Over the past five years we have seen an important shift in law enforcement fitness training. Many agencies are now moving away from traditional lifestyle fitness training, fitness as a punishment and body building style of training and incorporating functional strength and fitness training.
There is a great deal of information out there on functional fitness using olympic style lifting, sandbags and kegs, body weight training, flex bands, kettlebells, interval training, etc. I am a huge fan of functional fitness training for law enforcement personnel. I believe it is important to get properly trained in the movements and principles behind this style of training to ensure you get the maximum benefit from the training and avoid injury from improper application of the training.
In the world of functional fitness Crossfit is becoming one of the most well known systems in North America and is also enjoying world wide success. I am a fan of Crossfit. I have being recommending it as one source for functional fitness training to people for about 7 or 8 years. I have friends who are Crossfit affiliates.
However, there is an unintended consequence that I feel I need to talk about and that is the philosophy of train to failure. Crossfit pushes their athletes to continually improve by always challenging themselves to exceed past limitations and push through barriers. I agree with that philosophy. I am concerned however, when I watch many of the videos on the Crossfit website and see athletes finish a gruelling workout then collapse in a puddle of sweat on the floor. That may be fine when you are at the gym but this conditioning has the potential to get law enforcement officers or soldiers hurt or killed in the field. Warriors must be able to finish the fight and still be alert for the potential of other threats. If you get in a foot chase, followed by huge fight and win that fight and get the subject in handcuffs then collapse on the ground (as you have trained to do) you may get ambushed by another threat. This is not paranoia, it is the reality of violent encounters. I have seen two video interviews on the Crossfit website with elite Crossfit athletes who do not buy into this philosophy of train to failure. They both stated that their goal was to push themselves a little harder every day but always finish on their feet. That is the more desirable philosophy.
As law enforcement professionals ‘training to failure’ may have catastrophic consequences in the field. Push yourself hard in training, but always finish with your head up ready for the next fight.
Note: I will be in the road for the month of February so I will only be posting once a week. I will post each Tuesday in February.