Physical Assessment

Today’s Coaches Corner is all about the Physical Assessment we’ve recently implemented and have been referring to. I hope you’ve taken the time to look over the posters at the gym.

We’re going to answer these questions:

  • Where did the assessment come from?
  • What is the purpose of the assessment?
  • How will it be used?
  • What should you do?

Where did the Assessment come from?

In every aspect of life you learn through experience and education.  Our training methods and coaching are no different.

We are now in our 5th year operating as CrossFit Reviver and over that time we have learned a TON.  Our learning comes from two different sources: working with our members on a daily basis and continuing education (books, seminars / certifications, blogs, videos, etc.).

Working with our members over time, we’ve noticed that although we all have similar needs (the ability to sit down / stand up, pick things up, put things overhead, etc) we all have different abilities / limitations (strength, mobility, stability, endurance, etc).  From this realization we found a need for some kind of assessment to better understand what people need based on where they are today.

The assessment itself comes from OPEX – we learned about this assessment while completing OPEX’s Physical Assessment and Program Design courses (we’ve also completed its Nutrition and Business Systems courses).  Through this course we learned the importance of properly assessing each individual in order to give appropriate training programs and recommendations.

This tool is used worldwide by other fitness coaches and athletes.

What is the purpose of the Assessment?

Prior to this course our mindset was to write workouts for the top echelon athletes in our gym and then to scale down and provide modifications for developing athletes. This mindset worked for a while, but it fails when you start to assess people and get a better understanding of where they are starting and what their goals are (hence the reason for consulting every new member and now implementing the Physical Assessment).

When we have something in place like this Physical Assessment it allows coaches and members to be on the same page – it’s not going to be, “You should do ‘this’ because I said so” anymore.

Now we’ll be able to say, “You should do this, because based on your assessment its what is most appropriate for your ability and your goals.”

Another purpose for this assessment is injury prevention.  Over the years we have seen injuries occur and even though we know they are inevitable with any kind of physical activity, we strive to eliminate them as much as possible.

We know that this Physical Assessment was not just made up by someone based on what they ‘think’ is appropriate.

The assessment was designed by a team that has worked with thousands of clients over 20 years and has developed norms and standards based on the data they collected from those clients.  This assessment has taught us a lot about what an individual should be able to do before moving into more dynamic, explosive movements to ensure proper progression and safety.

How will the assessment be used?

  1. It will help determine what movements / exercises should be used for YOUR workouts.  For example; Johnny is Level 2 Upper Body Pulling, but has the ability to do Kipping Pull Ups (Level 5).  Johnny should use this information to his advantage and avoid doing Kipping Pull Ups for high reps or while under cardiovascular fatigue (during a ‘metcon’) because he doesn’t quite have the shoulder strength / stability to maintain safe mechanics for such a dynamic movement for higher reps or while fatigued.  So, he could still do Kipping Pull Ups, but in a more controlled, lower rep setting where he can put 100% attention on the mechanics.  He could also spend time working on building his Strict Weighted Pull Up (Level 3) and his OH Press (Level 4).
  2. It will give insight into how balanced (or unbalanced) one’s structural strength really is.  If you were to test each movement category and find scores that look like this:  L2, L3, L4, L5, L1, L2 – you could see how there are some clear imbalances across the different movement patterns.  This will tell us where to focus your training IF you want to be balanced.
  3. For those of you that follow our Group Program, you have to understand that we are programming for a GROUP, not just YOU.  So it is really hard for the program to focus on YOUR wants, needs, goals and imbalances, while doing the same for everyone else.  Does this mean that the Group Program is a waste of time?  ABSOLUTELY NOT – talk to anyone who has been training here consistently for over 6 months and they’ll tell you how much progress they’ve seen.  However, if you want to work on specific things, for specific goals or specific imbalances, then you need a specific program design for YOU.  Fortunately, we provide an Individual Programming service! If you come to us and say I want an individual program to accomplish X,Y and Z, we will do a complete physical assessment and design a program specifically for YOU.  If that is not what you want, then the best thing you can do is follow our Group Program consistently (4-5days / week), track your workouts, know where you sit on the assessment and communicate to us your goals and struggles so we can help you continue to see progress.  Oh yeah, and utilize our Open Gym time to work on weaknesses or things you haven’t done in awhile.

What should you do?

  1. If your goals consist of; general fitness, weight loss, strength gain, having fun, stress relief, building confidence then follow our Group Program and use the assessment and your coach’s assistance to guide your workouts to that you continue to progress while reducing the risk of injury.
  2.  If your goals are focused on competitive CrossFit and you plan to participate in local competitions then you should test into our Competitor’s Program.  If you cannot test into it you should talk to the coaches about a game plan to get you there.
  3.  If your goals are different then the ones above (very specific to one thing) OR you have some major movement restrictions / injuries you should schedule a time to meet with us about developing an individual program.
  4. Come to us with ANY questions or comments about ANYTHING regarding CrossFit Reviver (programs, events, coaches, systems, etc.)