What is CrossFit?

If you’re a fitness buff like myself, you tend to keep open minds when hearing about new things health wise. And when I heard the word CrossFit, it immediately caught my attention just by the word. That and considering I need to be in good well-rounded physical shape (endurance and strength) for the military, I looked into it.

But what is it?

For those wondering, CrossFit is a sport which entails numerous exercises within on circuit. Just as the word implies it hits home with many variations of exercises  regarding cardiovascular endurance, body weight movements, and strength training. This again is one reason why I like it.

Exercise Types

Crossfit exercises are all done with free weights or body weight movements. There are few cables or machines involved (with the exception of a rowing machine, stationary bikes,). Now for those who enjoy using machines and cables, please do so. I just prefer free weight and body weight movements more. It’s completely personal preference.

One of the many variations of the kettle bell movements.

There are other things involved such as gymnast rings, medicine balls, rope climbing, swimming, and my personal favorite, kettle bell movements. The variations of these items used are endless. All these are used to basically build strength and stamina while helping you lose weight without going to the typical gym.

Pros

This is where we get different opinions among people. Those who love it partake in it and keep up to date with it as much as possible. There is also athletes who give advice (just like any other sport).

Other than the obvious of helping you lose weight and get into shape, CrossFit gives people a new outlook on exercise. They may enjoy performing this opposed to the typical 30 minutes on a treadmill or 1 hour of free weights. It all has to do with personal preference.

Another thing to point out is many of the training sequences performed are also performed by Olympic lifters. Movements such as the the clean and jerk, the power clean, and the overhead squat are all movements practiced. It’s like the old saying goes, more compound movements, the more muscle activation overall.

Cons

A kipping pull up.

Like any other sport, it will not appeal to everyone. One thing that CrossFit is known for is “kipping.” This simply means that you use momentum to perform a repetition. One thing I think that everyone will notice is kipping pull ups. The exercise gets done, but the body moves quite a bit in the process compared to a normal dead hang pull up.

Other things some may find unappealing would be the non-kipping movements throughout exercises. By this, I mean the large range of motion required for many of the lifts. This is always a big factor in free weight movements, hence why many stick to machines for a more controlled movement that is safer.

The fact of the matter is since everyone is different, some people may not be physically capable of performing some exercises. This is fine considering I’ve noticed numerous compound exercises done that don’t require too much movement.

Final Thoughts

Athletes after a workout.

This is a sport that will be sure to escalate quickly. While some parts of it seem a bit bizarre and ill advised to some people, it’s still a way for others to see a different side of fitness and try something new. Many people have tried it and were hooked ever since. The friendships made through it mean a lot, too.

Above all else, check it out crossfit.com or on YouTube. Be safe and drink water.

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3 responses to “What is CrossFit?

  1. Good post highlighting pros and cons of crossfit. Personally, as a personal trainer, kipping pullups just freak me out! haha I feel like there is so much more benefit to performing dead hang (or dead hang assisted pullups), such as building strength in intended muscles, and also avoiding injury. But you’re right, there are many pros as well. I think as long as people do their research and make sure they have a good crossfit trainer who knows how to correct people and make sure they are doing exercises right, then crossfit can be a good option (jeez, talk about a run on sentence) 🙂

    • Thanks for that! Kipping pull ups just look painful to me. I’ve had back problems for a little bit and out of boredom I’ve tried doing them. It wasn’t pretty but it got the job done. But I agree, the dead hang pull ups are much more effective.

    • You make a good point! I’m the same way! I prefer to use dead hang with or without assistance. You do make a great point with finding a trainer who knows how to help someone from a basic foundation as far as posture and form is concerned. Those two things can either make or break someone’s next set with a result in back pain.
      Take Care!

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