Workout Wednesdays highlight a specific exercise or area of exercise, what it is, how it’s done and what you’ll get from it.
Today I’m exploring CrossFit. CrossFit is training program developed by Greg Glassman. The term “CrossFit” applies to the exercise regimen, the community that participates and it’s also a brand name. According to the CrossFit website “[t]he aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness. We have sought to build a program that will best prepare trainees for any physical contingency”.¹
CrossFit focuses on building strength and endurance through activities like lifting of kettlebells, sand bags, olympic barbells and plymetric activities like box jumping. It’s not meant to be sport or activity specific, but instead focuses on high intensity movement and lifting to create a well rounded participant.
CrossFit has it’s own set of unique terminology. Here are a few examples of words or phrases you might see when it comes to CrossFit:
WOD – Workout of the day, sometimes referred to as “the girls” because the original set of workouts are all names after women
Box – A gym or location where CrossFit workouts take place
BW – Body weight
PR – Personal record
For more definitions you can visit the CrossFit FAQ page.
Gear to Bring
Being prepared is the best way to get any exercise session off to a good start. The gear needed for CrossFit is dependent on the specific exercises selected. CrossFit typically uses body weight or fairly common exercise equipment. Gear may include, but is not limited to:
- Olympic weights
- Pull up bar
- Box or adjustable stand for jumping
How to do It
A WOD (workout of the day) is posted on the CrossFit website each and every day. You certainly don’t have to follow this WOD, but a lot of CrossFit gyms will go by this or some may make up their own set of exercises to follow. To complete your workout you’ll start with a warm up and then go through the WOD as prescribed, making accommodations for ability level or equipment as necessary, followed by a cool down.
You may hear about the girls. The girls are the original workouts created by Greg Glassman, now referred to as benchmark workouts. These include routines like Barbara, Fran, Helen, Karen and Amanda. Each workout has it’s own focus and instructions for completion. There is also a set of Hero routines that honor fallen members of the military.
To review The Girls and The Heroes routines go here.
Benefits and Wrap Up
So now that you’ve learned a little bit about CrossFit let’s talk about the benefits. When done correctly, with an eye on safety, CrossFit can yield benefits like increased muscle mass, fat/weight loss, increased strength and increased speed.
I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the dangers associated with CrossFit. Like any other high intensity program, CrossFit can have serious consequences if not done with care. CrossFit can be very intense and because of that it sometimes gets a bad rap. It is very important that you listen to your body when participating in CrossFit or any other exercise activity. Lifting excessive weight or performing excessive reps of any exercise, in any program, can be detrimental to your health. If do not feel you can safely perform the activities of a CrossFit routine then you should immediately discontinue your participation and look to alternate types of programs.
CrossFit can be a fun and intense way to get a great workout, but it’s definitely not for everyone.
Remember, you absolutely must check with your doctor before engaging in CrossFit, high intensity training or any other type of fitness program. This type of workout can be very strenuous and while it can be tailored to suit your abilities, it is not appropriate for everyone so you should ensure you are safely able to participate before trying it out.
1. CrossFit.com, What Is CrossFit?, http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/what-is-crossfit.html
2. Nerd Fitness http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/03/01/a-beginners-guide-to-crossfit/
About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.
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