1

votes

Does Crossfit count as 'lifting heavy'?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 09, 2012 at 9:49 PM

So, I've realised I'm 'skinny-fat'. I saw this post on Stumptuous.com here - scroll down to see the picture. I look a lot like that. I'm 5ft 7in and 138lbs, but with v. little muscle definition and I'm weak as all hell. Up until a year ago I was pretty fit (and toned and about 7 lbs lighter) from doing a lot of endurance training, but since I got injured about 9 months ago and had to cut back drastically on training, I've gone a bit flabby (!) I've kept off any significant weight gain through eating paleo (for about past 4 months), keeping up my swimming and doing Pilates.

So, the advice seems to be that to lose the skinny-fat and gain muscle/ 'get lean' I need to 'lift heavy' and I find the idea of this really appealing. My question is - is this the same as doing crossfit? Or am I better off going to a gym and lifting weights there? My hesitation on the latter is I have no idea how to lift weights (technique or how heavy) and I can't afford a personal trainer. One of the appeals of crossfit is my local one in London has a good reputation and a good beginners' programme. But will it help me on the 'skinny-fat' front??

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on November 06, 2012
at 03:31 AM

Ditto... Agree with everything you said.

829f8e29e21516004cb5059dbd00ce50

(45)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:35 PM

@Rigton I would fully embrace barbell squats with correct form. There isn't some magical reason that you can always squat more on a smith machine or leg press- it's because these devices take some of the load off for you. This then in turn makes you very susceptible to injuring yourself with far too much weight and transverse forces on your joints moving in ways that they were not naturally intended to. Starting to barbell squat 3x per week is one of the best things that ever happened to my physique and overall strength progression. My .02$

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on July 10, 2012
at 08:16 PM

Well said, trjones.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 10, 2012
at 06:38 PM

@Rob - I learned to lift from SS. I currently squat 375, DL 405, bench 260. That is a 1040 total for a 5'8" 165 pound man. SS works.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 10, 2012
at 01:05 PM

Crossfit is heavy enough for a beginner to count as heavy lifting, and if they teach you proper technique, that is very important also. But many CF gyms to not teach proper lifting so be warned. Generally speaking, people doing CF get much stronger, but do not build much more muscle due to high reps. Depending on your goals, you might consider a blend of heavy with low reps, and medium/light with high reps. Crossfit will def get rid of the excess fat though.

829f8e29e21516004cb5059dbd00ce50

(45)

on July 10, 2012
at 12:22 PM

If you are intimidated to go to a gym and lift, then I would work on getting over that first. Realize that no one else there gives a sh*t what you are doing, and do you own thing. Throw on some headphones, focus on your workout, get in, get out.

829f8e29e21516004cb5059dbd00ce50

(45)

on July 10, 2012
at 12:20 PM

@Rob- if you read that book and start with very low weights I really feel like you can develop good form as weight progresses, especially since as the weight starts to get heavy you will need to have good form to even squat it at proper depth @PaleoUK - I have never had any sort of training, and from that book alone my squat has gone up 15 lbs/wk for the past several weeks. If you read, understand, and comprehend what Mark is describing, then add that to the visuals he provides, you will be able to squat with very little risk of injury, which is most important-start low and develop form

E1e798ccd4eed67665652941b9ef7796

(483)

on July 10, 2012
at 09:46 AM

I did look at this, and other intro-to-weightlifting books, and while it seems like a great programme, I'm not confident enough that I'd learn the proper technique that way. I'd also be intimidated to go into a gym and just start lifting weights, I think.

E1e798ccd4eed67665652941b9ef7796

(483)

on July 10, 2012
at 08:30 AM

As I said, I can't afford a trainer. The CF beginner sessions are relatively cheap and claim to teach you how to lift with good technique. The local place is even endorsed by the British Weightlifting Association. So, I thought I might be able to learn to lift wit CF and then do stuff on my own in a gym later...

E1e798ccd4eed67665652941b9ef7796

(483)

on July 10, 2012
at 08:27 AM

Thanks - that's a really helpful differentiation

Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on July 10, 2012
at 01:47 AM

Do you really think a newb can read a book and then go squat with good form?

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 09, 2012
at 11:06 PM

............no.

E8dd83fe24a0879d8b16ab4ca92b72dd

(1307)

on July 09, 2012
at 11:00 PM

Emphasizing proper technique and breathing in the beginning is a must for novice weight lifters.

Bee1be034ef8da3e1e5cf9587b8bb690

(588)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:41 PM

Yeah, it's all HEAVY when you start!

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9 Answers

6
4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 10, 2012
at 03:37 AM

I think you need to differentiate between "lift heavy things" and "lifting heavy". As used in the paleo community, the former can mean anything from bodyweight exercises to deadlifts. The latter is a term of art (sorry for the lawyer in me coming out) in serious weightlifting circles meaning to do a limited number of reps approaching your max lift capacity.

So no, I don't think that Crossfit counts as lifting heavy, but it does count as lifting heavy things.

E1e798ccd4eed67665652941b9ef7796

(483)

on July 10, 2012
at 08:27 AM

Thanks - that's a really helpful differentiation

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on July 10, 2012
at 08:16 PM

Well said, trjones.

4
5c94900002a867dfa2a8fcd91a576c5e

(456)

on July 10, 2012
at 03:32 AM

Crossfit changed my life. No joke. I know people have had mixed experiences with it and some boxes don't stress the importance of technique in the way that they should, but if your local box is known for its beginner's program, then why not? The gains I've made both physically and in the way I feel about my body are beyond quantifiable. I lifted weights on my own at the gym prior to crossfit, but crossfit takes it to a whole other dimension.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on November 06, 2012
at 03:31 AM

Ditto... Agree with everything you said.

4
Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:03 PM

Yes, Cross fit is all about body weight exercises and lifting heavy things. It will definitely burn that undesired fat, stick with Primal/Paleo nutrition, you'll do great!

2
E8dd83fe24a0879d8b16ab4ca92b72dd

(1307)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:59 PM

As a general rule of thumb for when I helped people with weightlifting, technique always over weight. Get the proper technique down (which a trained professional can help you with--not a book or YouTube video) before moving on to heavy weight. Also, do yourself a favor and avoid barbell squats. Freeweight/dumbell squats/machine squats are just infinitely better on your low back overall--and no, deadlifts will not remedy that situation.

E1e798ccd4eed67665652941b9ef7796

(483)

on July 10, 2012
at 08:30 AM

As I said, I can't afford a trainer. The CF beginner sessions are relatively cheap and claim to teach you how to lift with good technique. The local place is even endorsed by the British Weightlifting Association. So, I thought I might be able to learn to lift wit CF and then do stuff on my own in a gym later...

829f8e29e21516004cb5059dbd00ce50

(45)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:35 PM

@Rigton I would fully embrace barbell squats with correct form. There isn't some magical reason that you can always squat more on a smith machine or leg press- it's because these devices take some of the load off for you. This then in turn makes you very susceptible to injuring yourself with far too much weight and transverse forces on your joints moving in ways that they were not naturally intended to. Starting to barbell squat 3x per week is one of the best things that ever happened to my physique and overall strength progression. My .02$

2
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:01 PM

In general, Crossfit is not lifting heavy. Some programs out there incorporate a bunch of heavy lifting, my gym does, but the one down the street does not. However, to really answer your question, if you do a moderate volume (~4 times a week) crossfit program, I'd be surprised if you didn't turn around your skinnyfatness. To optimize you'd need to do heavy lifting, but if you're a novice, anything will work for the first year or two if you take it seriously.

Bee1be034ef8da3e1e5cf9587b8bb690

(588)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:41 PM

Yeah, it's all HEAVY when you start!

E8dd83fe24a0879d8b16ab4ca92b72dd

(1307)

on July 09, 2012
at 11:00 PM

Emphasizing proper technique and breathing in the beginning is a must for novice weight lifters.

1
81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 10, 2012
at 06:35 PM

Mark Rippetoe (a respected strength trainer and author of Starting Strength, probably the best beginner strength training program around) states that Crossfit never allows for a person to advance beyond the novice level of lifting. Too much randomization, not heavy enough, not enough recovery, and on and on. Crossfit is metabolic conditioning and muscular endurance.

Many CF gyms have recognize CF's weakness and program in separate strength training 2-3 times per week then add CF style WOD's for metabolic conditioning. This is an old formula of lift heavy/run sprints. Yes, you will see some benefit from CF. You are a true novice to strength training and virtually doing anything will make you stronger.

My suggestion is dump your LSD (long slow distance) endurance training and do SS. Walk everyday and run sprints 2 times a week. It will save you a lot of $$$. CF gyms cost a lot. Oh, you will have to eat too. Remember, you are growing.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 09, 2012
at 11:05 PM

If you are starting from a base of not a lot of muscle and just trying to get in shape, I think Crossfit is a better choice than some kind of lifting program. I have gotten a lot stronger and leaner starting first with doing some Crossfit-style exercises at home and then going to a Crossfit gym.

Besides, for me, Crossfit is a lot more fun and interesting than just straight lifting. My Crossfit gym does lifting 2 days per week so those that want to get more lifting can do that still within the context of Crossfit.

I have been blown away at the results I've gotten from just about 7 weeks of Crossfit. I had already lost about 20 pounds and 4 inches off my waist before starting, and now have lost about 10 more pounds and another inch, and I feel like I'm going to keep losing. And it has been fun and challenging too.

0
Eb717b3230de17a7c870a0292696e6bc

on November 06, 2012
at 12:53 AM

If your aiming to achieve a lean physique while maintaining strength I would definately recommend going heavy weights I explain more here.

0
829f8e29e21516004cb5059dbd00ce50

on July 09, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Look up the book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe, and go lift heavy things with the proper technique (the book will show/teach you the way). This will save you a lot of money in not paying crossfit fees and you will no longer be weak after following this for a couple of months. It works (been on this for about 2 months now)- read the reviews of the book on amazon or any other site selling it should you require more feedback.

Assuming you are paleo (have your diet in check), his program will certainly help/stop any "skinnyfatness" you have going on, if you actually follow the program. Cheers!

Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on July 10, 2012
at 01:47 AM

Do you really think a newb can read a book and then go squat with good form?

E1e798ccd4eed67665652941b9ef7796

(483)

on July 10, 2012
at 09:46 AM

I did look at this, and other intro-to-weightlifting books, and while it seems like a great programme, I'm not confident enough that I'd learn the proper technique that way. I'd also be intimidated to go into a gym and just start lifting weights, I think.

829f8e29e21516004cb5059dbd00ce50

(45)

on July 10, 2012
at 12:20 PM

@Rob- if you read that book and start with very low weights I really feel like you can develop good form as weight progresses, especially since as the weight starts to get heavy you will need to have good form to even squat it at proper depth @PaleoUK - I have never had any sort of training, and from that book alone my squat has gone up 15 lbs/wk for the past several weeks. If you read, understand, and comprehend what Mark is describing, then add that to the visuals he provides, you will be able to squat with very little risk of injury, which is most important-start low and develop form

829f8e29e21516004cb5059dbd00ce50

(45)

on July 10, 2012
at 12:22 PM

If you are intimidated to go to a gym and lift, then I would work on getting over that first. Realize that no one else there gives a sh*t what you are doing, and do you own thing. Throw on some headphones, focus on your workout, get in, get out.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 10, 2012
at 06:38 PM

@Rob - I learned to lift from SS. I currently squat 375, DL 405, bench 260. That is a 1040 total for a 5'8" 165 pound man. SS works.

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