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What Is Cross Fit

Crossfit became a super popular workout a few years ago when box gyms started popping up not just across the country, but around the world. More than 13,000 affiliated gym members in 120 countries practice CrossFit. In the United States alone, there are more than 7,000 gyms that offer this program It is estimated that there are approximately 4 million CrossFitters, and its members are so dedicated to their competitive approach to fitness that the community has been described as a cult.

With all this hype, you might be wondering if this program could work for you. Before you jump into the box (ahem, that speaks for the CrossFit gym), here's what you need to know about the workout craze and how to determine if it's right for you.

The high-intensity training program known as CrossFit is often a polarizing topic of conversation. When it comes to the subject, people may fall into either the "I love it" or "I hate it" categories.

Devotees of the "functional fitness sport" point to CrossFit, claiming it's the best and fastest route to physical health, while skeptics point to the risk of injury. But like most divisive topics, some of the disagreements regarding CrossFit may boil down to the details of the training program.

What Is Cross Fit
What Is Cross Fit

Dave Lipson, a CrossFit level four instructor and founder of an educational fitness platform called ThunderBrow, explains that there are many misconceptions about what CrossFit is. People think that what you see on TV is just the professional CrossFit Games athletes that you see on ESPN, but that's not the case.

What is Cross Fit?

A form of high intensity interval training, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning workout that consists of activities performed at a high intensity level.

These movements are activities that you do in your daily life, such as squatting, pulling, pushing, etc. This is different from a traditional exercise that can tell you how many reps to do in any given period of time.

CrossFit Journal notes that the exercises are so effective because of the emphasis on elements of load, distance and speed, which help participants develop higher levels of strength. Workouts can use a variety of equipment to accomplish this, including kettle bells, rowers and bikes, medicine balls, speed ropes, rings, and ply boxes.

CrossFit is similar to Orange Theory in that there is a standard workout of the day (WOD) that all members complete in one day. Daily exercises along with a guide to all the special lingo used can be found on their website (which is always free). There is also a substitution section in their consultation areas for finding level-appropriate exercises CrossFit is universally scalable and flexible for all fitness levels, so it can be tailored to meet your goals and current fitness level. 

Devotees say CrossFit is for everyone

You may have a preconceived notion of people in the CrossFit gym (relatively young, Jack, etc.), but Tony Caravazal, Certified L-2 CrossFit Trainer with RSP Nutrition, strongly believes that CrossFit is very beneficial. Youth and the full spectrum of athletic ability, from teenagers CrossFit Kids classes are a wonderful way to help a child develop balance, coordination, and fine motor skills. She says these skills are a wonderful way to keep a child ahead of the game and instill a love for a healthy lifestyle.

Patrick Zeher, owner of CrossFit Indian Trail, notes that CrossFit is so beneficial for all ages that a person's physical needs don't vary. "We literally have a 60-year-old athlete doing the same variation of an exercise as a 25-year-old competitive athlete," he says. Their needs do not vary by type; In other words, they both need to be able to go to the toilet, pick something up off the floor, or lift themselves off the floor. The 25-year-old should just be able to do it quickly," says Zehir.

But there are some risks involved with doing a CrossFit workout

As with any high intensity exercise, there are some risks involved One study found that 20 percent of CrossFit participants injured themselves while doing a CrossFit-sanctioned workout.

CrossFit's injury rate is about 20 percent, meaning 20 percent of people who do a CrossFit-branded workout will get injured at some point, which is high for a recreational activity, says Finish Line physical therapist Cuyler Hudson. See CrossFitters regularly at my private physical therapy practice Injuries usually occur as an athlete fatigues, which also wears out their form, shifting the load from areas that can't handle the stress as well.

How to reduce your risk of injury

Check your form When it comes to avoiding injury, Hudson says proper form is key The biggest thing you want to focus on is rounding in the lumbar spine (low back), and increased translation of the knees during exercises like squats and deadlifts. Rounding the lower back places a greater load on the muscles and ligaments of the lower back than they are designed to handle. The same goes for the knee, if you are moving forward on the toes, the load on the knee becomes too great, and many knees cannot handle it. Both of these usually occur as compensation for a lack of mobility and stability in the hip or leg.

Choose the right gym/coach I don't want to sound like I'm trashing "CrossFit" exercises They are all great exercises when done correctly The problem lies with more inexperienced coaches who increase exercise volume too quickly, pushing athletes through exhaustion to complete the maximum number of repetitions for an exercise. It is very important that crossfitters (especially new crossfitters) learn proper form, and only complete exercises to fatigue, until they can no longer complete one rep. My advice is to find an experienced and knowledgeable gym to join to learn proper form before you start lifting weights.

Start with a beginner’s class and make modifications

Magee recommends that you communicate any limitations or restrictions with your coach, especially if you're just getting back into an exercise routine or are a beginner. Once a person has had their initial assessment, a qualified trainer will help them determine any changes, such as specific movements or training volume for a particular exercise.

If you're a beginner, you're in luck CrossFit accounts for this segment of the population Some type of beginner or foundation class is highly recommended for beginners In these classes, they will learn the basics and improve fitness at their own pace Once they learn the basic skills and build their confidence, they can move on to regular classes, Magee explains. Less experienced or highly de-conditioned individuals will be advised to start with fewer classes (usually 2-3 classes per week) until their body adapts to the new movements and volume of training.

What you can steal from CrossFit and apply to your own workouts

Even if you're ready to jump full force into CrossFit, there are effective components of exercise that you can incorporate into your current exercise routine.

Functional Movements: These movements are the ones you consciously do in your day to day life For example, bend over to tie your shoes If you can't touch your toes, this move is difficult for you With a little flexibility training, putting on your shoes is a breeze Another benefit of functional movements in exercise is that they can help prevent injuries in your everyday life. If you practice a basic movement in an exercise (like squatting or lifting something heavy off the floor), your muscles will be able to move this way when you need to perform the movement.

Race Against the Clock: It's common during CrossFit workouts to do as many reps of an exercise as possible within a set time limit. If you want to try it for yourself, start small Its always better to work for a longer period of time Start with your timer set for one minute Do 5 push-ups, 5 squats, then 5 jumping jacks. Do as many sets of this movement as possible within 1 minute If you don't feel like it after the minute is up, increase your timer to 3 or 5 minutes, and so on.

EMOMs: Another way to do this is to do the workout EMOM style or per minute To do this, set a timer for one minute then do as many push-ups as you can, then do the same for squats, the same for jumping jacks. This type of exercise is beneficial because it can help greatly increase your recovery time and raise your heart rate in a short amount of time, giving you more bang for your buck.


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