CrossFit is a workout philosophy and fitness company that was established by Greg Glassman in 2000. This program incorporates strongman exercises, calisthenics, gymnastics, powerlifting, plyometrics and other forms of exercises, and the method is currently being used by more than 9,000 affiliate gyms.
The goal of CrossFit is to improve your flexibility, gain muscular strength and boost your cardiovascular strength.
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How CrossFit Works
The simplest way to describe CrossFit is that it is a strength and conditioning program, and it relies on Olympic weight lifting and an assortment of body weight exercises such as gymnastics and aerobic exercises. Regardless of the movement you use, it’s done at a high intensity level so your overall fitness improves. The routines in a CrossFit class can last for an hour and includes a skill development phase, a warm up, and a high intensity “workout of the day” (WOD).
Apart from WOD, some CrossFit programs include a strengthening program too. Also, most gyms score these routines so you’ll have an easier time tracking your progress, and it also serves to bolster competition. While the WOD is integral to the program, other affiliates include elements like weightlifting to enhance the routines. CrossFit is decentralized, but the general outline is used by physical education teachers throughout the US as well as by law enforcement agencies, fire departments and life guards.
CrossFit was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman, and the first affiliate was in Seattle, Washington. There were 13 affiliates in 2005, but the number has increased to more than 9,000 presently. Because of the popularity of the program, the number of franchisees is expected to increase even more.
Equipment Used in CrossFit Workouts
Because the program involves a number of disciplines, different kinds of workout equipment are used. One of them is the standard 15 or 20 kg barbell, rubber bumper plates, gymnastic rings, Abmat, rower, and a resistance band. A Plyo box is also used as well as a medicine ball, kettlebell and jump rope. However, the equipment you’ll need might vary per class.
The movements in CrossFit can be divided into several groups: calisthenics, distance movements, body weight exercises, plyometrics, strongman, powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting. Each of these has specific movements that you need to practice and perform.
The calisthenics routine includes the air squat where you move from a standing position to squatting and up again. The routine also includes pushups, pull-ups, and lunges as well as sit ups and ring dips, the latter used extensively for strength training.
Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Plyometrics
The Olympic weightlifting movements include standard weightlifting routines such as clean and jerk and snatch, while powerlifting incorporates the bench press, deadlift, and the squat. CrossFit also has strongman movements such as yoke carry.
The plyometrics component of CrossFit uses the box jump, where from a standing position you jump and land on top of a box with both feet, fully extended. Different types of boxes may be used, with heights ranging from 15”, 20”, 24” and 30”.
Body Weight Exercises
CrossFit body weight exercises include back extensions and the burpee, where you drop on the mat with your feet extended backwards and your chest touching the mat. Next you pull your legs forward and land in a squatting position. Other movements that you’ll be doing are handstand push ups, hip extensions, the jump rope, knees to elbows and the L-sit. You’ll perform several muscle ups from gymnastics rings, rope climbing, toes to bar and many others.
The distance movement component of CrossFit includes rowing, running and swimming. Aside from these, the program also includes other movements that can’t be classified into a specific category such as the press, kettlebell swings, the sumo deadlift high pull (lifting a kettlebell with a wide stance until it is below your chin), the thruster (combining a push press and a squat) and Wall Ball, where you grab a medicine ball and place it below your chin, and from a squatting position, rise up and hurl the ball at a specified target.
The CrossFit Games
This is annual competition that’s been held since 2007 every summer, where the participants compete for the grand prize of $250,000. During the Games the participants have to engage in workouts that are revealed only a few hours before the event takes place. In other cases they’re asked to perform workouts not part of the usual CrossFit routine, including softball throws and swimming.
Since 2011, the CrossFit Games have used an online format for the sectional part, allowing athletes and interested parties from all over the world to take part. To be eligible, they have to finish the workouts on time and submit a video of it to the official website. Those who win in the CrossFit Open will then be allowed to participate in the CrossFit Games.
For more information about Crossfit, visit their official website.