I have been doing some brainstorming lately regarding why Crossfit has gained so much popularity in the last year or so and why its participants often achieve awesome strength and physique results. My hypothesis is this: Methodologies such as Crossfit results when put into practice by individuals is because their methodologies are rigid in their guiding practices and their guidelines are in place to insure that the training sessions are difficult and unrelentlessly brutal. See I am of the belief that the worst program done with the greatest effort will produce incredible results, and that the most well designed program performed with little effort will fail time and time again to produce results. I am believe that intensity is one of the most important factors that determine the effect of a program. Having a high level of intensity during any training is going to yield the greatest results. This is something that Crossfit definitely has, a high level of intensity and effort, no one can argue that point (though form I think is often sacrificed in their training for intensity). If you add Crossfit's level of intensity to what I call the Novice Effect you get incredible strength gains and physique changes. When I say the Novice Effect I am referring to the phenomenon that takes place when you take a somewhat in shape individual and introduce them to their first training methodology that is designed to be purposefully difficult and this individual experiences crazy strength increases, body fat loss, and increased metabolic conditioning. This happens simply because the individuals training intensity is immediately forced to a whole new level then what their previous training took place at. I think this effect is what allows certain methodologies, such as Crossfit to claim their training methods a success unrightfully so without taking into considerations that perhaps it isn't the way crossfit designs sand programs training sessions that makes the difference but simply that your training protocols are more difficult than what the individual has previously experienced. This results in the individuals body making large adaptions to handle this new increased stressed that is being placed on it on a more frequent basis.
Perhaps I am wrong in this hypothesis, but it is a possible explanation for why when Crossfit is applied to general population individuals that are some what trained it yields awesome results. These awesome results cause a mass increase in popularity for Crossfit because a lot of others desire such results. My idea to test my hypothesis is to take two groups, one group consisting of untrained individuals and one group consisting of trained athletes. You then place both groups on identical training programs designed specifically based on Crossfit methodology. You then compare the two groups progress using a three test one being body composition, one on absolute strength, and one testing VO2 max.
Just a thought . . .