CrossFit - What is it
We’ve all had that friend or co-worker who is obsessed with fitness, with pushing themselves, with testing their mettle. Good, there’s nothing wrong with this and everything right with it. You may also have that one acquaintance who does this in a CrossFit gym- they show off about their latest WOD scores, tell you in detail about every lift and every burpee they have performed over the last month, and always seem to be taking part in superhuman endeavors whilst apparently walking away from it all unscathed.
This is CrossFit: this is what it means to take part in CrossFit training in Dubai.
It’s hard- brutal, even- and sometimes superhuman. It can get people hooked.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit training grown immensely in popularity over the past few years. CrossFit Box gyms suddenly seemed to be popping up across the world in the late noughties and 2010s. 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.
CrossFitters themselves are often described as a little cult-like- they become so obsessed with CrossFit training that they seem to devote themselves fully, mind, body, and soul, to the cause. There doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground, here: you either love CrossFit unconditionally and preach its virtues to everyone you know, or you don’t get involved at all. It’s rare to find somebody who just quite likes it and goes along a little bit.
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 uses a standard ‘workout of the day’ (CrossFit WOD) that all members complete on the same day. The daily workout can be found for free on their website, alongside a guide on everything needed to take part.
CrossFit also tries to be ‘functional’. Essentially, this means that the movements involved in every exercise should mimic an action that you will use in your daily life. Squatting, lunging, pulling, pushing, and running all form a core of functional movements around which many WODs are built. Weight-lifting and bodyweight resistance exercises are also incredibly common, with movements borrowed from such disparate disciplines and facets as powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and bodybuilding compounds.
AMRAP is also pretty common in a CrossFit training session. AMRAP stands for either ‘as many reps as possible’ or ‘as many rounds as possible’. This can mean either as many reps in one set as possible or as many reps or rounds in a given amount of time.
WODs (workouts of the day) commonly make use of AMRAP timings. A WOD may consist of a circuit that you have to complete as many times in a given period, or an exercise that you need to perform for as many reps as possible in a given time.
CrossFit workouts are so effective because they emphasize load, distance and speed, which helps trainees to develop high levels of power. 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:
- Rowers and bikes
- Medicine balls
- Speed ropes
- Plyo boxes
- TRX cables
The CrossFit Training Lifestyle
The CrossFit lifestyle, can be incredibly healthy: it is characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. CrossFit can be used to accomplish any goal, from improved health and aerobic fitness to muscle gain (hypertrophy) to weight loss, to better performance. The program can be made to work for everyone, at all levels.
Workouts are constantly being updated, so they are different every day. They are always fresh and innovative (and always suitably challenging), with progression in mind. They are adaptable, meaning that most people at most levels can take part.
There is also quite a strong community focus in CrossFit (again, a little cultish in some people’s eyes, or strong and inspiring in others’). There are boxes (CrossFit gyms) all over the world, alongside myriad clubs, societies, and social groups.
All in all, CrossFit training is intense- both in the physicality involved, and the level of commitment that many CrossFitters give to the movement. However, the rewards are there for the taking: whatever your fitness goals, CrossFit training will likely inspire you towards them whilst making them enjoyable and achievable.