Are you looking to improve your physical fitness? Have you heard of CrossFit training? CrossFit is a system of training that has gained popularity over the last 17 years since its inception. Many trainees have adopted the system as their training regime of choice, so much so that now there is an international ‘CrossFit Games’ held annually.
What is CrossFit?
If you have never heard of CrossFit, it may sound rather confusing, what is the deal with this training system that makes it so popular and effective?
CrossFit was developed by Greg Glassman at the turn of the millennium. Glassman wanted to create a training system that focused on functional movements executed at high-intensity. After years of developing the system, he released it on his blog and the first ‘Workout of the Day’, or WOD as it is known to CrossFitters.
The Principles of CrossFit:
CrossFit combines the best of strength and conditioning training with bodyweight and free weight exercises. The system also has a strong focus on powerlifting techniques as well as explosive power movements.
The principles of high-intensity training are employed for every exercise. HIT involves doing as much work as possible in the shortest period of time. This maximizes the body’s physical output and leads to the best training results.
CrossFit has loads of terminology and jargon that you may find confusing. Some of the more popular CrossFit terms that you will come to know are;
- WOD – Workout of the Day.
- AMRAP – As Many Reps as Possible
- ATG – Ass To Grass
- EMOM – Every Minute on the Minute
The jargon is easy to learn and you will soon be adapting it into your own language as you chat with your new training partners.
Where can I train CrossFit?
CrossFit has swept the world and there are now more than 13,000 affiliate gyms in countries all over the world. All the gyms live up to the CrossFit code and respect the rules of the system. Community is a key part of CrossFit and working out at a CrossFit gym will expose you to top level athletes that know every movement and exercise like the back of their hand. Learning and training with a support system at a CrossFit gym will get you, fitter, faster.
CrossFit uses a variety of different exercises, some equipped and some with only just bodyweight. Some of the more popular exercises you may find in a CrossFit WOD are;
- Burpees – From pushup position, bring your knees to your chest and then jump upward, returning to the pushup position.
- Mountain Climbers – Start in the push up position and bring your knees to your chest one at a time. Execute the movement as quickly as possible.
- Pull ups – Grab an overhead bar a pull-up. There are many different variations of pullups used in CrossFit WOD’s.
- Pistols – Single leg squats.
- Handstand pushups – For the truly hardcore.
- Olympic lifts – The jerk and the clean are used extensively in WOD’s.
- Prowler work – Load a sled up with free weights and then pull or push it for distance and time.
- Deadlifts & Squats – The king and queen of all complex free weight exercises
- Rack Pulls – Shorten the range of motion and go heavier.
- GHD – Glute Ham Developer, a specialized machine that builds you hamstrings.
CrossFit allows you to develop your athletic prowess slowly. Pushing too hard while you are a beginner will end up in injury. ‘Pukie the clown’, is another terminology made popular by CrossFitters to describe a trainee that pushed themselves too hard, to the point of vomiting from the intensity.
It is easy to get lost in the intensity and vibe of the crowd at the gym and get carried away with yourself. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you and keep your training within your personal physical capacity.
Another important tip for CrossFit beginners is the correct use of support and safety equipment. An injury is only one wrong movement away, so make sure that you support your joints with compression gear and supportive knee sleeves designed specifically for CrossFit athletes.
Wrist straps and lifting straps are other items of equipment that are useful to beginners. They enable you to handle more load, without your grip failing.
The final word on CrossFit training
If you are looking to get in the best shape of your life, then head out and sign up at your local CrossFit gym. Meet some people and start working out. Log your progress in a journal and review it every six months to see how far your fitness has come.