CrossFit is exploding around the world. Boxes (CrossFit gyms) are popping up all over the place. People are attracted to this fitness movement. It’s not for everyone though. In this article I hope to shed some light on this functional fitness sport and allow you to get a better grasp of what to expect from CrossFit.
Let me start by saying I love CrossFit. I have been doing it for close to three years now and I recently took up a full time position at a CrossFit Box. The movements found in CrossFit are nothing new. Squats, Deadlifts and Presses join the Olympic weightlifting movements with gymnastics thrown in to add some spice. Gymnastics in CrossFit terms includes the cool moves like handstands and ring-work but also covers pull-ups and push-ups.
You need to be able to manipulate and control your own body weight. Other equipment such as sleds and kettlebells are also used.
In the commercial fitness world, the debate rages as to whether you should do cardio before resistance training or vice versa. CrossFit puts movements together in what is known as the Workout of the Day (WOD). The WODs are “constantly varied, combinations of functional movement, performed at high intensity”.
The simplest example of a functional movement is a Deadlift. Here you pick something off the ground. This could be a child, groceries or a barbell. Intensity is achieved via increased power output.
To use a simple example – a person will Deadlift a 40kg bar for 10 reps, they will put it down and then Press a 20kg bar overhead for 10 reps. A total of 400kg is lifted on the Deadlift and 200kg on the overhead press, giving us a total of 600kg.
Should you perform that combination for five rounds, a total of 3000kg (3 tons) will be lifted in that particular WOD. CrossFit uses time pressure to ensure intensity, the five rounds will need to be done as fast as possible – with good form. This ties neatly into another CrossFit definition where class participants “move large loads across long distances, quickly”.
Some Points to Consider
CrossFit is a group-training environment. It is not Personal Training.
Affiliates are registered with CrossFit HQ in the U.S.A. There are many fly by night gyms claiming to offer CrossFit. Do yourself a favor; check if they are an actual affiliate. An easy way to do this is in the name of a Box. All proper affiliates will have the name CrossFit in their name.
Ensure that the coaches know what they are doing. The CrossFit certification course is run over a weekend. No prior knowledge in physical training is needed to participate in it. Upon completion, people are able to open a CrossFit affiliate. Not all CrossFit boxes are equal. Do your homework.
See if you can do a trial class. This will allow you to feel out the vibe and culture of your chosen affiliate.
Should you wish to join up, most affiliates have beginner courses that go by many different names. The most common names are On Ramp, Jump Start and Elements. They all teach you the necessary movements so that you can safely integrate into a main CrossFit class.
Some WODs will be long while others will be short. The idea is to build general physical preparedness. In order to say you CrossFit, you should be able to perform a variety of movements. There is no easy way at CrossFit. This is why it is not for everyone.
Many people do not like stepping out of their comfort zone and heading into the dark place of intensity. The best thing you can do is sign up for a trial class. Feeling is better than reading.
Till next time… Care about your performance.
What would be your main reason for starting CrossFit?