1. Our focus is on the functional training goals of each individual client. We specialize in training ages 50 and up. (Crossfit will only say they do because they think that is a valuable market and that their methodology can be applied everywhere. Well, it can but it shouldn’t be). Strong Tower Training coaches have training and background in the Functional Aging Institute system and are Functional Aging Specialists or studying to become Functional Aging Specialists. Functional is goal dependant - most North American Grandmas do not need to be able to toss a 30 lb object 5 feet in the air, but they often do need the hip, leg, and back strength to carry a 30 lb person.
2. No kipping pullups, no barbell snatches, or box jumps (for most people). The first 2 movements require high levels of shoulder range of motion AND shoulder stability. Even with requisite range of motion and stability, they can be dangerous in the high repetition format under which they are often performed at CrossFit facilities. Most adults 50+ do not need to jump up on a box that is 24” high in day to day life. Anyone who is overweight is putting unnecessary load on the tendons and ligaments of the knee when performing box jumps. We’ve heard too many stories of knee injury from a client who joined CrossFit to lose 50, 100 pounds or more and they ended up having knee surgery because the ‘coach’ started them out on day 1 or month 1 with box jumps.
3. More emphasis on kettlebell movements (ergonomically match the rotary nature of the human movement system) as well as resistance bands (building higher levels of tendon, ligament and soft tissue strength, without causing unnecessarily high levels of tissue stress).
4. ‘Novelty’ and ‘mastery’ are more effective than ‘constantly varied’ - the brain likes new things and responds well to them typically but varying a program so much makes tracking progress and progressions difficult. We do new things, and encourage people to do new things daily, but they are designed to engage the brain not ‘constantly vary’ movements and somehow ‘trick’ clients into being stronger, ONLY with constant variations under high intensity.
5. We do dynamic and complex movements pre-fatigue to protect our bodies and prevent injury. Some of the crossfit programming makes no sense except that it qualifies as ‘hard but that doesn't make it ‘helpful’.
6. Recognition of the concept of ‘minimum effective dose’ meaning that exercise should be treated as an input that can create either good or bad outputs. I.e. more drugs or more exercise is not always the answer to make people the best, healthiest version of themselves. Oftentimes, more movement and reasonable exercise is a very good thing, but as we age, there are certain things (i.e. barbell clean and jerks, snatches, etc) that do NOT need to be done often, if at all.
7. Recognition of 4 different training speeds, from super slow to sports speed. Not always the case in CrossFit, but many gyms will do 90% AFAP, while not recognizing the slower tempos as VERY Valuable.
8. The visual and vestibular systems will be addressed minimally in most CrossFit gyms. We talk about them and utilize visual and vestibular movements frequently. The brain and nervous system are the fastest and most direct path to creating immediate change, not training harder, longer and with more muscle rolling and smashing to speed up and enhance ‘recovery.’
9. Maybe the most obvious one, we don’t affiliate with CrossFit or pay the ridiculous license fee to put one of their signs up, because there are some things that we do differently, on purpose.
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