CrossFit is a workout system that has revolutionized the fitness industry.
However, a lot of people assume you need to be an experienced lifter or go to an expensive class to get the benefits of CrossFit.
To dispel that myth we have put together this guide on what CrossFit is exactly, what exercises it includes, and how it can be performed safely at home.
Let’s start from the beginning.
What Is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a complete workout routine that was originated by Greg Glassman in 2000.
This fitness regimen is endorsed as a wholesome physical activity and a competitive sport, which includes elements of weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, cardio workout, core training, and more.
The workout routine is designed for people of all shapes and sizes to improve their physical and cardiovascular fitness in a boosting, result-driven environment.
Here are a few definitions of CrossFit from their official website:
“CrossFit offers a fitness program that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive.”
“CrossFit is a lifestyle characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. CrossFit can be used to accomplish any goal, from improved health to weight loss to better performance. The program works for everyone—people who are just starting out and people who have trained for years.”
“CrossFit claims that a person is as fit as they are skilled in each of ten general physical characteristics: speed, stamina, strength, power, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, flexibility, balance agility, accuracy, and coordination.”
“The fitness that CrossFit promotes and develops requires competency and training in three metabolic pathways – the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning or “cardio” that is done in this regimen.”
Can CROSSFIT Be Done At Home?
Don’t worry if you do not have the time or money to go to a CrossFit gym on a daily basis.
The good news is there are a bunch of CrossFit circuits that can be performed anywhere, including a home. One thing to ensure when starting CrossFit at home is that you have enough space.
Many CrossFit workouts require empty space so you can easily perform the exercises without bumping into stuff.
When you constantly have to stop and move around things, you do not benefit much from your workout.
Go through the circuits you want to do at home and roughly measure the space you will require to do these physical activities.
Once you have figured that out, clear the space of any unnecessary furniture and place your workout equipment.
Is CrossFit Dangerous?
As it must be clear by now, CrossFit does not focus on just one particular type of workout regimen.
It consists of a variety of exercises, which is what makes it so exciting and suitable for all kinds of people.
CrossFit ranges from simple to medium to hardcore to everything else in-between workouts.
While the easy exercises pose no threat, the same can’t be said about the high-intensity ones that include the use of unorthodox fitness tools.
An amateur with little know-how of these functional training programs may end up injuring themselves; more so if they perform them without abiding by safety precautions – not wearing protective gear, or practicing in an unsafe environment.
To build a sense of community, some workout sessions are turned into a competition, making them highly motivational yet challenging. CrossFit delivers results and is truly impressive in that way.
That said, it involves a high risk of injury if an average person performs them without any professional supervision.
CrossFit is safe and reliable if you remain careful. As a beginner, you should start with basic workout sessions and advance toward a more vigorous and strenuous regimen.
As long as you are equipped with the right gear and equipment and perform workouts by the book, you have nothing to worry about.
Difference Between CrossFit And Normal Exercising
Confused over how different CrossFit is from other forms of exercises?
Well, here are 6 ways CrossFit varies from regular exercises:
1. CrossFit Is a Union of Several Exercises
Unlike normal exercising, CrossFit combines different forms of exercises, including pull-ups, lunges, squats, jumping jacks and ropes, and lots more.
Since the workout regimen aims to improve both internal and external health, it comprises of a variety of exercises.
Thanks to the versatility of this workout form – people turn out to be well-rounded athletes. This is an advantage you can’t expect from normal exercise.
2. CrossFit Is Intense
CrossFit is usually taken up because it’s highly intensive.
In fact, high-intensity training is crucial to achieving the fitness goals boasted by the founders of CrossFit, such as increasing muscle mass, improving the cardiac capacity, increasing the lactate threshold, etc.
Therefore, athletes are asked to perform complex, increasingly high-intensity exercises for a specific period of time on a regular basis.
3. CrossFit is Highly Functional
By this, we do not mean that other forms of exercises are not functional.
It’s just that CrossFit is more functional in the sense that it can help you out in plenty of daily activities such as opening a tight lid on a jar in a single twist, moving a heavy object from one place to another, or helping yourself to catch the bus, etc.
All of this is made possible due to the exercises CrossFit focuses on, such as sprints, push-ups, squats, deadlifts, bench-presses – all the exercises that strengthen each body part.
4. CrossFit Can Be Supremely Social
Today, CrossFit has become a modern-day social club where fitness enthusiasts and athletes come together to train and meet like-minded people with a common aim to improve their physical and mental well-being.
5. Every Day You Learn Something New
CrossFit is dynamic, as you get to try something new every day. Because of this reason, the workout regimen never gets boring. Every day, you can look forward to a new form of exercise.
On the other hand, if you go to the gym, the workout routine may end up becoming boring and repetitive.
Most exercises are not even customizable. But CrossFit is adaptable and can be tweaked according to the athlete.
6. CrossFit Is a Mix of Both Cardio and Strength
Unlike most regular exercises that are all about strength and endurance, CrossFit is a perfect combination of cardio and strength.
CrossFit makes a conscious effort to strengthens both your anaerobic and aerobic systems.
It achieves so by asking you to perform as many reps of exercises as you can in a specific window of time and performs as many reps of other forms of exercises until you drop.
Is CrossFit Expensive?
Truth be told, CrossFit is quite costly for an economical person on a strict budget.
CrossFit gyms are about $200 a month for an unlimited membership, which is a hefty price to pay for a person with modest financial means.
Sadly, there isn’t an option for limited access membership that can ease the burden of paying such a huge amount in the first instance.
The reason why CrossFit can be so expensive is because the equipment used for such a workout regimen is expensive.
Plus, you get a specialized environment to practice vigorous exercises with ease and under the supervision of expert coaches and trainers.
How To Perform CrossFit At Home?
So what if you can’t afford to or make time to go to a CrossFit box?
You can start the regimen at home. Here are some tips on how to start CrossFit at home:
Finding the Right Sources for Exercise Examples
This should be your first step if you’re looking to develop a complete understanding of how CrossFit works.
You should attend an introductory class in a box near you. Please note there are thousands of CrossFit affiliates in over 150 countries.
Depending on your current location, you can find a CrossFit box that is convenient for you.
However, don’t settle for the first CrossFit box you come across. Compare and contrast between several boxes near you and choose the one that suits you the best.
To make things easy and convenient, you can find authentic CrossFit boxes from their official website. In case the circuit has its own website, study it to learn more about it.
Once you have picked out a suitable CrossFit box for yourself, you should visit the place.
This is critical when it comes to evaluating the quality of the box. CrossFit doesn’t maintain quality control for each affiliate even though it pays them a certain fee every year.
Therefore, the quality can vary. When visiting each box, observe the following:
- See how clean the area and equipment is
- Observe how large the space is
- Check whether or not some classes are cleaner than others
- Make sure the owner and trainer are trained in CPR and First Aid
- Employees specifically hired for handling emergencies
While you are searching for the best CrossFit box in your area, make sure to talk to the coach of each circuit you visit.
You want to ensure that you work with the best coach out there who is qualified and skilled for the job.
The only way to determine the capability and potential of the coach is by interviewing them. By talking to these coaches, you will learn a great deal about CrossFit itself.
Talking to different coaches about the same topic will also broaden your horizon.
While you are at it, do ask them about their background, references, and overall experience.
Check whether the coach has the required qualifications, and if they do, then ask for proof. You should also ask them questions regarding the diet you should follow pre- and post-workout.
Once you have chosen your preferred box, take a free introductory class to get an idea of how to go a CrossFit regimen is done.
You can also get yourself enrolled for a level 1 certification course to learn beginner’s movements and forms so that you can easily practice the regimen on your own at home.
Getting the Required Gear
You can’t perform CrossFit safely (and efficiently) if you don’t have the right gear. Here is the workout gear you should have to ensure optimum workout performance.
Hand grips come in handy while using pull-up bars and barbells. They help protect your hands from the “burning sensation” that every beginner feels when starting out.
However, the issue is that many athletes begin to overly rely on grips during their workouts, which prevents them from developing tougher hands.
So, a piece of advice – only use hand grips for safety purposes, like when you’re at the very end of your set and you need the extra support.
Knee wraps or sleeves help bring stabilization in squats or in any other form of leg movement.
If you have a knee injury or issue, then you should definitely wear knee wraps or sleeves as they will protect you from further injuries.
Lifting shoes (also called OLY shoes) are also an important piece of gear as they bring stability to your exercises.
Additionally, they can help you lift more with ease and comfort. Lifting shoes also prevent you from trips and falls and other such accidents.
If you’re someone with poor wrist and shoulder mobility, wraps will make a world of difference.
You will be able to do overhead squats and weightlifting without injuring your wrist or arms. You should wear wrist wraps every time you engage in a CrossFit exercise.
Also known as lifting belts, weight belts help you strengthen your core. But mainly, it acts as a safety belt during heavy lifts.
Avoid using a lifting belt if you are injured and think that putting on a belt will protect you.
Also, people with a history of hernias or a diastasis after pregnancy should not use a lifting belt during their CrossFit sessions.
It’s always best to take a professional’s advice before picking out gear for your CrossFit workout.
Taking Safety Precautions
CrossFit can be a heavy, rigorous workout regime, so beginners should take certain precautionary measures:
Take Care of Your Body
When working out, see how a particular exercise is making you feel. If something doesn’t feel right, you should stop right away and confide in your mentor or seek a doctor’s advice.
Did you know that you can lose about ½ liters of water for every hour of exercise?
Considering this, the importance of staying hydrated cannot be stressed enough. Drink water before, during, or after a CrossFit workout.
Make sure you wear the necessary protective gear to avoid getting injured.
Workout injuries can be dangerous and can even cause serious fractures or broken bones. If you do not follow safety protocols, you can end up hurting yourself.
Be Aware of the Weather
Choose athletic wear according to the weather. If it’s blazing hot, do not cover yourself in too much clothing.
Make sure to wear sunscreen if you are perform your CrossFit workout in an open area that receives a lot of sunlight.
Do the Right Way
Before you perform an exercise, especially a complex one, make sure you know how to do it.
Learn the right technique from an online source or from your trainer. There are many videos online that can provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to try a CrossFit exercise.
5 Beginner CrossFit Exercises You Can Do At Home
There are so many CrossFit exercises that you can do without any coaching or training per se.
Here are the top 5 of these foundational workout activities to try it at your home.
The half cindy consists of three forms of exercises – pull-ups, push-ups, and squats. First, you have to perform five pull-ups and then move to push-ups with no rest in between.
Perform it ten times and then do fifteen squats, making sure you take no break while making the switch from one exercise to another.
The total amount of time to dedicate to this exercise is 10 minutes.
Cindy is an upgrade to the half cindy workout. Just like a half cindy, it is super simple yet effective. In this exercise, the pattern remains the same i.e., pull-ups, push-ups, and squats.
However, the amount of time devoted to this workout session is 20 minutes in total. So, you have to perform five pull-ups, ten push-ups, and fifteen air squats. Repeat again until the allocated time is up.
This is a staple in CrossFit gyms across the world. For this workout, you should do 50 double-unders, then 50 sit-ups, followed by 40 double-unders, then 40 sit-ups.
Repeat double-unders and sit-ups 30 times and then 20 times in the same order. This rigorous exercise helps instill endurance and strength in you.
Lunge Sit Ups
This is a lesser-known exercise that gives you a lean stomach and helps you develop your core muscles. In the lunge sit ups, you have to lay face up (directing upward) on the ground.
Place your hands behind your head. Now, spread your legs straight in a V shape and then bend one of your knees a little and crunch your body toward your leg and then lower your body back, making sure you do not come to lay back completely on the ground.
In jumping lunges, you stand straight and jump your left leg forward, then your right leg backward. This is called a lunge. Make sure both your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
Now, jump up and switch your legs in midair and then come back in a lunge with your right leg in front. Continue doing these lunges back and forth without stopping for breaks.
You don’t need to go to the gym to perform CrossFit exercises.
You can turn a spacious room in your home into a CrossFit gym. As a beginner, you can do these exercises with just your body weight.
But if you want to take things to another level, add some kettlebells and dumbbells to your routine.
Always start with simple, basic CrossFit exercises, and once you have mastered them, increase the level of intensity.
Some exercises will be heavy and challenging, but the only way to master them is to practice as much as you can. And while at it, be patient.
You’ll see results soon enough.