3

votes

Hack My Prejudices Against Crossfit?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 02, 2011 at 4:20 PM

I will admit it. I have been a denizen of T-Nation for a long time and an Olympic-style Lifter. I tend to have a lot more respect for Oly lifters, Powerlifters and Strongmen competitors and quite a bit less for what I call "Beauty Builders". For me, Cross Fit evokes images of dainty "Men's Health"-reading metrosexuals doing kettlebell swings on Bosu balls. That said, maybe I'm not being fair. What's all the hub-bub about Cross Fit? Why do you think its a good system?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 27, 2012
at 02:07 PM

I think the 100% intensity can't be good for you on a daily basis. I use it as a twice-weekly intense effort and make sure I've recovered before I head back to the box for more. That usually takes me 2-3 days. OTher days I'm running or walking outside.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 27, 2012
at 02:00 PM

I'd contest this a little, I think Crossfit is also good for people like me who are trying to wean themselves off chronic cardio like marathoning and have only exercised a very limited set of muscles by running or cycling in a straight line for years on end. I wanted to do some HIIT but had no idea how to lift a weight safely and zero upper body and core strength.

07243c7700483a67386049f7b67d90a4

on April 27, 2012
at 01:32 PM

Totally agree with you, its just the latest craze for the masses who don't understand exercise physiology. Why its linked with paleo, god only knows.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on June 11, 2011
at 04:14 PM

I do two max effort days a week a la Westside Barbell. Heavy squat day scares the sh*t out of me too.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:53 PM

nice answer. i share your sentiment. I'd say the two big pluses for crossfit currently are that 1. I think it presents itself in a more approachable manner than say Olifting, powerlifting, etc and so can change more lives. Crossfitters are still getting some of the benefits of lifting heavy things, while being "cool" yknow. 2. That the intensity, the beatdown-aspect, while being in the end unhealthy I'd say, serves a great function in the US. Our lives are so work-oriented, we've become SO sedentary, etc. that this kind of over-done, overkill approach to physicality is cherished by many.

46a50abafc820cfab9e91ada8b26148a

(152)

on June 11, 2011
at 04:59 AM

First time I've heard Crossfit labelled "mainstream". Dammit, it's all down hill from here..

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:46 AM

Affliction and Ed heardys...all over where I lift. It's like a Vegas convention. Goofs

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:45 AM

I don't CF but I love that quote. No bullshit, I train like that every time. If you find yourself not feeling that way, you're not squatting heavy enough:)

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:05 AM

+1 everytime, Melissa. Why CF? Answer below...

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:01 AM

+1 every time, Melissa. Why CF? Variety; competition against yourself and others; camraderie; the way it leaves you laying in an iron cross on the ground in a puddle of your own sweat; assuring your friends you don't need an ambulance; getting up the next day to do it again and being scared as hell. "If your workout doesn't scare you, you need a new workout." (quote is not mine).

88cffa260e8259942de579503d282ee7

(466)

on June 10, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Check out CrossFit Endurance http://www.crossfitendurance.com/

88cffa260e8259942de579503d282ee7

(466)

on June 10, 2011
at 09:07 PM

Fully agree with the first 3 types of people (I'm a firefighter). That it's not ideal for sports specific is still up for debate: have a look at crossfit endurance. I'm also a marathon swimmer and crossfit + C.E. has taken my ability to a new level on @ 1/2 the distance work.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 10, 2011
at 07:36 PM

Funny. Thats the same image you invoke in me.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 10, 2011
at 07:28 PM

Yeah I've done lifting in the past at a Crossfit box. They're pretty cool. They got no problem with chalk, loud music, grunting, chains etc. I dont do the WODs but I think Ta definitely the best mainstream workout you can find n

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on June 10, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Good answer, but I'd say that CrossFit isn't 'not ideal for [specific sports]'. It just can't replace proper training for these sports but it can very well support/supplement these sports. And competing in CrossFit, or just enjoying the sport, is a proper good reason to do it too, in my opinion (not just 'beauty builders', CrossFit isn't aimed on muscle-gain AT ALL), although these might be masochists :p

4e813fcf7266312684862b945c1c3281

(462)

on May 02, 2011
at 07:35 PM

Even though you said "to a lesser extent," as a fighter I would have to say Crossfit is a horrible way to train. Some of the individual components, taken alacarte, are not bad but on the whole it's not designed for fighters AT ALL. The stuff over at Rosstraining.com is probably the best stuff I have used in my fighting days.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:58 PM

Great comment, Ben! I would add that you have to have a good Coach. I was super excited to finally have a Crossfit gym and then my Coach sucked ass.

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15 Answers

7
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:33 PM

First i'll say that i'm a lifter in the powerlifting vein. Im an amateur all the way, been at it only six months. I love it and and i feel terrific and its keeping me in great shape and making me progressively stronger. Before i started lifting seriously though i was always in decent shape; never overweight etc.

To the OP's point:

I would say that Crossfit is absolutely killer and great for the masses of people out there. This I believe is because they are sedentary people and crossfit just offers so much improvement so quickly to a non-athlete. The people however in lifting communities, or any other serious sport, I would think have probably a lot less to get out of crossfit because they are already prolly pretty knowledgeable about their own bodies, are already prolly in good shape, know what their sport calls for, and prolly have somewhat decent nutrition.

So, if you're an athlete at one or two particular sports then Crossfit is prolly superfluous, or at best just another supplemental tool you might use, but if you're JoeShmo and just wanna get into at least somewhat better shape than officework and TV-watching has garnered you then I'd think you could get a whole lot out of crossfit. At least initially.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:58 PM

Great comment, Ben! I would add that you have to have a good Coach. I was super excited to finally have a Crossfit gym and then my Coach sucked ass.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:01 AM

+1 every time, Melissa. Why CF? Variety; competition against yourself and others; camraderie; the way it leaves you laying in an iron cross on the ground in a puddle of your own sweat; assuring your friends you don't need an ambulance; getting up the next day to do it again and being scared as hell. "If your workout doesn't scare you, you need a new workout." (quote is not mine).

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:05 AM

+1 everytime, Melissa. Why CF? Answer below...

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 27, 2012
at 02:00 PM

I'd contest this a little, I think Crossfit is also good for people like me who are trying to wean themselves off chronic cardio like marathoning and have only exercised a very limited set of muscles by running or cycling in a straight line for years on end. I wanted to do some HIIT but had no idea how to lift a weight safely and zero upper body and core strength.

5
C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on May 02, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Crossfit is about non-specialized fitness. It's ideal for three types of people:

1) People who just want to be in decent shape, but aren't interested in a sport (beauty builders)

2) People who need their bodies to be in peak condition for an extremely wide variety of tasks with no idea what kind of challenge they might face tomorrow (soldiers, police, firemen, hunter-gatherers, and to a lesser extent MMA fighters and decathletes)

3) Masochists

It is absolutely not ideal for lifters, runners, swimmers, climbers, throwers or anyone who needs their bodies to be optimized for one specific task.

Crossfit's biggest weakness is that the certification process is much, much too easy. The ideal Crossfit coach would have wide experience in powerlifting, olympic lifting, sprinting, climbing, gymnastics and physical therapy. There are probably only a handful of crossfit coaches in the U.S. who are actually qualified.

4e813fcf7266312684862b945c1c3281

(462)

on May 02, 2011
at 07:35 PM

Even though you said "to a lesser extent," as a fighter I would have to say Crossfit is a horrible way to train. Some of the individual components, taken alacarte, are not bad but on the whole it's not designed for fighters AT ALL. The stuff over at Rosstraining.com is probably the best stuff I have used in my fighting days.

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on June 10, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Good answer, but I'd say that CrossFit isn't 'not ideal for [specific sports]'. It just can't replace proper training for these sports but it can very well support/supplement these sports. And competing in CrossFit, or just enjoying the sport, is a proper good reason to do it too, in my opinion (not just 'beauty builders', CrossFit isn't aimed on muscle-gain AT ALL), although these might be masochists :p

88cffa260e8259942de579503d282ee7

(466)

on June 10, 2011
at 09:07 PM

Fully agree with the first 3 types of people (I'm a firefighter). That it's not ideal for sports specific is still up for debate: have a look at crossfit endurance. I'm also a marathon swimmer and crossfit + C.E. has taken my ability to a new level on @ 1/2 the distance work.

4
27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on May 02, 2011
at 06:36 PM

I amxxx WAS a longtime runner who planned everything around my runs. It was important for me to get my 13 miles slow and steady every Saturday with one speedwork session during the week along with a tempo session. On alternate days, I did dumbbell workouts to strengthen my upper body.

I didn't do squats with weights because I didn't want to tire my legs out and wreck the next morning's run. I did intervals on the track according to a formula I found in an old issue of Runners' World. In other words, I lived and died by a schedule (Mondays was pecs/tris, Tuesday speedwork on the track, Wednesday was delts...).

Enter Crossfit. It showed me what sprint-style workouts truly should be like (even my intervals on the track never left me gasping for breath, probably because nobody was pushing me).

Now I understand what exercise truly is. I understand that I don't need to run miles and miles to get into shape. Don't get me wrong - I still run, but I no longer think steady-state running is the be-all and end-all for optimal fitness. I have learned so much about what my body can do and why I should push it to do more.

This is where I am now: Back squats 3-3-3-3-3 and then a crazy metcon with a ton of box jumps the day before a run? Bring it on!

88cffa260e8259942de579503d282ee7

(466)

on June 10, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Check out CrossFit Endurance http://www.crossfitendurance.com/

4
31cd30cb210f9d13bf990a3410fce31c

(423)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:26 PM

I just recently started Crossfit but for me, it changes everything you think you know about working out. I was literally laying on the floor, gasping for air after a 12 minute workout. I have seen the transformation people have made doing Crossfit and they're pretty amazing. I would say go and do a beginner tryout class just for your own edification. I can guarantee it is a far cry from the way you imagine it. :)

3
Medium avatar

(19469)

on June 10, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Just want to say that I've been to many CrossFit boxes and have never laid eyes on a Bosu ball. Come to think of it, I can't recall seeing any stability/swiss balls either.

Standard gear is kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, pull-up bars/rings, box jump platforms, rowing machines/airdyne bikes, and some space.

Crossfit was really conceived as an alternative for the common gym and its manscaping, metro, men's health reading patrons.

46a50abafc820cfab9e91ada8b26148a

(152)

on June 11, 2011
at 04:59 AM

First time I've heard Crossfit labelled "mainstream". Dammit, it's all down hill from here..

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 10, 2011
at 07:28 PM

Yeah I've done lifting in the past at a Crossfit box. They're pretty cool. They got no problem with chalk, loud music, grunting, chains etc. I dont do the WODs but I think Ta definitely the best mainstream workout you can find n

3
E76e392404a9b3e7052d6ced85c28957

(176)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:49 PM

I, also a Crossfitter & never in my life have I been as strong as I am as quickly! I am a chick & can pick up things without being tired or having any difficulties than a lot of my male friends! I don't like a lot of the attitudes and personalities of some of the people in the CF gym, but I just go for myself. It's quick intense workouts & I then I am done for the day!

I just hate that gym dues are the price of a kidney! Especially in this economy!

2
6da7ce6a4a250c46a6e78b5b4e22da83

(987)

on June 11, 2011
at 06:04 AM

I was pretty infatuated with CF for a while, but over the last couple years I've really come to dislike it. First off, the CF headquarters seems to have a remarkable track record of exiling excellent trainers (the drama with both Dan John and Robb Wolf leaps to mind). I mean, I think Dan John and Robb Wolf are about as good as it gets when it comes to no-nonsense fitness and nutrition; I have a hard time buying into any organization that would burn bridges with them. Second, although I completely understand the attraction the AWESOMENESSSSS of intense workouts, going 100% in all your workouts is just not prudent. Awesome? Sure. Smart? No. I guess I've just been persuaded that there are better, smarter, and safer ways to get the results that crossfit aims at. It seems to me that most people would be better off focusing on building their strength in the basic lifts for a good while. Met-con can be built up relatively quickly; strength cannot... or, at least, this is what I have been persuaded of.

Having said that, there is undeniably a great deal that is good about CF... the camaraderie, the mental toughness, etc... I guess I've just been sufficiently turned off by the negatives.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:53 PM

nice answer. i share your sentiment. I'd say the two big pluses for crossfit currently are that 1. I think it presents itself in a more approachable manner than say Olifting, powerlifting, etc and so can change more lives. Crossfitters are still getting some of the benefits of lifting heavy things, while being "cool" yknow. 2. That the intensity, the beatdown-aspect, while being in the end unhealthy I'd say, serves a great function in the US. Our lives are so work-oriented, we've become SO sedentary, etc. that this kind of over-done, overkill approach to physicality is cherished by many.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 27, 2012
at 02:07 PM

I think the 100% intensity can't be good for you on a daily basis. I use it as a twice-weekly intense effort and make sure I've recovered before I head back to the box for more. That usually takes me 2-3 days. OTher days I'm running or walking outside.

1
Ce9471ca5d22baddd87b7ddfd2af95a2

(10)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:59 PM

Read this post and had to chime in.

I'm a firefighter and have been doing Crossfit at a box in the Los Angeles area for almost two years now. I can with certainty say that it has changed how I look at fitness forever and for the better.

A disclaimer: All Crossfit boxes are different -- some good, some bad. My box is pretty awesome and the instruction top notch.

For those who are used to simply going to the gym and performing oly lifts, you probably won't like Crossfit. Though olympic lifting makes up a huge part of the WOD, it doesn't dominate it. Rather, the Crossfit model is to prepare you for anything at anytime. It's functional exercise, that touches on 9 different domains. I've seen experienced powerlifters come into my box and nearly die during their first WOD. They simply don't have the endurance needed to perform high-intensity exercises.

Powerlifting is VERY specialized, and though you may be strong, it does not mean you're "fit" by any means. You can lift 600-pounds, great! How long could you last in a fight while somebody has you on the ground trying to steal your wallet? How fast could you sprint if somebody picked up your child and began to run with them? If you go to the gym and simply hit the weights, you're lacking in a ton of other areas. Powerlifting on it's own, just isn't functional to everyday life.

Crossfit is functional exercise that prepares you for anything that life throws at you.

As a firefighter, I need a combination of both strength and endurance. Specializing in only powerlifting or running would create a failure point somewhere. Crossfit balances this by not only making me stronger, but providing the endurance needed to "stay in the game."

Whoever said that Crossfit is a horrible way for a fighter to train obviously doesn't participate in Crossfit. In fact, "Fight Gone Bad" is a Crossfit benchmark WOD created by MMA fighter BJ Penn to increase his stamina throughout all 15-minutes of the bought. He had a problem with lasting through the final minutes. This WOD was designed to push your endurance by creating 5 minute rounds of intense work, followed by 1 minute of rest.

Are you going to learn how to submit somebody at Crossfit? No, of course not. Is it going to allow you to expand your endurance in the ring? Absolutely.

There's a reason why our public safety academies have begun to wave bye-bye to long runs and simple calisthenics in favor of the Crossfit model -- it works.

Also, anybody who thinks that they can go just as intense on their own in the gym as opposed to having a group cheer them on and push them, isn't going as hard as they think.

1
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:07 AM

Why CF? Competition; variety; camraderie; the way it leaves you laying on the ground in your own sweat; assuring your friends you don't need an ambulance; waking up to do it again the next day and being scared as hell. To borrow a quote, "if your workout doesn't scare you, you need to get another workout."

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:45 AM

I don't CF but I love that quote. No bullshit, I train like that every time. If you find yourself not feeling that way, you're not squatting heavy enough:)

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on June 11, 2011
at 04:14 PM

I do two max effort days a week a la Westside Barbell. Heavy squat day scares the sh*t out of me too.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 10, 2011
at 11:25 PM

I loved crossfit at first for all the reasons people stated in this thread. I've been a lifter and yoga chick for years. I prefer having muscles and I love being strong. I thought xfit would be perfect for me. However, I was quickly turned off when I saw people getting hurt and noticed the coach couldn't focus on individuals as his box gained more members. A friend just told me he got rhabdo and was in the most pain he's ever experienced. It was from xfit.

The other points I dislike about it is that these people at my box would badger someone if they didn't go enough. To me, 2 - 3 x's/week is enough. I think Robb W. says the same. I felt that it pushed people way too far (beyond comfort zone is cool). Maybe its just me but I love the way I feel after some gnarly yoga and a session of iron. I'm competitive but when it comes to daily exercise, I'm more about competing against myself.

I've seen the metros and MMA wanna-be's at the box and then see them at In N Out. Just kinda posery on a lot of levels.

NOTE: This is not against any paleo xfitters on this board because I think a lot you are smarter than the rest (unless you wear Ed Hardy t-shirts to your box).

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:46 AM

Affliction and Ed heardys...all over where I lift. It's like a Vegas convention. Goofs

1
1f5e5bd34828690297eac4aebd678220

(10)

on May 02, 2011
at 05:19 PM

Having belonged to and gotten bored with a regular gym, crossfit was the breath of fresh air I needed to continue on my fitness journey. I'm not an elite athlete, heck 2 years ago when I started I wasn't an athlete at all.

I agree that it is not everyone's cup of tea but it is definitely a home for me. I could go on about all of the things we do there but people have already covered that. For me what is most important is the community. I can go, work as hard as I can, get support and not feel judged because I didn't do as many reps as the guy next to me.

This community and the friendships I've built through crossfit have made me stronger than I ever could have imagined and they have gotten me through some seriously rough times. Additionally it has strengthened me mentally to take on some of the crazy hard workouts and get through knowing that "I did it".

0
8d1ce78fe7071f2f60fd59365bf21cfc

(580)

on June 11, 2011
at 05:36 AM

I've never trained at an actual CF box, but I've been doing the wods "selectively" since last fall. The longer wods offer great conditioning work for sure, but I've shifted to more strength work, more gymnastics and maybe 2 heavy, short (under 10 min) wods a week (i lift 3-4 times a week). I myself as a n=1 experiment I cannot really say much yet, but a lot of the stuff I've read about crossfit being too taxing on the body - especially if eating deficit and trying to lean out - some arguments against CF are understandable.

But in no means I'm saying that it isn't a great workout regimen, the guys at the final stage of the games are absolute beasts, some not only in strength and stamina but in size as well.

You could check out the Hybrid Programming by Gant Grimes on boards.crossfit.com or cathletics.com forums. They are more strength-oriented and you can still have an emphasis on olympic lifts. WODs are not a necessity every workout session, and there's a link to a pdf with short metcons, that will still kick your a**.

ps. i still find myself smiling every time i see crossfit referred to as a "sport". because of....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns6YSvCsVJM&feature=related (WFS)

0
263e2d3f741d1ecb0886454e977f4e6f

on June 10, 2011
at 08:15 PM

I was a skeptic, I did a bootcamp and it kicked my you know what. I certainly believe that you have to find your niche, not everyone wants to bulk up nor does everyone want to be tone. I believe it is a shoe fits sort of deal.

0
8a4ce6a9e1ab27616920b828df08b259

(354)

on June 10, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Ok, I don't know much about crossfit, and don't do it, as I have a painful neck/shoulder condition and can't really lift anything right now...but, from what I do know, it's a good system because it aims to replicate how humans "exercised" back in the day when we were finding our own food. So, it's more about health and longevity rather than just bulking up and looking like a gorilla. Also, it's usually done in a group setting, right? So, that community/tribe aspect would be there, and I think it's always healthy to be social. But if you're looking at it from a powerlifter's perspective, yeah, you're probbaly gonna see crossfitters as a bunch of ninnies. But I think you have to compare crossfitters with regular gym-goers doing stuff on machines, ya know? Cause I don't think crossfitters are trying to be powerlifters or bodybuilders.

0
19eedcc966e18e2864383fa53dcb80f6

(110)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:49 PM

i think it's a good system because it combines olympic lifts with great conditioning workouts, and that it's (usually) done in a group format, which improves adherence and mood. keep in mind each affiliate runs things a little different -- my affiliate (crossfit south brooklyn) is strength-biased and all of our programming is based on making you stronger and more powerful.

i have to say that working out with a group of people has made all the difference for me, personally.

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