It seems like it is nearly impossible to get through a hard training session at the gym without hearing someone say the word Crossfit. Some people seem to swear by the immensely popular fitness phenomenon while others can’t wait for an opportunity to bash it. One could argue the good and bad side of Crossfit for hours but the fact of the matter is this: it is not a black and white issue.
• Hard work is emphasized: One of the greatest principles of Crossfit is that it stresses the importance of hard work, persistence and effort.
• Team work: Crossfitters motivate each other to improve and constantly better themselves.
• Compound lifts: Crossfit generally discourages the use of exercise machines in favor of bang for your buck, multi-joint movements such as squats, jumps, deadlifts, pulls and presses.
• Olympic weightlifting: Crossfit has popularized the sport of Olympic weightlifting by incorporating lifts such as the snatch and clean & jerk into workouts.
• Healthy eating: Crossfitters are generally conscious of the foods that they eat, often following a paleo style diet.
• Poor program design: Since Crossfit follows a WOD (workout of the day) method, exercise sequence and order is often quite poor.
• Periodization: Once again due to the fact that the whole system is essentially based on a WOD, the body simply isn’t given enough time to adapt. There is no real progression. Trying to do too much at once will impede progress.
• Technique: Often, you will find Crossfitters performing exercises (such as the snatch) for high volume, compensating technique. This is not safe nor is it effective. The lack of emphasis on proper technique puts many people at risk of injury. For example, if you are not even able to clean half of your body weight ONCE, you have no business attempting to perform a full clean & jerk for 10 reps.
• One size fits all: It is blatantly wrong to think that one type of training system (or diet for that matter) is right for everyone, regardless of how well it may have worked for you as an individual.
We need to take a step back and stop being so emotionally invested (or brand loyal in the case of Crossfit) in a specific training system. We should look at training from a subjective and scientific standpoint, be open to trying new things, take preventive measures to avoid injury (emphasis on structural balance and safety), use our logic and most importantly, listen to our bodies. Always ask yourself what you are doing and why you are doing it, no matter what type of training system you are using.