I would like to preface this post by stating unequivocally that I think Steve Maxwell is one of the baddest mother fuckers in America. I am not sure if I have all my facts perfectly straight, but I think it's pretty spot on when I say he was the first American BJJ black belt. One of the first guys to adopt KB training over ten years ago. A collegiate wrestler. His son Zach just fought and beat Kron Gracie at the ADCC trials. Basically most of the things that I think are cool, Maxwell excelled at a decade ago, or more. Here's some pics:
That being said... He just posted a statement against Crossfit on his blog. I run a Crossfit. So I read it. He is one of my heroes after all. The gist of my response is that he failed to state anything new, and made some broad generalizations that aren't necessarily wrong in many cases, but far from true across the board. I think it's helpful to understand that ALL Crossfit affiliates are different, and attempting to describe 'Crossfit' will always require either clarification or always risk being generalized and thus lacking specificity, accuracy or legitimacy. At the article's worst points, he makes statements without support that I think show an unclear explanation of his premise at best, and perhaps some incomplete or biased logic. I have copied and pasted the headlines he used, and I will address the issues discussed therein. For a primmer on this topic, consult Mike Boyle and Gray Cooke from like 4 years ago HERE.
Notice below that most of the material is kinda SOS, DD.
Here's the Steve Maxwell article: Blog
The use of high-rep Olympic lifts for time
I agree with this one in principal at first. If you wish to be an olympic lifter, you need to train very low rep sets. The bulgarians are famous for the ME every day approach and the Russians have Prilepin's chart. No denying the evidence and the crowd are all suggesting mostly 3 or less reps with rests of 45-300 seconds between sets. If you're goal is to use the O lifts for power development more broadly as an athlete, then you can interpret 'the rules' a little more loosely. HOWEVER, one of Steve's principal arguments is that the O lifts are not best for developing power and do not transfer well for athletes. Furthermore that they are not safe in general (citation?) and that Olympic lifting specialists get injured all the time (citation?). If the O-lifts are such shit, what does it matter how many reps I do?
Where the logic really falls apart is when we then read that Maxwell suggests KB's instead, which are in one sentence 'designed' for high reps, and in another also highly technical and at risk for causing injury. Two thoughts: KB's where designed for marketplace weighing, and why is the movement not dangerous but the implement? How are KB's inherently safer than barbells? This coming from an RKC (me). By the end of this section, I have to admit I lose track of where he stands. But I will say this: MOVEMENT MATTERS. Not implements. Your body doesn't know or care what you are lifting. Just how heavy it is, how fast you move how many times etc. The O lifts are really hard. 90% of people who do them suck terribly, and should not be doing them for more than 3 reps, and this includes almost ALL Crossfitters. Sorry guys. Practice harder.
If you are going to argue that explosive lifting for high reps is safe (girevoy sport) than you have to allow for Grace.
Making exercise into a competitive event
The use of kipping pull-ups and other joint-harmful gymnastic-type exercises
WOD (Workout of the day)
CrossFit encourages over training
CrossFit is no way to prepare for specific sports
CrossFit is primarily a social phenomenon
Aren't you just a little bit skeptical about why all these dudes who sell competing products are all trying to make broad, generalized and unsupported claims about why something someone else is doing is all wrong and dangerous and stupid? Especially when they only have their facts sorta straight?