CrossFit is hugely popular worldwide at present with over 2000 facilities offering CrossFit training. With this kind of rapid growth and popularity comes much speculation, criticism and acclaim. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand what CrossFit is and isn’t. Let’s dig a little deeper.
What is CrossFit?
The CrossFit training program is a revolution in modern fitness. It has changed the way we think about fitness training and has shown many people how to achieve lasting health and fitness through evidence-based practices.
The program has been developed over decades of practice ‘at the coal-front’ and is merely clinical but empirical in its design and nature. The CrossFit HQ website (http://www.crossfit.com) supplies the following explanation:
“CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide. Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist. The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs. The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen. Thousands of athletes worldwide have followed our workouts posted daily on this site and distinguished themselves in combat, the streets, the ring, stadiums, gyms and homes.”
What CrossFit isn’t
CrossFit isn’t just workouts
CrossFit is more that just the workouts. The model is designed to develop fitness over all energy pathways, to develop all aspects of fitness, to facilitate positive hormonal changes and as produce results that other models do not.
Further, CrossFit is a community of like-minded individuals who pursue elite health and fitness and aren’t afraid to challenge accepted norms and ideas.
CrossFit isn’t the same everywhere
CrossFit workouts include various combinations of movements selected from an extensive pool. All movements have a key characteristic: the ability to move large loads, long distances in short time. The movements are generally power movements.
Most CrossFit workouts see movements performed at relatively high intensity but there are exceptions. CrossFit gyms are free to set there own programs and as such different “flavours” of CrossFit emerge. There is no “right way” yet a trained eye will be able to spot deficiencies in some implementations of the model.
CrossFit isn’t the be all and end all.
CrossFit is a general program. It is designed to improve capacity and capability in numerous aspects of health and fitness. For this reason it is the antithesis of the specific training program. Thus, it may not be suited to all athletes. That said, most athletes do require improved general physical preparedness (GPP) and a well-conceived CrossFit program can assist in this area.
Who can benefit from CrossFit?
It would be safe to say that just about everyone could benefit from the CrossFit program. It has been used to train people from dramatically different walks of life. However, not everyone suits CrossFit. It isn’t an easy training method. The movements are challenging and the workouts are strenuous.
Greatest benefit is found in the development of general health and fitness. For ultimate results the program should be coupled with sensible nutrition such as The Paleo Diet, regular mobility work and a lot of rest.