Whether you think CrossFit is awesome or worse than Lady Gaga’s music, there’s no doubt it has had an immense impact in the past few years.
The trendy form of exercise was established in 2000, but didn’t reach the mainstream until several years later. The sport has now officially blown up, with the 2013 winner receiving $275,000, the games airing on ESPN and athletes receiving numerous sponsorships. With this success, even averages Joes are now trying it.
Unlike traditional cardio or strength training, CrossFit is hard to place in a box. By combining endurance and strength their motto is “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.” Let’s break that down.
The variety is broad like no other exercise program. Olympic lifting, bodyweight exercises, kettle bells, swimming, running, rowing, jumping and gymnastics are just a short list of what a workout could include. Having many options keeps excitement high, but it also opens doors for injury. It’s important to always start slow and never do movements you aren’t comfortable with. This is especially true with Olympic lifting. If you haven’t been taught these movements by a qualified coach, you have no business doing them.
“High-intensity” is no joke, with most CrossFit workouts being an all-out effort. For example, the workout for April 25 on Crossfit.com was 135 pound clean and jerks for 50 reps, in as little time as possible. If you’re just starting off CrossFit, it’s idiotic to start there. First, learn the proper form of all movements and have the necessary mobility to complete them. Once you feel comfortable, add weight and intensity, but never get caught up in what others are doing. Focus on personal progression.
Lastly, functional movement is arguably the best part of CrossFit. Many gym-goers are lost. This means they do the easy stuff like curls and crunches, but these exercises do little to improve physiques. By incorporating several full-body movements, CrossFit can induce some serious changes.
I can’t caution enough about learning to properly prepare yourself for both the movements and intensity. Many beginners try to skim by with mediocre form and push the intensity too soon. That doesn’t make CrossFit bad. You just have to either find the right coach or use your damn brain. You wouldn’t max out your first day squatting, and you wouldn’t run till you collapsed on your first day training for a 5k. Don’t go all out starting CrossFit.
Generally, trainers either love or hate CrossFit, but I’m somewhere in the middle. It’s not the best option if you’re looking to maximize either strength or endurance, but who cares? The average person doesn’t care about their squat max or mile time. They want to be pretty strong, pretty fast, have fun and obtain a good physique. CrossFit has the ability to do just that, if it’s done correctly.