Just watching someone do CrossFit is inspiring and intimidating at the same time. A large part of the videos you’ll see in the media focus on showing experienced athletes doing box jumps and lifting heavy weights. While this form of training will get your body fit enough to do these bursts of exercise sets, the truth is that you don’t have to be super sporty to jump into CrossFit.
Fortunately, getting into this type of training only requires you to have a positive mindset and willingness to adapt the workout of the day to fit your abilities. Learning how it all works helps you begin your training at home or in the gym with the knowledge you need to stay safe and maximize your workout time.
What Is the True CrossFit Definition?
The CrossFit training program uses high intensity exercises that focus on using the same functional movements that people need to use every day. With CrossFit, you’ll see people doing squats, pulls and lifts just like you might do when sitting in a chair or reaching for an object on a shelf.
The only difference is that you’ll be increasing the intensity of these movements by using weights, ropes and other fitness equipment that force your muscles to work harder.
Why Is CrossFit So Effective for Fitness?
CrossFit incorporates several methods that help people improve their fitness levels. The high intensity exercises are geared toward getting your heart rate into the top of its target zone. Once you get into the zone, the exercise has the effect of strengthening your stamina and helping your body burn more calories.
For example, recent studies have shown that women doing CrossFit got their heart rates up to within 90% of their maximum, and they burned an average of 12.3 calories per minute of their workouts.
This form of training is also effective because it keeps your body guessing by changing how you move your body from one day to the next.
A traditional training program includes setting up a workout of the day, and everyone does it to the best of their abilities. In other words, one day, the focus might be on doing jumps and squats. The next day may be all about your arms. This gives you a total body workout that challenges every muscle group throughout the week.
Is CrossFit for Beginners?
One of the best things you’ll discover about this training is that CrossFit exercises are adaptable. If your workout of the day involves doing deadlifts, then you’ll use the appropriate amount of weight for your body type and fitness level.
You’ll also find that many of the intervals encourage you to achieve your personal best amount of reps rather than being told to do a specific number. This gives you room to experiment and learn about how much your body can handle.
As a beginner, you may need to learn some traditional CrossFit lingo to understand a workout or what your instructor is saying. These are a few of the most common acronyms and terms that you’ll run across.
- WOD – Very important terminology, as it’s the “Workout of the Day”
- AMRAP – For best success, do “As Many Reps or Rounds as Possible”
- EMOM – Means “Every Minute on the Minute”
- Ladder – A series of exercises that involves increasing the reps by one every time you repeat one
- PR – Personal Record, which refers to when you hit your personal best in an exercise
How Do You Stay Safe While Doing CrossFit?
Safety is a serious concern any time that you are starting a new fitness program. CrossFit enthusiasts have reported injuries, but whether or not the rates are higher than they are for other forms of training is still unknown. The one thing that is known is that you can reduce your chances of injury by making sure that you maintain proper form throughout your workouts.
Bear in mind that when you are trying to do AMRAP, it is easy to start cutting corners and allow your body to fall out of proper posture. Making sure that every movement is executed perfectly helps you to avoid overloading a muscle and developing a strain or sprain. You can also protect yourself from injuries by wearing supportive knee sleeves and proper footwear.
How to Start Crossfit Training at Home
You can absolutely do CrossFit workouts at home, and you can start off with only using your bodyweight for many CrossFit training exercises. The AMRAP “Cindy” is an extremely popular beginning WOD routine if you want to try it out.
To do the Cindy, set a stopwatch and continually cycle through 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats until the timer goes off. Don’t fret if you can’t smash pull-ups or pushups right away, as you can always modify them to a form that works for your physique.
As you get more into CrossFit, you might want to add some equipment to increase the intensity of your workouts. Many home CrossFit set-ups include dumbbells and kettlebells of various weights. You might also want to add a pull-up bar that attaches to a doorway as well as a treadmill if you live in an area where you might find it hard to get outside for sprints.
If you are completely new to CrossFit, then you might want to work with an instructor at first just to make sure that you use proper form as you perform each movement.
CrossFit is more than just a trendy way to work out; it is a lifestyle. As your body begins to grow stronger, you’ll notice that you also care more about what you put inside of it to keep you fueled as well as what you wear during your workouts. Choosing to make your fitness journey benefit all aspects of your health maximizes every minute of your next WOD.