CrossFit Is A Cult – But Does CrossFit Work?
The CrossFit craze is in full swing right now, and has been for the last few years.
From my experience, you won’t find someone who just ‘dabbles’ in CrossFit, you’re either part of the elitist cult or you’re not.
Is CrossFit really the ultimate workout regime? Does CrossFit work? Are those of us who do not live and breathe CrossFit on a daily basis missing out?
Let’s find out…
What Is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a style of workout that focuses on rounds of high intensity exercises, ranging from Olympic lifts such as the cleans and jerks, while also incorporating bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and cardiovascular based exercises including sprints and rowing.
Workouts are quite short in duration, typically around the 15 minute – half an hour mark.
The CrossFit community is very competitive and it is encouraged you track your progress and workout times against friends and other individuals that train at your ‘box’ (CrossFit’s term for a gym).
Does CrossFit Build Muscle?
If you’ve never followed a proper workout regime chances are yes, you will build a small amount of lean muscle by participating in CrossFit ‘WODs’ (Workout of the Day).
Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit claims it is the ideal style of workout regime for natural athletes to pack on both size and strength, which is utter crap.
If you haven’t already, search ‘CrossFit Training’ on YouTube or make a visit to your local CrossFit box just to get an idea of the training techniques and form utilized when performing a CrossFit workout…
You’ll see skinny, overweight and inflexible people smashing out sets of 20, 30, 40 or perhaps even 50 ‘kipping’ pull-ups. The amount of momentum used in exercises such as the pull-up, muscle-up and the limited range of motion utilized on exercises such as dips and push-ups in order to save time to break the ‘record time’ for the particular workout is absurd.
CrossFit is definitely not for you if you’re looking to gain lean muscle mass as swinging momentum, leverage and an all-round too much haste and not enough care methodology is used – your muscles are not subject to load for any notable amount of time to require them to grow, there’s simply no overload or demand on the muscle.
But don’t get me wrong…
CrossFit workouts are tough, there’s no doubt about it.
But if you’re looking to gain muscle mass or fit CrossFit just isn’t the best way to go about it.
Ouch! Look out for Injuries
Pulled muscles, torn ligaments, sprains, strains and sore lower backs are all comment amongst the CrossFit community.
Now, this isn’t particularly surprising and there are a few likely causes:
- When performing compound exercises like the squat, deadlift or even more advanced Olympic lifts such as the snatch it is essential that correct form is being utilized – CrossFit coaches NEED to teach all newbies the proper form and ensure they use it.
- Individuals are encouraged to push A LOT more weight than they really should be during their WODs which leads to a compromise in form, resulting in a highly increased risk of injury.
- CrossFit encourages heavy compound lifts such as the deadlift when you are already fatigued. Performance is decreased, form is compromised and risk of injury is greatly increased when performing compound and Olympic lifts once you are already fatigued (some CrossFit workouts will combine components such as 90% 1RM deadlifts and sprints in the same workout).
Is CrossFit for Me?
If you’re asking yourself if you should be doing CrossFit you really need to define your goals.
If you’re looking to build lean muscle, get strong or train to increase your performance in a specific sport I wouldn’t recommend CrossFit for you.
CrossFit in my opinion is best suited to the more casual athlete, looking to socialise and combine both cardio and Olympic lifts (ensure you have a suitable coach).
Have you tried CrossFit? What are your thoughts on this fitness craze?
Let me know in the comments below!