CROSSFIT – JUST DO IT

L pull-ups performed at crossfit fitness class

Crossfit is a relatively new sport which becomes more and more popular all over the world. Approximately 6000 gyms just  in USA is involved in crossfit exercise program. It was founded by Greg Glassman with Lauren Glassman in 2000. The  style of training is relatively new for an average gym member, but very well known to many professional athletes who already were using this training principles a long time ego.


What Is Crossfit ?

The Concept advocates a mixture of gymnastics, Olympic lifting and aerobic exercises. It builds strength and conditioning  through varied and very demanding sessions. Main workouts are usually short and very intense, lasting 30 minutes or less,  and require all – out physical exertion. This program does not specialize in a particular sport field, the main goal is to build very functional physique that is capable of doing everything – running, swimming, lifting etc.


Is It For Me ?

Assuming you train  with a correct progression, it is a perfect routine for anyone, no matter how old or unfit you are. Workouts are designed for “universal scalability” which makes it an exercise form that can be taken on by elderly people, kids, and also Olympic level athletes. The key is to scale routines to  fit individual abilities of a participant. For example, If the workout requires you to perform 21 pull-ups and you can do  none, you might replace them with the simpler horizontal pull-ups.


Sessions

Sessions are mainly short and intensive and require from you a lot of dedication. Combination of body weight  exercises, lifting weights, sprinting, and many other forms of exercise can be implemented into a single workout. Typical session consists  of a warm – up, dynamic stretching, main workout, and post exercise stretches. Depending on the day, your workout can be concentrated around strength, endurance or skill learning.

This is one of the WODS (workout of the day). It is called Cindy.The workouts’ names come either from  hurricanes, significant women crossfitters or military and police heroes.

 

In 20 minutes complete as many rounds as possible

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air-squats

Piece of cake you say? Do 25 to 30 rounds in 20 minutes and see how easy It is :)


Crossfit For Athletes

crossfit-8

Crossfit became a sport itself and even has its own games which are held every summer since 2007. Winning Crossfit Games  can net as much as 275.000 $. Athletes training other sports will need to use a proper periodization that is related to their sport, and will have to understand implementation of the sport specific movements. You can not practice crossfit on a daily basis being a judo player or a wrestler, it would simply be counter productive and would result in over-training and increased risk of injury.


Pros

  • Weight Loss
  • Sport specific training
  • Improved general fitness
  • Builds great muscular endurance
  • Shapes great  bodies
  • Addictive
  • Support

A huge part of crossfit community is support. You will always perform better when you have 10 people around, cheering up  and shouting at you.


Cones

  • Not so good if you want to specialize: If you want to be a weight lifter, you are better off finding a proper Olympic weight lifting gym.
  • Lack of periodization: Workouts in commercial gyms might be random and might not follow any sensible  periodization structure, but It all depends on a gym and a coach. Competitive crossfitters are extremely fit athletes  and always train using a proper periodization.
  • Some people claim that crossfit poses elevated risk of Rhabdomyolysis which a lot of times is seen in ex-athletes not being sensible and trying to prove their fitness after a long break. Just be sensible, follow a good diet practices and listen to your body.

My Criticism

crossfit_rings

As much as I like the whole concept of being fit in many various areas, there are a few things that I would change about crosfit. I do not mean to generalise some of these points because every gym and trainer is different, but at the same time I can see these things being practised so often in crosfit community, that they seem to be an integral part of the programme.

  1. Progression: Most of commercial gyms just look for a quick buck and really fail at introducing a proper progression and periodization. In fact I don’t know another sport in which so many trainers would seem to lack the knowledge or simply advocate incorrect form for the sake of completing an exercise. Culture is focused too much around elite volume and intensity for which most of crosfiters are simply not ready. A lot of crosfiters and trainers simply don’t understand that a lot of elite crosfit athletes used to walk in another elite arenas and already have years of experience and proper progression with many of the exercises. You don’t start someone who walks first time into the gym with the dead-lifts or clean and jerks in a metabolic programme simply scaling the weight, it does not make any sense. As much as many people oppose some of these exercises being done at all in high repetitions, I think there is nothing wrong with this as long as you can carry on with a proper form. These and many other exercises are very technical movements which can take months or even years to master. Apart from that, I am sure that learning a correct technique will reap the result in the future.
  2. Do not attempt exercises you can not do properly: This relates to learning a proper technique talked about in the first point. Even some of the elite level athletes should never use some of the exercises in a metabolic workouts unless they can execute a decent form. Elite gymnasts will have a hard time to perform those ring handstand push ups with a proper form after doing 50 reps of snatch or clean and jerk, to say nothing of someone who never specialised at doing them. Considering a safe and proper form, some of the exercises simply seem to be to hard to handle in a crosfit metabolic workouts even by a crosfit elite, and certainly, should not be practised and taught by inexperienced people.
  3. Attitude: Excuse me for being direct, but some of these crossfit communities are a real deal of morons and trolls. A lot of them have this attitude of “I am super fit and better than you because I can do a few muscle ups, in many cases not even one with a correct form. Trolling ?, just look at some of the forums, they like little kids slagging off each other, criticising and arguing, instead of being helpful on some professional level.

Finally

Considering crossfit’s short existence, it has become hugely popular and successful activity which in the future could become a great sport, certainly more worthy a place in the Olympics than some of the modern activities approved by an Olympic Committee. Personally, I love it, and I think crossfit can be a great activity for anyone, and despite the fact that some gyms are run badly and deliver a bad image for crosfit, I would recommend it to anyone who looks to improve fitness and have some fun at the same time.



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