What is CrossFit?
Crossfit training is a type of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), focusing on strength and conditioning. Rather than focusing on lifting a certain amount of weight for a number of sets and reps, crossfit usually gives a certain amount of time for the exercise to be performed. Functional movements are a key, and unusual workouts are common. The goal is to be able to accomplish any workout that is put in front of you and translate acquired skills to everyday life.
Crossfit has been turned into competition. The annual Crossfit Games allow the best Crossfit athletes from around the world to compete against each other. This competition features a series of Crossfit exercises, and the athletes are scored based on their completion and placing amongst their competitors. The winning man and woman are crowned the "Fittest on Earth."
The Crossfit brand was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman. Glassman sought to expand his expertise, rather than focusing on an individual sport or activity. He began creating his own workouts including a combination of weightlifting, dynamic exercises, and conditioning. The training techniques take a "jack of all trades, master of none" approach. Glassman opened his first gym in 1995, in Santa Cruz, California, and began training private clients, eventually he began a group training strategy. This group strategy eventually turned into Crossfit. Crossfit training has taken off around the world, there are over 13,00 Crossfit affiliated gyms throughout 120 countries.
The Crossfit Games, a competitive take on Crossfit, have been occurring annually since 2007. As the competition has grown, it has picked up sponsors, larger prize money, and national attention.
Crossfit training can generally be performed anywhere the appropriate equipment is available. Typically, Crossfit training is done in a Crossfit affiliate gym. This allows participants to be surrounded by other Crossfitters along with coaches, and truly divulge into the Crossfit culture. The area needs to be big enough and open so there is space for everyone to perform their exercises.
The Crossfit Games have taken place in a number of cities. Depending on the exercise, the playing surface will defer. Events may take place on a turf field, sand, netting, pull up bars, rope courses, concrete, pools or many other places. This inconsistency really forces competitors to prepare for everything.
Crossfit training uses lots of equipment in their workouts. Lots of their equipment can be substituted with other objects, but in order to follow the specific workouts that Crossfit gives, it may be important to have a few specific pieces of equipment.
- Athletic Clothing
- Barbell with weights
- Plyo Box or other for box jumps
- Squat rack encouraged
- Row machine
- Pull up bar
There are a lot of other pieces of equipment that may enhance your Crossfit experience and performance, but these basics will allow you to accomplish all of the basic Crossfit exercises.
In the Crossfit Games, athletes do not know what challenges they will be facing in advance. Athletes train to expect the unexpected, they need to be able to use the skills and strength they have developed in ways they may have never before. For each event, men and women competitors are divided into heats based on their position in the competition.
During each heat, the competitors all compete at once. Following the conclusion of the heat, the competitors results are compared with the competitors of the other heats and rankings follow. Athletes are rewarded for their place in comparison to the other competitors and not based on their personal performance.
Position Roles and Responsibilities
In the Crossfit Games there are multiple divisions. First, there is the men and women's divisions which include all men and all women competing in the Crossfit Games. There are also numerous age groups, and team competitions (2 men and 2 women), with a winner in each. Although there are many divisions, all of these athletes compete at the same time.
Rules and Regulations
The rules of Crossfit are complicated and are subject to change depending on the Crossfit gym you are at. During the Crossfit Games there are a few general rules to follow, but the majority of rules will depend on the event.
- Drug Testing: Athletes are required to complete a drug test in order to compete in the Crossfit Games or to receive any prizes.
- Coaches: Each athlete is allowed to have one coach in the warm-up area.
- Penalties: Athletes may be penalized for failing to complete an entire workout.
Referees and Officials
At the Crossfit Games, referees are responsible for ensuring athletes fully complete each workout. During the majority of events, a referee will be assigned to each athlete to make sure the athlete fully completes the entire workout. The referee counts reps and keeps track of time. If the athlete fails a repetition, the referee is responsible for telling them and making sure they make up for it.
Lingo and Terminology
Crossfit is full of lingo and terms specific to it. Many exercises and workouts have special names to them. Throughout Crossfit, there are also many abbreviations and acronyms used.
- AMRAP: As many reps/rounds as possible
- BS: Back Squat
- BP: Bench Press
- CFWU: CrossFit Warm Up
- DL: Deadlift
- Fire Breather: Extremely hard working Crossfitter
- Ladder: Workout in which reps increase each round of the workout
- Murph: Crossfit Workout: 1 mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 push ups, 300 bodyweight squats, and 1 more mile
- Pistol: A single leg squat
- PR: Personal record
- Rep: Repetitions, one performance of the exercise
- Set: The number of repetitions (3 sets of 8 reps)
- WOD: Workout of the day
Skills and Techniques
In Crossfit, it is important to go at your own pace. First, gaining an expertise in form and technique is crucial. Rushing into heavy weights will only cause injury and stunt improvements. Perfecting the basics is the first skill needed. Otherwise, it is important to gain an understanding of Crossfit. The goal is not just improve one lift, or grow/shrink one area of your body. The goal is to grow into an all around athlete, and avoid specialization.
There are various takes on coaching Crossfit as in every sport. Some coaches focus on individual or small group classes and meetings. Others prefer large class style meetings. Coaches should be able to encourage, teach, and understand students. Crossfit coaches are not just there to yell and tell you what exercise to do, they are present to help you accomplish your goals.
In Crossfit, the workouts done are considered the drills. The 9 fundamental movements to improve overall performance are:
- Air Squat
- Front Squat
- Overhead Squat
- Shoulder Press
- Push Press
- Push Jerk
- Sumo Deadlift High Pull
- Medicine Ball Clean
However, no matter what exercise you are trying to perform, there is always an alternative exercise to work on the same area. Starting small and working up is the key.
Throughout Crossfit's history there have been hundreds of thousands of athletes. However, only a few have won or dominated the Crossfit Games. The table below has some of the most notable Crossfit Athletes.
- Rich Froning Jr.: 1st place: 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014
- "Mat Fraser: 1st Place: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- 2nd Place: 2014 and 2015"
- "Jason Khalipa: 1st Place: 2008
- 2nd Place: 2013
- 3rd Place: 2014"
- Katrin Tanja Daviðsdoóttir: 1st Place: 2015, 2016
- Camille Leblanc-Bazinet: 1st Place: 2014
There are not multiple Crossfit leagues, but the competition is split into multiple sections before being invited to the Crossfit Games. Athletes can get invited through the Worldwide Open, Sanctionals, or the online age group qualifier.
The worldwide open can be joined by anyone 14 years old or other. This is a 5-week competition. The top men and women from each country are invited, along with the top 20 men and women worldwide.
Sanctionals are another way to receive invitations to the Crossfit Games. These are events hosted around the world. The top finishers at each event will be invited.
Crossfit offers multiple youth programs depending on the age group. Crossfit Kids (Kindergarten-6th Grade) aims to make fitness fun and also teach kids many real life skills. The focus is less on strength and instead more on life lessons. Grades 7-8 students may be placed in a number of programs depending on their individual skills. Students grade 9 and up are offered strength and conditioning programs to prepare them for High School and other competitive sports.
What is a typical CrossFit workout?
There really is no typical Crossfit workout. A point of Crossfit is to be always changing and hard to predict. This way, an athlete can become very well rounded, capable of accomplishing any challenge. A Crossfit workout will include a lot of fast paced movements, little rest, some weight training, and lots of conditioning.
Is CrossFit good for sports?
Yes, Crossfit is excellent for improving abilities in other sports. It helps improve physical abilities as well as an athlete's mindset.
What is a CrossFit workout?
A Crossfit workout is a style of working out that utilizes HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), along with other strength and conditioning methods to perform functional movements.
Is Crossfit good for losing weight?
Yes, Crossfit is excellent for losing weight. Crossfit gets participants moving and out of their comfort zone. There are hundreds of workouts, and each does something different. With these options, it is easy to find a workout that best fits your needs.