BY: Josh Baker
Crossfit is nothing short of controversial. This hybrid form of fitness has been embraced as much as it has been criticized. Often referred to as a training regime that teaches you how to do the right things the wrong way, Crossfit simply suffers from an image issue. Over-hyped videos full of prime examples of poor form permeate the landscape, making the acceptance of Crossfit an uphill battle for those outside the group fitness room.
When you spend time as both a bodybuilder and cross-training enthusiast (there are differences) you tend to have a better understanding of what it takes to participate correctly in Crossfit. Like any other exercise, there are right and wrong ways to do everything. With Crossfit, with its focus on endurance, those wrong ways just tend to stand out due to the speed of the exercises. Crossfit is a high intensity workout that focuses on functional movement, strength and conditioning. Unlike Bodybuilding, the purpose of Crossfit is not to build muscle, but to train and utilize it in real-world motion.
Work in cardiovascular endurance and gymnastics and you have a complete workout. This is where Crossfit both succeeds and fails in popular fitness culture — it is not easy! In many gyms, Crossfit is simply being taught incorrectly and the focus wavers between all the elements of the training. When taught correctly (more often than not), it is a superior training program. When you sign up for Crossfit, check out the coach and their knowledge of health and fitness. Make sure they are teaching strength mobility and not just powerlifting. Keep an eye to the structure of the program to be sure that there not only is a structure, but it is not modeled to put anyone at risk, no matter their level of fitness.
Crossfit has been around for over a decade, growing in popularity with every ESPN Saturday afternoon airing of the Crossfit Games. For many, the attraction to Crossfit is the comradery and sense of being part of a team. Working towards your fitness goals alongside others always makes the work that much more enjoyable. With programs designed for the level of each group of participants, Crossfit encourages the atmosphere of togetherness and mutual appreciation for all things fitness. Many who walk into a gym for the first time, lost among the rows of machines and weight benches, find themselves drawn to the excitement and results of Crossfit.
There is a simple test to see if Crossfit is for you. Are you looking for a fitness challenge that will test your mental capacity as well as your body? If you answered yes to that question, then you might want to check out a Crossfit class at your local gym. While flawed with its high capacity, high load, high rep, high speed complex movements, Crossfit can be a beneficial fitness path when taught and performed correctly. The flaws come from incorrect training, which can be found in nearly every exercise. Crossfit just happens to be the most exciting and motivating one at the moment.
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