed but she has reduced 2 dress sizes in about 3 weeks.

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Reference Study [10]
Home |1992 Archive |July 1992 |Felsing et al. 75 (1): 157
Effect of low and high intensity exercise on circulating growth hormone in men.
N E Felsing, J A Brasel and D M Cooper
– Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance 90509.

We hypothesized that circulating GH (growth hormone) would increase only if a threshold of work intensity [corresponding to the anaerobic or lactate threshold (LT)] was exceeded. Ten healthy male volunteers (18-35 yr) first performed ramp-type progressive cycle-ergometer exercise to determine the LT and the maximal oxygen uptake. On subsequent mornings after an overnight fast, each subject performed bouts of 1, 5, and 10 min constant work rate exercise of either high intensity (above LT) or low intensity (below LT). A 1-h interval separated exercise bouts. Gas exchange (breath-by-breath), GH, immunoreactive insulin, glucose, lactate, pyruvate, and epinephrine and norepinephrine were measured at regular intervals.
After the 10-min bouts of high compared with low intensity exercise, lactate was 7.2 +/- 3.7 mmol/L vs. 1.4 +/- 1.3, P less than 0.05; epinephrine was 1,113 +/- 519 pmol/L vs. 496 +/- 273, P less than 0.05; and norepinephrine was 7.89 +/- 3.45 nmole/L vs. 2.83 +/- 1.34, P less than 0.05.
GH did not increase significantly from preexercise baseline during low intensity exercise (e.g., GH after 10-min low intensity exercise changed from baseline values by 1.5 +/- 2.0 micrograms/L, NS).
Although lactate was elevated after 5-min of high intensity exercise, peak GH was significantly elevated (mean increase above baseline of 7.7 +/- 2.4 micrograms/L, P less than 0.05) only after 10 min of high intensity exercise (increases in 9 of 10 subjects).

The GH increase occurred despite simultaneous increases in both IRI and glucose.

A minimum duration of 10 min, high intensity exercise consistently increased circulating GH in adult males.

5/10 Top Reasons to Swap Cardio for Smart HIIT

5/10 Creation of New Mitochondria


Mitochondria are little cell powerhouses that produce energy (ATP). In simple terms, they take the fat and carbohydrates you either eat or store and convert them to usable energy. The more mitochondria you have, the more efficiently your body utilizes the calories you consume.

The number of mitochondria you have can be increased by creating a demand for more energy production. In fact, HIIT is a potent stimulus for the creation of new mitochondria

Developing more mitochondria will help you produce more energy in your muscle, allow you to train harder for longer and so burn more calories. A win win situation when you train smart!

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Reference [7]
You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms

Jonathan P. Little1, Adeel Safdar1,2, Geoffrey P. Wilkin1, Mark A. Tarnopolsky2, Martin J. Gibala1
Article first published online: 12 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.181743

© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Physiological Society
The Journal of Physiology
Volume 588, Issue 6, pages 1011–1022, March 2010

High-intensity interval training (HIT) induces skeletal muscle metabolic and performance adaptations that resemble traditional endurance training despite a low total exercise volume. Most HIT studies have employed ‘all out’, variable-load exercise interventions (e.g. repeated Wingate tests) that may not be safe, practical and/or well tolerated by certain individuals. Our purpose was to determine the performance, metabolic and molecular adaptations to a more practical model of low-volume HIT. Seven men (21 ± 0.4 years, ml kg−1 min−1) performed six training sessions over 2 weeks. Each session consisted of 8–12 × 60 s intervals at ∼100% of peak power output elicited during a ramp peak test (355 ± 10 W) separated by 75 s of recovery. Training increased exercise capacity, as assessed by significant improvements on both 50 kJ and 750 kJ cycling time trials (P < 0.05 for both). Skeletal muscle (vastus lateralis) biopsy samples obtained before and after training revealed increased maximal activity of citrate synthase (CS) and cytochrome c oxidase (COX) as well as total protein content of CS, COX subunits II and IV, and the mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) (P < 0.05 for all). Nuclear abundance of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ co-activator 1α (PGC-1α) was ∼25% higher after training (P < 0.05), but total PGC-1α protein content remained unchanged. Total SIRT1 content, a proposed activator of PGC-1α and mitochondrial biogenesis, was increased by ∼56% following training (P < 0.05). Training also increased resting muscle glycogen and total GLUT4 protein content (both P < 0.05). This study demonstrates that a practical model of low volume HIT is a potent stimulus for increasing skeletal muscle mitochondrial capacity and improving exercise performance. The results also suggest that increases in SIRT1, nuclear PGC-1α, and Tfam may be involved in coordinating mitochondrial adaptations in response to HIT in human skeletal muscle.

Reference Study [8]
Brief intense interval exercise activates AMPK and p38 MAPK signaling and increases the expression of PGC-1α in human skeletal muscle
Martin J. Gibala1, Sean L. McGee2, Andrew P. Garnham3, Kirsten F. Howlett3, Rodney J. Snow3, and Mark Hargreaves2
+ Author Affiliations

1Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; 2Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria; and 3School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: M. Gibala, Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster Univ., 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1 (e-mail: gibalam@mcmaster.ca)
Submitted 8 July 2008. Accepted in final form 20 December 2008.

From a cell signaling perspective, short-duration intense muscular work is typically associated with resistance training and linked to pathways that stimulate growth. However, brief repeated sessions of sprint or high-intensity interval exercise induce rapid phenotypic changes that resemble traditional endurance training. We tested the hypothesis that an acute session of intense intermittent cycle exercise would activate signaling cascades linked to mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle. Biopsies (vastus lateralis) were obtained from six young men who performed four 30-s “all out” exercise bouts interspersed with 4 min of rest (<80 kJ total work). Phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK; subunits α1 and α2) and the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) was higher (P ≤ 0.05) immediately after bout 4 vs. preexercise. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) mRNA was increased approximately twofold above rest after 3 h of recovery (P ≤ 0.05); however, PGC-1α protein content was unchanged. In contrast, phosphorylation of protein kinase B/Akt (Thr308 and Ser473) tended to decrease, and downstream targets linked to hypertrophy (p70 ribosomal S6 kinase and 4E binding protein 1) were unchanged after exercise and recovery. We conclude that signaling through AMPK and p38 MAPK to PGC-1α may explain in part the metabolic remodeling induced by low-volume intense interval exercise, including mitochondrial biogenesis and an increased capacity for glucose and fatty acid oxidation.

Reference Study [9]
An acute bout of high-intensity interval training increases the nuclear abundance of PGC-1α and activates mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle

Jonathan P. Little , Adeel Safdar , David Bishop , Mark A. Tarnopolsky , Martin J. Gibala
American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative PhysiologyPublished 1 June 2011Vol. 300no. R1303-R1310DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00538.2010)

4/10 Top Reasons to Drop Cardio for HIIT

4/10 Improved Vo2 Max


VO2 max is your body’s max capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise. It is a great measure of physical fitness.
Generally speaking, the higher your VO2 max, the better your fitness level. A higher VO2 max also means that you can exercise at greater intensities for longer periods of time.
The good news is that doing HIIT will result in significant improvements in VO2 max [4]

This improvement can be achieved whether you are a beginner exerciser or an advanced athlete.

I have keen runners (not joggers) that were worried that if they swapped their daily miles for Smart HIIT with me their speed would drop off – they have found they are able to run less often – saving their joints – and still improve performance in terms of overall speed and distance but sprint finish in races.

They also find that they feel motivated and fresh when they do run! Result.

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Reference Study [4]
J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jan;26(1):138-45. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318218dd77.
Effect of high-intensity interval training on cardiovascular function, VO2max, and muscular force.
Astorino TA, Allen RP, Roberson DW, Jurancich M.
Department of Kinesiology, California State University, San Marcos, California, USA. astorino@csusm.edu
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of short-term high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on cardiovascular function, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscular force. Active, young (age and body fat = 25.3 ± 4.5 years and 14.3 ± 6.4%) men and women (N = 20) of a similar age, physical activity, and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) completed 6 sessions of HIIT consisting of repeated Wingate tests over a 2- to 3-week period. Subjects completed 4 Wingate tests on days 1 and 2, 5 on days 3 and 4, and 6 on days 5 and 6. A control group of 9 men and women (age and body fat = 22.8 ± 2.8 years and 15.2 ± 6.9%) completed all testing but did not perform HIIT. Changes in resting blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR), VO2max, body composition, oxygen (O2) pulse, peak, mean, and minimum power output, fatigue index, and voluntary force production of the knee flexors and extensors were examined pretraining and posttraining. Results showed significant (p < 0.05) improvements in VO2max, O2 pulse, and Wingate-derived power output with HIIT. The magnitude of improvement in VO2max was related to baseline VO2max (r = -0.44, p = 0.05) and fatigue index (r = 0.50, p 0.05) in resting BP, HR, or force production was revealed. Data show that HIIT significantly enhanced VO2max and O2 pulse and power output in active men and women.
PMID: 22201691 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

2/10 Top Reasons to Dump Cardio for HIIT Training.

2/10 Produces the Afterburn Effect


Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), is the increased oxygen your body uses after an intense workout to erase its oxygen debt. It uses this oxygen to return the body to homeostasis. That means it uses additional calories to perform tasks such as muscle repair and replenishment of fuel stores. EPOC is better known as the afterburn effect, which is the process of burning extra calories long after your workout is over.

When comparing HIIT to low-intensity exercise (cardio), your exercise intensity positively affects both the magnitude and duration of EPOC [2]. In other words, the greater your intensity, the greater the afterburn effect.

Wouldn’t you rather burn X9 times more fat doing just 20 – 30 mins HIIT than grinding away for hours running, rowing or stepping, think of your poor joints!, and the fun you could be having with the time saved!!

Only 30 minutes of a Smart HIIT session will keep your metabolism boosted for up to 38hrs (that’s when the studies stopped recording- it will go on even longer!)
Just make sure you’re getting truly effective, metabolic HIIT and not just random circuit training – they are NOT the same thing.

I’ve seen and heard about some sketchy sessions with trainers that need to update their knowledge and do better fir their clients. Mine know I’m always studying the latest studies and updating my certifications – that’s why I offer a 200% money back guarantee – does your trainer do that?

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Reference Study [1]
Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males
John A Babraj1†, Niels BJ Vollaard1†, Cameron Keast1, Fergus M Guppy1, Greg Cottrell1 and James A Timmons12*

* Corresponding author: James A Timmons jamie.timmons@gmail.com

† Equal contributors
Author Affiliations
1 Translational Biomedicine, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

2 The Wenner-Gren Institute, Arrhenius Laboratories, Stockholm University, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Endocrine Disorders 2009, 9:3 doi:10.1186/1472-6823-9-3

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6823/9/3

Received: 10 September 2008
Accepted: 28 January 2009
Published: 28 January 2009
© 2009 Babraj et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Traditional high volume aerobic exercise training reduces cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk but involves a substantial time commitment. Extremely low volume high-intensity interval training (HIT) has recently been demonstrated to produce improvements to aerobic function, but it is unknown whether HIT has the capacity to improve insulin action and hence glycemic control.

Sixteen young men (age: 21 ± 2 y; BMI: 23.7 ± 3.1 kg·m-2; VO2peak: 48 ± 9 ml·kg-1·min-1) performed 2 weeks of supervised HIT comprising of a total of 15 min of exercise (6 sessions; 4–6 × 30-s cycle sprints per session). Aerobic performance (250-kJ self-paced cycling time trial), and glucose, insulin and NEFA responses to a 75-g oral glucose load (oral glucose tolerance test; OGTT) were determined before and after training.

Following 2 weeks of HIT, the area under the plasma glucose, insulin and NEFA concentration-time curves were all reduced (12%, 37%, 26% respectively, all P < 0.001). Fasting plasma insulin and glucose concentrations remained unchanged, but there was a tendency for reduced fasting plasma NEFA concentrations post-training (pre: 350 ± 36 v post: 290 ± 39 μmol·l-1, P = 0.058). Insulin sensitivity, as measured by the Cederholm index, was improved by 23% (P < 0.01), while aerobic cycling performance improved by ~6% (P < 0.01).

The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only ~250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects is remarkable. This novel time-efficient training paradigm can be used as a strategy to reduce metabolic risk factors in young and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere to time consuming traditional aerobic exercise regimes.

1/10 Top Reasons to Drop Cardio for HIIT Training

Improved Insulin Sensitivity


Are you finding you have to eat less and less to maintain or reduce your weight?
That suggests your metabolism needs a boost, and that just won’t happen if you starve yourself…

Read on to discover the first of 10 reasons why you need to include HIIT into your training program…

Insulin sensitivity, or how well your cells respond to insulin, has a big impact on how well you tolerate carbohydrates, and whether those carbohydrates will affect your ability to mobilize fatty acids. Reduced insulin sensitivity means you need more and more insulin to do the same job. And since insulin is a storage hormone, when it’s high, it’s more difficult to lose fat.
Following just 2 weeks of HIIT, in which there was a total of only 15 minutes of exercise, insulin sensitivity was improved by 23%

This means that your body will cope with the food you eat better, you’ll be much less likely to store fat and MUCH more likely to burn it!
So, you won’t have to starve yourself to lose fat and scale weight.

Research study….
The electronic version of the research article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6823/9/3

Study Detail Outline
Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males
John A Babraj1†, Niels BJ Vollaard1†, Cameron Keast1, Fergus M Guppy1, Greg Cottrell1 and James A Timmons12*

* Corresponding author: James A Timmons jamie.timmons@gmail.com

† Equal contributors
Author Affiliations
1 Translational Biomedicine, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

2 The Wenner-Gren Institute, Arrhenius Laboratories, Stockholm University, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Endocrine Disorders 2009, 9:3 doi:10.1186/1472-6823-9-3

Received: 10 September 2008
Accepted: 28 January 2009
Published: 28 January 2009
© 2009 Babraj et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

HIT Training – West Point Experiment Proof?

The West Point Experiment proving HIT works.


After the Colorado experiment, Arthur Jones wanted to do another controlled study at a university, he sent out feelers to Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Clemson but they were slow to commit. Then he was told that West Point had bought a full line of Nautilus equipment, after negotiations where everything would be funded by nautilus and also provide training, West point would provide subjects and measurement evaluations for the 1975 study.

Jones believed that HIT would strengthen muscles, heart and lungs and increase flexibility without the pounding of running. The study was to test this contention. He even obtained some of Dr. Ken Cooper’s (Aerobics creator) colleagues to conduct the cardio fitness tests, to head off skepticism about results. The majority of subjects were 2nd and 3rd string football players, the coach wouldn’t let 1st stringers take part. The workouts were brutal HIT, AJ (Arthur Jones) style. Don Shula the Miami Dolphin football coach came in for a day. Jones even set up an after hours program so other West Point coaches, faculty and families could take part. That program was called Project Total Conditioning.

After 6 weeks the study was complete 19 subjects doing HIT with 16 in a control group. The results:


Muscular Strength. After 17 workouts, the HIT group increased an average of 59% on ten exercises. There was no strength gains by the control group.

Cardiovascular Endurance. Subjects were wired with continuous EKG and blood pressure, tested several ways including an all-out test on stationary bike and a two mile run. The HIT group was significantly better on all heart rate and blood pressure tests than the control group during all types of exertion. The two mile run showed the only negative, The Hit group’s average time was reduced by 88 seconds, while the control group ran it 20 seconds faster than their average.

Joint Flexibility. The HIT group improved their average trunk and shoulder flexibility by 11%. The control increased their average by only 1%.

It was felt that he showed HIT and the nautilus machines build strength, cardo improvements and flexibility at a higher rate than standard training.

Several members of the West Point faculty wrote books on HIT they were sold on HIT including Dan Riley a premier strength coach at Penn State, Washington Redskins and the Huston Texans, always teaching HIT to players and other trainers along the way.

The beginning of HIT – High Intensity Training

The beginning of HIT. High Intensity Training


I do have a chuckle every time I hear someone talking about high intensity training as a ‘new’ concept!
As you will read below, the concept of HIT has been around for a long time. I’m particularly interested as I aim to build lots of lean, metabolically active tissue in my clients as it’s THE best way to burn all their unwanted fat fast!


The Colorado Experiment was a bodybuilding experiment run by Arthur Jones using Nautilus equipment at the Colorado State University in May 1973.[1]
It is of interest due to its claims that incredible results can be achieved with a small number of sessions using single sets of high intensity repetitions to momentary muscle failure focusing on negative or lowering multi-joint exercises. The first subject, Casey Viator, was said to have gained 63 pounds of muscle in 28 days and the second, Arthur Jones, gained 15 pounds in 22 days.
These claims are considered controversial because it was only performed with two subjects who were not “average,” but regaining pre-existing muscle mass.[2]
The results of the experiment do not appear to have been repeated in a scientific study.

[1] http://baye.com/colorado-experiment/
[2] http://blog.legendarylife.com/the-colorado-experiment

In the next part we’ll look at the West Point Experiment by Arthur Jones in Colorado which set out to prove HIT in a bigger group of subjects.

Why Crossfit May NOT Be Good For You

Why Crossfit May Not Be Good For You

I found this and thought you should have a read….. a few interesting points about who Crossfit is aimed at, how hard you should train and do the coaches have enough training?  Anyone can ‘Beast’ a client  not many can ‘Coach’ clients……

This discussion seems to make sense to me – Coach Boyle is very respected in his field and in the industry as a whole.


Michael Boyle

Crossfit gyms are springing up all over the world. They are cheap and easy to open, with only a weekend certification and a few thousand dollars worth of equipment. This appeals to many in the fitness business. You can be part of a rapidly growing trend and you can do it without great expense. I am not a Crossfit fan so some might view this piece as yellow journalism. I will try to keep my personal opinions to myself and deal with what is generally agreed upon as safe in strength and conditioning.

First, a little background. To be honest, I knew very little about Crossfit until I was contacted by representatives of SOMA, the Special Operations Medical Association, in 2005. Crossfit was their concern, not mine. I was asked to come to the SOMA meeting in Tampa, Florida to discuss training special operations soldiers. At a panel discussion in 2005 I offered answers to questions asked about Crossfit and the controversy began. What follows is not from the SOMA meeting but, my thoughts since.

Major Question 1- Is planned randomization a valid concept. Crossfit is based on the idea that the workouts are planned but deliberately random. I think that the term planned randomization is an oxymoron. Workouts are either planned or random. I believe strongly that workouts should be planned and that a specific progression should be followed to prevent injury.

I sometimes plan sessions that relate to each other week to week – but not Day to Day – is this also planned randomisation.

But seriously, I know what Coach Boyle means. To be effective programmes should gradually build in frequency, intensity, duration and type of training, over the short and very long term.


Major Question 2- Is Training to Failure Safe? Because Crossfit is, at it’s heart, a competitive or self-competitive program it becomes necessary to train to failure. There are two layers or problem here. One is the simple question of whether training to failure is beneficial to the trainee. Some strength and conditioning experts believe training to failure is beneficial, others caution against. I must admit that I like training to failure.

However, this brings up the larger question of what constitutes failure. Strength and Conditioning Coach Charles Poliquin (another non-Crossfit fan) popularized the term “technical failure” and, this is the definition that we adhere to.

Technical failure occurs not when the athlete or client is no longer capable of doing the exercise but, when the athlete or client can no longer do the exercise with proper technique. In training beyond technical failure the stress shifts to tissues that were not, and probably should not, be the target of the exercise. The third layer of the training to failure question relates to what movements lend themselves to training to failure. In the area of “generally agreed as safe”, high velocity movements like Olympic lifts and jumps are not generally done to failure and never should be taken beyond technical failure. Is it one bad rep versus multiple bad reps? How many bad reps is too many?

It seems mad to train beyond the point of having good form (therefore safe execution of the exercise)


Major Question 3- Is an overuse injury (generally an injury caused by repeated exposure to light loads), different from an overstress injury (an injury caused by exposure to heavy loads). Both are injuries.

The first is overuse, the second is trauma. In my mind injuries are injuries, period.

I agree – I am always looking for ways to include mobilisations to improve movement patterns, prepare for training and get more value out of the warm-up/prep phase of every workout.  My 5 week programme gives us a chance to really focus on muscle balance, injury prevention, 3 Dimension training and recovery.


Major Question 4- Should adults be Olympic lifters? I don’t think that Olympic lifts are for all adults. Most adults can’t get their arms safely over their head once much less fifty times with load. The other question that begs to be asked is should anyone do high rep Olympic lifts. I know the best Olympic lifters in the world say no. With all that said believe it or not my biggest problem is actually less with the actual workouts than it is with the false bravado and character assassination of dissenters. The community can be pretty venomous when you question Coach Glassman.


The Crossfit community is also filled with people who tell you that injury is a normal part of the training process. I have spoken up against endurance athletes who willingly hurt themselves and to me, this is no difference than the current Crossfit controversy. I know that this will generate more controversy but, Crossfit might be the biggest controversy in strength and conditioning since HIT training.

I use HIIT as a method in some programs….

Quite different to HIT.

HIT is High Intensity Training, HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training….  I can vary the interval to build endurance before I progress the load/weigh Intensity to improve strength.

This way, beginners can work alongside experienced clients without fear of injury or embarrassment!



Hope this will encourage you to question training methods and the quality of the ‘coaching’ available to you.


Jax Allen Fitness