A sport that seems to have everything, or maybe even too much of everything? You have surely heard by now how so many people have tried and so many of them found it back with indescribable love. And as for the others, well, let’s just say that they didn’t have what it takes in the first place…
Like everything in fitness, it will demand from you an unprecedented amount of energy spent in order to fully master the discipline but the real question is; Will you have what it takes to master the box? In this post, we will take a closer look at this discipline, its ups and downs and hopefully clear all the doubts that you might have about this activity.
A Little About the History of Crossfit
The humble beginnings of Crossfit date back to Southern California and the year 1974. That was where an 18-year-old university student (Greg Glassman), who was working with athletes in various gyms in this area, realized that traditional bodybuilding routines were inefficient and did not improve the physical condition about the amount of dedicated training time. This is when young Greg decided to create a training program that focuses on the varied functional movements performed at high intensity.
In 1995 in Santa Cruz California, the first official CrossFit training place opens and becomes the epicenter of the movement. Greg Glassman began using the technique to train police in California. Later it was used for the training of US marines, firemen and military. Today, Greg Glassman continues to lead the movement, with more than 2,700 Box of CrossFit affiliated at his side.
But, What is CrossFit Anyway?
Crossfit, to be more specific and in terms of its core, is a training technique. It was not designed for sport or fun. The principle of this type of exercise is to train the body by exercising different disciplines at the same time, such as weightlifting, athletics, gymnastics and especially resistance.
What’s so special? This technique chains different physical exercises intensively, without the time to pause but with continuous routines that demand a high level of stamina.
What does it develop? It is based on the work of different abilities and skills: cardiovascular and respiratory resistance, muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, and precision. All these activities intervene vigorously for an effective setting.
How it’s practiced? It can be done individually or in groups, and the sessions are usually short, varied and adaptable depending on the level of each participant.
Crossfit, the Good and the Bad Side
When we talk about Crossfit we talk about functional exercises. These exercises can help us perform daily tasks, from climbing stairs to lifting heavy objects from the floor.
Like almost every physical exercise, it can also help us improve our cardio-vascular condition and fitness capabilities in general. Attending group training classes can be very entertaining and competitive. This is great, especially if you’re one of those competitive souls who can’t miss a point in ping pong against their 4-year-old nephew.
But not everything is rosy, this type of training presents certain risks. The exercises that form its main structure require almost perfect techniques so that they do not cause injuries to our bodies. Above all, most problems occur when we perform tasks with a large number of repetitions and not to mention, when we add weight to them.
The importance of the technique is something that we are going to deal specifically with, but here, besides the technique, there is something else that matters.
(Difference between a correct descent (left) with an incorrect one (right) that can compromise the health of the lower back)
Many of these exercises require more than simply knowing what you should do and how to place your body exactly when it comes to performing them. They always require you to have a fairly advanced level of flexibility.
For example, in the case of deadlift lifts, the curvature that occurs in your lower (lumbar) spine is produced by the tension of the muscles that are located in your posterior thighs that go from your knees to your hips. If these are not sufficiently flexible (which can take several months of conditioning and stretch), they will inevitably produce this curvature called “butt wink”, that will surely be very harmful to your intervertebral discs.
We will be able to find a large number of examples of why it is not only the technique but the level of conditioning that is needed to perform this type of exercise and leave unharmed. And yes, you guessed, the vast majority of people who begin with this type of practice are not even close to reaching that required basic condition.
Beyond the inherent risks of the exercises, something quite rare and common happens. Those who teach this type of practice do not usually focus on the correct technical execution, moreover, we can see how they make their students perform endless series and even compete. A mixture that inevitably produces a very high risk of injury.
Concerning the Olympic lifts, this sports practice places a lot of emphasis on them, but there is a danger in putting so much focus on it, as it is one of the most technologically advanced practices. It requires a lot of previous knowledge and training in order to perform large numbers of repetitions.
In fact, this type of exercise should not be done for more than 3 repetitions with moderate or heavyweights. Making Olympic lifts a kind of cardio is simply a perfect recipe for creating injuries.
General Summary About Crossfit and What You Need to Know
Crossfit is one of the most comprehensive and comprehensive workouts that exist today. Likewise, it is crucial to consider some things before deciding to start practicing it in order to get the most out of it and not to play against it.
Your level of training and experience
Unless you have some understanding regarding training and knowledge about the basis of the different exercise techniques and principles, it is preferable to start with simpler workouts such as weightlifting in the gym, functional training, etc. and only then start with CrossFit.
Any person suffering from injuries, mainly injuries to the knees, elbows or spine (back), it is not recommended to practice Crossfit since you would be constantly putting pressure to those areas with exercises that are very difficult to execute correctly.
Rest ability and lifestyle you lead
Unless you have total control of the intensity that you put into your training, you will need to take into account your lifestyle and your situation outside the gym. To achieve great results, it will require you to have some years of training so that you can go through different situations.
Those people who tend to have a quite stressful life outside the gym and still do not have much experience in physical activity, it is preferable that they do not CrossFit at first.
Right now it’s time to reflect on your situation, your preferences, and objectives, but all that mix of ideas and thoughts on the scale and make a decision! If you are interested in functional training in general, whether in the gym or outdoors, please do not hesitate to try as it can only bring positive results.
But, if you have any doubt about starting with this kind of lifestyle, then its highly advisable that you consult your local gym expert and CrossFit trainers and they will surely guide you through everything that you need to know.