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Many consider it to be the be all and end all of fitness. Others simply regard it as expensive circuit training. Either way Crossfit has become a very big subject in the fitness industry. With this in mind, we want to discuss the basics of this type of training, unravel some of the lingo and find out what’s so good about Crossfit!

Short History Lesson

It all started in Seattle, USA back in 2000 when Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai founded the company CrossFit, Inc. Their vision was to create the ultimate fitness system that would build a broad, general and inclusive fitness allowing participants to be fit for any eventuality or activity. It has grown from strength to strength ever since.

What is the CrossFit Philosophy?

As a result the workouts all adhere to the strict philosophy that they must consist of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity; in addition the workouts are best performed in a communal environment for best effect as this really helps to boost performance by peer motivation.

This is the beauty of CrossFit, particularly the constantly varied part, as how many regular gym users or solo exercisers can honestly claim that every one of their work out sessions is different, that they never get bored of the same routines? Not many! Most people that would, probably have personal trainers helping them ensure that the routine isn’t…well, routine! It is also designed to develop you in all ten areas of fitness:

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The CrossFit Whiteboard

With Crossfit gyms the thinking is done for you, as the Workout of the Day (WOD) is always written up on a whiteboard or chalkboard in the Box (Box is the term that refers to a Crossfit gym – more on lingo in a bit); it is normally published on the website of the Box as well, so even if you are on holiday or away, you can attempt the WOD (assuming you have the right equipment).Crossfit 3

The CrossFit Equipment

This brings us onto the equipment found in the typical Crossfit Box.

You won’t find the typical gym weight machines, exercise bikes, treadmills, mirrors or Jacuzzis; this is a raw experience, but one that seems so natural and really makes so much sense. You will certainly find Olympic weights; pull up bars, wall balls (large, soft medicine balls for launching up against a wall repeatedly), hanging rings, climbing ropes, skipping ropes, wooden boxes, tyres and kettle bells at the least.

Sometimes that will be it; as many of the exercises performed are calisthenics (they use only your own body weight for resistance); some boxes may be more extensively equipped, but these are your fundamental pieces of kit. Well, apart from the all-important footwear. Just like running or any other sport, the right kit makes all the difference to comfort, increasing performance. Check out Alexandra Sports’ range of crossfit shoes.

F-Lite 192
A typical Crossfit Shoe the Inov8 F-Lite 192

What CrossFit is All About: The Classes

While you can simply go into the box and perform the WOD, the real beauty of CrossFit shines through when you go to the classes. As mentioned above the peer motivation that comes in a communal environment is simply awesome, everyone does the WOD together and no one leaves until the last person has finished; this results in two highly motivating effects. First you will feel a sense of natural competitiveness to complete the exercises with maximum effort and second when you have other people cheering you on, you won’t skip reps, you won’t cheat yourself and you won’t give up!

CrossFit Terminology: What You Need To Know

So that’s a very brief overview of Crossfit, here is a Glossary to some of the frequently used terminology you’ll hear in the Crossfit Box:

Box

The place where you participate in Crossfit

Box Jumps

Not just jumping in the box! Moreover a two footed jump onto a tall wooden box; don’t worry you’ll soon become familiar with these! *cue sadistic laugh

WOD

Workout Of the Day

Reps

Repetitions of an exercise, just like in traditional weight training

Round

Often a WOD will consist of a number of reps in three separate exercises, this set of exercises will be repeated a number of times, each time you perform the required reps in all three exercises that is one round

AMRAP

As Many Rounds (or reps) As Possible

Double Under

A skipping rope technique where you pass the rope under your feet twice in one jump

Kipping

Unfortunately this doesn’t mean having a snooze! It refers to a technique used for pull ups where the momentum of the legs and body is used to assist the pull up

Muscle Up

No this doesn’t mean getting massive! It is an exercise that takes a regular pull up past the normal stopping point to where your hands end up in line with your waist; and most of your body is above the bar (or rings)

HSPU

Hand Stand Push Up

RX/RX’d

When a WOD is prescribed it will state the recommended weight that exercises should be performed at, this is the RX; to finish the WOD at RX you would say you’ve RX’d the WOD.

METCON

Metabolic Conditioning (the clue is in the title!)

RM

Repetition Maximum, as in traditional weight training, this is the maximum weight you can perform one good form repetition of in any given exercise.

Ass to Grass

Squatting as deep as possible, makes sense now!

CrossFit Inspiration

If you’re still thirsty for CrossFit knowledge, here’s some heavy reading. After flicking through this CrossFit Training Guide, you certainly won’t be short of information.

We’ll publish another blog on our crossfit kit soon so stay tuned. In the meantime why not browse our Crossfit footwear collection; you’ll soon see why you can’t just use your running shoes!

 

 

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Ryan has worked in the sports industry since 1999 and has a wealth of experience across most subjects. Ryan holds a BSc in microbiology and has studied sports physiology in great detail in his own time. His main areas of specialisation are: footwear construction, footwear technology, strength & conditioning and anatomy & physiology. He splits his 13 hours a week exercise between, Kickboxing, MMA, Crossfit, Rock Climbing and Running.