CrossFit training is a relatively new and intense exercise system that primarily targets athletes and bodybuilders. The vigorous workouts are not for people new to exercise, but can be beneficial to experienced athletes and professionals training for military or police fitness. Find out about CrossFit, why it's controversial and how to begin a CrossFit training program.
What Is CrossFit Training?
Former gymnast Greg Glassman founded CrossFit in an effort to combine gymnastics, Olympic power weightlifting and multi-mode sprinting in an intense exercise program. During Glassman's years as a gymnastics coach in the 1970s, he realized that combining intense cardio activities with powerlifting and dynamic exercises, such as pylometric jumps, provided faster results than traditional combinations of weightlifting and cardio exercises.
CrossFit emerged as a system that mixed heavy fundamental resistance movements with powerlifting and fast sprinting in a single workout as well as high intensity interval training routines. The program also emphasizes eating a healthy diet. Many athletes also combine the workouts with a low carb diet, such as The Zone, to help maximize athletic performance.
The exercise system has grown in popularity over the years. It began as a program primarily for Olympic athletes, competitive athletes, gymnasts, bodybuilders, martial artists and those training for military and police work, but has expanded to exercise enthusiasts. There are also CrossFit courses developed for kids. The program includes games in which experienced CrossFit athletes can compete against each other.
Details About CrossFit Type Workouts
When Glassman developed the CrossFit system, he wanted to create a total workout program that improved the following areas:
- Cardiorespiratory endurance
- Muscle strength
To this end, CrossFit has a general template for participants to follow when participating in the program. Glassman urges beginners to take the first month simply to learn the movements before increasing intensity, and to become familiar with the general template for workout routines.
CrossFit workouts are short but intense sessions that combine bodyweight gymnastic moves with powerlifting and a cardio activity like sprinting. They also call their high intensity interval method "tabata," which means doing an assigned number of exercise repetitions for 20 seconds vigorously, resting for 10 seconds, and then repeating this sequence of exercising and resting for seven more times, or a total of eight intervals. The workouts are structured and require participants to complete a certain number of exercise repetitions in a designated time-frame. What makes CrossFit different from traditional exercise is that the workouts target large muscle groups to both aerobic and anaerobic failure simultaneously. Weightlifting also will include using equipment like sandbags, kettlebells or water-filled devices.
CrossFit workouts may include the following types of exercises:
- Squats (back and overhead squats and tabata variations)
- Pushups (traditional and handstand)
- Pull-ups (regular and weighted)
- Rope climbing variations
- Ring dips
- Kettlebell swings
- Walking lunges
- Olympic lifts
- Combative moves (defense and basic fighting techniques, with some martial art moves)
Safety and CrossFit Training
The nature of the high intensity workouts and the degree that muscles are worked pose a greater risk of injury than more traditional exercise programs. If you are new to CrossFit, it is important to work with a professional trainer. A professional who is experienced in CrossFit training can help you develop a safe workout plan for your fitness level. Working with a trainer can help ensure that you do the exercises correctly and maximize health benefits. To learn more about CrossFit and find information about local classes or games, visit the official website.