Crossfit: What is Crossfit and Killing the Stigma
Amongst the fitness world, Crossfit has been the brunt of many jokes and is regularly disregarded as a suitable form of exercise, being deemed as unsafe and pointless.
However, there is more merit than most think when it comes to Crossfit. With constantly varied, high-intensity functional movements, CrossFit is a training philosophy that coaches people of all shapes and sizes to improve their physical well-being and cardiovascular fitness in a hardcore yet accepting and encouraging environment.
The below statement is from the Crossfit website in regard to their ethos and approach to training:
“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. CrossFit contends that a person is as fit as they are proficient in each of ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy.” -(Crossfit,2020)
Based off of the above description, I would say this is an excellent option for anyone who’s goal is overall fitness and health, with workouts that provide intensity subjective to the individual’s capabilities and strength. Due to the community-based dynamic of this regime, I feel like it is an excellent start for any beginner looking to learn the ropes.
Although this is an excellent introduction to exercise, intensity and functionality I feel that this would not be applicable for those with sport specific training or for those who prefer to train in solitude.
Is Crossfit really dangerous?
During a CrossFit workout, you’re often told to complete a number of strength training or endurance exercises as fast as possible, or complete as many repetitions as possible in a certain amount of time. It is for this reason that a lot of people end up sacrificing form in order to achieve a faster time, it may help if you have an experienced spotter/coach telling when enough is enough. It is imperative when choosing a Crossfit facility that you know the coaches are experienced and fully trained, as the nature of the regime can become exceptionally dangerous if you are not in a safe environment.
Most people that enjoy Crossfit have an exceptionally competitive nature and tend to force themselves to abnormal levels of exhaustion, in order to recover fully from sessions, you must ensure your nutrition and other recovery variables in order. Having a total disregard for the need to recover is a recipe for injury.
Another element often deemed dangerous is the “kipping” pull-up, in his CrossFit Journal article, CrossFit founder Greg Glassman states that whether strict or kipping, every pull-up requires the same amount of mechanical work. Work meaning the physics definition where work = force x distance. By performing the kipping variation, an athlete can perform repetitions of the pull-up in less time. Since power = work / time, if a workout is completed in less time, then a more powerful workout was performed.
Crossfit also declare that kipping pull ups are not a substitute for developing strict pull up strength, I also feel that these are not a feasible option for eliciting any posterior chain hypertrophy. Although Crossfit do state that participants must first master the strict pull uo before moving onto a kipping variation.
In conclusion I feel that there is plenty of merit in choosing Crossfit as a training option, with varying benefits such as increased, strength, endurance and functionality. The only possible danger when using this regime is the lack of attention paid to ensuring form is safe, provided this is in order and a safe environment has been chosen, there is no reason not to try it.
By Tireoghain O’Neill
What Is CrossFit? (2020). Retrieved December 4, 2020, from @CrossFit website: https://www.crossfit.com/what-is-crossfit