You probably have seen at least one sweaty selfie posted by a friend, coworker, or high school classmate proudly displaying their WOD and expressing their devotion to CrossFit.
CrossFit’s meteoric rise to fitness fame coincided with the proliferation of box gyms throughout the globe a few years ago. Over 13,000 affiliated gyms in 120 countries provide CrossFit classes for its members. To date, nearly 7,000 fitness centers in the United States have adopted the method. With an estimated 4 million members, the CrossFit group is sometimes likened to a cult due to its members’ intense devotion to the competitive fitness model it promotes.
It’s natural to worry whether this program is right for you after hearing so much about it. Here’s what you need to know about CrossFit before joining the “box” (oops, that’s CrossFit talk for gym) and how to figure out whether it’s the best choice for you.
A definition of CrossFit would be helpful
CrossFit, often known as HIIT (high-intensity interval training), is a kind of exercise aimed at improving strength and conditioning via constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.
Regular activities like crouching, tugging, pushing, etc., fall under this category. To aid in muscular development, many exercises include timed repetitions of squats, push-ups, and weight lifting of varying intensities and durations. This differs from the standard exercise format, which may prescribe confident repetitions to be completed within a specific time frame.
According to CrossFit Journal, the effectiveness of the exercises may be attributed to their focus on load, distance, and speed, all of which contribute to the development of exceptional levels of power in the athletes that partake in them. For this purpose, the exercise may use various tools, such as kettlebells, rowing machines, bicycles, medicine balls, speed ropes, rings, and plyo boxes.
Much to Orange Theory, CrossFit has a daily “exercise of the day” (WOD) that all participants must do simultaneously. Their website (always free) features the day’s exercise and a glossary of all the technical terms that will be encountered. Their frequently asked questions website includes resources for locating practices suitable for your skill level under the heading “Substitutes.” CrossFit Clan Performance Center owner and head coach Tracey Magee states, “CrossFit is globally scalable and adjustable for all fitness levels, so it can be personalized to match your objectives and present fitness level.”
Followers of CrossFit insist that the program is suitable for everybody
While you may have an idea in your head of the type of person who belongs in a CrossFit gym (relatively young, jacked, etc.), Tony Caravajal, a certified L-2 CrossFit trainer with RSP Nutrition, is adamant that CrossFit is beneficial for people of all ages and athletic abilities, beginning with adolescents. “CrossFit Kids programs are wonderful for helping kids learn to balance, coordinate, and use their bodies in healthy ways,” said one parent. He thinks teaching kids these abilities is a great way to give them a leg up and inspire them to live healthy lifestyles.
The proprietor of CrossFit Indian Trail, Patrick Zeiher, explains that the program is effective for people of various ages since their physical requirements change only in degree, not in type. There is no reason why a 25-year-old competitive athlete can’t undertake the same exercise as a 60-year-old, he claims. They both need the ability to stoop to a toilet, pick something up off the floor, or get themselves off the floor. Therefore their demands are similar across species. Zeiher believes that a 25-year-old should be able to complete tasks more quickly.
Sportsmanship and a desire to compete are also fundamental to CrossFit. As an alternative to traditional incentive systems, several CrossFit gyms utilize strategic activities to inspire their members, such as maintaining a scoreboard and publishing champions on social media. CrossFit might be a fantastic workout if you’re the kind that gets a rush from pushing themselves to their physical limits in a competitive environment.
On the other hand, CrossFit is not without its dangers
There is always danger while training at a high level. Twenty percent of CrossFitters polled in one research reported injuring themselves while doing a CrossFit-approved activity.
CrossFit has a high injury rate for a leisure sport, with around 20% of regular CrossFit exercise participants suffering an injury at some time “Physical therapist at Finish Line, Cuyler Hudson puts it this way. “In my physical therapy work, I often see CrossFitters. Injuries are common in athletes because when they tire, their form deteriorates, and the stress is redistributed away from the parts where it should be onto weaker ones.
A Guide to Safer Practices
Ensure that your form is correct. According to Hudson, taking care of one’s shape is essential to prevent harm. During squats and deadlifts, the two most dangerous postural flaws are lumbar spine (low back) rounding and more excellent forward translation of the knees. The low back rounds place an abnormally large strain on the muscles and ligaments there. It’s the same with the knees; if they’re drifting forward over the toes as you squat, the pressure on the knee increases dramatically, and many knees can’t manage it. Common causes for both include trying to make up for instability in the hips or ankles.
Pick a good training facility and trainer.
I want to make it seem like I’m not knocking CrossFit routines. When done correctly, each of these workouts is among the best. The issue is exacerbated by incompetent trainers who force their charges to work beyond the point of physical and mental exhaustion to accomplish the prescribed number of repetitions. CrossFitters, especially novices, need to know how to do the exercises correctly and only do as many as they can until their form fatigues. I recommend you join a reputable gym where you can focus on learning proper technique before attempting to raise the weight you’re lifting.
Informed Preparation Is Key
Get familiar with the language!
You could hear several acronyms and terms tossed about during a class, either vocally or printed on a board with the day’s exercise. Some of the most frequent are as follows:
Exercise Routine for the Day
EMOM, or “Every Minute on the Minute”
As Many Repetitions as Possible
CrossFit facility equipped with the essentials for completing all the WODs is called a “box.”
Definition of “ladder” – a set of exercises in which the number of repetitions is increased by one with each group. (For instance, 5 squats, then 6 squats, then 7 squats…)
The CrossFit recommended diet is the Zone Diet. Macronutrients form the foundation of this eating plan.
acronym for “squat.”
Personal History or PR. This is the point at which a person achieves their maximum possible performance in a specific physical activity. One example is doing a certain number of push-ups in a given time.
Workouts designated as “Hero WODs” are named after fallen first responders. CrossFit has created a series of challenging exercises to honor the brave men and women who have served our nation.
Modify a beginner’s course as a starting point
Even more so if you’re starting or going back into working out after a long break, Magee advises you to discuss any constraints or limitations you may have with your coach. “Once a person has gone through their first evaluation, a trained coach will assist them to identify any alterations, such as specific motions or the amount of training for a particular activity,” she explains.
You’ve hit the jackpot if you’re a newbie. This segment of the population may be attributed to CrossFit. It is strongly suggested that novices take a basic training or introductory course. They may take these lessons at their speed and yet learn the fundamentals and see improvements in their fitness. Magee argues that after the students have gained the necessary core skills and self-assurance, they are ready to join their peers in mainstream education. It is recommended that beginners or those out of shape take fewer courses per week (often 2-3) until their bodies have become accustomed to the new motions and the amount of training.
Things you can take away and use in your workouts from CrossFit
Suppose you are still deciding whether to commit to CrossFit in its entirety. In that case, you may still benefit from many of the workout’s core tenets by incorporating them into your existing regimen.
We make functional motions all the time without giving them any thought. Such is when you have to stoop down and tie your shoes. You may find it challenging to do this activity if you cannot reach your toes. You are learning how to lace your shoes quickly and easily with the help of flexibility training. Exercises that focus on functional motions have the bonus of lowering the risk of everyday injury. If you often do a fundamental action (such as squatting or picking up a heavy object from the floor) during exercise, your muscles will be prepared to move in this manner when the time comes.
Time is of the essence: In a typical CrossFit workout, you’ll be challenged to complete as many repetitions of activity as possible within a specific time limit. If you want to give it a go, ease into it. Always aim for longer and longer times as a goal. Set your timer for one minute to begin. Ten push-ups, ten squats, and ten jumping jacks. Repeat this sequence as many times as you can in the allotted minute. If one minute doesn’t leave you completely tired, set a longer timer for three, five, ten, etc.
There is also the option of doing the exercises ‘EMOM’ style or every minute on the minute. Start doing as many push-ups as you can in one minute, then go on to as many squats as you can in the next minute, and so on. This exercise is helpful since it shortens the time it takes to recover after a workout and increases your benefit from that session.