Metabolic Strength Training Vs. Crossfit

Metabolic Strength Training Vs. Crossfit

CrossFit is a type of fitness sweeping the nation, and for good cause. It has inspired thousands of people to put a barbell in their hands that otherwise wouldn’t.

As a young trainer, I was all about CrossFit style workouts for a while, but through years of education I’ve evolved my beliefs and created, in my opinion, the most effective system to get you lean and strong.

It’s called Metabolic Strength Training.

Here are 10 reasons why we prefer Metabolic Strength Training:

1) Olympic Lifts are too advanced for most people.

In our opinion, Olympic lifts are very advanced lifts that require a significant amount of training to learn to perform properly. In fact, every PICP (an International Strength Coach certification program) that I’ve spoke with feel the same way (I’m currently a Level 2 PICP coach). Since they require too much time for most people to learn them properly, and they are not the best exercises for the average person to burn fat or build muscle anyway, we generally omit from using them. Plus, the way they are programmed are often far from optimal. Here’s legend Mark Rippetoe talking about the dangers of high rep Olympic Lifts.

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2) Metabolic Strength Training is a complete program.

We completely agree that bang for your buck, multi-joint exercises are the foundation of your program. But to look and feel great you need complimentary exercises. For example, Off-Set Farmer Walks are amazing for many things including strengthening the obliques. Contrary to popular belief, you must have some direct core work to build a strong core that also looks good. If you don’t, you’re guaranteeing yourself a back injury at some point down the road because this will lead to poor posture and imbalances that lead to pain.

3) High speed workouts can lead to injury.

When you only train at maximum speeds you don’t train the body to stabilize. In fact, controlled movement (think 3 to 4 seconds down on a squat) is the best way for tendons and ligaments develop. Can you train this way for a period of time? Sure, but constantly training this way is one of the best ways to ensure being the crippled old guy who has bad knees and can’t do anything because his back has 5 ruptured disks and spinal stenosis.

4) Faulty form.

I know that competing for time is fun and efficient, but too much training this way makes it impossible to focus on form. If you train this way regularly, you will hurt your self in time. If you’re moving as fast as possible, you can’t train the muscles to fire sequentially to generate the movement safely. And form dictates function, which basically means that if you don’t have near perfect alignment (or posture) the proper muscles CAN’T fire properly. So the 20% “slop” that is recommended will result in a 100% chance of injury at some point.

5) Lack of structural balance.

In Charles Poliquin’s PICP program he teaches us that we need a relative symmetry among the big and small muscles to ensure that we are as strong as possible and minimize our risk of injury. Most programs do an excellent job emphasizing the posterior chain, but the execution is poor. Their deadlifts are squats (see the picture below), which overemphasize the quads. If you’re competing for the Olympics this is a useful strategy, but if you’re trying to be lean and strong for life then you can’t train with Patellar Tendonitis, IT Band or Piriformis syndrome. And trust me, its not your fault because you don’t foam roll 30 minutes a day, it’s because some programs are unbalanced and pull joints out of alignment. The same can be said for the external rotators of the shoulders, lower traps and many other small muscles.

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Quad Dominant Deadlifts

We target things differently: We customize every persons program, every month to make sure they have relative strength to minimize their risk of an injury and make them the best athlete that they can be. This removes the restrictor plates and lets them train pain free for life.

6) Have I talked about injuries enough yet?

Didn’t think so. Here’s some stats you probably didn’t know: 80% of all people without back pain have a bulging disk and 34% of all people without shoulder pain have a partially torn rotator cuff.

Don’t believe me? Check one of the best strength coaches, Eric Cressey talk about it.Here’s the deal:Everyone is already mis-aligned. We sit all day, we don’t do a 100% balance of movements throughout the day, and few know how to train for ideal posture(it’s kind of complicated) so naturally we’re unbalanced. But why can 80% of people with a bulging disk not have pain? Because they have just enough balanced strength and mobility (think flexibility and full joint range of motion) to perform their everyday tasks pain free.

But once you decided to throw in cleans, clean and jerks, snatches and other movements with 80% good form you’re basically buying a 1 way ticket to theMRI machine.

7) CrossFit doesn’t develop an ideal body type.

Most of the people that look great that do CrossFit didn’t look that way because of CrossFit. You can definitely lose body fat and build significant strength, but unless you have a solid foundation of muscle already you’re going to look soft, or worse, the dreaded skinny fat. Building symmetrical muscle is the answer to helping Women and especially Men look amazing. Doing olympic lifts builds thick traps and can give women a manly look, not the lean, fit figures that most desire. If you’re a women that fears getting bulky, read this articleabout why smart strength training is essential to reach your ideal body type. For Men, there’s just not enough direct work to the Pecs, abs or upper back to achieve what most would consider their ideal body type.

8) I will say this, CrossFit workouts are fun.

It’s fun to compete with people for time and to try to be the best. But this isn’t the only way to compete. We encourage people to compete against themselves and others for fun as well. Set PR’s (Personal records) on Squats, Deadlifts, Front Squats, OH Squats, RDLs, Bent over Rows, Trap 3’s, prowler pushes or whatever movement you decide to do.

9) CrossFit encourages you to be good at everything but not great at anything.

For the average guy, I like the premise, but can we do it smarter? For example, sprint intervals are proven to increase Aerobic Capacity MORE than doing aerobic work. And when you go as fast as possible with no rest, that is an aerobic style workout. It does flirt with the other energy systems (Phosphagen, Anaerobic) but because there isn’t sufficient rest you physiologically can’t tap into these systems. This is an easy fix, just create variety in your programs with planned periodization which some places do, but this is much more complicated than it sounds. I’ve been training for over 10 years and didn’t really figure it out until a couple years ago. We make it simple and have new programs every 4 weeks that rotates exercises to create variety that keeps training fun and keeps you from plateauing.

10) Metabolic Strength Training is the most effective, efficient workouts possible.

You simply can’t add or maintain a good level of muscle with 20 minute workouts. We encourage 3, 45 minute sessions a week to get a lean, strong body. Our program minimizes injury risk, maximizes your athletic potential and makes you lean and strong for life. And it only requires 2 hours and 15 minutes a week.

11) Metabolic Strength Training is a phenomenal value.

It’s like $100 an hour personal training for about $15 a session. The Group Personal Training environment is fun, competitive and gives you the look and performance that you want. We genuinely care about your health and fitness and do everything we can to help you achieve those goals.


So I’d like to thank CrossFit and their amazing community for all that they bring to the iron world, but if you’re like me, then you’ll agree that Metabolic Strength Training(now called Group Personal Training) is the best program to get you lean and strong.

Contact us today at 314-962-2255 or leave your information below to experience it yourself.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.