3

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Crossfit... Barriers to Entry?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 15, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Hey everyone. I've been reading up quite a bit on Crossfit as of late, and I am pretty sold on the idea. Problem is, although I look fit and have been pretty strictly paleo for the last 6 months or so, I'm still in questionable physical condition. I know Crossfit is supposed to be a supportive atmosphere of sorts, but I'm wondering if I should consider training on my own for a couple months before getting involved? Could anyone tell me what they ran into when they started with Crossfit from scratch, and what I should expect?

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on September 16, 2011
at 02:25 AM

Crossfit, under the best of circumstances, equates to high injury risk.

C296508bdbbbd8656f46e258fad81976

(170)

on September 16, 2011
at 01:53 AM

Barriers? price for one, what is normal for a membership? I could join 2 regular gyms for the price of one cross fit

0b074df8079a6cea3470b509d86fca67

(255)

on September 15, 2011
at 09:41 PM

Thanks a ton for your response (and thanks to everyone else, as well). Sounds like everyone gets their butt kicked together, which is exactly what I need. A team atmosphere never hurts, either. Either way, I really appreciate the solid advice! I'll start looking at gyms tonight.

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on September 15, 2011
at 09:15 PM

I agree, unfortunately I already had bad form from my previous years of working out, which combined with a little bit of hubris is what let to my injury and later humbling experience. Its not absolutely necessary, but to me it beats having to look at the tape, and having other people assist helps you catch details you might not notice or have even thought of. The added bonus of having the coach/training available is the instant AND constant feedback. Especially on seemingly minute details; "tighten your abs while you do your kipping". What? Abs for pullups? Didn't think of that...

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on September 15, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Assuming you have access to the equipment, I don't buy the "form" argument. You can work on your form while doing minimal weight, even if it's just an empty bar to start out. Obviously, you need to do a little research, and taking pictures/video of yourself can help diagnose potential issues, but I don't see this as problematic starting out. There's something to be said for not teaching yourself bad form, but I don't think you necessarily will if you take it slow and focus on form before you focus on heavy weights.

76c885d7d27e6c83542ea493ca866dcd

(2178)

on September 15, 2011
at 07:24 PM

You and I are in the SAME boat. Interested to see the answers to this one!

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13 Answers

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7
C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on September 15, 2011
at 07:32 PM

I'm wondering if I should consider training on my own for a couple months before getting involved?

I was in your position roughly 1.5-2 years ago, when I did train on my own, and I highly recommend NOT training on your own, for the following reasons:

1) Most people (myself included) lack the proper form for NUMEROUS movements.

In retrospect, my form was terrible for ALL my olympic lifts (even something as "easy" as the back squat), kettlebell work, pullups, etc. This is coming from someone who's been in the typical gym setting for 15 years or so with no formal training.

Anyway, bad form equates to high injury risk. And so I ended up injuring myself (shoulder) and had to sideline, and then rehab, myself over the next year or so.

2) You won't have access to as much equipment anywhere else vs Crossfit gym.

Bumper plates, kettlebells, medicine balls, rope climbs, rings, etc. You name it, they got it. No other gym in my area carries anything near this variety.

3) Knowledge base at CF

Trainers are helpful, members are helpful. Knowledge is not only restricted to weights and training (which, of course, is immense), but also nutrition and other aspects of life. Crossfit is the only place to date I heard somebody other than myself say (as in, actually spoken aloud) words such as "paleo", "intermittent fasting", etc.

Could anyone tell me what they ran into when they started with Crossfit from scratch, and what I should expect?

I joined CF in April of this year, and I can say it was humbling, at first, at least for me. When I realized how little I knew from all my previous years of training. Humbling, but challenging (read: fun).

I've been setting personal records on all my lifts (easy to do when you've never done them before!). No, but really, Since end of april (so, 4 months), the lifts that I DID do before changed as such:

Deadlift + 70 Power Clean + 40 Front Squat + 40

Then there's various skillwork/lifts I've been picking up as well that never did before:

Kipping pullup, double-unders, hand stand work, climbing a rope, ring dips/pullups, split jerks, snatches, overhead squats.

Can't say how much I've learned/grown in the past 4-5 months. Highly recommend joining.

0b074df8079a6cea3470b509d86fca67

(255)

on September 15, 2011
at 09:41 PM

Thanks a ton for your response (and thanks to everyone else, as well). Sounds like everyone gets their butt kicked together, which is exactly what I need. A team atmosphere never hurts, either. Either way, I really appreciate the solid advice! I'll start looking at gyms tonight.

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on September 16, 2011
at 02:25 AM

Crossfit, under the best of circumstances, equates to high injury risk.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on September 15, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Assuming you have access to the equipment, I don't buy the "form" argument. You can work on your form while doing minimal weight, even if it's just an empty bar to start out. Obviously, you need to do a little research, and taking pictures/video of yourself can help diagnose potential issues, but I don't see this as problematic starting out. There's something to be said for not teaching yourself bad form, but I don't think you necessarily will if you take it slow and focus on form before you focus on heavy weights.

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on September 15, 2011
at 09:15 PM

I agree, unfortunately I already had bad form from my previous years of working out, which combined with a little bit of hubris is what let to my injury and later humbling experience. Its not absolutely necessary, but to me it beats having to look at the tape, and having other people assist helps you catch details you might not notice or have even thought of. The added bonus of having the coach/training available is the instant AND constant feedback. Especially on seemingly minute details; "tighten your abs while you do your kipping". What? Abs for pullups? Didn't think of that...

7
446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

on September 15, 2011
at 07:09 PM

You don't have to be fit AT ALL to do CrossFit. Be overweight and go do CrossFit, no problem, EVERYTHING in CrossFit is scalable. And if you find a proper coach he will tell you so and do so. In our box, we have people of 70 years old training, people who never practised ANY sport EVER. We're all training together and it's great. CrossFit is about not forging fitness, not making fit people more fit, CrossFit is for everyone.

3
15307127b011c7c276e76adc46bd1d31

on September 15, 2011
at 06:40 PM

You should find a crossfit gym that you feel comfortable with. I was lucky, knowing nothing about crossfit I joined now paleo celebrity Rob Wolfs gym in Chico, ca and it turned out to be great place for me to learn about crossfit and paleo. The point is they were very supportive and personal there so it made me comfortable joining and staying. Crossfit is very different from your typical 24 hour fitness type gym. Its a community and a family. So i say look around, talk to a few gyms in your area and dive in when you click with how one place does things. I moved to santa barbara a few years ago and recently found a gym that is run by a former marine. Being former military myself i felt accepted and comfortable there. Just do your research and don't be afraid to do a few workouts with different places just to try them out. You should expect a rounded out experience, a warm up, skills session, a WOD and a cool down/ stretch session. You should also expect a hard but rewarding workout, and knowledgeble trainers that will push you and help you meet your personal goals! Good luck!

3
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on September 15, 2011
at 06:13 PM

I have not made it so my own box yet so take this with more then the RDA of Salt

One of the most bonding things you can do is ask people for help. If you go now you get lots of chances to ask for help and respect expertise.

Also early movements are important, you don't wanna get bad habits you just have to unlearn.

2
9bca3c7a5a8a78433ce4a398b668aa4b

(287)

on September 15, 2011
at 07:15 PM

I started from scratch at my box and wouldnt go any other way. They teach everything that you need to know and the correct form on the movements (which is essential). Everyone has to start from somewhere and we have a decent amount of new people that have never lifted a weight in their entire lives. They are doing great and going at their own pace. And I would like to think that our box, as a whole, is supportive to each and every one of them. The mentality that Crossfitters have is a good, positive one. They wont be anything but supportive. I have met a lot, and we all seem to be the same.. Good luck!!!

2
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on September 15, 2011
at 06:48 PM

I dabbled in crossfit for awhile, and then did a month at my nearest affiliate (45 mins from my home) to re-up my motivation, check my form, and learn some new things- I wasn't comfortable teaching myself some movements. If you can start off by going to a good affiliate, I think that would be ideal; I would've done it that way if it were more convenient. Good luck! :)

1
D9032e4f6540f9e6bcbb07143002bedd

(449)

on September 16, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Crossfit is awesome, but the key is finding a good coach. I've worked with decent coaches in the past and now have the luxury of training with a badass coach (shameless plug) Jason Dunbar from Brand X Poway.

The problems I can see for beginners would be (1) getting inadequate coaching due to large class size or "hands off" coaches (2) doing certain movements before you have adequate strength or mobility (3) doing the WODs but neglecting mobility work and getting hurt.

You can't half-ass the deadlift or clean and jerk. You should be doing them correctly or not at all. And not every coach out there has the ability to properly explain and demonstrate all movements to everyone.

You should always push yourself in crossfit or any workout, but if it starts to hurt STOP. Unless you are in great shape or have been doing crossfit for a while you should never feel bad about doing a lesser weight, fewer reps, a modified movement or simply not finishing a workout.

Lastly, I can't even imagine doing crossfit without doing mobility work after each WOD and at home at the end of the day. Not to mention little things you can do during the day.

1
9a0861d7ef021ceb7d81e548f5eac6bd

on September 16, 2011
at 02:14 AM

I am new to crossfit and just finished their On Ramp program and let me tell you "Do it!" During high school I did Crew and Ran but over the past year (after getting married) I gained about 15 lbs. I am nowhere near the physical strength of some of the members but they really do teach you how to do everything safely and with good form. All of the trainers are fantastic and helpful, don't let the muscles intimidate you! I am doing it 3 days a week and look forward to each workout knowing it will be as intense as I make it! DOOOO IIITTTT:-)

1
40449b985898b088a64660b40f329f0f

(951)

on September 15, 2011
at 09:30 PM

Your level of fitness and ability going into CrossFit is truly irrelevant. Like someone else mentioned, every workout is scalable and the coaches are prepared to work with you in figuring out the best way to do that. I go to classes where 50 year old women workout next to athletes that compete in the CrossFit games, and no one thinks twice about it. Go to CrossFit to get better, not get better to go to CrossFit.

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on September 15, 2011
at 07:25 PM

I was already fairly athletic when I went into the box but all that did was keep me from throwing myself down on the mat in a heap. It's all going to be new to you and when you do your required Foundations class you will see that all are challenged. You're also going to make friends that will carry you through when you're done and move to On Ramp and regular workouts, which gives you people to talk and commiserate with.

What can you expect? Why, you're going to get your arse kicked sideways and back again! But you will love it.

Also, if you have a good coach, they're totally going to work with you at a level you can handle. Remember! YOU are paying them THEY are not paying you. Go and have fun, no waiting - get in there! :)

1
1f004512f11a73ffee50fc4a2a76ae25

on September 15, 2011
at 06:48 PM

My opinion would be to just join a gym. Training on your own is never a bad idea, but all CrossFit gyms are filled with knowledgeable people that will help you through the whole process. Every coach knows how to access your physical abilities and scale all workouts towards that. After that it's up to you how hard you want to push yourself. The atmosphere will be great because everyone that has been to a box knows exactly the position that you are in. Don't waste any more time, jump all in and get to a box. Forging Elite Fitness!

0
5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on September 16, 2011
at 02:23 AM

From what I have seen it's a shoulder injury waiting to happen for a lot of desk jockies. However, it's hard to comment on your specific case. It would be wise to avoid overhead stuff if you have any shoulder or posture issues until you get proper biomechanics in place.

0
5ad20f4483ff22167984777d1dc7cd50

on September 15, 2011
at 10:04 PM

I would also dive right in, but if you can read reviews ahead of time it might help (if you have many options in your town). I'm currently 3 classes in to the 5 class essentials and loving it. We're learning the basics which build on each other to more advanced moves. I'm still getting a pretty good workout but not so hard that I feel miserable or discouraged. Although the first class we did a zillion air squats, and I think we were all sore for days. One of the ladies in our group said she'd previously tried another box in the same area and had a really bad experience--on the first day the coaches had them doing difficult and complicated moves, and she felt it was punishing and kind of embarrassing. It almost put her off CrossFit altogether but thankfully decided to give this other place a try.

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