Pros and Cons of Crossfit
Pros and Cons of Crossfit
I think Crossfit is one of the best things to happen to weightlifting in a long time. It has reshaped the way we look at training and a lot of crossfitters are extremely health minded individuals preaching excellent information. Where as the typical gym rat used to be perceived as the bulked up d-bag prancing around flexing in the mirror, Crossfitters are generally in incredible shape and give off the vibe that it’s okay to look ripped and shredded and be functional.
Before I begin my pro’s and con’s list, let me say that this. Though Crossfit branched off from the guy who did the training for 300, it really is a variation of Charles Poliquin’s GBC program. Charles has been writing programs along these lines for twenty plus years, way before Crossfit came about. You’ll see in my list where they differentiate and where my views lie. Now let’s begin.
1. Emphasize multi joint exercises- squats, dips, pull ups, cleans, etc. these are all excellent exercises that I myself perform and have been performing for almost 10 years. Nothing will pack up muscle like a squat. Screw the leg extension, try 10 sets of 10 on squats and see how your legs respond.
2. Emphasize full range of motion- Crossfitters go ass to the grass and that’s great. It’s ridiculous to walk into a gym and see someone doing quarter squats. Generally the person doing this has tiny legs and tiny calves. Experienced cross fitters know the value of full ROM.
3. Emphasize hard work- they know the value of working hard to get the results you want. And that’s a great mentality to have. You rarely see Crossfitters hangin’ out on their cell phones, dicking around and talking about taxes and girlfriends between sets.
4. Emphasize good nutrition- more importantly they emphasize whole foods, typically Paleo style eating. Any movement that preaches this kind of eating and life style gets a thumbs up in my book.
1. Improper exercise order- this is not the case for all of their workouts, but when I see front squats, back squats, power cleans, and a sprint, repeat….this just doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s hard, brutally hard, but it’s an injury waiting to happen. The lower back and external rotators will be spent after the front squats and power cleans, so why repeat this if you’re compromising form and risking injury. Harder isn’t always smarter. Like I mentioned with a Poliquin program, there is a rhyme and reason to his exercise order selection, one to make sure you don’t injure yourself and to maximize the right muscle development.
2. Improper addressing of injuries- this is not for all Crossfitters, so don’t start screaming at me. But it’s something I see often, an average joe walking into a crossfit facility and thrown into a brutal back squat with addressing his or her unique limitations or injuries. I was training a client over the summer and he wanted to try Crossfit. This person had never squatted in their entire life, let alone could he perform a free weight squat correctly. I told him to let me check out his form before diving in. Turns out when he squatted, he had a lower back injury that would flare up every time. We took about 10 minutes to address the issue with some of the “magic” that I’ve learned over the years. After some tweaks, the injury was gone. If he had gone into cross fit, began one of their workouts, he’d be out for months.
3. Crossfit gets you better at Crossfit- this might seem weird, read on…Crossfit is hard and will get you ripped, but you’ll most likely just get better at Crossfit. If you’re training for a sport, like hockey, football, or skiing, you will need a specified routine in order to target the muscles to excel in the sport. Every position on the field or on the ice requires detailed attention in the weight room in order to excel. Crossfit won’t help you in that regard.
Like I said, if you’re an advanced trainee, Crossfit is fun, challenging, and will kick your butt. Personally, I like split routines with are tailored to my needs. If you want to work on lagging body parts, or get brutally strong at certain lifts, Crossfit is not for you. But if you just want to have fun, challenge yourself, it’s a good choice.