What is CrossFit?

CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement,” with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as “work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” Workouts are typically short—20 minutes or less—and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion. They combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping, jumping

rope, climbing rope, flipping tires, weightlifting, carrying heavy objects, and many bodyweight exercises; equipment used includes barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls, and boxes for box jumps. These elements are mixed in numerous combinations to form prescribed “Workouts of the Day” or “WODs”. Hour-long classes at affiliated gyms, or “boxes,” typically include a warm-up, a skill development segment, the high-intensity WOD, and a period of individual or group stretching. Performance on each WOD is often scored and/or ranked to encourage competition and to track individual progress. Some affiliates offer additional classes, such as Olympic weightlifting, which are not centered around a WOD.

 

What is a W.O.D.? (via. CrossFit.com)

WOD is “Workout of the Day.” The great folks at CrossFit post a workout for each day. The common splits are a) as posted, which is 3 days on/1 off, and b) 5 days on, two off.

Some insight and thoughts on sets and reps:

  • The WOD descriptions are very literal; don’t read into them. If it says “squats” it means bodyweight (aka “air squats”) – no added weight, unless it says back squats or front squats.
  • A “rep” or repetition is one iteration of a movement. One bench press, one squat. A “set” is a group of reps: 10 reps =10 bench presses, 10 squats. 3 sets is do a group of repetitions, rest, repeat, rest, repeat. So, 3 sets of 10 (reps) is 10/rest/10/rest/10. The rest interval is up to your recovery time, and the goal of the WOD. Obviously, if it’s a timed WOD, you want to rest less.
  • Also, rest and reps are frequently inverse. Sometimes a WOD says deadlift 3-2-2-1-1-1. This means a set of 3 reps, a set of 2 reps, another set of 2, a “set of one” aka a “single.” This few reps indicates maximal load, and indicates longer rest times.
  • Back to literal: if the WOD says 21-15-9 reps of bench and pullups in “rounds” (or any two or three exercises as given) you do 21 reps of exercise 1, followed by 21 reps of exercise 2, and 21 reps of exercise 3 if there is a third one. Now do 15 of the first, 15 of the second…9 of the first, 9 of the second.
  • Most likely you will be breaking the 21’s and 15’s (and maybe the 9’s) into subsets, aka “breakdowns.” This is based on your strength and conditioning. Remember if you need to adjust the weight downward, do so, since these are timed WODs.

Will I/can I get big doing CrossFit? (via crossfit.com)

If you train the WODs hard, and eat right and get lots of sleep, you will definitely gain lean mass, lose fat, and yes, you can build muscle mass with the crossfit protocol. More specifically, according to Coach, here is a hierarchy of training for mass from greater to lesser efficacy:
1. Bodybuilding on steroids
2. CrossFitting on steroids
3. CrossFitting without steroids
4. Bodybuilding without steroids
The bodybuilding model is designed around, requires, steroids for significant hypertrophy.
The neuroendocrine response of bodybuilding protocols is so blunted that without “exogenous hormonal therapy” little happens.
The CrossFit protocol is designed to elicit a substantial neuroendocrine whollop and hence packs an anabolic punch that puts on impressive amounts of muscle though that is not our concern. Strength is.
Natural bodybuilders (the natural ones that are not on steroids) never approach the mass that our ahtletes do. They don’t come close.
Those athletes who train for function end up with better form than those who value form over function. This is one of the beautiful ironies of training.

What is CrossFit kids?

We will be posting more information soon for the CrossFit Kids programs.