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:
- Variety of workouts to lessen the effect of boredom
- Competitive drive to achieve fitness goals
- Enjoyment which may increase adherence
- Improves overall functional movement
- You'll burn a lot of calories in a relative short amount of time and therefore burn some bodyfat and get more fit
Here are the cons of CrossFit:
- Lack of proper exercise guidance (i.e., correct form, range of motion, etc.) from a competent certified personal trainer
- Higher risk of injury (esp. shoulder and knee joints) and lower back pain due to a lack of personalized recommendation for loading
- Presented as a "one size fits all" workout regimen without periodization or progressive overloading
- Does not track training progress (e.g., strength, power) due to non-repeating workout protocols
- Prescribes exercises which are in many cases randomized without consideration for needed muscle/joint recovery
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."