Over the last few years CrossFit has been becoming more and more popular, but what is it and should you be doing it?

What is CrossFit?

The definitiion of CrossFit as given on the crossfit.com website is

CrossFit begins with a belief in fitness. The aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness. We have sought to build a program that will best prepare trainees for any physical contingency — not only for the unknown, but for the unknowable. After looking at all sport and physical tasks collectively, we asked what physical skills and adaptations would most universally lend themselves to performance advantage. Capacity culled from the intersection of all sports demands would quite logically lend itself well to all sport. In sum, our specialty is not specializing.

Make sense??  No it didn’t really to me either but I will try and translate for you.  For me the most important line in this definition is the last one – In sum, our specialty is not specializing.  Basically this means that sessions are not targeted at a specific set of goals. Each session or ‘WOD” (workout of the day) is designed to cater for all.  CrossFit trains you to be good at exercising through variety, repetitions and no real set theme.

Who does it?

The simple answer to this is quite literally ANYONE can do CrossFit.  It truly is one of those activities which is truly inclusive and prides itself on its CrossFit is for everyone ethos.  This attitude, however, is also one in which I feel CrossFit can become dangerous.  There are numerous vidoes on youtube of people doing crossfit and doing exercsises that they shouldn’t be doing all under the watchful eye of a CrossFit instructor!  Now I am fully aware that there are many PT’s out there who have clients doing things they are not capable of, or it is dangerous for them to do. The major difference, however, is that they tend not to post videos of them having people do stupid and dangerous stuff on YouTube and being proud of it!

If you are having to ask the question “I wonder where does CrossFit?” or “Do I know anyone who does CrossFit?” Then no on you have ever met has done or is doing CrossFit.  Don’t ask me why but CrossFitters seem to have this amazing talent at bringing any conversation back to the fact they do CrossFit, no matter where the conversation started!

Should I be doing CrossFit?

Now this is a difficult question for me to answer, but I will give it a go!  I know it seems like so far I have been slagging off CrossFit, however I feel that it is a very relevant form of training and has some major benefits for some.  But that I have to write “for some” is one of my major issues with CrossFit, there is no specificity.  If your sole reason for training is to become really good at doing CrossFit then it is definitely the activity for you.  If you are looking to specialize in any area of fitness whatsoever – bulking up, increase running ability, sporting preparation for example – then stay well clear!  As a CrossFitter you are the ultimate jack of all trades, master of none!  Again it sounds like I am really having a go at it here, but I am not.  Those at the top are some of the fittest guys and gals on the planet, when you take fitness in its entirity.  They are essentially the decathletes of the fitness world.

So to answer the above question ‘Should I be doing CrossFit?’  Yes if you want total body multi faceted fitness that won’t really prepare you for anything specific.  No if you are after targeted results and have specific goals.

Conclusion 

Apologies if it seems like I have just spent the last few hundred words slagging off CrossFit, as this wasn’t my intention.  The subject of CrossFit is very emotive amongst members of the fitness industry with people either loving it or hating it.  I am somewhere in the middle, I can see that for some it has major benefits, but that there are also a number of glaring flaws.

Pros

Can be fun

Great workout intensity

Teamwork and friendship

Total body exercise

Cons

Telling everyone you do CrossFit

Glorified circuit training

Not enough emphasis put on technique

No specificity

Seem to be too many questionable instructors.

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