CrossFit in Dubai: All you need to know

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If you live in Dubai, love fitness, and want to take part in a massive, four-day celebration of both, you’re in luck – enter the Dubai CrossFit Championship. It is a four-day, CrossFit sanctioned competition in which many of the world’s fittest, most hardcore athletes go toe to toe in a series of gut-wrenching challenges, all hosted in Dubai, UAE.

It isn’t all about butting heads, though. There is a lot to love in the team-building aspect of CrossFit Games. Two of its chief objectives are to both bring together teams and athletes from all over the world, and to inspire everyone to get involved in a healthy, active lifestyle.

CrossFit is one of the most challenging fitness systems in the world. It is one of the most physically challenging endeavours any of us might ever face, if we involve ourselves in it. Their games reflect this – since its inception in 2012, the CrossFit Championship has consistently supported and garnered support from some of the highest calibre CrossFit athletes in the world, whilst challenging allcomers to perform brutal feats of physical strength and stamina.


CrossFit in a nutshell

The past decade or so has seen CrossFit explode into a global phenomenon. It has grown from a relatively obscure training philosophy into one of the best-known training systems in the world. Box gyms – CrossFit specific training centres – are everywhere these days, having begun to spring up in the late noughties and 2010s.

Nowadays, there are over 13,000 affiliated gyms in 120 countries, with 7,000 alone in the US. It has also come to the UAE in style, with the inaugural Dubai CrossFit Championship beginning in 2012, to great success.

Online qualifier athletes travelled to Dubai from all over the world to compete across the many CrossFit gyms, boxes and venues that the city boasts. The finals came a few weeks later, providing a great platform for the local fitness community to thrive and compete amongst themselves.

The championship’s popularity was obvious from the first. Since then, it has flourished. By 2017, fuelled by the event’s mounting success and the ability to qualify online, athletes were beginning to flood into Dubai from all over the world.

In fact, a total of 72 athletes took part in the 2017 championship. Between them, they represented 19 different countries from 4 continents.

This is great. It’s always good to see global destinations like Dubai playing host to elite athletes. However, this isn’t the point of CrossFit – or, at least, it wasn’t at its start. The point is to get everyday people into peak physical fitness, inspiring everyone to take part.

Luckily, there are no end of opportunities for anyone in Dubai to practice CrossFit, either in dedicated boxes or in high-quality lifter’s gyms throughout the city.


Training for CrossFit

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning workout that is made up of functional movement performed at a high intensity level, taking its cue from similar high intensity styles like HIIT and circuit training.

CrossFit workouts generally revolve around a ‘WOD’ – a ‘workout of the day’. Members can find these on the CrossFit website, with all info needed on how to perform and complete them, and all members will complete them.

There is also a substitutions section on their FAQ page that suggests places to find level appropriate workouts.

CrossFit pride themselves on making their workouts ‘functional’. Realistically, this means that all of the exercises they use closely mimic actions and movements we all use in our everyday lives, including fundamental functional movements like:

  • Squatting
  • Lunging
  • Jumping
  • Running
  • Hinging
  • Pushing
  • Pulling

WODs will all be focussed on these kinds of movements, as will CrossFit training more broadly. Bodyweight and weighted movements are all common, with movements incorporated from disciplines like calisthenics, weightlifting, powerlifting and Strongman being prominent.

CrossFit claim (with a good degree of evidence to back them up) that their workouts are so effective because they emphasis load, distance and speed. This all helps trainees to develop high levels of power and athletic functionality.

They are also incredibly varied in the exercises and equipment they use. CrossFit workouts may utilize different equipment to accomplish a great range of variety, including:

  • barbells
  • dumbbells
  • kettle bells
  • rowers and bikes
  • medicine balls
  • speed ropes
  • rings
  • plyo boxes
  • TRX cables


Training in Dubai: try CrossFit at GymNation

There are many CrossFit gyms in Dubai and across the UAE. The championship itself is hosted across multiple venues. If you’re living in Dubai and want a good place to train, there are a few options. However, of these, GymNation venues stand head and shoulders above competitors for their affordable, flexible plans and range of equipment, specialities and classes.

Gymnation are at the top of the industry for value for money. They have venues throughout Dubai, all of which boast an urban, industrial aesthetic combined with top-quality equipment, hundreds of free, world-leading classes per month and separate areas for boxing, lifting, cardio and studio work. They are low cost, don’t trap you into any contracts, and have a friendly, community vibe whilst delivering expert fitness services.

GymNation will be perfect for you if you want a great space CrossFit training, for taking part in WODs, for learning correct barbell movements, and for generally putting yourself through your paces.