So what is the big deal about crossfit?

by 974 · March 16, 2013 at 01:55 AM

Why is it so different than say Boot Camp or other type of HIIT type work out?

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21 Replies

58 · February 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM

The olympic lifts were never designed or created to be used as a means of becoming fit. Weightlifting is a sport and requires certain precise motions and goal oriented systems to be able to excell in that sport. Using the snatch and clean & jerk as a form of exercise or fitness is puzzling. There is no added benefit using other sports as a platform to become fit. Becoming fit has nothing to do with pushing one's self to the point of exhaustion and form breakdowns, and neither does athletics. It is a myth that athletes become great because they train harder and longer than other athletes who don't. The great athletes train smart and with precision of motion(s). They coax their body and mind to success. They don't force it. Progress cannot be forced in athletics or in becoming physically fit. You train as hard as you need to train to get the results you are looking for. It makes no sense to train or exercise harder than you have to. While you might progress over the short haul, you will never be able to maintain a high intensity training program forever. At some point the body's systems will rebel and the person will either quit or get injured or both. Athletic events, such as weightlifting or gymnastics were never meant to be taken out of context to be used as a form of fitness. In doing so the person using those type sports to simply become physically fit are just asking for trouble.

60 · February 22, 2011 at 09:13 PM

I think for a lot of people who are intimidated by a traditional "globo-gym" or people who don't have a huge background in fitness knowledge, Crossfit is so appealing because A) It's never boring B)You don't need to come up with a strategy for yourself, someone else does it. c)The atmosphere of healthy physical challenge, Paleo eating and companionship are usually all wrapped up into one.

18619 · February 23, 2011 at 01:03 AM

It absolutely depends on your trainers/coaches in either program.

I have done all three with similar results, boot camp, HIIT at home and Crossfit.

My favorite was actually boot camp. I was at a fantastic gym with an brilliant trainer. The crew for 5:30am boot camp was usually the same group. The trainer never had us do the same workout twice in the years I went there. We did body weight exercises, olympic lifting, flexibility stuff, you name it. It was awesome. I only left due to class time not working with my work schedule any longer. I miss it every day.

For awhile I did HIIT workouts at home, written by the same trainer from boot camp. I have a ton of them and it was really the same, without the fun of having other people around. I did not lose any strength or gain any weight. It was just boring by myself.

I recently started at a brand new Crossfit box. I was thrilled to find one and excited to start. My problem is my "coach" has had no other training than his Crossfit certification. I don't trust him enough and he doesn't really have a clue. After my 6 years of weight loss and fitness, I know more than him. I am not getting the community aspect, because I am the only one there at 5am. I do like the workouts. They are no different than my bootcamp/HIIT stuff, really. Sometimes they are too short for me though. I have gained two pounds while doing Crossfit and it's not muscle. I need to up the intensity on my own because the coach just isn't doing it. I think I could love Crossfit at the right Box with the right coach.

46 · February 23, 2012 at 03:33 PM

I've been a competitive amatuer powerlifter and body builder since I was in high school, and I was a Battalion Recon Marine for 6 years, so at the risk of sounding self-assured and arrogant, I'll just say I know a thing or two about physical fitness. I've seen so much physical fitness crap come and go in my time. CrossFit is just another fad that will die out sooner or later. When it runs its course, people will go back to the tried and proven methods.

Jim Napier above hit the nail right on the head. CrossFit is dangerous; even with good coaches and supervision. Doing "burnouts" on olympic weights is nutts. Especially with powerlifts. Doing hang cleans, power cleans, squats, or pretty much any olympic movement that applies high pressure to the back and leg joints to the point of failure is INSANE. Injury becomes a virtual inevitability. Any professional or amateur athelete worth his salt will tell you the first principle in atheletics is to guard yourself from injury at all costs. You don't take risks. A major joint or back injury is absolutely ruinous. It just takes ONE herniated disk in your back or meniscus tear in your knee. You can get corrective surgery and rehab, but you'll never be at 100% again. You never fully recover. In a typical workout, I spend at least half of the total workout time stretching, strengthening my core, and hardening my joints against injury. You absolutely CANNOT do this in a 15 minute CrossFit workout. I've known SO many fitness people over the last 10-15 years you wouldn't believe; and so many of them have destroyed their bodies through foolish and systematic abuse. Some of the strongest and most fit people I've ever known can hardely walk now, much less workout. CrossFit tries to sell itself as a shortcut to fitness or a miracle program. Like a ton of fitness programs I've seen come and go, CrossFit is 90% marketing and 10% actual workout. The typical CrossFit "box" also wants you to sell one of your kidneys to workout there. I've been to and worked out at several CrossFit gyms and the average cost is about $20 per workout or $120-$150 per month. In my view, CrossFit is designed for desperate weak willed people who don't feel they can do it on their own. My solution???? Grow a pair, develop a little discipline, and get off your ass. You can get a good pair of running shoes for $40 bucks and the road is free. Anyone in CrossFit who tells you they have better cardiovascular fitness than someone who runs 5-10 miles 5 or 6 days a week is full of shit.

440 · February 23, 2011 at 03:56 AM

Where I Crossfit the coaches do not force me to lift heavier and faster. In fact, I've been told to drop weight when they noticed my form was off. They have everyone perform a couple reps of the olympic moves to make sure you have the proper weight before starting a WOD. And during the WOD they make sure I'm keeping form. You can't put all the blame on Crossfit for injuries that might occur. You have to be smart and know when to scale down. I've seen people at typical gyms with horrible form and no one brings it to their attention.

I don't agree that Crossfit is for everyone. You just have to find what works for you and do what you enjoy. I don't understand the hate towards Crossfit.

90 · February 23, 2011 at 12:55 AM

I have been following crossfit since 2003 and I have definitely benefitted greatly from it. Many of the misinformed replies to this question are people who simply looked at crossfit after the hype. Crossfit is for exercise something like paleo is for diet. Alot of people try to say it doesn't work and spout out misinformations but if you remove the bias you have a good system that works well.

Crossfit hit its hype and brought in alot of money, causing alot of "boxes" to pop up to attempt to ride the wave of money the hype created. This doesn't mean all the boxes are good and I still mainly do mainsite wods ( workouts from crossfit.com itself)

Crossfit also emphasizes form over speed or weight. People who insist on going faster than they are actually capable of are not doing the workout properly and need to scale down, or learn proper form before engaging in full workouts.

I believe i am ranting about the hype killing crossfit again.... but I think i made the point clear haha sorry

1783 · February 22, 2011 at 09:44 PM

Crossfit has allowed me to meet other people who are into Paleo eating in this vegetarian-and-vegan-obsessed city. Pretty sure that if I went to a regular boot camp it would be full of the usual low-fat crowd.

204 · February 22, 2011 at 09:27 PM

The combination of gymnastics and olympic lifting is great. The short brief intense infrequent workouts, from the Nautilus/ Jones / Mentzer camp of lies is very bad. Problem that I see with crossfit is many people start to dread the workout, instead of looking forward to it. High injury rate.

The oldest trick in the book deployed by con artists is to offer spectacular results for brief effort. That's all crossfit is to me, another scam. When I have checked out the crossfit gyms, no one could do any of the Olympic lifts properly in any of the ones I have seen, and gymnastic coaches I have spoken to feel the same way about the gymnastic portion. There was an elitist cultish atmosphere, and used car salesman overcharging attitude attempt to depart me from my dollars.

Crossfit may be a good learning experience for a brief period of time, but don't stop there, go on and learn other things elsewhere. I do not consider crossfit or bootcamp to be sustainable or healthy for long periods of time.

The strongest people in the world do not train to failure, Olympic lifters train for long time peroids within their strength range, every day. Olympic lifts are meant to be done 1 - 5 reps with control, going all out to failure, with very bad technique at over 20 reps is a recipe for disaster. They have inexperienced beginners attempting this, the instructors can't do them even close to properly, and they are teaching the newbies.

I have heard that the variation from one crossfit gym to another can vary hugely. What I have closely looked at so far seems to really suck.

Chiropractors, and physiotherapists love the popularity of crossfit. Their offices are filled with clients injured from people attempting crossfit. Years ago, when Nautilus gyms popped up all over the place, people went all out to failure on those machines and the chiropractors and physio therapists have finally got something new to keep their practices busy and lucrative.

Arthur Jones, crippled himself working out on his own Nautilus machines. Mike Mentzer built his body using rest pause and volume training, not single sets to failure like he sold the public.

30 · February 22, 2011 at 09:26 PM

Crossfit differs from a "bootcamp" style workout by introducing athletes to Olympic lifting (ie Clean & Jerks, Snatches, Overhead Squats, Power Cleans). I don't think anywhere else in the fitness community are athletes exposed to these style of movements, unless you are a powerlifter. These movements are a huge reason why Crossfit elicits such great results. They stimulate a neuroendocrine adaptation that can not be found anywhere else. Neoroendocrine adaptation is a change in the body that affects you either neurologically or hormonally. Among the hormonal responses vital to athletic development are substantial increases in testosterone, insulin-like growth factor, and human growth hormone. Exercising with protocols known to elevate these hormones eerily mimics the hormonal changes often sought by steroid use, but w/o any of the deleterious side effects. Mastery of the Oly Lifts teaches one to apply force to muscle groups in proper sequencing, ie, from the center of the body to the extremeties (core to extremity)...a weak core will limit ones capacity to complete these types of movements. Numerous studies have demonstrated the Olympic Lifts unique capacity to develop strength, muscle, power, speed, coordination, vertical leap, muscular endurance, bone strenght, and the physical capacity to withstand stress. It's also worth mentioning that the Olympic Lifts are the only movements shown to increase maximum oxygen uptake, the most important marker for cardiovascular fitness.

106 · February 22, 2011 at 09:20 PM

The big deal is that it is the trendy work out system at the moment. Its decent, and had some good principles in its formation. But like anything popular, it is catering to the lowest common denominator. The real danger with crossfit is the place it occupies as the popular system on the fringe of the high end performance realm. The workload in crossfit can be ridiculously punishing, and the sacrifice of form that follows with all systems that value high repitition is dangerous. One can certainly use crossfit to make progress but no system ever lives up to the ridiculous hype that accompanies popularity. If youre looking to start working out, give it a shot. If youre committed you will soon learn the downsides and what to take with you as you progress and diversify.

10 · May 11, 2012 at 09:44 PM

I view crossfit as a sport. Crossfit is fun, exciting and something I might like playing with my friends. I don't view Crossift as a true strength and conditioning program. I am a physical therapist with an exercise science degree, I love exercise, I'm 40 years old and have been active in some sport and weight routine since the age of 6. I started lifting weights at 16 and I feel like I've seen and tried just about everything that looked sane or interesting. Crossfit in my opinion is great....for business, Fun...if you wan't to make friends, expensive at 100-140dollars per month at the box and will help you lose weight if you eat the paleodiet...

Crossift is also very dangerous for novices in terms of clean movement. Olympic lifts should be left to the olympic lift trained athletes. These movements are highly technical and one wrong movement can leave you crippled...coaching is essential.

Plyometrics...ugh. So...plyometric training does not build strength, it simply teaches you how to use the elasticity of your achilles tendons and your neural pathways to activate in a more coordinated manner to get more lift. Your achilles tendons have elasticity built in with elastin. If I jump from the floor as high as I can I can get my max height measurement. If I jump off of a 12inch box and immediately jump I will go higher for the above reasons. As far as a repetitive exercise goes it's worthless for anything but burning calories and micro-tearing your tendons repetitively which will eventually result in tendon injury. Each time you perform plyometrics you microtear the original tendon tissue unlike muscle you can not repair or recover from this trauma with natural tissue, your body instead replaces the tendon material or rather fills in the tear with non-elastin containing scar tissue. Do this enough and now you are jumping on stiff bands rather than elastic tendons and "Pop" see you at the clinic....

If you are trying to get strong forget crossfit, follow science not the fad. Science tells us that there are more effective and safer ways to do it.

Here's my last experience at crossfit- Warm up with long lunge steps accross the gym Instructions for the WOD from the trainer "go as fast as you can" do 20 triceps presses, then 20 20lb V-ups, then jumprope 50 times, then repeat with fewer reps of each two more times, then run outside x 400meters x 2 as fast as possible, return to the gym and do 20 handstand pushups against the wall.

Really? Someone explain to me how 30 minutes of that is better than any other strength training program. Would I recommend this to a friend no, an athlete NO, a professional athelete NO WAY!!

I ask my injured crossfitters now this one question...What is your goal with crossfit? The typical answer is to lose weight or to get stronger...I would recommend to everyone researching it to drop it. Go get a low glycemic diet in place, talk to a dietician and find a true strength and conditioning professional that can show you the science behind the details of the workouts. If I'm going to gain strength I'm working every part of my body to failure every other day eating well getting enough protein, carbs and veg and I'm not risking injury for a fad.

One more word about olympic lifting. If you are using it to gain strength there are better ways more effective and more efficient and safer ways. If you are using it for enhancing sport performance like so many coaches and highschool trainers and some pro trainers insist to get better at running or pushing off the line in football or jumping or whatever I call B.S. Science tells us that there is no carryover from the motor pattern of a squat to the motor pattern of a sprint or a jump. This is proven over and over again and if you question the experts in the field they will laugh at you and tell you this is ludicrous...Would you take a million dollar baseball pitcher and make him move through the pitching pattern with weight over and over again to improve the power of his pitch? Some would, but then they would get fired because they would destroy the motor pattern of movement that made that pitcher so good. Sprinting with sleds or parachutes? swimming with resistance? All seem good upfront.

Find a professional, get detailed information about strength and conditioning strategies and try not to permanently injure yourselves.

I just read a research document 2 days ago that showed plyometric training was inferior to improving jump height compared to overload training in a 6 week trial. If I'm going to jump higher run faster, move easier an be better at my sport I'm hitting the weights in a scientific fashion.

If I want to be better at crossfit competitions I'm going to my weight room and lifting scientifically. Again crossfit has kind of summed it up with the crossfit affiliate cup competitions, it's about speed of movement and the fastest time wins. No Thanks.

18 · February 22, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Crossfit... It works and you see results in a short period of time. I've never been stronger in my life! It doesn't make you huge or give you a crazy body builders bulgin muscles, but leans you out and gets you into the best shape overall by working every muscle in your body!

0 · March 16, 2013 at 01:55 AM

Anyyone in this thread talking shit about crossfit has no real experience in the sport. All you have to do is look at the pro's like Froning and Khalipa for a proper example of crossfit. It has only been around for 7 years, the sport is only going to evolve. Go back to when Dr Naysmith invented basketball, there wasn't even a hole in the bottom of the basket.

You people are scared from words and other peoples experiences, and it is very obvious that you have never trained at this intensity level, its hard and people cant do it, so they need a reason why they cant, an excuse, and instead of accepting the fact that they are unfit and not conditioned they attack the sport in anyway they can. @Ian your 40 maybe you should do lawn bowls The WOD you described to me is the typical fan boy made up WOD, and the fact that this is all it took for you to be turned off the sport gives me the idea that your not in the greatest shape.

The first WOD I ever did was the 7's hero WOD. I failed after only 2 rounds, instead of bagging the sport and going back to being a useless bodybuilder, I looked at it as a challenge, found myself a good 'Crossfit Box' learnt proper Oly style lifting and trained my ass off. Its not supposed to be easy. If you injure yourself to a point where you cant keep going then its obvious the sport is not for you. This doesn't mean you should start bad mouthing it and trying to come up with bullshit science backed arguments to prove a point. Semper Fi. harden up and stop complaining. if you don't like the sport then don't do it, but keep your experiences to yourself. I don't like Tennis but you don't see me on Tennis forums and websites stating that it gives you bad shoulders, knees and elbows. Simple

0 · October 04, 2012 at 01:44 AM

I honestly had no idea what crossfit was until I hired a colleg girl to do some part time work for me recnelty. Every weekend it was CF this and CF that, and jargon jargon jargon, I did X reps,, etc. Problem was, she was was not in anything like badass shape after doing it for a year. She was actually kinda flabby and at the age of 20 not even as toned as my 41 year old girlfriend, who just runs 3-4 times a week and hits the 24 Hr fitness weights a bit a couple days a week. Yeah, small sample size and genetics certainly could be a factor, but I just don't know of any old fashioned workout that won't get you into badass shape so long as you do it right and often enough. I put on 25 lbs of muscle in a year and upped my strenght by about 35% doing Bigger Faster Stronger which is old as hell.

0 · July 27, 2012 at 11:10 PM

This is a very old post but people like me might still read this all of you fing people call it a GYM!!!! ITs GYM!!! IT'S F'ING GAY TO CALL IT A BOX!!!"wow I'm tired I just worked out at my box!" Uh whats a box? - It's my crossfit gym. So why do you call it a box. Uhh...

0 · July 18, 2012 at 05:06 PM

Thank you! I had a long debate over this type of workout with my sister, it just doesn't seem safe to me. My sister is an avid crossfitter and she swears by it. She has been running for a few years now and she is also following the Paleo diet (I have my thoughts about that as well!). I work out regularly and do a combination cardio-strength training routine. Kickboxing and kravmaga twice a week and gym group weight lifting. I don't look like my sister simply because my diet is still too high on simple carbs (I eat a balanced diet most of the time). I'm 45 and consider to be in decent shape, I am careful to practice safe fitness to avoid the risk of injury. I attended a crossfit session and felt not only inadequate but also like I never worked out in my life. I finished the session with the coach telling me I need to push my self or else go somewhere else to workout (tough love I think). I could not move the next day. I was not impressed.

1153 · February 23, 2012 at 07:43 PM

Id rather do long distance running.

148 · February 13, 2012 at 03:28 PM

My body does not like a cross fit style of training simply because I can not consume enough calories in the day to keep my self awake after a training session (i get 8-9 sometimes 10 hours of sleep each night). I wish I could because it really is a fun change from a normal weight training routine. I know you can scale it back but I simply don't feel I get enough out it to lessen the load.

8 · February 22, 2011 at 08:58 PM

I believe that Crossfit, loosely defined, refers to "constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity." Over the past few years, many CrossFit affiliates (i.e. "boxes") have developed their own programming, and some of this programming likely overlaps with Boot Camp or other high-intensity training techniques.

To the degree that Boot Camp and other HIIT focus on constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity I'm not sure how you would differentiate among them.

4240 · February 22, 2011 at 08:59 PM

It's just super awesome. That's all.

609 · February 22, 2011 at 08:47 PM

The irongarm couch thread covers crossfit quite well.

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