All your friends are doing it. So is the 68-year-old grandma who lives next door. They talk about it ad nauseum. You wonder if you should try it too. But you hear horror stories of dislocated joints and torn muscles. You wonder… is Crossfit Safe?
What is Crossfit?
Crossfit was started by former gymnast Greg Glassman in 2000. Glassman believes that most people’s workouts focus too much on either cardio or bodybuilding, leading to a population that never gets fit. There is a lot of truth to this—and we’ll get back to this later.
In CrossFit, the goal is not to achieve specialized abilities like marathon running or building huge biceps. The goal is general physical preparedness. CrossFit’s goals are to train 10 key physical qualities: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
CrossFitters build these skills by incorporating exercises from a variety of disciplines: gymnastics, weightlifting and high-intensity work like sprinting. There is emphasis on specific weights, specific distances and specific movements over specific times.
So far so good, in theory at least. The reality is a little different. Let’s look at what Crossfit does well.
- Crossfit develops well rounded athletes. If you do Crossfit, you will end up being both strong and fast. But you won’t be a superstar at either. For most people, this is a good goal.
- The workouts are short. You won’t spend needless hours at the gym. You get in, you get out.
- They have a strong community to keep you on track and accountable, although some accuse them of being a little “cultish”.
- Most Crossfit gyms offer diet advice.
- The workouts vary from day to day, so boredom is not a factor.
- The workouts are intense. No fluff here.
- Done correctly, the movements are safe for most people.
- Crossfit gyms are independently owned and operated. There is no central control. Quality and safely varies GREATLY between gyms. Some owners and trainers are not well qualified.
- Trainers are certified after a 2-day weekend course. There is no compulsory further training…ever. While this might be better than your co-worker Bubba training you, it’s far below other fitness industry standards.
- Classes can be large in size and individual attention may be lacking.
- Crossfit emphasizes complex Olympic lifts like cleans and squats. These are done fast, and often with poor form. Studies show that 73% of Crossfitters get injured. That’s about equal to Rugby and gymnastics. That’s way too high for general fitness activites. Having a poorly certified trainer supervising an entire room of people doing clean & jerks is a disaster.
- Memberships are very expensive. $200 a month or more is common with no discounts available.
A Safer, Better Way
So, what’s a girl to do if you want all the benefits of Crossfit without the safety issues? Let HIIT come to the rescue.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is safe, effective way to build a great foundation of fitness and build all-around athletic ability fast. HITT alternates periods of intense exercise with periods of rest.
For example, you can bike or walk at a moderate pace for 2 minutes and then sprint for 30 seconds. Studies have proven this type of workout far superior to steady state exercise.
HIIT combined with various modes of exercise will produce true fitness that doesn’t come with just cardio or weight training alone.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that a Crossfit workout can be effective for general fitness goals. But you have to be careful about injuries as the coaching can be subpar. And Olympic lifts are simply NOT safe when done with sloppy form and no spotting.
We believe Flex15 offers just as intensive of a workout with the same benefits as Crossfit—without the risks of injury. Our group exercise programs here at Flex15 use interval timers to push your heart rate while working through boxing, spin, plyometrics, strength and agility training. And we only allow a maximum of eight participants per class…meaning you will receive individual attention.
Like Crossfit, we also strive to give you the community support and comradery you need for accountability. We know you need diet advice and help outside of the gym. Getting fit isn’t just about the hour you spend in the gym; it’s a lifestyle. This is what Crossfit gets right. And we do too.
With an entire month free, there isn’t a reason not to give us a try! You have nothing to lose put those extra pounds.