Let me first say that I have a bachelor’s of science degree in kinesiology from Lincoln Memorial University. Kinesilogy is the “study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement.” I am also currently studying to take my Certified Strength and Conditioning test by the end of the year. So basically, I know a good bit about how the body works and how to strengthen and condition it. That being said, half of me does not like the somewhat new exercise craze that is CrossFit, and the other half loves it.
Let me explain.
The half of me that wants to see a more fit nation and is currently working on getting myself whipped back into shape (I let myself go a little after college baseball and have just been maintaining) loves the fact that people are getting out there and participating in something that obviously works and is getting people into shape. Better yet, people are having FUN doing it. Going to the gym and having a set routine can be boring to some. CrossFit mixes it up and I’ve seen it help many people. There are a lot of positives to be had by people doing CrossFit.
CrossFit, for those who don’t know (and have been living under a rock for several years), is a program that was founded in 2000 and has really only recently become popular. CrossFit is based on the idea of High-Intensity Interval Training (HITT) which is the idea that more intense exercise in less time is more effective.
But it’s also more dangerous.
From what I’ve seen and read on CrossFit, there isn’t as big of a focus on mechanics as there is in traditional weight training. CrossFit teaches you to accept the discomfort in your body and push yourself to the limit. This is all fine and dandy, until you start to get tired and start to lose proper technique. But, in CrossFit, you are always racing against the clock and told to get in as many reps as possible in the allotted time. So you continue to do that exercise with the wrong form and it causes discomfort. Well, in CrossFit, you ignore that feeling and push on, which could lead to some serious injuries.
CrossFit is big on the workout of the day, or WOD. An example of a WOD is this: 100-meter run, two Burpes, two deadlifts of 185 pounds (could vary), and two pullups. All of these are done over and over for 20 minutes, and you have to complete as many as you can. Now, call me crazy, but I would think that toward the end of that 20 minutes, you’re going to be struggling with keeping proper form on that deadlift. Another thing that makes me wence are the squats in CrossFit. During a proper squat, the quads should never go further than a 90-degree angle. Any more than that and you’re just asking for knee problems. Yet, you can google CrossFit squats and the pictures you see are of people squating so low that their back ends are about to touch the ground, which is wrong.
Now, I’m not saying that every CrossFit gym and every member in those gyms is doing it wrong. I know we have at least two forms of CrossFit right here in Hillsboro. One is right around the corner from my office. I know of a few people that go there and can tell you that it is working for them. Shoot, I wouldn’t mind doing a little CrossFit myself – maybe write a follow-up column on the experience later. You may be reading a more in-deptch feature on the subject here soon.
Basically, to each their own. I do a circuit twice a week that is similiar to a CrossFit workout; however, I do each exercise for 30 seconds and or until I start to lose form. Not 20 minutes, no matter what. But like I said before, I can’t argue with something that gets people up and out of the house and exercising. So, I guess you could say I’m for CrossFit, ONLY if it’s done with proper form. It already has a stigma surrounding it of not really taking care to follow form. So if you want to get into CrossFit, I would say go for it. Just make sure you know how to do the things you are doing and that the whole “no pain, no gain” line only goes so far.
Robert Stegbauer can be contacted at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.