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Ditching the Bench Press

Ditching the Bench Press


Developed for use in police officer fitness training, the CrossFit workout technique is popping up in gyms and stand-alone studios around the world, and is now being used by many fire departments and law enforcement agencies -- and the Royal Danish Life Guards.

"The functional movements you do at CrossFit are things you do every day. You're not walking around doing a leg extension or a dumbbell fly in real life," says Ty Vincent, a coach at CrossFit Hollywood in Los Angeles. "But a dead lift, you do that whenever you drop your keys."

"The training is constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement," adds soccer player and jujitsu fighter Vincent. And it emphasizes athleticism -- even for the otherwise nonsporty types. "CrossFit is itself a sport. Everyone has the potential for athleticism--we bring it out in you."

At CrossFit Hollywood, every new participant is assessed in a one-on-one evaluation for strength and to ensure proper form and safety. Each different workout -- various combinations of sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettle-bell training, plyometrics, rowing, and medicine-ball training -- is done in rotation throughout a month, and each is given a proper name. One's times, reps, and weights for the Helen workout, for example, are recorded, and when the workout comes up again in the rotation and is completed anew, each participant can see the gains made in speed and strength. That evidence of improvement is hugely motivational.

"You're required to log your results," Vincent says, explaining that those who forget their logbook are given extra laps. "And each time you do that workout, you're going to be better."

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