By now most people have at least heard of CrossFit, or know someone who does CrossFit. If you’re in the latter category, you most likely know they take it very seriously. It’s a culture, a way of life, where fitness enthusiasts band together and train as a group, all with the same goals in mind: to push their bodies to the limit, becoming as fit as possible.
- What does CrossFit entail?
- Why has it exploded in popularity over the past year?
- Can just anyone do it?
Take a look into the growing world of CrossFit, and be the judge of whether it’s appropriate for you.
Quotes by “crossfitters”:
- “No, it doesn’t ever get any easier… and you wouldn’t want it to either.”
- “OCD=Obsessive CrossFit Disorder.”
- “CrossFit is like fine art – critiqued by many, but understood by few.”
What Is CrossFit?
The term “CrossFit” gets thrown around a lot these days without most people realizing what it truly is. The workouts and training principles, by design, demand results quickly and are commonly used to condition everyone from Special Operations Forces in the Military, to elite professional athletes. CrossFit workouts combine strength training, cardiovascular training, plyometrics, Olympic lifts, power movements, and gymnastics. These CrossFit workouts change daily, and are referred to by crossfitters as the “WOD,” or the “Workout of the Day”.
The WOD is typically based on completing X amount of exercises for X amount of repetitions, for either X amount of rounds or in X amount of time. This is usually done in one large circuit where the person rotates to the next exercise after completing the goal number of repetitions, but it is also sometimes done in a set order by completing X amount of repetitions per exercise before rotating (e.g. 20 squats 4x as quickly as possible, then 20 push-ups 4x as quickly as possible, etc…). The WOD’s vary daily and use everything from your own body-weight, to barbells, dumbbells, sandbags, sleds, tires, and kettle bells which is one reason why CrossFit lends results so quickly – it constantly changes and there is constant muscle confusion. Here is a sample WOD to give you a better picture:
Workout of the Day
5 rounds as quickly as possible
20 x Burpees
10 x Thrusters #45/#95 (# signifies the amount of weight used for women/men)
20 x Box Jumps
25 x Sit-ups
15 x Kettle Bell Swings #15/#30
Another element that makes CrossFit such a successful exercise program and why it’s so attractive to people is the support system. CrossFit is a community and anytime you have a support system of people behind you with the same goals and passions in mind, your odds of reaching your goals increases tremendously. Imagine the difference in motivation and determination you would experience between working out alone at a gym and working out with a group of people who know your personal best and are pushing you to surpass it each and every single day. So it’s obvious that CrossFit works and is designed to get you results fast, but this does not answer the question- Is it appropriate and safe for everyone to do?
To CrossFit or Not to CrossFit?
There’s some disagreement amongst the fitness community on whether or not CrossFit is appropriate for everyone. On one side of the argument it’s said that CrossFit by nature is only appropriate for highly conditioned athletes. The opposed side argues that anyone can do CrossFit because the workouts can be scaled down to each individual’s abilities and needs.
As someone who has participated in CrossFit and as a veteran certified personal/group fitness trainer through one of the highest accredited exercise institutions in the country, I am a firm believer that “traditional” CrossFit is not appropriate for everyone. The principles, training techniques, and exercises used in CrossFit can and absolutely should be incorporated into everyone’s exercise program; however, only after it has deemed appropriate by an experienced certified fitness instructor.
It’s always best to consult with a certified fitness trainer before starting any new typr of exercise program. My recommendation to anyone with chronic orthopedic issues, cardiopulmonary disease, or limited exercise experience would be to seek personal training before trying CrossFit. This will ensure that you develop and progress through your exercise program at an appropriate and safe speed, which cannot be monitored as closely in a CrossFit exercise program.
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