I tried the mainsite WOD (this is the workout provided by the CrossFit HQ) for a few months back in the day. My thoughts on CrossFit based on my experience and in general:
- There is no programming behind CrossFit. Now, CrossFit proponents will extol that as a positive, you know, perpetual "muscle confusion", doing everything thus being good at everything, that whole shebang. However, after your initial adaptation occurs, say after 6 months, the lack of programming will become more and more of an issue. Why? Your body needs smart stimulus to adapt and get better, not random stimulus.
- Related to the first issue, the higher potential for injury. Many workouts, for example, are very shoulder intensive, thrusters, kipping pull-ups, sumo deadlift high pulls, overhead kettlebell swings, jerks, etc. This type of constant abuse of key joints increases the risk of injury, especially if you sacrifice form for time, which brings us to the next points...
- No standard behind the coaching. I can spend a few grand on a brief CrossFit certification course, and I am allowed to open my own CrossFit affiliate. How do you know your CrossFit coach knows what he's talking about? Because he is friendly, and because he owns his own gym? Because he has a CrossFit certification, which costs him money and a few days of time?
- Tendency to sacrifice form. Now, some will undoubtedly say "my box is good, we always teach form over time!". However, when you combine complex movements, such as the clean and jerk, and slap time constraints on them, form will breakdown. A popular CrossFit workout is 30 clean and jerks for time. This is dumb. Clean and jerks are lifts designed to help with the expression of power (fast expression of strength), not to develop muscle endurance. When you combine explosive technical lifts with fatigue and a desire to complete the workout as fast as possible, the chance of injury goes up significantly.
- CrossFit HQ is a cult that thinks puking and injury are badges of honor. Go to crossfit.com. Look at the alias of the user that posts the official WOD. "Pukie". Great. Then there's the infamous Uncle Rhabdo, a cartoony clown with an IV and spilled over guts and organs. Because when I think of fitness, I think of life threatening health issues and failing kidneys. Unprofessional at best, reckless at worst.
- I injured my shoulder. Somewhere in between the one arm dumbbell snatches and the pull-ups, it started hurting and I could not do pressing movements for a month. It has been fine ever since I quit CrossFit, but that was the only time I was injured and could not do certain workouts in my life.
Oh, that was hilarious and a little frightening. Thank you. I think.
Originally Posted by upupandaway
Her descriptions of the later sessions are less terrifying!
Okay, so we lucked out and somebody else shared my thoughts who meets your requirements for first hand experience.
Originally Posted by quikky
I share the belief that there is no programming behind crossfit WOD's... crossfit football (CrossFit Football | Strength & Conditioning for The Power Athlete) is the best I've seen and it is still random at times.
I think the higher rep (12-15) range is better for women where crossfit usually goes (if not higher), and studies have shown it is better for overall strength & muscle increases. On the flipside I believe the 3-5 and the 6-8 range (depending on exercise) is best for males.
I appreciate crossfit because it gets girls into the gym lifting compound barbell exercises. I think it can honestly get them "addicted" to the world of weightlifting, and set them up for future success. But longterm I personally can't recommend it
Why the difference for male vs. female in reps? I have been doing a mixture of both as I'm still not sure what is the best range for myself yet.
Originally Posted by dabears
male reps have a ........
Originally Posted by Stacy15
..short attention span?
Originally Posted by RichMahogany
I was going to say infantile sense of humor, but that works too!
Originally Posted by Stacy15
I've been doing CrossFit for 4 years and I've been a trainer for 3 years. I'm 44 years old and in the best shape of my life.
Quick answers to your questions:
1. No, not all CrossFit gyms are the same. Some are FAR, FAR better than others. It all comes down to the trainers.
2. Group pressure can be motivating for some people and it can be highly detrimental for others. I have people that I train that I have push and others that I have to rein in. A good trainer knows the people that they train.
3. People get retarded when the clock is running. As such, I don't allow any of the people that I train to do Olympic lifts for time. I'm also cautious about movements like deadlifts. Burpees can be sloppy, deadlifts and snatches can't.
4. We do not have any open gym times at our gym. However, we do allow our more experienced athletes to come in during regular class times and work independently.
We don't have any contracts at our gym. However, the owner does give a discount for paying for 6 months or 12 months up front. He is also very good about putting memberships on hold due to illness, injury, vacation, work, etc.
What I have found is that people either have a love-hate relationship with CrossFit or they just flat out hate it. The first thing I would ask the gyms you are considering is if they have an On-Ramp or beginner's class. We require all new members to go through a 12 session beginner program. The class size is limited to 6, the workouts slowly build up in intensity and a significant amount of time is spent learning the movements and assessing the new members. We also have a standard, uncomplicated workout that we will have people do if they are interested in trying out CrossFit. It's simple and gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect. It's usually at that point that people either say, "Wow, that sucked. I loved it!" or, "Wow, that sucked. Thanks, but no thanks."
I would also ask about their programming. I program all of the workouts for our gym. I use a spreadsheet and I keep track of the movements, time domains, heavy vs light vs body weight, etc. It's pretty nerdy, but well worth it. I also plan out our strength program for 12 to 16 weeks at a time. The strength program isn't just barbell movements either, it also includes body weight strength work. We also spend a decent amount of time doing mobility work.
Find out what kind of training the trainers have. I've taken a lot of CrossFit sponsored seminars and certifications. However, I do not rely solely on that training. I've done a lot of research on my own and attended many seminars and certifications not affiliated with CrossFit.
Finally, don't limit yourself to gyms with CrossFit in their name. Unfortunately, that's not a guarantee of the quality of training you'll receive. All that means is they've paid HQ a hefty amount of money to use the name. A lot of places use the term "Strength & Conditioning" in their name. Check those out as well.
Hopefully this helps. I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have or clarify anything in my reply.