Is Crossfit a sport or a training program?

Photo Courtesy: Jonathan Borba

The question of whether CrossFit is a sport or training program is one that has raged on for some time now. People are out to determine what it really is. 

In this piece, we will be going into the history of Crossfit to give us more insight into what it truly is. Pay attention to find out some truly interesting details. 

Crossfit was created to serve as a fitness program to help different classes of people boost their general fitness levels. 

Basically, it could be used as a fitness training for military troops, an off-season training for professional athletes, or a means for everyday people to get into great shape. 

Crossfit workouts became competitive as a result of the scoring mechanism employed. After its creation, it started to become popular and people worked harder for higher scores. 

This competitiveness led to the formation of the Crossfit games. The games started out quite simply with a backyard barbecue and 3 WODs in a single day. It was a new concept that hadn’t been previously heard of. 

Now, it has grown into something more serious with multiple events going on for several days. 

Classes of The Event 

As the game continued to evolve, Crossfit was split into two categories: 

  • Competitive Crossfit (Sport) 
  • OG Crossfit (fitness program). 

The goals of both programs were differentiated, and athletes had to train for each of them in unique ways. 

The goal of OG Crossfit or CrossFit as a fitness program is to help people/ athletes build themselves up in 10 vital physical areas namely muscular strength, balance, speed, agility, accuracy, power, muscular stamina, endurance, coordination, and flexibility. 

It is not a regular workout program. OG Crossfit places emphasis on form and quality of movement. 

Crossfit will celebrate its 10-year anniversary soon and the past decade has witnessed an increase in its popularity among fitness enthusiasts. 

The Crossfit Games championship has witnessed an increase in attendance and participating athletes every year. Everyone wants to take part in its intense practices and prove themselves.

However, Crossfit’s rise to fame hasn’t been without its downside. In fact, people all over the world have polarized views about its philosophy, culture, and practices. There have been endless discussions about the usefulness of Crossfit or if it is safe for athletes and professionals.

Athletes train to achieve perfect technique and flawless movement. There will also be a time for the body to relax and reduce breakdown. The relaxation technique is to allow the body to build up fitness and guarantee long term effects or progress. 

In a bid to keep athletes safe, the intensity, volume, and scale of their workout are closely monitored. Athletes have to be able to do enough to keep fit without hurting themselves or overdoing it. 

The training focuses on building these 10 physical areas by laying emphasis on a few at a time. Then, these areas are tested using benchmark WODs and max effort lifts. OG Crossfit is usually fixed for a 1-hour class which can take place 3 – 6 days per week.  

The goal of athletes in competitive Crossfit is for each athlete to achieve the highest scores possible in their respective competitions. In this competition, each athlete is focused on improving their weaknesses and scoring better. 

Competitive CrossFit will demand the following from athletes: max bodily strength, conditioning, advanced gymnastics, pacing, high volume gymnastics, and cycling submaximal loads. 

These athletes seek to achieve higher scores than others by quickly going through acceptable movement standards. During competitive CrossFit, there is no scaling. 

To achieve this, they go through rigorous training. Their daily training sessions are more than an hour, sometimes extending into 2 hours or through multiple daily workout sessions. On average, they train about 5 days a week. 

The difference between both types of Crossfit is in how the athlete approaches their daily WOD. If you’re doing the Crossfit for your personal fitness, it would do you a lot of good to do it under the supervision of a coach. 

Pay attention to your coach and understand the goal of your workout. This supervision is the best way to avoid straining yourself and getting injured. 

There will be times when your coach could want you to focus on maximal intensity while other times, he could prefer that you stick to pacing. 

If you’re practicing on a competitive basis, the goal will be to achieve the highest score possible. It will also teach you how to strategize for the real deal. 

Is Crossfit Dangerous?

Any object or activity can quickly become dangerous if not done or handled properly, including basic calisthenics for beginners if you don’t go about it the right way. This scenario is the same case with Crossfit. 

Many people are quick to point out that the intensity of Crossfit workouts is responsible for numerous injuries in athletes. Is this theory true or only a mistaken perception?

According to a study held by the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, injury rates in Crossfit workouts are similar to those in other sports such as gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, and powerlifting. 

However, it is lower when compared with contact sports such as rugby, football, etc. This study shows that Crossfit may not be any more dangerous than regular activities that we engage in. 

The problem with Crossfit practices is that they are not meant for everybody. The high intensity of the movements and their physical demands makes untrained individuals or novice exercisers prone to injury risks. More consideration should be given to how to protect these set of people. 

A great solution would be to hire a fitness coach to perform an assessment on the exerciser and monitor the quality of their movement. 

The coach would also help to ensure a safe environment during the workout. By doing this, virtually anyone can jump on the Crossfit bandwagon while reducing the risk of sustaining injuries. 

Crossfit is growing increasingly popular and looks like it’s here to stay. Thousands of people are trying it out and getting impressive results.

As much as we all try to enjoy its new practices and use them to our advantage, exercisers also have to look out for themselves. 

Crossfit is a sport and a training program, but it all depends on you and how far you decide to go.