CrossFit: A Rich Genetic Spectrum

CrossFit is home to some of the fittest athletes, arguably the fittest in the world. The CrossFit Games have happened every summer since 2007, and in 2011, the CrossFit Open meant the Games could reach a growing global community of CrossFitters entering online.

As the name suggests, CrossFit crosses all aspects of fitness so we would expect to see a broad diversity of genetic profiles.

What is CrossFit?

If you don’t know what CrossFit is, all you need to know is: CrossFit standardizes training regimes for all the recognized general physical skills. The skills cover ten main areas from, cardio & endurance, flexibility & coordination, to power & strength. (See the original ten listed in the seminal paper in the CrossFit Journal — October 2002.)

These physical skills are covered in your Athletigen profile, and on your dashboard are three broad categories to help you focus your efforts for the best performance output.



CrossFit Genetic Top Trumps

CrossFit covers all types of athletic fitness, so the diversity of genetic profiles would make a veritable Top Trumps of athlete fitness depending on what skill set or ‘modality’ they are the strongest: Just like the card game, Top Trumps, each CrossFitter’s genetic profile would favour a certain area of athletics, just like in the CrossFit Games, but the winning card would depend on which category you chose to play!

Core Modalities

CrossFit training and the ten physical skills have been broken down into three groups or ‘modalities’. (Read more about each modality in the 2007 CrossFit Journal — it also lists the types of exercises for each modality).

The three modalities are:

  • M — Monostructural Metabolic Conditioning. “Cardio”
  • G — Gymnastics Bodyweight Exercises
  • W — Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and Olympic lifts.

So how do your genetics compliment each modality? Let’s take the third issued workout from the CrossFit Open (open qualifiers for The Games): The third workout issued for the CrossFit Open this year, 15.3, sees a mixture of the modalities;

G: Muscle Ups. Pulling yourself up using rings to a locked arm position and back down again. This gymnastic body strength exercise would require immense upper-body strength and control.

W: Wall Balls. Lifting a large heavy ball and doing deep squats then standing up to throw the ball up to a fixed height. This too requires a lot of strength, but now includes the lower-body as well.

Fifty Wall Balls after seven Muscle Ups is a tiring and impressive feat even off the clock.

For this, both power and endurance are demanded of your body.

M: Double-Unders. Cardio and coordination after putting your upper and lower-body through Wall-Balls and Muscle-Ups won’t be as easy as doing them alone. So allowing a skipping-rope to pass twice under your feet with each skip would take patience, coordination, skill, and mental capacity to keep going.



We expect elite athletes to perform and maintain their fitness through careful nutrition because nutrition affects the body’s performance.

Your response to nutrients will affect your body’s athletic performance, that’s basic biology for you. Luckily there are gene markers that can tell you the likelihood of how you metabolise nutritional elements such as Vitamin D, a vitamin that is so important for many things including muscles. (2011 Review article)

No matter what kind of athlete you are, CrossFit has you covered, but the CrossFit Games requires you to cover all the modalities to be the fittest person on the planet.

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