CrossFit 101: Find out why the hottest new total body conditioning program has a cult-like following
CrossFit is the hottest fitness trend around and probably the most misunderstood. If you’ve seen the rock-hard physiques of CrossFitters (if not, just Google CrossFit Games), you might be thinking about trying the “sport of fitness” or “training for the unknown and unknowable” to see what if it’s for you.
The sport of fitness began as a type of training used primarily by the military, law enforcement and emergency responders. In just over a decade, it’s grown to more than 4,000 affiliates (local CrossFit gym owners) and has its own world championships called the CrossFit Games where the top men and woman compete for the title of “Fittest on Earth” and win a check for $250,000.00. It’s attracted everyone from professional athletes and Olympians to busy professionals trying to tone up and slim down to the overweight-and-out-of-shape.
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that’s designed to improve your power, strength, agility, accuracy, stamina, speed and endurance for anything physical—from digging a ditch, finishing a triathlon to throwing a football or running a 10K. It combines aerobic conditioning (jumping rope, running, cycling, rowing, swimming) gymnastics (pull-ups, push-ups and other bodyweight exercises) with weightlifting moves (snatch, clean, clean + jerk, push press, etc) along with some other old-school training elements like kettlebell swings, rope climbs, sledgehammer and tractor tire flipping. The WODS (workouts of the day) are random and may include any one or more of the core exercise modalities in virtually endless combinations.
A typical WOD may be a 800 M run or row followed by 22 pull-ups, 22 deadlifts, 22 thrusters (repeated twice) then end with another 800 M run or row. Another popular WOD, “Filthy Fifty” consists of 50 repetitions of 10 different exercises including box jumps, kettlebell swings, burpees, push press, etc. Due to the constant variety of exercises done at high intensity, it improves both strength and endurance while enhancing accuracy, agility, flexibility and more. WODS are never boring and are quick, lasting anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. CrossFit WODs are all scored by either time or reps completed to add intensity and an element of competition.
CrossFit has a cult-like following because of the tight-knit community that the boxes encourage. Many members of the box I go to, Tamalpais CrossFit in Marin County, are like my second family. CrossFitters encourage and cheer one another on and everyone feels a great sense of accomplishment when we’re done. It’s a fun, exciting and challenging way to workout that’s scalable for everyone, regardless of age, sex or athletic ability. At Ludington CrossFit , box owner Dr. Jacob Seng told me that in a client said she felt more accepted at CrossFit than at her church.
Three At-Home WODs for Beginners
There are numerous websites, like The Traveling WOD, designed for CrossFitters who are unable to get to a box or their home gym. These WODs use body weight for resistance and are an excellent way to get a feel for CrossFit.
10 Rounds For Time: 10 Push-ups 10 Air Squats 10 Tuck Jumps
*AMRAP in 20 minutes: 5 Pushups 10 Sit-ups 15 Air Squats
As many reps as possible
Run 1 mile and do 10 push-ups every 1 minute