Leaving the world exhausted and sweating, CrossFit continues to grow in popularity worldwide. It all stated with the he CrossFit games in 2007, now an annual event, which amassed $1 million worth of prize money and thousands of entrants. But what exactly is this relatively new style of high intensity exercise? And how do you become a “CrossFit elite athlete”?
Developed by American Greg Glassman over several decades, CrossFit combines short bursts of high intensity workouts with a community based structure to achieve a high level of fitness and strength for your overall body. This means that instead of training hard and pushing yourself alone, or with personal trainers, CrossFit aims to create a bootcamp-like atmosphere where workouts are enhanced by peer support and a competitive spirit.
For CrossFit Coaches Dave Miller and Naomi Benedetti this means that being part of the CrossFit lets them “belong to something more than ‘just a gym’”. Unlike bootcamp however, CrossFit relies on weights to enhance performance and if desired can be trained as an individual. As a teenage gymnast, Glassman spent his younger years focusing on gymnastics training but questioned his lack of physical abilities and strength in other areas. He started to question whether focus and expertise in one area of fitness limits your potential too much.
Unlike bootcamp, CrossFit relies on weights to enhance performance
Glassman embarked on multi-disciplinary training and eventually realized that there may be people better than him in one area but with commitment to multiple sports he could excel overall. This was the beginning idea of CrossFit as a broad and diverse training. As his theories were tested Glassman created the CrossFit formula that forms the basis for Crossfit style workouts;
CVFM @ HI + Communal Environment = Health
A regimen of constantly varied (CV), functional movements (FM) performed at high intensity (@HI) in a communal environment leads to health and fitness.
By following this formula, CrossFit emphasises the importance of variety and pushing oneself when working-out. Combining exercises and movements from an array of sports and activities, CrossFit creates workouts that aim to improve 10 key physical qualities; cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
CrossFit emphasises the importance of variety and pushing oneself when working-out
CrossFit workouts are designed to be highly intensive, broad, varied, and all inclusive. They are created to be time based with a high emphasis on weight, specific distances and specific movements. CrossFit uses one, specifically created, workout per day, known in the world of CrossFit participants as the WOD (workout of the day). All CrossFitters will complete the same workout regardless of age, gender and level of fitness. The only thing varying will be the amount of weight used, the amount of repetitions completed, and the time taken to complete.
When asked why the WOD changes every day, Miller and Benedetti respond, the WOD is changed everyday “to challenge the body and mind. You never live the same day twice and you have no idea on any given day what you might encounter, your workouts need to reflect that”. Each participants achievements,( that is how quickly they finished the workout and what weights they used) are recorded daily and are used to motivate and encourage other members.
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