Today’s Question of the day was which of the 10 General Physical Skills you are strongest in. Due to time limitations we never did get to fully explore your answers but I was surprised at how many Empower members had questions about what the 10 general physical skills are particularly since our old CrossFit intros used to go through them thoroughly.
The 10 general physical skills are among the things that set CrossFit apart from other training methodologies. While endurance athletes work to develop cardio vascular respiratory endurance and stamina, power lifters work to develop strength and dart players work on accuracy, CrossFit is unique in its pursuit of all 10 general physical skills with the goal of providing you the broad general physical adaptations required to easily adapt to any and all of life’s challenges. Go participate in a triathlon, go compete at the Highland Games or go for a game of tennis, CrossFit aims to prepare you for it all.
So what are the 10 general physical skills?
1) Cardio Vascular Respiratory Endurance describes your oxidative energy pathway, basically the efficiency with which your body can process oxygen. Ever had to stop because you were too winded to continue? That was you hitting your CVRE limits. A 5K run, row, bike or swim are all good measures of this. Any WOD in which you can keep moving for longer than 5 minutes tests your CVRE to some extent.
2) Stamina (muscular endurance). Ever try a max hang from a pull up bar? Bet you didn’t let go because you were out of breath, right? It was muscular fatigue that dropped you. Every time we have you putting together sets of any movement from push ups to clean & jerks, we are testing your muscular endurance.
3) Strength. Your ability to apply force. A deadlift might be a great test of strength. Or a weighted pull up. Whenever we work on short, heavy sets or very challenging body weight movements we are testing/developing your strength.
4) Flexibility. Range of motion about a joint. Ever struggle with the overhead squat? Probably because of restricted mobility in one or several joints. In CrossFit we’re always trying to develop stability and mobility through a complete range of motion.
5) Speed. How fast can you get from point A to point B? A 50 yard sprint is a great test of speed. Anytime we turn on the timer we are measuring your speed.
6) Power. Force x Distance/Time. This is the application of force as a function of time. How long does it take you to move a load how far? The best test of power is the vertical leap test but snatches and clean & jerks are other great measures. In most WODs, including benchmarks like Fran, we are measuring your power output. The work is the constant (force x distance) your finish (time) is the variable. Faster time = more power.
7) Coordination. Combining together two or more distinct movement patterns or multiple body parts. The double under is a great test of coordination. Can you coordinate your hands and feet? But most lifting and gymnastics movements require a lot of coordination to execute efficiently and it is one of the first things to break down under fatigue.
8) Accuracy. The ability to recreate a movement pattern. Any sport that tries to hit a target is a good example but so is receiving the bar in the squat snatch. The precise accuracy to get in the correct position to catch a heavy barbell overhead demands lots of accuracy ergo the frustration everyone has with the squat snatch.
9) Balance. Keeping your centre of gravity over your base of support. Sure, walking a tight rope or balance beam is the obvious test but tipping forward into the toes during the thruster also constitutes a loss of balance.
10) Agility. Your ability to switch from one movement pattern to another. In field sports this is simply how fast you can change direction while in motion. A simple pattern run is a straight forward test but so is an Olympic lift wherein you must explosively open then immediately retract the hip.
For a long time fitness professionals focused on just items 1-4 producing ho-hum results. CrossFit was the program that first brought an athletic approach to training providing real world fitness and building a much better base. It also turned out to be more fun. So which of the 10 is your strongest? Which is your weakest? According to the law of diminishing returns, your biggest potential athletic pay off is in developing your weakest link.
1 min bear crawl ( straight leg/ 1 leg/ with kick up)
1 min hollow (hold, super man, rock)
1 min rock ( scapula, os push up, full body)
1 min hip swings
10 min Amrap
50 ft handstand walk