Is CrossFit all it’s cracked up to be?

CrossFit is an exercise trend that seems to keep increasing in popularity. Chances are the intense exercise has opened up nearby to you, and someone you know is spruiking its benefits. However, CrossFit also has its fair share of critics. Here, we go through some of the pros and cons, so you can decide if it’s right for you!

The pros

It has made resistance training more popular

The best aspect of CrossFit is that it has made exercise, particularly resistance training and weight lifting, even more popular. CrossFit is getting both men and women off the couch and lifting weights, encouraging people to pushing their bodies to new limits. The clean and jerk and the snatch are no longer left to the realm of weightlifters and professional athletes.

It promotes healthier diets

CrossFit is more than just exercise; it is a way of life. It encourages individuals to adopt a healthy lifestyle, not just the obvious training program, but also following a paleo-style eating plan and generally being more active. You don’t need to be an expert to see this far outweighs a lifestyle of inactivity and processed, low -nutrient foods.

The cons

Poor exercise programming

A major downfall of CrossFit is the often poor exercise programming. CrossFit sessions are based around large, compound movements. These require many learning sessions to perfect. Unfortunately, though most participants are thrown straight into the deep end and given high-repetition numbers, with little rest period, using heavy loads.

These programs also neglect to consider long-term goals and outcomes. As a general rule, power and strength exercises, such as the clean and jerk, and the deadlift, require low repetition numbers, with lots of recovery. CrossFit programs, though, primarily ask for maximum reps in the shortest period of time for these movements. The end result is participants following a generic program, with no thought of any long-term, achievable goals. Furthermore, CrossFit devotees are also at a high risk of injury due to the poor programming.

Often under-qualified trainers

Many CrossFit trainers have little more than a short CrossFit qualification course. This means many lack an in-depth, scientific understanding of exercise and the human body.

What about professional CrossFitters?

The CrossFit Games produces some incredible athletes, who perform almost superhuman feats. Surely this is an argument for the benefits of CrossFit? Unfortunately no. These star CrossFit athletes follow a specific, planned program, tailored to their performance outcomes. Strength, aerobic capacity, speed and weight lifting are all specifically-trained. The only time most of these athletes perform a WOD is the day of competition.