Have you heard about these athletes who train hard in the so-called “box”? If you go visit them, you would see them jumping, climbing, lifting, running…
Estimated reading time : 5 minutes
Chasing a body in top shape, developing razor sharp mental strength, and having fun by pushing your limits. Welcome to the world of intense Cross-fit.
Cross-fitters have their own specific vocabulary and gain more participants each year. Beginners and experienced athletes of all ages, men and women have adopted this sport and turned it into a worldwide phenomenon!
What is Crossfit and why is it so trendy?
What is CrossFit?
« The whole body tested »
Cross Fitness is an abbreviation meaning “cross physical training”. Cross-Fit certainly did not invent circuit training but it has brought to it a new atmosphere of enthusiastic athletes.
It is a mixture of functional movements from several activities: weightlifting inducing an external control load, endurance (running, jumping rope, rowing machine) and finally gymnastics (pulls, rings, suspensions, jumps etc. …).
This training aims to prepare its practitioners to any physical forces encountered in everyday life and sport in general thanks to the variety of workouts, the use of poly-joint movements and high intensity.
The method uses specific vocabulary and abbreviations, such as:
Box : The Crossfit room, your (future) home.
Girls : The names of WOD.
AMRAP : to repeat as many times as possible
For time : as quickly as possible without stopping, the elapsed time which serves the results
Why you need a WOD, what it is, and how to arrange a session
The WOD is short for “Workout of the Day”. It refers to the sequence of exercises performed during a high intensity session. It is generally different for each session, and acts is a little surprise of the day and the moment when we get pumped up. However, nothing prevents you from creating your own WOD, and this can be even be fun when one includes the ability to choose the exercises, number of repetitions, etc …
Examples of WOD to give you an idea of the variety of existing WOD:
Cindy : 5 Tractions – Pull-ups – 10 pumps – 15 Squats, AMRAP (As Many round as possible) in 20 minutes
Chelsea : Every minute for 30 minutes: 5 pull-ups – 10 pumps – 15 squats
Barbara : 5 rounds for time: 20 Pushups – 30 pumps – 40 sits up – 50 squats (3min break between each round)
The session is usually one hour in the affiliated room and it consists of the following:
10 mins dynamic warm up, where the goal is to execute movements without intensity. This will warm up the joints used during the WOD, and avoid injury.
20 min technical work where we practice some movements to improve technical ability.
10-20 min of WOD, the actual drive of the day performed with maximum purpose and intensity.
10 min self massage or stretching, a return to a calm mind where we stretch the muscles that were required and work on improving flexibility.
Crossfit, from 7 to 77 years?
Cross-fit is suitable for everyone, regardless of age and gender, as long as the athlete doesn’t have pre-existing health problems. Of course, good physical fitness is an advantage to start with, because although the method suits everyone, do not forget that it is a high intensity exercise. It is often possible to adapt the exercises to any level, by replacing it with a simpler variant that targets the same muscles
If your body asks for more, there are Open competitions used to crown regional and international official champions. The “CrossFit Games,” are 4 days of intense competition during which athletes must pass 12 tests in the shortest possible time. It is not really different from the the 12 labors of Hercules ! Similarly, we return to one of the key features of CrossFit, to prepare for all physical tests with no particular specialization.
« Nobody will ever leave his or her sofa, and a year later participate in the CrossFit Games » Jason Khalipa.
Although the CrossFit Games require a certain level of fitness, Jason Khalipa, winner of the Championships in 2008 explains anyway that for example in American Football, some have experience of high intensity workouts for years and only after 1 or 2 years get good results.
The History of CrossFit
« From the shadow to the light»
Born in 1974 in a garage in the USA, the fruit of Greg and Lauren Glassman’s imagination served to inspire and transform the Santa Cruz Police forces where the first room opened to the general public in 1995.
From its simple beginning and that single room, crossfit counts up to nearly 11,560 members today, up from 18 in 2005 and about 1,700 in 2010. Of course, at first Internet and a site created in 2001 helped spread the word, but it is only recently that there has been a rise of what has become a world-wide sport, with the Cross-fit Games. These championships took place for the first time in summer 2007 and have been held every year since. Initially rewarded by the modest sum of 500 €, it is nowadays € 275,000 which will be donated to the winners, male and female. This is probably not unrelated to the fact that the championships were renamed Reebok CrossFit Games from 2011 through partnership with the famous sports brand. In fact, before that, there were no big sponsors, no real monetary gains, and there were not as many participants than nowadays. Beyond what can bring money from sponsors, its emphasis can attract as many people and so lift the standard of competition to a higher level each year.
The advantages of CrossFit
« Strengths that have made it successful »
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, winner in 2013, claims to have a “sense of power, of being in control of her life and not being afraid to face the vagaries of life”
This sport tends to make us become daily athletes through the development of many physical qualities, with functional movements transferable to everyday life, It also strengthens the mind and self-confidence. Your main competitor is yourself because you constantly have to challenge yourself and push your limits.
The variety of exercises takes away the feeling of weariness and the routine that we can sometimes experience in bodybuilding or other repetitive exercise, and we can certainly complement CrossFit with another sport while still respecting the resting time if necessary.
Also, the dynamism of Crossfit, through movement and the rapid sequence of exercises is also very attractive and extremely beneficial.
For this, the CrossFit community offers great support in addition to being very active physically.
“This is an individual sport, but not really in fact …” Rich Froning Jr., Winner 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 of the Crossfit Games.
For many, this is a really strong point for this sport. I think the enthusiasm and sense of newness around CrossFit plays an important role in the generous and altruistic behavior among the followers.
In the box there is always someone there to encourage you when you need it or who is better in one area, stronger or more talented at the gym for example, so everyone can learn from others. This helps to promote growth and the fact that we can always learn something, which is especially handy given that there are a lot of things to experience in CrossFit. Finally, coaches play a critical role in the progression of the practitioners, for their monitoring and knowledge, validated through certification levels.
« Everyone should do it » Rich Froning Jr & Jason Khalipa.
CrossFit can be an alternative, a complement seen as a very good introduction to the sport because it is a sport that can be addressed with different objectives, fitness, changing the shape or for competition. This is a very dynamic and comprehensive method which however requires precautions at the safety of movements and postures, plus stretching and warm-ups. It should not necessarily give in to the temptation to poorly executed movements to grab a few repetitions, it would be a shame to rush to create an injury while the Crossfit Games awaits you!
Finally, CrossFit offers social ties and a sense of community not necessarily one of a kind, but very valuable and almost confusing when we do not really have the habit and we usually train alone at home, for example.
Play it on your own or should I say sweat it, try the experience too!