Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cross fit, the debate continues..here is my take.

So cross fit seems to be the new fitness craze sweeping the world, with Reebok investing millions trying to make it a 'sport', and many more millions taking part. So why is it splitting the opinion of so many strength and conditioning professionals?

For those who have never heard of cross fit, it is made up of a set of exercises which can be gym based (e.g weight lifting exercises), random physical exercises (e.g. skipping, rope climbing, tyre flips and many many more), cardio based execises (e.g running, rowing, burpees etc etc), or body weight exercises (chins, press ups etc).The idea is to be able to complete a set number of exercises in a best time, then aim to improve that time the next time round.

So here are my list of pro's and con's to bear in mind when taking part.

Pro's;
- No one cane deny that cross fit makes for an hard work out, it is great for cardio, and a huge fat burner as the intensity is so high all the way through that your metabolism will be racing by the end.
- It creates a great camaraderie within the cross fit gym that you train at. Because of the mutual respect of those taking part (because it's so hard), you will struggle to find an atmosphere like it outside of a team sport.
- It is very varied, there are now hundreds of workout variations for people to take part in. It can also be done pretty much anywhere, as long as you have a good imagination.
-You will build muscle mass as the volume of weight you lift is huge.

The worries that I have;
-TECHNIQUE- This is cross fits major stumbling block, and where many strength and conditioners would like to step in. Cross fit uses some very technical lifts (power cleans, snatches), which take up to 6 months with a good S and C coach to master. For a beginner, these should be avoided until you have some advice. A good example of this was I had a friend who loves cross fit, and he was achieving fitness gains, but when I saw his power clean technique I cringed... I then saw his 'kipping' pull ups (which if you have not seen check out on youtube), which I could not get my head around at all. For me, if you can't do a proper chin up, work at it until you can, kipping=cheating, (I will get some abuse for this). Low and behold, within 8 weeks he was injured.
-Being strong enough- If you have read my blog before, you will know that I am a huge advocate of preparing your body physically before diving into running, cycling, and especially cross fit. If you are not strong enough in your legs, arms and core, as your body gets tired you will start to overcompensate with muscles that are not supposed to be working. This will inevitably cause injury.
-Being cv fit enough- Please do not go to cross fit after sitting on the sofa for 6 months, this is a hard workout and if you do, be prepared to puke!!

So in conclusion, if you are technically sound in your lifting techniques, and you think you have prepared yourself physically, cross fit is great, if not, get to this point before you begin.

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