CrossFit : Suitable for everybody
From the marines to the housewife next door and from the professional athletes to the workaholic seeking vigorous exercise and relaxation, the solution is one: CrossFit. It is a new type of workout for the Greeks, which has apparently come to stay. But what and for whom is CrossFit?
Forget fitness and weight equipment, the classic abs and back, the endless hours on the treadmill and bike, along with the TV or music from your mp3. CrossFit, the new training method that started in the United States and is now rapidly expanding all over the world including Greece, combines everything you would want from a training session(fat burning, endurance, strength, muscle mass) and- most importantly – it is intended to all types of athletes, from beginners to advanced ones.
CrossFit is a programme, a 'routine' training, which combines a wide range of training methods. From rythmic gymnastics and weightlifting to powerlifting (deadlifts), squats, snatch, clean and jerk, sprints and long distance running. The CrossFit menu has ... a bit of everything!
CrossFit is a kind of "functional training", which means that it prepares trainees for any physical necessity that comes up from their daily occupations. It takes into consideration all sport and physical activities of the person examining the adjustments that must be done to improve the athlete skills.
The feature of CrossFit is the non-specialization. Its aim is to prepare trainees for random physical challenges through a wide range training programme.
Who can attend Crossfit?
CrossFit is referred to every healthy athlete, regardless age, without musculoskeletal problems (waist, knees). The training does not only focuses on strength or endurance, but its goal is to improve all ten characteristics that define the level of fitness: accuracy, balance, coordination, flexibility, courage, endurance, speed, power and strength.
Most important is that all exercises are adjusted according to the level of the trainee. That is the reason why a lot of people, after a few workouts, get more "enthusiastic" and want to attend, even at race level.
Who loves Crossfit? Everyone! Athletes of martial arts, working people on security forces, but also middle-aged women, who started, whishing just to improve their fitness. The experts of Crossfit clarify that "in CrossFit everyone is welcome!" Personal programmes are designed that meet the requirements, abilities and the strength of each trainee. Regarding CrossFit races, that were recently performed for the first time also in Greece, participants were invited to perform as many repetitions as possible, at predetermined exercises, such as jumping over boxes, deadlifts with specific weight, squats, pulls on the horizontal bar and more, within a predetermined time.
What does the training programme include?
A typical training consists initially of prolonged aerobic exercise through which polyarticular exercises are exclusively done. This programme could be described as ' basic' as it focuses on strengthening the "core" of the body.
For example, a typical routine WOD (Workout of the Day), ie the daily fitness programme in CrossFit, include : 20 turns (swings) with kettlebel, 10 leg openings , 20 push-ups, 20 abs (fast continuous abs without leaning the back on the ground), 20 backs or even 3 rounds without a break , comprised of 200 jumps with a rope, 20 abds and 10 burpees. And if all of this sounds ... Chinese to you, nobody said to start CrossFit without being informed before.
One of the most crucial questions for anyone who wants to do something new is the cost. According to experts of the sport, the ideal number of workouts is three times a week. Based on that, the cost ranges from 40 to 50 euros per month. Of course, we should highlight that the trainee in CrossFit is treated as an athlete and not as an exerciser.
Who should I address?
Anyone interested for CrossFit, should address someone who holds first of all the necessary know-how and can take responsibility in coaching a CrossFit athlete. The athlete himself should have patience and perseverance as well as the ability to evaluate his abilities, so as not to exceed his limits and get injured.
The vocabulary of CrossFit
Polyarticular exercise: These polyarticular exercises drill more than one muscle groups and increase the production of anabolic hormones (testosterone, growth hormone). This category includes the most important resistant exercises like squat, chest pushes, horizontal bar and movements of the jerk and the snatch.
Aerobic Exercise: Aerobic activities include walking, hiking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobic team programmes etc. The main methods of aerobic training are the continuous, interval (Interval Training) and circuit (Circuit Training). From the aerobic exercises mentioned above, cycling and running are the ones included in CrossFit.
Anaerobic exercise: The most common anaerobic exercises are exercises for strength, ie weights (either we raise the body weight or weight machines) and the sprints, ie fast running in short distances. Strengthening exercises use the resistance to muscular contraction to improve the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles.
Kettlebells: Kettlebells are metal fitness balls coming from Russia. This kind of training which was done by Russian athletes, has now "invaded" America, conquering more and more fans across the world. These strange weights build strength and endurance offering flexibility and balance. They are structured in a way so that in order to make a move and maintain balance, one must activate a lot of the muscles on his body.
Squat: It has to do with the well-known "seatups". From a standing position with the feet slightly open, the trainee does repeated seatups by bending his knees.
Deadlifts: It’s about weightlifting, which primarily train the back muscles and back and aim to empower. The experts recommend to be very careful about the proper placement of our body and if we are beginners not to exaggerate the weight that we raise. Although it is a very important exercise in CrossFit, it may become particularly dangerous if done without the guidance and supervision of an experienced CrossFit coach.
Burpees: This is a single exercise that combines strength and durability and can simultaneously help burn fat, build muscle mass and increase endurance. The so-called «Burpee» requires balance, strength and flexibility and does not require any special equipment or place. The Burpee is a complete physical exercise and is usually used to build strength and cardiovascular endurance.
A typical Burpee includes the following steps:
- Start in squat position (ie with bent knees) and put your hands in front on the floor, slightly more open than your shoulders width.
- Kick your legs backwards, keeping the upper body stable in a flexed position.
- Land on your toes keeping your body in a straight position and promptly return your legs to the starting squat position.
- From this position, jump as high as possible and return to squat position. This should be done as fast as you can without losing your balance.