BMack vs. Bompa–First Thoughts on Power, Speed, Endurance

I finally got my copy of Power, Speed, Endurance by Brian MacKenzie of CrossFit Endurance.  I have to admit, I didn’t know what to expect – maybe 100 pages filled with controversial ideas.  What I got was:

  • A beautiful, thick, large-format book packed with hundreds of slow-motion stills of every CrossFit exercise as well as running, swimming, and cycling technique.
  • A nuanced view of the pros and cons of traditional endurance training and the CrossFit approach.
  • Finally, a clear explanation of CrossFit Endurance programming that “clicked” with my brain – I never really understood the methodology behind the website programming until I read the book!
  • A comprehensive “manual” of CrossFit, incorporating weightlifting, gymnastics, sport skills, mobility, and nutrition.

In short, it far exceeded my expectations.  It deserves a place next to Tudor Bompa’s classic Periodization for Sport on my bookshelf, representing a radically alternative philosophy.  PSE advocates constant variation with a lot of flexibility in programming, but also admits that in order to compete in endurance events, you have to practice the skill of the sport and do time trials at distance.  Bompa agrees on the skill aspect, but advocates a highly regimented program that is proven but breaks down easily if you don’t have 800-1000 hours per year to devote to training.  It will be interesting to read (or re-read in the case of Bompa) both books and draw out the nuggets from each.

I will tell you the following impacts in the first week:

1.  I found out that what I thought was Pose running was not.  When I tried it after reading the running skill section in the book, I was exhausted and felt like I had just done 1000 deadlifts, meaning that I was using completely different muscles.  Humble pie indeed.  In 25 years I had never thought about midline stabilization when running.  Duh.

2.  I got in the pool and found out I was actually swimming pretty well.  Core engaged – check.  Both push and pull on the kick – check.  Etc. Etc.  Again, never really thought about it before.  Eye-opening.

Congrats to BMack on a great product.  Plus it’s heavy enough to turn my backpack into a weighted vest!

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