The big question: do you need CrossFit?
There are various reasons to start lifting weights, it all depends on what your goal is. CrossFit – which was founded in the year 2000 – is still very popular, and if you don't know if you should start doing it or not, don't worry: we're here to give you a hand.
Lifting weights can be done for at least one of the following reasons:
- body shaping
- increasing strength
- increasing stamina
From Mr. Olympia competitors to dieting women, most people lift weights in order to shape their bodies. In this training regime, the number of weights doesn't really matter, the emphasis is on developing muscle-brain connectivity, and to make certain muscles work hard.
People also use weight lifting for rehabilitation purposes (physiotherapy) when they suffered an injury in an accident or when one of their muscles have weakened for some reason. Lighter weights – or no weights at all – are used here in most cases, the goal is to revive muscles that are not working properly and healthy.
Not too surprisingly, powerlifters and strongman competitors use powerlifting in order to increase their strength. The emphasis is on being able to lift the heaviest possible weights, muscle-brain connectivity is not so important here.
For increasing stamina, CrossFit-type weight training is probably the best solution out there when it comes to weight lifting. With kettlebells, TRX conditioning ropes, other rope workouts one can increase stamina perfectly.
There are many overlaps of course. If you want to gain muscle, you probably don't mind if you're getting stronger at the same time. But powerlifters don't need to look lean, and bodybuilders don't have to be strong on the stage at a competition. From all of the methods mentioned above, CrossFit is the newest one, so let's take a closer look.
1. Challenge-based workout
There's always a certain goal ahead of you when you do CrossFit. Sometimes you have to do as many rounds (one round can be at least two kinds of exercises) as possible, in other cases, you have to do as many reps as you can at a certain type of exercise. There are a lot of metrics like this for measuring. If you have a target ahead of you, you can get the most out of yourself, not only in your workouts, but in every aspect of life. In CrossFit you can compete not only against yourself, but against teammates, or other competitors.
2. Diverse cardio
Since the spread of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) we are well aware of the fact that this type of cardio gives you much better results overall than monotonous aerobic type fo training (eg. riding the bike slowly for 60 minutes). In a way, we can acknowledge CrossFit as a HIIT workout, because it increases the metabolism.
CrossFit is better for you than the type of workout bodybuilders use if you get easily tired of monotonic things.
3. The power of community
Unlike bodybuilding, CrossFit is not an individual sport. The biggest benefit of community is that in a good team it is easier to achieve certain targets and goals than completely alone. Of course, many bodybuilders and powerlifters have training partners, but since it is impossible for them to train with more than 3 people in the same time, this is not the same things.
What are the cons of CrossFit?
1. Newbie trainers
This argument may sound a bit illogical, but the original CrossFit that was founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000 is great, but since CrossFit became a mainstream attraction, the information which the founders intended to teach to masses became distorted. Nowadays everybody wants to be a CrossFit instructor. This phenomenon is well known in the world of bodybuilding, because some people lack the sense of responsibility.
Being an instructor is no child's play, people tend to forget that. Injuries can easily occur in the world of weight lifting, and if someone teaches the wrong training methods, he or she will start a noxious avalanche. Not only the master will do the wrong things, but the pupil and the pupil's friends too. CrossFit cannot be learnt in a matter of weeks but in a matter of years.
2. Looking down on technical exercises
Some exercises are very difficult to execute properly, even amongst professionals. Even a teenage schoolgirl can do burpees, but a snatch would be too hard for her. You have to invest a lot of time in learning an exercise like this. If not executed with the proper form, a snatch is extremely dangerous.
Going high reps on a deadlift when you're trying to perform the exercise properly is not the best idea. CrossFit practitioners often do technically demanding exercises like this using high reps, and this usually leads to bad form. They simply look down these technical exercises. More respect, please!
3. Too random selection of exercises
The order of the exercises (sequencing) is very important in bodybuilding, but in CrossFit sometimes things are just too random. Sometimes there's a deadlift that's followed by a clean and press exercise for example. Both of these exercises demand the core to be stable and protective, but in this sequence the breakdown occurs, fatigue is going to set in, and that's not good because the risk of an injury goes up. A professional trainer will not let you do this mistake though.
All in all, CrossFit is definitely for you if you get easily tired of monotonic things, you need company to feel motivated, you like to set goals and milestones, and if you want to gain muscles and increase your stamina at the same time.
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