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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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February 24 2008

CrossFit

By Aaron
84 Comments

Ever heard of it?

If you are a regular to MDA and you subscribe to a Primal Health lifestyle I’m guessing it is likely. If not, now you have.

Crossfit is a type of physical training that blends power lifting, gymnastics and sprinting. Why do we like it? Because it fairly closely aligns with our Primal fitness philosophy in which variety, weight-bearing activity and anaerobic exercise is key. Here is a great description of CrossFit:

CrossFit maintains that proficiency is required in each of 10 fitness domains: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. CrossFit uses free weights, kettlebells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars and many calisthenics exercises. CrossFit may call on athletes to skip, run, row, climb ropes, jump up on boxes, flip giant tires, and carry odd objects. They can also squat and explode up to bounce medicine balls against walls.

CrossFit workouts typically call for athletes to work hard and fast, often with no rest. Many CrossFit gyms use scoring and ranking systems, transforming workouts into sport. CrossFit publishes its own journal and certifies its own trainers. Many CrossFit athletes and trainers see themselves as part of a contrarian insurgent movement that questions conventional fitness wisdom.

via Wikipedia

Contrarian insurgent movement? Challenging conventional wisdom? Sounds like our kind of program.

All right. Enough talking! Let’s see CrossFit in action.

Don’t let the first video fool you. CrossFit isn’t just for beefy dudes. As CrossFit NYC’s site states, “CrossFit workouts are functional, varied and intense. They also scale to any ability level–our members range from elite athletes to eighty-something grandmothers…”

We’ll be covering Crossfit in more detail down the road, so stay tuned!

If this is the first time you have heard of CrossFit let us know what you think! If you are a ripped, seasoned Crossfit veteran we’d love to hear from you too. Drop us a line!

Further Reading:

Mark’s Beach Sprints

Official CrossFit Site

More YouTube Crossfit Videos

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84 thoughts on “CrossFit”

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  1. I’ve been following both Crossfit and your site for a while now. They are a match made in heaven. Their workouts are brutal. It’s all about living the Primal life, baby!

  2. Here here! Crossfit is fantastic in my book. The workouts are short and intense. My workouts in a day are less than 10 min sometimes and I’m completely whooped. Between not eating much sugar and grains and Crossfit, I feel like I’ve cracked the fitness code. I’m more fit than I’ve been since I was a teenager. I’m not joking and I’m not a crossfit trainer looking for business. It’s just great training everyone should know about.

  3. I’m a long-time advocate of Crossfit principles of fitness. Crossfit is the perfect blend between health and performance. Expect to see it become huge in the next few years. It’s already on it’s way.

  4. Been there, done that, got over it. Nothing revolutionary about CF except the marketing scheme of using blogs to promote the gyms. The principles are actually very old and the routines are just a hodgepodge with cute names. The training for the instructors is very weak so there tends to be a lot of BS thrown around. OTOH there are some CF instructors that indeed do have excellent knowledge of physiology and sport science but they had to get that info elsewhere. The CF gyms do have a lot to offer (really depends on who runs it) but there’s also a high potential for injury and, if you have specific goals, there are more effective training methods.

    1. THANK YOU. most people are enamored with crossfit, but it’s mostly just metabolic work with no rest. It can’t help you train for a specific sport or competition, and their hierarchy for building muscle is ridiculous.

      (from their Faq)

      “Here is a hierarchy of training for mass from greater to lesser efficacy:
      1. Bodybuilding on steroids
      2. CrossFitting on steroids
      3. CrossFitting without steroids
      4. Bodybuilding without steroids ”

      crossfit may help a person who has a weak program lose weight, but to claim that it is superior for mass building above a sensible (read: non AAS) bodybuilding routine is straight lying.

      1. Just so you know, they are referring to “functional” mass…not the superfluos crap that bodybuilding produces.

        CrossFit isn’t JUST a brilliant marketing scheme that utilizes blogs — they have taken old age training principles and applied them differently. Yeah, the principles aren’t NEW, but the way CrossFit methodology utilizes those principles is their own.

        Take, for instance, your comment that CrossFit is just “metabolic work with no rest” or that it “can’t help you train for a specific sport.” You would be incorrect on both occasions; CrossFit metabolic conditioning is only ONE aspect of their programming (they include heavy strength days and other single modality/skill training as well).

        As for SST – you take ANY athlete and combine their sport-specific training with CrossFit = they will perform better for it during their competition. Try it and see what happens…prove them wrong, then tell us why.

        Of course, I may be biased…ha.

  5. CF has been great for me- miles more effective than any fitness program I’d ever tried before. (Starting from a very much not athletic background of “sedentary geeky chick”.) The variety keeps me motivated- my main problem with exercise is how easily I get bored with it- and the intensity keeps me improving at a nice clip.

    There might be better out there, and it might not be all that revolutionary, but for someone totally lacking in local gyms that aren’t machine factories and personal trainers that aren’t attendants for the machine factories, it’s a godsend.

  6. Funny you should post on this. I just started CrossFit about a month ago (after training on a very similar program called the Monkey Bar Gym). It is a very challenging workout. I make do with the equipment my local YMCA has instead of using an affiliate gym, which also means I have to figure out the moves from the videos on their site.

    I don’t know how I feel about it yet. The workouts are intense and varied. But so… short. (Except for the WOD to run 10k) My question to you CrossFitters: Is the WOD your entire workout for the day? Or do you train in something else as well? Like, Mark’s example – would he tack on the WOD to his weekly hikes and beach sprints & weight days? Or would they take the place of all that?

    Gotta say though, I never thought I could do a pullup and now I can do 5 (25 if I let my feet touch down in between).

    1. The WOD is the whole workout for the day. If you worked out at an affiliate you’d also have a warm-up (which some consider a workout and a session where you’d be learning one of the skills. You cannot understand, appreciate and get the most from CrossFit if you haven’t been coached – get in to an affiliate – you’re cheating yourself. The WODS vary in lenght – could be 6 minutes – could be 30 – I did one last week that took me 32 minutes. This is the wisdom of the methodology – the variance of the exercises and times of WODs is what causes a different level of fitness. I’m not speaking just to cardiovascular or strength improvement I’m also referring to being able to move and get your body into positions you couldn’t get into before CrossFit. Get to an affiliate.

  7. I’ve been incorporating some Crossfit stuff into my routines. I also like the approach that the folks at Gym Jones (www.gymjones.com) take. There’s some great reading on that site that I found very motivational. My only problem/question with the Crossfit/GymJones approach is that some of what they consider a recovery workout is challenging to me no matter how I scale it. I think it would be too easy for me to go overboard and not get the recovery I need. A good example was last week Crossfit prescribed “Randy” (75 power cleans) followed by “Fran” (alternate Thrusters and Pullups). Too much for me. So I try to plan it so that I’m doing heavier stuff only a couple times a week, but I’ll do three workouts that are more about getting the heart rate going (low box jumps or rowing on the C2). One thing it ain’t is boring!! 🙂

  8. CrossFit is great. It really can be scaled to meet anyone’s needs. It is tough though, so for beginners, you’ll probably have to do jumping pullups as opposed to kipping pullups, etc. Also, if you feel that you’re not strong enough, Mark Rippetoe has an excellent book called Starting Strength. Many CrossFitters do SS for a few months until they get stronger and go back to CrossFit.

    As far as doing other stuff besides the WOD, I do a lot of running outside of the WOD and some extra strength training. I suggest checking out an affiliate. It’s easy to injure yourself or overtrain doing the WOD if you don’t know what you’re doing.

  9. I’m on CF for more than two years now (with small times dedicated to “Starting Strength” as noted above) and it’s the best program I’ve ever had.
    What is also important that most of my injuries (overused joints etc.) healed or do not ache better say).
    For me the very unusual thing is that I improved in all aspects of fitness (speed, agility, endurance, power, strength…) at the same time and I’m still improving slowly but surely. I was very pessimistic about the whole CF program but when I finally tried it I’m hooked, I even attended the CF certification (hey, I’m from Europe and I do not run my own CF affiliate…) and there were some excellent info there as well (not counting excellent folks :o)
    I’s very demanding but very very balanced.
    Also most folks do not see the pattern here but CF has periodization, unloading, progress etc. It’s all there it’s just bit different than other programs.
    Let’s not forget CrossFit Journal – CF Journal is IMHO the best source of information about physical movement/condition that is available today.

  10. I like CrossFit.
    I use the workouts intermittently.
    Great way to change things up!!!
    Think you’re in good shape?
    Try one of their easy ones and see how it goes….
    Pull ups 20 sec, 10 sec rest, 8 times
    Push ups 20 sec, 10 sec rest, 8 times
    Sit ups 20 sec, 10 sec rest, 8 times
    Squats 20 sec, 10 sec rest, 8 times

    oh the joy 🙂

    Marc

  11. It’s easy to injure yourself or overtrain doing the WOD if you don’t know what you’re doing

    Yep…especially for someone with no weightlifting background. I’m doing deadlifts, squats, presses, and some power cleans (if not too heavy). I don’t plan on attempting heavy cleans, snatches or jerks without getting some knowledgeable instruction (in person). That probably won’t happen because the other moves can make the basics of a pretty good program–especially for an older guy (56) with no background.

  12. Love Crossfit, started reading MDA because of it. Two communities that are made for each other.

  13. CrossFit is really good in that it emphasises functional movements undertaken with intensity rather that ineffective cardio….There are people who criticse aspects of it, but I think they forget that CF has put huge amounts of information out there – including excellent tutorial videos – totally free of charge.

    The workouts can be scaled too and there is a link on the page to Brand X martial arts where they turn each WOD into 3 options depending on fitness levels.

    Good stuff.

  14. Chris: CrossFit is really good in that it emphasises functional movements

    Yes,but…

    In their statement entitled “World Class Fitness in 100 Words” they say:

    “Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch.”

    The thing that all of these have in common is that they are compound movements where more than one muscle group comes into play. They tend to shy away from “isolation” exercises. All of which lead me to ask why the bench press shows up in the WODs. That kind of strikes me as the one you would pick in the Sesame Street game of “which one doesn’t belong.”

    1. The bench press is a functional, compound movement….

      Multi-joint and heavy weight. How is it NOT functional?

      What if you were walking through the jungle and some big log fell from the tree tops and pinned you down….BENCH PRESS to the rescue!!

      No? Ok…maybe that was over the top.

      1. Gotta tack on to that that bench press doesn’t just isolate your pecs. It works your pecs, your anterior delts, your biceps, triceps, and I think a couple more minor supporting muscles. Yes, you feel it more in your pecs, but the other muscles are also engaged as stabilizers or assisting with the press.

  15. charlotte–

    many crossfitters do some variation of the following warm-up before every workout:

    3 rounds of
    1. sampson stretch
    2. squat (10-15 reps)
    3. sit-ups (10-15 reps)
    4. back extensions (10-15 reps)
    5. pull-ups (10-15 reps)
    6. dips (10-15 reps)

    if you move from exercise to exercise without rest, this warm-up will take you about 15-20 min. *then* you do the WOD, whether it takes 5 minutes, or like yesterday’s “eva”, around 40. i dunno about you, but that’s plenty for me!

    also, the last sentence of crossfit’s “world class fitness in 100 words” enjoins us to “Regularly learn and play new sports.”

    d

  16. i’ve followed this site and crossfit for about a year. i’ve often had a conflict in wondering if the crossfit wod is too intense leading to release of cortisol and thus inflammation. i wonder what others opinions of this are.

  17. Good question–especially considering the base formula Mark has given is lots of low-level cardio with a couple sessions of intense intervals a week. I think part of it is goal related. If the goal is “faster, higher, stronger,” then you probably need a lot of intense work. But is that the same formula if you just want to live well in your old age?

  18. Bubba29 and Dave,

    Good questions. The cortisol thing is an important consideration. Too much too often is bad, a burst here and there (and assuming you aren’t stressing chronically all the rest of the day) probably good. But it’s a balance between cortisol and testosterone. If you are a 23-year-old male with excess testosterone still floating around, the daily Crossfit plan is probably best. If you are 54 like me, the WOD might make better sense 2-3 times a week punctuated by the longer slow aerobic walk/hike/cycle stuff we talk about. Maybe one sprint day in there if it’s not already part of a WOD. And, Dave, not the same formula. Training for a competition often requires that you make compromises that might slightly negatively affect longevity and overall health….but as long as you know the options, the risks and the benefits, then you make an informed choice, rather than blindly plunging in.

  19. nd, Dave, not the same formula. Training for a competition often requires that you make compromises that might slightly negatively affect longevity and overall health

    Thanks, Mark. As I mentioned earlier, I really feel motivated by Mark Twight’s gang at Gym Jones, but those guys are athletes with totally different agenda’s than mine. I have no intention of climbing alpine peaks or fighting in a cage. I just want to be able to put something on a shelf at eye level in my garage without hurting myself! :-). So I’m going to limit myself to two or three of the more intense efforts efforts a week. But it’s still great to have such a variety of workouts to pick from using both the Crossfit and the Gym Jones site.

  20. ” All of which lead me to ask why the bench press shows up in the WODs. That kind of strikes me as the one you would pick in the Sesame Street game of “which one doesn’t belong.”

    Bench press is clearly a compouns exercise.

  21. I don’t think the bench press is in the same class as the rest of the lifts. The rest seem to involve multiple body parts, using some as stabilzers to enable the lift to take place. They only required contact to the earth is with the soles of the feet. The bench is a closer relative to the isolation-type exercises IMO. I’m not saying don’t do it, or that it has no value–the NFL sure seems to think it means something.

  22. I used Crossfit for about 8 months.

    I have nothing but respect for those athletes that would continue posting amazing times and weights etc.

    It is quite simply the most grueling and intense kind of exercise that I have ever done. A huge amount of mental toughness is required.

    A warning: I do believe there is a high potential for injury. Just browse thru the “injuries” forum in the crossfit message board – it’s a busy little forum.

    I developed tendonitis from the amount of pull-ups that are a stable crossfit exercise. It’s over a year later and I still have problems in that area. Be careful.

  23. Crossfit states they are attempting to create elite fitness. I believe you need to be an elite athlete to be able to endure these wod’s on a consistent and competitive basis. The older one gets, the weights, reps, intervals, and 3 on 1 off program that crossfit rx’s becomes less realistic. I do agree with variation and intensity but the weights and sets need to be scaled as does the rest days. Also, it would be wise to spend a month or so mastering the complicated lifts before jumping into the wod’s.

  24. In regards to how you should approach beginning CrossFit the website makes clear that you should by adopting it in stages. To quote from the “Start Here” Tab…

    “In any case it must be understood that the CrossFit workouts are extremely demanding and will tax the capacities of even the world’s best athletes. You would be well advised to take on the WOD carefully, cautiously, and work first towards completing the workouts comfortably and consistently before “throwing” yourself at them 100%.”

    The CrossFit Journal also included a detailed article about the intensity issue called “Consistently Before Intensity” (June 2005). CrossFit recommends mastery of the movements before scaling up the intensity. Unfortunately, many beginners don’t read beyond the WOD when starting. As a side note to the injury assertion, according to the NIH, leisure sports account for the highest number of injuries in adult athletes annually (golf, racquet sports, bowling, and hiking). Does this mean we should recommend against any and all recreational activity for adults as a precaution?

  25. Dave C: Crossfit will be the first to tell you that the power clean (and any other derivitives of the olympic lifts) are far more complex and generate much more power output than a bench press. However, every once in a blue moon the bench press will come up in a workout. Not often, but think about this … a bench press with arms at shoulder width, no wider, is a functional movement (think offensive lineman, MMA fighter, etc.) On the potential for injuries from Crossfit, it is my firm belief that crossfitting without proper instruction is a bad idea if you are not an elite athlete. I was a personal trainer before beginning my training at a local crossfit affiliate, and the professional instruction that I have recieved there has been head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever seen, especially in regards to proper mechanics to prevent injury. Every affiliate I’ve been to so far has been close to the same in regards to passionate, knowledgeable coaches.

  26. Yes I CrossFit (since May07), I helped to open a CF gym I believe in it so much http://www.crossfitnorthatlanta — AND I subscribe to your newsletter because they marry well. I am a 44-yr old strong chick who was on her way to becoming a “used-to-be former athlete” — CF plus a change in awareness of food(fuel) has helped me to recapture my body’s functionality.

  27. I’m with Roger and others. Crossfit is less innovative than its inventor insists it is. You can easily get your dose of primal fitness without drinking the Crossfit Koolaid.

  28. I would like to say a little about those who seem to think crossfit is no big deal. I have been on many sites with the same claim, it’s old, been done before, and there is better. Not one time has anyone said I tried it 2 months and I think other programs are better. I reccommmend finding a CF facility and try it 2 months. The reason there is such a fuss about is obvious if you just try it. Not on your own! You must find a facility and do with a trainer in a group. Words can’t describe the difference, if done correct you will not be doing any extra work.

    By the way great site, “Obsessed is what the lazy call the dedicated”

  29. Crossfit is the best all-around exercise class available, period. I also box on the weekends, and while that, too, is a great workout (as mentioned in the Primal Blueprint!), Crossfit is more varied, and pushes the body further than boxing (as most boxing gyms eschew weight training), and you typically wrap up the exercises in less than 25 minutes (vs an hour at a boxing gym). While doing Crossfit, my boxing performance has increased tremendously. I no longer “gas out” in the 4th or 5th round, and my power has improved (again, due to the emphasis on using my core strength to deliver the punches). If you love “old school” playground-style workouts (flipping tires, pull ups, sprinting, sledge hammer strikes, etc…) that change every day, give Crossfit a try.

  30. Anyone able to answer me if a CrossFit session is counted as a strength training session? Like if I was to do a traditional weight lifting routine like Bench -> Deadlift -> Squats with 1-2 mins rest between sets then finish up, do I replace that routine with a CrossFit one or just add it into a rest day? I would be worried about overtraining or something if I did CrossFit as well as my weights routine..

    1. It would depend on what the actual CrossFit workout was…

      Some days, the CrossFit WOD is a strength routine; others, it is cardio-based. Really hard to plan off MainSite WODs because they are so varied. They are only intended to be combined with sport-specific training, really.

  31. I’m a 42 year old Crossfit convert. After running for years, I was slowly starting to creep up in weight and softness. Cutting sugar and most grains while doing CF has me in the best shape of my life. I LOVE that many of the workouts are short. Workouts for loads are longer (30 minutes) but the short ones are really intense and efficient. I couldn’t do a second workout the same day; I’m exhausted every time. It’s hard to use a busy schedule as an excuse when I can do a workout in 10-15 minutes.

  32. I started Crossfit about 4 months ago. I’m completely hooked. It’s unreal. I’ve always had an athletic background, but even at what I thought was my “fittest” state, nothing compares to what is required of you in a Crossfit workout.

    I like going to the gyms as opposed to doing the WODs on my own (which I still do sometimes) because the trainers push me harder than I’d push myself. They’re also there to make sure my form is correct so I don’t injure myself or pick up bad habits. And the class atmosphere of encouragement is awesome!

    I am a long distance runner (no ‘boo’s, please) so I don’t do Crossfit every day. I do it twice a week, and consider it my ‘strength training’ days. Just because I’ve raced distance for years, so a few 400 meter sprints followed by pull-ups doesn’t really count as a ‘sprint workout’ for me. The pull-ups are much, much more difficult for me, so I still count it as a ‘strength’ day.

    Crossfit is unbelievable. I can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve gotten injured doing all kinds of things, so I don’t think Crossfit has a higher potential for injury than other physical activities. Just listen to your body, try to practice good form, and be smart and aware, and you’ll be just fine. 🙂

    1. I agree with the majority on here – Crossfit is brilliant. A few points (some already mentioned)
      1) If you can go to an affiliate – do. The instruction is excellent. I am a personal trainer but rate these guys way above me – which is very humbling. You’ll have better progression and less risk of injury.

      2)If working alone from the Mainpage – do the background reading first (everything under the “Start Here” link and follow the scaled workouts on BrandX. Underestimate your ability if you have not done these types of workouts before. Get a subscription to the Journal – there are some good articles on starting Crossfit type workouts.

      3)If you are unsure of your technique – you can get help in the Digital Coaching forum where you can post videos of yourself.

      4)3 on 1 off at full intensity is probably madness except for the fittest. Build up to it if you want to follow it. Don’t be afraid to do what suits you. I am training for a long triathlon and 3 Crossfit sessions plus some low level run bike and swim sessions are all I can handle at the moment. I may sub a couple of workouts as I get fitter to more specific intervals. Your own personal experience here is far more important than what someone who doesn’t know you prescribes. Try different things – log the results – choose what works – put aside what doesn’t.

      4) Crossfit is General Physical Preparation – it gets you fit for anything. If you want to specialise – it gets fit enough to make your sport specific training doable or more productive.

      5) Sort out your nutrition if it isn’t already. Your on MDA already – so not far to go for some great advice. It will make a massive difference to performance and body composition goals.

      5) If you follow the above – Crossfit will be great for you. If you do not follow the above – you will be at more risk of injury, overtraining etc – but you know what – it will be your fault – not Crossfit’s. The info’s all there – you’ve just got to read it and apply it.

      My own experience with Crossfit and sports that I do – I can often go weeks without playing squash (my main sport) – but if I have been Crossfitting regularly I can come back and easily participate at the same or even higher level (admittedly – my skills will not have improved and in some cases have deteriorated a little, but the overall increase in fitness has for me always more than compensated).

      Mark – love your site. MDA and Crossfit for me are a match made in heaven.

  33. Sorry to be the sour apple here, but Crossfit is, IMO, a train wreck waiting to happen. Kipping pullups will destroy your shoulders, you’re just twenty something and don’t feel it yet. High rep, ballistic deads, snatches, clean and jerks… yeah right. I wonder why Olympic hopefuls who do them ‘for a living’ rarely do more than six reps, and often complete only singles and doubles. Form, form, form!
    You just can’t train to be a jack of all trades. If you could SEALS would be both marathoners and powerlifters. They’re not. Talk to REAL ‘elite’ spec op guys, they look pretty …. modest. But they have endurance beyond super, and our usually agile and fearless. Popeye biceps might make the cover of Muscle and Fitness but you’ll rarely find those guys among the KSK,GIGN, Italian frogmen or other REAL high-end fighters in the field. Hollywood myths are hard to break, we all love to watch Schwarzenegger and The Rock, but it ain’t real. And CrossFit, with it’s be all type of philosophy will ruin more hips, knees, shoulders and elbows then most protocols out there.

    Train for endurance, or train for strength, then build on that.

    1. CrossFit or any training regimen can be a “train wreck” if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you train smart within the CrossFit program, and MANY thousands of people do, daily, then you are at no greater risk for injury than any other athlete. It really bothers me when people try to shoot down CF universally as “bad” when most of the time they have no firsthand experience with even a single CF workout.

      For some of us, CrossFit is the best thing we have ever done. Period.

      And kipping pull-ups, done properly will not “destroy your shoulders”. Mine are just fine, thank you!

  34. I”m older, was definitely not an athlete, and started doing Crossfit about a year ago. I’ve improved so much in strength and endurance—a year ago I would not have believed I’d ever be capable of what I’m doing now, physically or mentally.

    It’s scalable, you can do the the WODs as frequently as makes sense in your situation. If you are able to go to an affiliate, find one that is comfortable. Each has its own personality and will emphasize different aspects of the program.

    I’ve got several friends who never thought they’d like it, but they gave it a chance, and now they are hooked and absolutely love the results.

  35. As for crossfit being a trainwreck and “the real-spec op guy’s” not doing it, you are very wrong my friend, im in and around those communities on a daily basis and the majority of the units at least in the US are adopting cross-fit, most guys incorporate crossfit/gym jones or something similar into their routines on top of their job, further example at BUDS they do crossfit workouts for time. As for being modest most are, in attitude and that is about it.

  36. Well then I stand corrected. I still maintain, though, that high rep Olympic lifts and kipping pullups will damage, over time, your joints. Talk to me when you’re 45 or 50 and we’ll see.

  37. Hi Sifter,

    I’m 63 and have been doing many of the crossfit since I’ve been 12. I grew up on a farm where I worked like a dog starting at age 8. Most of my overall strength came from doing lots of hard repetitive work, plus some rope climbing in the barn. By the time I was 12 I could crank out 5 one arm pull-ups with either arm and could been a 6″ spike. At 14 I started gymnastics at my high school and continued with it throughout college. I wasn’t a great gymnasts by any means since I was 5’11” and 180 which is on the large size. I also rare for gymnasts ran marathons, did some long distance swimming and in later years started rock climbing and alpine skiing. When I saw crossfit I finally found a workout regime that was somewhat similar to what I’ve been doing for a lifetime. And in conclusion I don’t have any joint problems, knees, hips or shoulders. Of course go at anything too fast and too much and you will get repetitive injuries.

  38. This sounds similar to Curves. Complete stretch-out prior. then 30 seconds strength, move to cardio for 30 seconds, move to strength for 30 seconds, repeat for 2 circuits. Complete stretch-out after. Only thing is Curves talks and walks CW on the diet front. Maybe they need to be invited in to the primal fold?

  39. One year ago, at age 41, I made a choice to lead a healthier life. My cholestrol was high, trigycerides were extremely high, I was chronically sick and had been to the ER for CV issues. I have done manual labor sine I was in 7th grade, but for the last ten years have worked a sedentary job. I craved activity/excercise but disliked typical gyms and treadmills and machines. 6 months ago a Crossfit box opened in my neighborhood. The introductory price was great and I liked the coach so I signed up. I was 6′ and 217 pounds at the time. The workout of the day (we call them WODs) are different each day and are always challenging. They can be extreme is thats what you want, but that is not the purpose of Crossfit. The general idea is to excercise differing areas at high intensity. So, you break a sweat and you test you mental boundaries. You try not to stop when your brain says, “OK man Ive had enough” because your quads are burinng a little and your out of breath. I was introduced to a healthier lifestyle through Crossfit and Paleo dieting. I hesitate to call it dieting…its a lifestyle and a good one. 6 months lalter I am still 6′ tall, but Ive lost 15 pounds of fat, gained lean muscle, and am performing at a level I never imagined for a 42 year old desk jockey. I feel great (despite some muscle soreness) and I love how I feel. In fact when I fall off the paleo wagon I immediately feel worse, not guilty – – physiologically) for eating unheathily. Crossfit works beacuase of the community of members, casual competition and a functional, logical excercise regimen. Best of all, its free. You can follow WODs and learn the movements from videos and blogs on crossfit.com.

  40. It all depends on how you define elite fitness. Crossfit will never make you great at anything because of it’s lack of focus, but it will make you good at several attributes that you’re probably lacking in.

    I powerlift and do Crossfit type workouts for conditioning. But I have a talent for strength and speed, so I want to develop those attributes to their natural limit. They have to be trained with more comprehensive and intelligently laid out programs that serve that specific goal.

    I do agree with the argument that high rep deads and Oly lifts can wreck you. I can deadlift 605lbs for one with no problems, but if I do lighter weight deads for multiple reps it’s inevitable that form breaks down and I hurt myself. Same with Olympic lifts. Some people might be built better for high rep work as opposed to strength and speed work, but that would be my one complaint: one size does not always fit all.

    That being said, I doubt most people adopting a primal lifestyle care to be freakishly strong or fast in addition to endurance and mobility. For the average joe, Crossfit and Primal eating alone would likely do wonders. If you could be good in several physical attributes as opposed to poor, why not?But if you’re competing in a sport you should really be doing more sports-specific programs. This idea of “elite fitness” transferring to every physical activity breaks down at high levels. Competitive sprinters, weight lifters, or football players have unique needs that should be addressed in a conditioning program. But this is a “general fitness” to “specific fitness” problem. 90% of people adopting Crossfit will never have to worry about those questions.

    So, again: great program, but don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

  41. To start off, I must tell you that I am NOT a fan of the Crossfit program.

    While Crossfit does have some good basic exercise routines, they also have WOD that are filled with lifts and other exercises that most people never heard or and don’t know how to do safely. I do understand the benefit of having a lot of variety in our workouts, but the extreme nature of the Crossfit program has made me not want to even consider participating in it.

    I am sure some Crossfit programs are fun and the coaches make sure that people are not doing more than is safe, but from all I’ve heard, those gyms are in the minority. The majority of Crossfit gyms seem to focus more on military style extremism, with Cossfit participants, proudly showing off photos of bloody and blistered hands after a weight lifting routine, and making others that didn’t do quite as much damage to their body to get through a workout feel inadequate.

    I feel the Glassman guy that started Crossfit is the inspiration for much of this extremism, especially when he makes statements such as

    “It can kill you,” he said. “I’ve always been completely honest about that.”

    See “Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You” http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/fashion/thursdaystyles/22Fitness.html?pagewanted=all

    It’s sad that something that could have done as much good as a exercise franchise that offers a lot of variety has become so much less effective at helping people with their fitness goals than it would have been without the extreme workouts and tough guy attitudes.

  42. CrossFit. Has some good points, but so many people are asking for trouble when it comes down to form or movement of some of these exercises. Especially the Kipping pull ups. Physical Therapist love Crossfit people.

  43. Crossfit is not a primal activity. I can’t believe so many people buy into the rubbish. Exercise is a science not a WOD!

  44. I do not like crossfit. The negatives far outweigh the positives (and there are positives). I like that they create a friendly environment and have gotten people interested in weight lifting, but that’s about it. You need absolutely no training to own a gym or become an instructor, there is zero quality control (the theory is that the sh!t boxes will drive themselves into the ground, but at what cost? The health of the people who see the reebok crossfit brand, assume they will be ok and then get injured thanks to negligence) and frankly, most of their workouts are terrible. 50+ snatches? Seriously? Olympic lifts for time? It’s a joke.

  45. I’ve 52 and been doing CrossFit for 6 years – been a jock type my whole life. At 25 I was in phenomenal shape – at 52, even better and not just from a cardiovascular perspective. All the negative comments I read about CrossFit come from people who aren’t willing to put in the effort. CrossFit is a simple methodology – the combination of any and every type of exercise movement you can think of that’s why it enhances overall fitness. Before CrossFit I never did hand stand pushups, kipping pull ups – things like that – those and other exercises because of their variation are what has caused me to be in better shape than at 25. I also do endurance type events without the need for lots of running – that’s what CrossFit provides for, greater stamina. Criticism of CrossFit is out of ignorance. True it’s for people who are willing to put out great effort (in return for great gains)- not people who just want to coast. I’ve seen numerous people quit CrossFit because they just didn’t have heart – they preferred to be on a damn stationary bike, which is totally useless. People who criticise CrossFit cannot commit to the intensity – and yes,I subscribe to the notion that it is Elite Fitness training ’cause with a serious frame of mind it will produce elite results. Enuff said.

    1. There are so many reasons to dislike CrossFit that listing them all would result in a comment much longer than the article itself.

      Suffice it to say, criticism of CrossFit tends not to come from ignorance, but rather education.

      Criticism of Crossfit doesn’t come from those who “cannot commit to the intensity” but those who recognize that the “intensity” offered by CrossFit isn’t necessary for “elite fitness” at all.

  46. The second video on this page is private so it can no longer be viewed.

    I like the look of crossfit though, it will really suit me once I get rid of my flabby one pack ,o)

  47. Now that the Cross Fit enthusiasm has waned somewhat, what is a good 20 minute workout that is low impact?

    It seems that most short workouts that boast great results involve a lot of high impact movement. I would love to do them, but since I have very little cartilage in my left knee, I want to protect what I’ve got.

    Glad I found MDA.