CrossFit is a trend that has been marketed heavily as a means to get stronger and more powerful via plyometric movements in a high-intensity, minimal-rest bootcamp environment in order to increase cardiorespiratory fitness, stamina, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, and coordination. The workouts are short (i.e., 5 to 30 minutes) but are expected to occur 3 to 5 days per week. Crossfit incorporates kettlebells, medicine balls, ropes, bodyweight exercises (e.g., pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, squats), gymnastics, and endurance exercise. But the reality is that CrossFit is nothing more than a complex of compound pushing, pulling, running, rowing, and squatting movements that personal trainers have prescribed for many years.
What makes CrossFit more appealing to the masses is how the compound exercises (e.g., squats, pullups, pushups, sprints, rowing, push-presses, deadlifts, clean and jerks, etc.) have been structured into a bootcamp scenario complete with minimal rest between exercises. We live in an environment in which the consumer has a very short attention span and very little free time. Hence the appeal of CrossFit--it incorporates high-intensity, quick exercises that can be performed within 30 minutes.
Whether or not you should try CrossFit is entirely your decision to make although I should caution you to the risks involved in performing advanced exercises (read: multi-joint movements)--some of which are technically complex. Unless you have experience in performing squats, deadlifts, and explosive, plyometric Olympic lifts such as cleans, jerks, snatches, etc., I strongly encourage you to learn the fundamentals of these exercises before trying CrossFit. Not only are the exercises risky but performing them in a fatigued condition increases the risk of injury. A cursory look at YouTube CrossFit video footage of participants attempting to perform these exercises is atrocious to say the least. In many cases, the weight lifting techniques are horrible, substantially increasing injury risk. CrossFit is NOT recommended for people with a history of cardiac disease, pre-existing injuries (i.e., back problems, ACL tear, elbow tendinitis), osteoporosis, or any health condition adversely affected by high-impact activity. CrossFit is also NOT recommended for people who are not reasonably fit, have been sedentary or are beginners to exercise.
Here are the pros of CrossFit:
Here are the cons of CrossFit:
If you're still not convinced that CrossFit is NOT for you, then by all means give it a shot. There's no harm in trying and you might actually like it but be aware that CrossFit is NOT for everyone.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Subscribe to get the latest blog content:
I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.