The Pros and Cons of Crossfit

I will admit right from the start that any judgments and opinions I have regarding crossfit are all made from someone who has never experienced Crossfit firsthand. Everything I know of it comes from what I have seen in photos, YouTube clips and commercials, as well as conversations with friends and teammates.

From what I understand, Crossfit is primarily strength and conditioning to the point of failure, or near failure. According to our dear friend Wikipedia, “Crossfit is a strength and conditioning brand that combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting and rowing.”

The classes, again, according to Wikipedia, are about 10 to 20 minutes in length, and involve “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement.”

This in some respects can be beneficial, as Crossfit can be used to create a baseline for your level of fitness. Also, when you think about it, it’s a wonderful way to train for a possible impending zombie apocalypse, where one can imagine your survival is dependent on a series of explosive fits of sprinting, lifting, and bodyweight exercises such as pull ups.

What I am concerned about is this- Crossfit I feel is more beneficial as a supplemental training for an athlete, rather than the primary training for your average treadmill running, weekend warrior. Again, I am commenting as an outsider, but it sounds like there is little instruction and supplementary training to lay a solid foundation of good technique before everyone is pushed to failure. People have a tendency to sacrifice form for repetition, especially in a competitive setting, which can seriously injure a person.

It’s a lot like training “MMA” as opposed to training Jiu Jitsu, and then taking a Muay Thai class, then attempting to combine the two. When you build the solid foundations of each respective discipline, it may take a little longer in the beginning, but there is good solid technique that was developed in each respective discipline which will lead to a more effective blending later in training. When someone just trains “MMA” they don’t understand that blending, which more often than not leads to poor form, because there was no solid foundation of good technique to build from.

That’s is how I feel about Crossfit: what are your thoughts?


Filed under Training

6 responses to “The Pros and Cons of Crossfit

  1. As someone who has trained at one CrossFit location, I can only comment on the practices of that one box. I had a 2-week on-ramp, and they taught me basic movements. Anything that came up in WODs after that was also reviewed and practiced before the workout, after the warm-up. While there are prescribed weights for the workouts, they would most definitely lower those if they thought we couldn’t do it, or couldn’t keep proper form. They were ALWAYS harping on us about form and posture, which I loved. If we got lazy, they would either yell at us to stop being lazy, tell us to stop completely, or lower the weight.

    Furthermore, the point of CrossFit is not to be an expert at any one thing. It’s to be well rounded in as many areas as possible, so that if you try something new, you will likely be better than the other average gym rat who is also trying that new thing.

    • I’ve done Crossfit workouts, though not at a box. The idea behind it is good and works… provided you have intelligence in training, basic movements, planning, recovery, periodization, deloading, etc. Aparna’s box sounds like a good one. It’s when people become obsessed with getting better at Crossfit WODs for the sake of being better at Crossfit WODs or when everything, everyday, is a push-to-the-limits type of workout that there can be problems.

      CF WODs aren’t usually done to “failure” — they’re often to a time goal with AMRAP (as many reps as possible), to a distance goal, or with a prescribed weight for prescribed reps. The time/ weight/ reps may be very difficult to finish, but it isn’t necessarily to failure (“failure” being the point at which you could not complete another rep even if it were the Zombie Apocalypse). Although, just because a WOD isn’t to failure doesn’t mean that it won’t wreak you for a good long while afterwards…

  2. I recently started a Crossfit boot camp in February, prior to I was a treadmill runner and would occasionally attempted to play with gym machines. I absolutely LOVE Crossfit. In just this month alone, going twice a week I’ve noticed a change in my body shape, I feel stronger and firmer. The workout moves are simple and if your body isn’t able to meet the skill set then the coaches scale it back (make adjustments) to where you are able to participate. Although the moves are simple they buuuurrrnn! A good burn. I would highly recommend Crossfit to any and everyone who wants results!

  3. I’ve never tried crossfit, but the person I normally ask for advice when it comes to strength and conditioning had this to say, linking to this article. Recently there was also this thread.

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