Table of Contents
- The Pros
- The Cons
The CrossFit program has achieved an almost cult status around the world. You will find people on both sides of the aisle, those who hail its virtues while others consider it a dangerous waste of time that is not the most efficient way to train.
We are going to provide a thorough rundown of both the pros and cons of this program, based on my experience with the workouts posted online daily.
Well Rounded Athlete
The CrossFit mission statement says that they specialize in not specializing in anything. Basically the program does not focus on strength, endurance or power but aims to achieve a higher level of fitness in all areas. This makes it a great program for anyone that isn’t trying to concentrate on a particular sport or activity but wants to have better fitness.
This is a workout that gives t-shirts to anyone who vomits during a session. Any program that does certainly has a high level of intensity. Of course throwing up really isn’t a measure of how well a program performs.
It is very seldom that you will find the WOD to be the same, and the program is never ending. The change of routines will go a long way to help keep people motivated as they will be trying something new all the time.
There is a friendly competitive spirit with CrossFit which is the foundation of the program itself. Every year they hold the CrossFit Games which draws a lot of attention from both participants and spectators. Sponsors have even got in on the act.
From this CrossFit makes the claim that they made fitness a sport, and it is hard to doubt that notion.
This training contributes greatly to the well rounded fitness the CrossFit program provides while helping you to get leaner, and in better shape. The use of these timed challenges allow you to compete with your workout partners, or just yourself. This makes it much easier to guage your improvement as the numbers are either going to be better, or they aren’t. Your endurance and muscle growth will also benefit significantly from this manner of training as well.
Weights Used in Cardio Training
By using timed challenges with a combination of resistance exercise your aerobic, anaerobic along with muscle endurance will rise dramatically. It will help you to improve a lot in your all around fitness levels. This also helps to increase an individual’s tolerance for pain, which has dropped in todays comfortable lifestyle.
For those of you trying to lose weight, this aspect of the routines is going to benefit you greatly with the metabolic weight training and time efficiency.
Fun Training that Actually Benefits
The CrossFit regimen will utilize methods that are simply not found in many gyms these days like power training, throwing around a medicine ball, or barefoot training. Health clubs have degraded quality and intensity of training by focusing more on the new equipment, big screen televisions, and aerobics classes just to give overweight people something to do.
Being Your Own Observer
A core part of the Crossfit mentality is that ultimately only you are responsible for your physical fitness. The training is your responsibility so you will have to monitor your performance to find just what you are capable of.
That being said it is highly recommended that beginners, and some intermediates, make use of a personal trainer so that you know things are being done properly. Just remember that no matter how much someone pushes you, only you can decide to lift that weight or not. No passing the buck in this program, results come only from your commitment.
What seems to get the most negative attention is the creator and leader of CrossFit, Greg Glassman’s assertion that this is simply the best solution for everything. That is not the case. For example, when trying to build muscle mass, you will find that there are far more efficient methods out there.
Many people who dislike CrossFit might say that it does not produce results, but this isn’t true. It is just that some people aren’t out to be a hardcore bodybuilder, and while they are in shape, nicely toned, they don’t “look” like some bodybuilding fanatic.
High Repetition on Some Lifts
Certain workouts in the CrossFit program call for exercises to be done with high reps. Let’s have a look at the deadlift, in which after five or six reps for most people will make a transition away from recruitment of the hamstrings to become nothing more than a fast muscle twitch. Remember that most people don’t use their glutes much from sitting all day, so this can lead to back injury for the unprepared. ( Yet another reason to get a personal trainer. )
Heavy Lifts While Under Fatigue
While this can fall under the above point, continuous heavy lifts while under fatigue, combined with the pressure of timed challenges can lead to a greater chance of injury.
Some exercises like the bench press or pull-ups really will not benefit you anymore when done for time.
Attracting People with Little or No Training
The CrossFit program is able to be adapted to all skill levels, but many gyms stick with an all or nothing attitude. This can lead to individuals who have the heart and determination, but lack the skills could find themselves in a dangerous situation. This is really the responsibility of the trainers however, you are to be responsible for your own safety when it comes down to it.
The workout of the day is generally the hardest option for that days routine. Being that it is so prominently featured on the site, people with the gung ho attitude will challenge themselves with the hardest option without even knowing that there are routines for their skill level buried in the site. In some cases this can lead to a serious injury.
The philosophy of the CrossFit program really needs to do more to inform people how to find what they can and cannot do.
Yes this is also listed as a pro but it can be a negative as well. There are people that will focus solely on being fast or beating everyone else while forgetting about maintaining the proper form.
The CrossFit program pushes one across the board nutrition schedule that consists of 30% fats, 30% protein and 40% carbs. No two people are going to be exactly alike so this will certainly not be the best solution for many people. There is no one size fits all program when it comes to nutrition.
Flippant Disregard for Safety
After reading through the CrossFit website it will not be hard to find examples of this. Just take this quote from the creator “If you’re scared of falling off the (gymnastics) rings and breaking your neck, we don’t want you.” That is certainly not a healthy attitude when it is supposed to be for all skill levels. Remember that you are the one who gets to decide to be a fool or not.
There are many pros and cons to the CrossFit regimen as far as whether it is a good idea for you or not.
- This is excellent for anyone who is really into fitness and wants to keep training hard.
- Those who are inexperienced in power exercises have a chance of hurting themselves. This will also hold true for anyone who just reads the website and tries to follow the WOD.
- Combining so many varieties of training might be misguided in some cases. Metabolic and strength training really needs to be separated so followers can focus more on form and technique rather than staying fast while fatigued.
- Many of the CrossFit haters will criticize the program just to make themselves look better. As an example, kipping pullups are looked down upon for those in strength training, but it can do wonders for your metabolic sessions.
- If you are trying to specialize in a particular sport or activity, CrossFit might not be right for you.
CrossFit employs some rather complex exercises in order to combine strength and metabolic training, but there are other ways to accomplish the same goal which are far safer for the inexperienced.
Before you get involved in any exercise program, do your homework to find out the benefits and disadvantages. Your fitness levels are ultimately controlled by you and you alone. Consult a personal trainer to find out what is best in order to accomplish your goals.