When a pegboard showed up in Event 12 of the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games, a lot of people were shocked.
That’s a weird reaction by any follower of a sport in which competitors sign up to face the “unknown and unknowable,” but it’s even weirder when you consider CrossFit’s Founder and CEO wrote about pegboards back in 2002.
In the second issue of the CrossFit Journal, Greg Glassman listed and sourced all the equipment a person would need to turn a garage into a “world-class strength and conditioning facility.” The article, “The Garage Gym,” has been sitting in our archives since September 2002, and it’s the third-most-popular of our 4,000 pieces of content. Only the “Level 1 Training Guide” and “What Is Fitness?” outrank it.
Be that as it may, a great many people missed this section of “The Garage Gym”: “Pegboards can be used to develop great back and arm strength. ... Again, we’ve plans to install pegboards on our walls soon. This is our favorite alternative to the climbing rope.”
Other early CrossFit Journal topics have influenced Games or regional events: single-speed bikes, two-person lifting, handstand walking and swimming, for example. The recent announcement of strict muscle-ups at regionals? Glassman didn’t mention kipping once in “The Muscle-Up” in 2002. He was clearly detailing the strict movement.
And then there’s “World-Class Fitness in 100 Words”—published October 2002 as part of “What Is Fitness?”—in which Glassman advised athletes to “regularly learn and play new sports.”
I have trouble thinking of many sports that don’t involve swinging an implement or throwing something, and yet people were surprised by stake drives, sledgehammer events and ball throws at the CrossFit Games.
All this is to say the CrossFit Journal archives are rich with knowledge, but a lot of people are missing out on it.
From a historical perspective, Glassman’s early articles signaled a new era of fitness, just the way the first Nautilus machines changed the fitness industry in the early ’70s, though many would rightly contend those machines were a step in the wrong direction.
Glassman wrote about topics all but banished by traditional fitness publications that were only too eager to obsess over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biceps yet again. By shedding new light on the disciplines of gymnastics, kettlebells, power- lifting, Olympic lifting and more—all combined in the CrossFit program—Glassman bent the fitness industry away from selectorized machines and aerobics one PDF at a time. For proof of his success, you need only look at the current widespread availability of all the once-rare equipment Glassman listed in “The Garage Gym.”
Beyond that, Glassman’s articles have stood up to scrutiny over the years: They contain the first true definition of fitness, they explain exactly why and how the CrossFit program works, and they detail everything you need to know in order to become very fit. Taken together, they’re like finding the formula for gunpowder.
Some of these seminal pieces are part of the “CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide” and are seen regularly, but many remain more obscure than they should be. We’re well aware that the Journal’s search engine isn’t ideal, and a lot of gems are hidden many clicks away from our landing page, so it’s high time we brought Glassman’s writing to the forefront again.
To make things very CrossFit, your next workout is a chipper for time, and it will challenge your mind. Glassman did, after all, say this: “The greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears.” Below, we’ve collected Glassman’s earliest CrossFit Journal writings from April 2002 to March 2004—38 articles published over two years. Your challenge is to read or reread them all in order.
Attention spans are short, and it’s far easier to get click-baited into a rabbit hole of top 10s and celebrity gossip, with ample distractions provided by text messages, Facebook notifications and Snapchats. Some will definitely ask “why bother?” before hitting Instagram to double-tap hearts onto a sea of slow-motion snatch videos.
I’ll answer that question with another: Why do you do Fran, Grace and Helen?
CrossFit Journal Glassman Chipper
For time, read all articles listed below from start to finish in order:
“Foundations,” published April 2002.
“The Garage Gym,” published September 2002.
“What Is Fitness?” published October 2002.
“Strategies for a 7 Minute 2K on the Concept II Rower,” published November 2002.
“The Muscle-Up,” published November 2002.
“Glycemic Index,” published November 2002.
“Squat Clinic,” published December 2002.
“Ergometer Scores and Hall of Fame Workouts,” published December 2002.
“Fast Food,” published December 2002.
“A Postural Error—A Costly Biomechanical Fault: Muted Hip Function (MHF),” published January 2003.
“The Overhead Lifts,” published January 2003.
“Interview: Coach Greg Glassman,” published January 2003.
“The Odd Lifts,” published January 2003.
“Hooverball,” published February 2003.
“Theoretical Template for CrossFit’s Programming,” published February 2003.
“Seniors and Kids,” published February 2003.
“The Push-Up,” published March 2003.
“Police Training,” published March 2003.
“A Better Warm-Up,” published April 2003.
“How Fit Are You?” published April 2003.
“The Pull-Up,” published April 2003.
“Two Training Aids,” published May 2003.
“Three Important Ab Exercises,” published May 2003.
“Beginners’ Workout,” published May 2003.
“Metabolic Conditioning Glossary,” published June 2003.
“Interval Generator,” published June 2003.
“Metabolic Conditioning,” published June 2003.
“The Clean,” published July 2003.
“Anatomy and Physiology for Jocks,” published August 2003.
“The Deadlift,” published August 2003.
“Functionality and Wall Ball,” published August 2003.
“Benchmark Workouts,” published September 2003.
“Really Cool Homemade Parallettes,” published September 2003.
“Team Workouts,” published October 2003.
“Nutrition: Avoiding Metabolic Derangement,” published November 2003.
“Handstands,” published January 2004.
“Macroclimbing,” published February 2004.
“What Is CrossFit?” published March 2004.
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About the Author: Mike Warkentin is the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal and the founder of CrossFit 204.
All photos: Mike Warkentin/CrossFit Journal