No matter what type of training you are currently into or what field of physical activity you perform in, it is very likely you have heard of CrossFit. CrossFit is one of the fastest growing fitness and exercises crazes in the world.
CrossFit started in 1995 in Santa Cruz. A cross fit gym was opened by Greg Glassman and he was hired to train the local police department. Cross fit didn’t really take off until 2005 where the number of cross fit gyms went from around 15 to 3000 worldwide by 2012.
Cross fit has become so large now that for the last 4 years there has been a cross fit world games. This is where the best cross fit athletes come to test their fitness against the other elite cross fitters. The games have been very well received and have become known as finding the worlds fittest men and women. The games have received a lot of sponsorship in a short time and the prize money for the 2011 winners was $250,000.
So what exactly is cross fit?
Cross Fit is basically a combination of nearly every different type of training in the attempt to become an ultimate athlete. It combines strength, CV endurance, muscular endurance, flexibility, agility, power, co-ordination and muscle control in order to enable an athlete to complete any physical challenge. The best analogy I have heard for cross fit is if you took every different exercise or training method like powerlifting, sprinting, rowing, marathon running etc and put them all in a bag, a cross fit athlete could draw any one of them out the bag and be fantastic at it. The method of training allows for an athlete to be great at many areas of physical ability without having to specialize to one of them. This is one reason why the champion of the cross fit games is seen as the worlds fittest. Fitness is not just a test of CV endurance but of all the components of fitness. A cross fit athlete will train all of these components as well as a lot more.
Cross fit workouts generally consist of multiple different areas of weight training as well as using CV exercises, bodyweight training and many others. Cross fit gyms and athletes will have workouts of the day (WOD’s) that change every day. This builds up a huge database of potential workouts that you can take part in. the workouts will consist of a lot of functional training that combine many different muscle groups whilst also training the CV system like the heart and lungs. Different activities that will make up a cross fit workout are things like:
- Olympic lifting
- Powerlifting (eg deadlift and squat)
- Olympic rings and gymnastic movements
- Bodyweight training (press ups and chin ups etc)
- Power exercises like box jumps and burpees
- Weight training exercises with barbells and dumbbells
- Kettlebell exercises
- Rope climbing
- Functional training like carrying large objects
As well as many others. Combining all of these aspects of training into one workout leads to an incredible intense and grueling workout. Many people who are new to cross fit may find that it is without doubt the hardest type of training the have ever done.
So stick around for part 2 of this article where I will discuss how you can plan your own cross fit workouts, where you can find a massive array of already existing cross fit workouts, a few videos of great workouts that I have tried and much more information on how you can reach your goals using cross fit.