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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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