CrossFit is a popular high intensity exercise program “constantly varied functional movements at very high intensity.” The CrossFit (CF) workout is typically done in a very basic gym setting which is lacking in the traditional format of a fitness facility. You won’t see treadmills, elliptical trainers, TVs, fancy showers, or other typical gym amenities.
This high intensity workout includes a large number of repetitions done quickly as part of the Workout of the day. Other activities such as running, rowing, and gymnastics add to the intensity. CF is proud that they “specialize in not specializing.”
•CF promotes “anyone can do it.” Instructors describe CF as “a workout that anyone can do because every workout has universal scalability to ones level and abilities.
•CF is used by police academies, military special operations units, and elite athletes.
•There are 9 fundamental heavy weight lifting movements used specifically by CrossFit.
•The workout area is called the “box” which basically means 4 walls. The daily workouts are called “WOD” (workout of the day) and are posted on CrossFit.com for those who may want to exercise at home.
•It is expensive, but advocates say it’s worth the price. You can go as many times a week as you want. The coaches should be highly qualified and spend with you as needed.
•Try it out before you commit to the membership and also do your research. Make sure that if you decide to join a CF “community” that it has a good reputation, is reliable, and not overpriced.
•CrossFit is a trademarked product and individuals invest in the “boxes” and the use of the CrossFit name. Therefore each facility will vary according to the owner.
•CrossFit’s goal is to give you an overall healthy body. They state that they “are not going to make you into a bodybuilder, but they will make you strong and fast”.
•CrossFit is a very intense program and it is good to have a foundation before you join a class. You should be committed to invest the time and effort.
Some of the Pros
•The workout is effective and the intensity of CrossFit will definitely tone you up and slim you down.
•You can put as much time and intensity in the WOD as you want, it is totally up to you. However, results will vary.
•The wide variety of workouts will keep you challenged and motivated.
•CrossFit is a way for adults to socialize in a positive atmosphere. They connect as they endure the workout together.
Some of the Cons (many of the facts stated below increase your risk of injury).
•The WOD’s are randomly chosen. There is no structure in the exercise sequencing. Therefore you may work the same muscle groups too much.
•The WODs are different everyday and cover a large variety of exercises and routines. Because of this it is doubtful that any particular workout is suitable for everyone in the class. A great deal of modification is needed.
•CrossFit is tagged with a reputation of “injury and risk”. Some of the exercises are dangerous especially when done in a fatigued state. Also, some of the weightlifting guidelines are dangerous, such as too much weight and too many repetitions.
•Not all CrossFit coaches are certified so be sure to ask the coach about their background before joining a class.
•There are currently no guidelines by any nationally-recognized authority, (i.e., NSCA, NATA, ACSM, and NCSF), that you can use to inform yourself about the CrossFit training methodology.
Example of a typical CrossFit Class
•Classes begin with a 5 minute vigorus warm-up with movements such as jumping jacks, jumping jacks, squats, pushups, etc.
•Next Skill and Strength work
•Next is the WOD. An example of a WOD: A timed 1-mile run, followed by pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, doing as many of each as you can within a certain time period; or doing a certain defined amount.
•Conclude with a 5-10 minute cool-down with stretching
It's grueling, intense, dynamic, and believed by some to be insane. However others have made it a lifestyle and enjoy the challenge with their fellow cross-fitters. Many form social groups centered around their cross-fit experiences.
Always check with a medical professional before starting any exercise program. Be healthy, be happy!
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