While there are many facets of modern life that just make you want to scream, it’s encouraging to know that there is a place where blowing off steam, making a commotion and exorcising your demons is both acceptable and encouraged. CrossFit gyms provide the right environment for stress release and a full-body workout.
Today, CrossFit’s buzz is sweeping across the United States as the nation’s hottest fitness trend.
By definition, CrossFit is “constantly varied, functional movement performed at high intensity.” The basic concept is to exercise intensely in timed spurts to gain maximum results. CrossFit’s philosophy traces back to the year 2000, when coach Greg Glassman officially opened the first CrossFit Gym in Seattle. Glassman spent years perfecting the right combinations of measured time and intensity ratios for his clients and then decided to market his product. As his gyms network expanded, Glassman formalized his template for fitness and trademarked the name CrossFit to help brand its unique features. CrossFit has proven itself over the past 12 years as an extremely popular program whose routines and variety of activities have created a magnet for fitness enthusiasts who routinely high-five each other and gather in a communal spirit for their hellacious workouts. There are more than 4,500 CrossFit Gyms operating worldwide, and their numbers continue to grow. CrossFit even has its own “Olympics,” known as the Reebok CrossFit Games, where they crown the fittest man and woman on earth.
So what is the key to CrossFit? It embraces variety, while other sports tend to focus on specific muscular movements. While runners mainly just run and swimmers just swim, crossfitters will jump rope, do squats, run, lift kettle bells, flip tires, do pull-ups and climb ropes. The list is nearly endless. The CrossFit program prides itself on the theory of not specializing. This makes perfect sense in a world that comes at you from many different angles. To be sure that CrossFit athletes increase their situational adaptability. CrossFit competitions never announce which exercises will be tested — in other words, you must prepare for them all! CrossFit’s appeal was first recognized by police academies and military special operations units as the best method for preparing their personnel for a varied range of duty and combat skills. The idea took off with the general public because the versatility and scalability of its exercises work for all individuals, regardless of age or gender.
“The scalability of CrossFit is a huge part of its success,” says Melissa Simmons, a certified CrossFit instructor. “No matter who you are, or what level you are at, there’s a point where you can begin.” Adjusting the scale of load and intensity makes CrossFit a versatile activity for beginners plus intermediate and advanced participants. CrossFit is not a high-tech sport; rather, the layout and equipment you find in a CrossFit gym are refreshingly simple. You will find barbells, medicine balls, plyometric boxes, pull-up bars and jump ropes, and the most technical piece of equipment you will find is a rowing machine. Many workouts are short — 20 minutes or less — and are designed to reach your physical limits. The demand of pushing yourself to the maximum physical exertion is part of the fun of CrossFit.
CrossFit Gyms usually post a daily grouping of activities better known as the Workouts of the Day, or WOD. The WOD shuffles the order of the exercises into a circuit, and the results are posted to encourage group competition and to track an individual’s progress. Simmons recommends interested individuals do their research and visit a variety of CrossFit gyms to see which one appeals to their expectations. As with most things, the quality of the product will vary from location to location. Most CrossFit gyms offer a walk-in rate of a free trial workout. “Each box or gym is different,” explains Simmons. Look for “boxes” that have an official affiliation with CrossFit and determine for yourself if the vibe is right for you. CrossFit has developed its own culture, and its followers show a deep passion for their sport. The variety CrossFit offers, paired with its name recognition, is helping CrossFit draw more and more participants into its fold. For many athletes CrossFit is a great approach to coping with the stresses of life and speaks volumes about their successful approach. For an hour a day you can let loose, scream and be yourself. It certainly sounds like CrossFit is something to shout about.
The following is a list of fundamental Crossfit exercises provided by the Wikipedia website. There is also more information about CrossFit on their official website, www.crossfit.com. By no means is this a complete list; your CrossFit gym will put you through these paces and so much more!
The athlete moves from the standing position to a squatting position with the hips below the knees and back to standing. One-legged air squats are referred to as pistols.
From a standing position on the floor, the athlete jumps and lands with both feet on top of a box, and fully extends before returning to the floor. Typical box heights are 15, 20, 24 and 30 inches.
Beginning in a standing position, the athlete drops to the floor with the feet extending backward, contacts the floor with the chest, and then pulls the legs forward, landing in a squatting position before standing up, usually ending with a small jump.
Beginning in a handstand, with the arms straight and (usually) the heels gently resting against a wall, the athlete bends the arms until the head touches the ground, and then pushes back up into a handstand position.
The most common variation in CrossFit is the “double under,” in which the jump rope makes two revolutions for each jump.
The athlete takes a large step forward, bends the forward knee until the back knee makes contact with the ground, and rises.
By: Paul Baltutis
Paul Baltutis is a freelance writer, runner and long-time fitness enthusiast. He works at Fleet Feet Sports in Alamo Heights. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.