CrossFit has become arguably the most widespread individual fitness regimen in the entire world. The program features over 13,000 locations across over 120 countries. Its devotees range in the millions. This raises the question of what underlying virtues and effectiveness have made CrossFit popular.
The popularity of CrossFit comes from a few factors. Because the program does a great deal while ignoring bulky weight sets, it is easy to perform in any circumstance. CrossFit proves that an effective workout can be had even in the absence of a fully-equipped gym. The workouts focused on intensity and speed above all, so athletes could achieve a great deal in a short amount of time.
Most CrossFit routines, fully explored, take an hour to perform. With quick speed and reduced reliance on resources, it can be an impressive routine to enter. Olivers will be exploring the world of CrossFit and highlighting how its signature WOD helps it succeed.
What Is CrossFit?
Bill Glassman founded CrossFit in the early 2000s in a bid to create better workouts. He saw the traditional method of adjusting weights to be slow and unnecessary. This desire for a fast-paced workout naturally led him to the sort of exercise CrossFit provides.
CrossFit is a national organization operated through independent gyms which pay a fee to become affiliates. The affiliates follow some fundamental standards but are otherwise independently run.
This makes it different from franchisee organizations, which are utilized. The principles of CrossFit workouts rely on a fusion of multiple exercise routines, including strength training and plyometrics.
In a single word, CrossFit can be described as HIPT or high-intensity power training. It focuses on quick exercises as in HIIT, but has a longer duration and greater integration of weights. Part of what makes it so appealing is CrossFit's wide degree of workouts and community.
CrossFit offers guided workouts, giving it a friendly yet competitive edge. Athletes are challenged to be better than themselves through the rigors of unified workouts. These change every day, thanks to WODs, or “workouts of the day.”
A standard routine has four elements: Warm-Up, Strength Training, WOD, and Cool-Down. The majority of the hour spent in the routine is on this third section. The other three elements remain roughly the same, but the WOD changes to incorporate new elements. This keeps the workout fresh for your mind while challenging your body in new and exciting ways.
Each of the workouts is designed to tackle particular fitness goals. CrossFit highlights ten metrics for comprehensive physical health.
What Are CrossFit's Fitness Parameters?
Examining the ideal metrics for physical fitness is challenging to do with precision. Some focus on the ability to perform certain exercises, while others focus on individual performance parameters. CrossFits’ physical fitness goals are as follows:
Cardiovascular and respiratory endurance monitor the health of your heart. The ability to keep going in exercises and properly oxygenate over time is essential. With heart disease as the leading cause of death in men, it’s vital to take care of your cardiovascular system.
Stamina is your ability to continue a workout, even as you may feel tired, without stopping. Strength measures your ability to lift safely. Power refers to strength under duress, by your ability to safely and quickly overcome physical resistance.
Speed is pure movement, essential for athletes of all kinds, especially in sports that see direct competition. Agility is the ability to adjust your movement rapidly without losing balance or traction.
Coordination provides a necessary skill through organized physical movements. Balance comes from a strong core to allow the body to maintain its own position. Accuracy demands precision from the way we move. Flexibility places demands on the capability of the body to contort and adjust with ease.
Taken together, CrossFit covers every physical parameter necessary for general fitness. It may not target one specific element for those looking for extremely specialized training or those in recovery. However, the intensity and scope of its routines make CrossFit the ultimate workout for beginner and advanced athletes alike.
The reason CrossFit is able to create such a broad scope of workouts is thanks to the ever-changing WOD. This daily change provides the core of what makes it special.
What Is Crossfit WOD?
As stated before, the WOD forms the core of a daily routine. In a four-step workout, this step takes up 20 to 30 minutes. WODs also form the height of intensity of a given routine. They usually take the form of HIIT workouts targeting a few of CrossFit’s core fitness parameters.
Varying these workouts helps in a variety of ways. It first gives athletes the chance to develop a full workout regimen throughout a given week. The variety of targets and ever-changing routine also helps users avoid a plateau.
A fitness plateau can be a hard thing to break from. You establish a routine and at first experience steady, consistent, rewarding levels of growth. Suddenly, you are experiencing diminished gains and may even slide back in your progress if you’re lax. A plateau can occur for various reasons, but a common one is your body acclimating to performing the same repetitive workouts.
Crossfit’s WOD constantly exposes your body to new methods of being in motion. This keeps you on your toes and helps to prevent the familiarity that leads to a plateau.
Another important aspect is the time component, which is carried through the entire routine. Rather than focusing on reaching a set rep count, you are seeking to last a certain amount of time.
This can inspire beginners to push through and eke out a few more reps until an exercise shifts. Instead, self-challenging athletes may be influenced to increase their rep count while maintaining expert form to tackle multiple targets.
CrossFit combines versatility, newness, community, and competition in a way few other workout routines do or can. It can also provide a great social space to meet like-minded people. Despite these benefits, there are some considerations to make when engaging in CrossFit.
Who Is CrossFit Appropriate For?
CrossFit is a guided workout, but it is easy to find workouts online because of its ubiquity. If someone is new to HIIT workouts, it is possible to overexert and cause injuries. Common injuries from CrossFit include back pain, knee injuries, and tendonitis. Risk of injury comes with any fitness routine, and this should not ward off a healthy user from attempting it.
The intensity and duration of the routine should make you wary of any existing conditions or injuries. Those with heart conditions and recovering injuries should be examined carefully before engaging fully with any HIIT workout. Even if you feel fine, listen to your body for signs of anything being actually wrong to avoid strain.
Some other groups should avoid CrossFit without first consulting a physician. These include individuals over 65 and those who are pregnant. It may be that there is no benefit to CrossFit for them, and other workouts would be more effective. Consider looking at low-impact HIIT workouts if you want to ease your way into it or hunt for alternatives.
The greatest challenge in CrossFit comes not from the workout itself but from the individual push in each workout. The guided routine is set by someone else, but you choose the intensity, regardless of how you challenge yourself.
The vast majority stand to benefit from CrossFit. The few who don’t have quick gains may benefit from it eventually.
Is CrossFit the Ultimate Routine?
Calling anything the ultimate routine may be disingenuous. We know that in every aspect, there is always room for improvement. More lifting, more stamina, greater speed, and better living are all noble goals to strive for. In a workout, it’s the way it strives that matters.
CrossFit focuses on performing exercise over duration and intensity rather than requiring a certain number of reps or extreme skill. This makes it a place for beginners to grab a foothold and all other levels to push themselves higher.
The sheer accessibility of the workout gives it the potential for constant growth. The constant adjustment of the WOD obliterates the plateau and keeps it interesting for those who despair of repetition.
It targets 10 skills that are widely applicable in daily life and personal athletics. There is not one factor among its fitness parameters that does not positively impact quality of life. Coordination, balance, and accuracy help your movements, while cardiovascular fitness can bolster your entire life.
The greatest addition, atop these numerous benefits, is the ease of location when it comes to CrossFit. The vast majority of exercises take up little space while providing extensive benefits. We’ve even collected our own series of CrossFit workouts that can be done in the comfort of your own home.
Endless versatility in the WODs and comprehensive goals help to make CrossFit the ultimate workout. It’s the ambitious, goal-oriented, growth-hunting athletes who push themselves and actually make it the perfect routine.