CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program consisting mainly of a mix of aerobic exercise, calisthenics (body weight exercises), and Olympic weight lifting. CrossFit Inc. claims that it is a program that focuses on constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity with the goal of improving fitness. In the words of founder Greg Glassman, CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains. The 10 domains he refers to are cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.
One of the best things about this program is that it doesnt discriminate men and women of all ages and from all walks of life are welcome. First, lets familiarize ourselves with a few common but need-to-know CrossFit terms.
The CrossFit lingo
- Box: A CrossFit gym.
- WOD: Workout of the Day (about 20 minutes) as determined by your coach/box. If youre wondering why many WODs have names, its because these are workouts that come up over and over again; it makes them easier to remember.
- AMRAP: As many reps/rounds as possible.
- For time: To finish the prescribed workout as fast as you can
- Score: The total number of reps/rounds completed in a workout. If youre scoring rounds, youll tack on the additional reps you completed if you were into the next round but didnt complete it (i.e., 8R + 12 would mean 8 rounds complete and 12 reps into the 9th round when time expired).
- Rxd: This is written after your score if you did each exercise of the workout without any modifications, meaning you completed it as prescribed (i.e., 7R +16 Rx).
- CrossFit Games: The ultimate CrossFit challenge where the most elite in the sport come to compete in the summer and be crowned the Worlds Fittest Man and Woman.
- CrossFit Open: CrossFitters can register online, then compete in a form of CrossFit Games alone or at their box.
So why would anyone want to take up CrossFit?
Constantly varied: Workouts should be constantly varied because our bodies are more than just chests, arms, and shoulders. In order for our bodies to perform well, we must have balanced muscles from our feet to our necks. CrossFit helps produce that very result. As a beginner in CrossFit, expect to see WODs that involve running, pushing movements, and pulling movements with the option of increasing the intensity by adding weights.
Functional movements: CrossFit workouts involve functional movements like squatting, lifting things or picking them up, running, pulling, throwing, and jumping that have real life use outside of the gym and will help whether in your day to day routine or at work. Both beginner and non-beginner WODs use the same or very similar movements; the only difference is the intensity or scalability. Each WOD is designed to match the individuals ability.
High intensity: What is high intensity may not be as high for another, which is why CrossFit is scalable for everyone even the grandmas and grandpas, or the unusual crowd. The idea is to challenge and change you, not scare you. The functional movements of every WOD hardly change; what changes is the level of intensity. Some common ways to increase the level of intensity during a CrossFit workout is with weights, putting time restrictions on a movement or workout, or increasing the number of reps or sets.
CrossFit is practised by members of over 10,000 affiliated gyms all over the world. Although half of them are in the US, take heart; you can find CrossFit gyms in your city too! Online fitness portals like Gympik.com help make the search easier. So what are you waiting for? Find your box today!