My relationship with CrossFit expanded a few months ago when I was assigned a new client that engaged in CrossFit outside of workouts at the gym. My assignment was to assist her with balance, stabilization and grip strength. While I already knew a little bit about CrossFit and its approach to training, I had little experience in actually training CrossFitters.
After all, they have CrossFit coaches for that right?
Could a CES PES (Corrective Exercise and Sports Performance) Coach help a CrossFitter achieve better WOD (Workout of the Day) times and skills?
The answer is yes, and the CES,PES CPT learned to love CrossFit as well. Since then I’ve picked up a few more avid CrossFit clients and established my own leader board for HIIT and CrossFit WOD’s. My non-CrossFit clients love it and my CrossFit clients like getting the extra love. I would say my relationship with CrossFit has been beneficial for both of us.
I know that there are many trainers out there that don’t think very highly of CrossFit, or CrossFitter’s for that matter. I also know there are trainers out there that are labeling some shady high intensity interval training (SHIIT) program they cobbled together and call it CrossFit simply to attract clients.
Neither is a good thing. To my fellow trainers,there are a few facts you should realize: (1) CrossFit is most likely here to stay. (2) Just because you call your (S)HIIT CrossFit does not make it so…this goes double if YOU have never trained in CrossFit.
You would be quite upset if a certified CrossFit coach came over to the gym, picked a few exercises without concern of how, or what they actually worked and told gym clients that it would get them the body of a bodybuilder right? You know you would.
There are things that I like, and dislike about CrossFit. I feel that I can provide a pretty fair and balanced ruling on this matter.
Things I like:
1. Sense of Community: CrossFit is a group activity. CrossFitters meet and greet each other and have a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition with each other, and themselves.
Unless you have a workout partner or trainer you’re on your own in the gym.
2. Real sense of self. CrossFit WOD’s do two things quite well. Show you your weak spots and strong suits. Can run pretty good but can’t do a pull-up to save your life? CrossFit will let you know.
In the gym you can get around exercises you hate (AKA Things you Suck at) by doing exercises that you like (AKA Things you Don’t suck at.) Perfect example, how many guys you see excel at chest and bicep exercises yet you never see them squat? CrossFit? Yeah, you’re going to Squat alright…quite deeply may I add.
3. Simplicity: The methods of CrossFit make use of our primal movements: Push,Pull,Squat,Hoist,Lift,Lunge,Run, Hop and Jump and take place in all three planes of movement. Relatively simple equipment is used to these effects.
All these elements can be done outside of CrossFit as well, but many trainers don’t take advantage of these exercises. I will admit that there are machines in my gym that I have never touched and would actually have to sit down to figure out how to operate. These same machines seem to be pretty popular with a lot of other trainers. The restricted single plane of movement presented by the machines is an admitted turn-off for me.
“It was a bad day when Cathy learned her Zumba classes and curls in the squat rack weren’t the way to go.”
4. In CrossFit, Function (how the body moves) takes precedence over Form (how the body looks.)
In bodybuilding, Form takes precedence over Function. Muscles are judged on their size, symmetry and presentation. I personally subscribe to Function over Form, so there may indeed be some bias on this one. My belief is that continued training on function will lead to form, while training strictly for form may not lead to function.
A fine example of function leading to form. She can lift a heavy object and looks great doing it.
5. CrossFit proves that women can lift heavy things and NOT GET BULKY!
The same is true in the gym, however this is probably where the myth came from in the first place.
An empty beer keg weighs 30lbs, a full keg weighs 130lbs. No matter how heavy that thing is I can promise a things: (1) She has lifted that keg weight many times before. (2) She didn’t get bulky lifting it (although she would if she drank it.)
Things I don’t like about CrossFit.
1. Questionable Coaches: This of course is the same gripe I have with Personal Trainers. A CrossFit certification is a weekend course and exam. This is a live event where your skill must be demonstrated and appraised along with a written exam. Physically it is quite demanding and I understand the written test is not overly easy.
My gripes with questionable Personal Trainers are well known here on Mytrainerchris.
2. WOD Constructs. Some of the WOD’s I have seen put together from actual CrossFit boxes have given me pause. What I have seen from some equates to a massive overload of lifts that can wreck havoc on the joints and is inviting injury.
I have similarly seen Personal Trainers put clients through exercises that seemed to make no sense whatsoever, similarly inviting havoc and injury..or worse, compounding existing injuries.
To my CrossFit friends out there, do what you love, love what you do. Squat Deeper,Again and Faster.
To my CrossFit hating friends out there, don’t be so quick to judge. The world is big enough for CrossFit and your Biceps.