Posted on March 10, 2018 by Louisa Feary

CrossFit:

CrossFit is a relatively new training method that has exploded in terms of popularity since the year 2000. There are around 13,000 CrossFit affiliates worldwide and over 500 just in the UK. Although popular it has also become one of the most controversial forms of fitness and training, with people into more traditional forms of training labelling it as a fad and ineffective. There are however both pros and cons to CrossFit…

Pros

  • CrossFit is suitable for all levels of ability. The workouts can be scaled up or down depending on fitness levels, experience etc. It can be a great way to introduce weight training to someone that has only ever done cardio or give someone new ideas to try if their own training has plateaued.
  • Builds great overall fitness. CrossFit is a mix of running, jumping, weightlifting, rowing gymnastics etc. The list goes on and on. The workouts contain various movements and exercises that need to be completed in a certain time limit.
  • It is high intensity! There is rarely a workout that won’t push you to your maximum. The aim is to always improve your score or time each time you complete a workout. This ensures you put in 100% effort every time.
  • CrossFit workouts are extremely varied. This will prevent you getting bored of doing the same workouts week after week. It will ensure you don’t plateau or lose motivation if you are facing new challenges every day.
  • Most CrossFit gyms are very sociable. They rely on high levels of camaraderie to push each other through tough workouts. You are more likely to forge friendships than at a commercial gym where everyone goes to concentrate on their own goals and training.

Cons

  • There can be a high risk of injury. Much of CrossFits controversial reputation comes largely through online videos showing participants being coached and encouraged to push themselves even when their form on certain exercises could lead to serious injury. Some workouts require a high number of reps in a short time on exercises such as Olympic lifts that require excellent technique. The fatigue and time pressure can often lead to participants neglecting their technique. Ensure you have a coach that stresses the importance of good technique and teaches it correctly before pushing you through workouts.
  • CrossFit is anything but specific. As mentioned previously the workouts are extremely varied. While this may be a bonus to lots of people, for those with sport specific goals or a specific target a more focused approach may be the better option. Concentrating on the skills or type of fitness needed in a certain sport may be better than just using CrossFit to become a well-rounded athlete. The saying ‘a jack of all trades, master of none’ comes to mind.
  • Again a point mentioned previously as a positive but CrossFit is a high intensity workout. While this can be great not everyone has the motivation or willpower to turn up to every workout knowing they need to be pushing themselves to their limit. This can lead to skipping sessions or making excuses as to why you cannot make today’s workout.

There is a reason that CrossFit’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. It can be a challenging and rewarding form of exercise and can also lead to friendships and vastly improved health. If you are considering giving it a go just make sure you are properly coached and your form is always spot on!