I just started CrossFit a little over a month ago (I'd been reading about it and tried some of the WOD exercises at home before hand, but I wouldn't consider that truly Crossfitting, now that I've experienced it first hand. Let me say - I LOVE it! I love that I am starting to see muscle definition in my arms and legs already and that I can see an increase in stamina, strength and flexibility across the board.
I did NOT come in to it with a very good base of fitness. I didn't run or do much cardio and my strength training at home was largely endurance based, at lower weights than what I now to regularly in CrossFit workouts. The key is that your coach is willing and able to SCALE, scale, scale your workouts if you aren't coming in with a really solid base of fitness. (And frankly, most people coming to CrossFit these days don't - so if they can't scale - find another box IMMEDIATELY). Scaling is a very key piece of avoiding injury. The other key piece, which any box worth its salt should have, is a foundations class. In that class you will do some easier WODs to help build up your base, but most of the class should be focused on form for the movements used in CrossFit, esp. the Olympic lifts. You won't do these with weight, probably a PVC pipe to start. Form is the other key piece in avoiding injury - and that's why you'll spend 2 weeks on that before they let you loose on a full class. (And even once they let you loose, they will/should still scale AND review the major points of form needed for each WOD).
The thing about CrossFit that I like so much is the focus on ALL areas of fitness - not JUST strength or JUST cardio (like doing a weight circuit or elliptical workout at a big box gym would be). CrossFit workouts use variety to address strength, endurance, flexibility and agility. It also helps keep you from getting bored.
Here's what a class usually looks like at my box (and I think it's pretty common to most boxes, based on what I've heard from others):
Warm-up: If you get to class early you do a simple calisthenics type workout then move on to the assigned warm up, something like: 3 rounds, not for time 200m Row 20 sit-ups 200m Run 20 squats
Strength: 5-3-1 Back Squat (Meaning you go from more reps with lower weight to lower reps with higher weight - with the goal of establishing your one-rep-max . . . )
WOD: (Workout of the Day) 5 Rounds for Time 200m Run 10 Thrusters 95lbs (65lbs for the ladies)
Some WODs are shorter than others, some are AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in a set time frame, while others are a set number of rounds or reps in as fast a time as you can manage without sacrificing form. If you can't do one of the workouts as prescribed, then you scale. For instance, I'd probably do 45 or 55 lb. thrusters, instead of 65. Some boxes also spend more time on mobility than we do where I workout. Mobility work includes active stretching and foam rolling, etc. to help improve range of motion. At my box we usually do mobility in a more freestyle way, usually just asking the coach for tips on specific areas we are struggling with, rather than a group led thing. But again, some boxes do have group mobility exercises. (I kinda wish mine did, but it's not a deal breaker for me, since I do yoga on off days, and it's the only box near my house since I live in a small town I have fewer options).
CrossFit is definitely not for everyone. Some personalities just won't jibe with it and that's okay. But I do think it is safe and gets great results for the right people with a good coach. I love it - enough that I budget my other expenses around affording the monthly dues so I can keep doing it.
Unless you have a strong fitness foundation already, I think it is an invitation for injury. The group peer pressure works, but it also often pushes people to do stuff beyond their limits. One of my girlfriends who has been working out for a year but with little experience in Olympic lifting signed up recently. She took the foundation class, but within two weeks, she already had injured her elbow.
Of course, it depends on the instructor, but I think the overall culture is too much, too soon, too fast. Also, it's kind of cultish for my tastes, like the people who are really into Zumba.
Fitness Minutes: (23,112)
1,995 4/2/13 11:11 A
What Crossfit consists of depends largely upon the gym you choose to attend. I've been to some Crossfit gyms where it was only lifting, and with bad form at that. The one I loved combined about 20 minutes of stretching and gymnastic movements with the "WOD" (workout of the day), which is a combination of strength training and cardio normally. The strength training can be with weights (and they like to lift heavy), kettlebells, and also with your own body weight (Crossfitters LOVE pull ups and you'll be doing them assisted until you can handle your own body weight).
If you're interested, you should go to a foundations class, which is required to teach you the Olympic moves (like power clean, snatch, and others) and to make sure you understand the fundamentals and get good form.
I highly recommend Crossfit, but make sure to go to a gym that emphasizes good form over tons of weights. I've seen a LOT of Crossfitters out of commission because they want to lift heavy rather than smart, and it is NOT pretty when they get hurt.
Fitness Minutes: (23,112)
1,995 4/2/13 10:58 A
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,689 4/2/13 9:54 A
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