The CrossFit Explosion – The 16+ Year “Overnight Success” Story of CrossFit

April 28, 2011

Although CrossFit seems like an overnight success, its story began quite a few years ago. The first time I heard about CrossFit was back in 2006, about a year before I started this blog. At that time it simply looked like a small program to train SWAT teams and police units. Supposedly in 2005, 10 years after the opening of the first gym in Santa Cruz, CA there were just 18 gyms. From 2005-2011 this has grown to from 18 to over 2,500 affiliates. In this post, I simply want to talk about this massive growth as well as give a brief overview of this growing CrossFit movement.

CrossFit

[No doubt in my mind that Rocky would train in a CrossFit gym. On a side note, Rocky IV was a BIG deal when it came out in 1985. I bet almost 100% of the kids in the 80’s saw this in the theaters. I always got chills then the Rocky theme played. Still do.]

CrossFit – Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

About 3-4 months ago I was driving to work on a typical rainy Seattle day. I noticed a closed down auto-repair garage in my neighborhood that was being painted dark grey. A week later there was a “NW CrossFit Coming Soon” sign. I thought it was strange that they were turning a big garage into a gym. About 3-4 weeks went by and I peaked in while stuck in traffic and was pretty impressed with what I saw. This was the first time I had seen a CrossFit gym in person.

Olympic Gymnast Coach Bela Karolyi Would Dig This Gym

This CrossFit Gym in my neighborhood has a pull up bar that spans the length of one wall, a digital clock above that, and a well padded floor that looked perfect for power lifting. I love my fancy gym, but there is something cool about this place. It has more of an Olympic training compound and doesn’t feel anything like a commercial gym. This all made perfect sense once I did some research on the founder of CrossFit.

CrossFit Was Developed by a Former Gymnast

The creator of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, was a former gymnast. He found that certain body weight exercises he used as a gymnast were much more effective than many popular weight training exercises that were popular at the time. He kept the lifts that he felt gave the most bang-for-the-buck, to compliment the Gymnastics style exercises. What he came up with is a hybrid of body weight exercises mixed with technical Olympic style lifts and power lifts…what is now known as CrossFit.

[A good video showing a variety of different CrossFit workouts .]

How Many Days Per Week for a Typical Crossfit Workout?

The standard approach to Crossfit is to train 3 days on and 1 day off. Some weeks wind up being 5 days per week and some weeks wind up being 6 days per week. For those who can’t or don’t want to train on weekends, they can simply train 5 days per week and take weekends off. Obviously all of this is flexible depending upon goals and abilities.

“WOD” The Crossfit Workout of the Day

The brilliance of Crossfit in my opinion is that it posts a new Workout of the Day, each day, on its website. You can find it on the front page of the main website: CrossFit.com. I actually missed this the first time (almost too obvious). Each day is a new post with the workout that is to be done that day. Below each workout are updates, motivational stuff, and some of the weights or times recorded by fellow CrossFit’ers for that particular workout. This is the only workout needed for most to get in great shape. Others do supplementary work or take classes to learn proper form, etc.

The CrossFit Games = The Fitness Olympics?

In 2007, the 1st Crossfit Games took place at a small ranch in northern California. There were 70 athletes and a few hundred spectators. Fast forward to 20011…This event is now sponsored by Reebok and the top 4 winners will each win $250,000! The Crossfit headquarters picks out a new workout each week for six weeks. Contestants then either submit a video or are scored by a Registered CrossFit Affiliate. After 6 weeks the top people from each region compete against each other. Then it moves on to an elimination type of system: Details here —>2011 CrossFit Games.


[Here is my buddy Craig Avera doing the first week’s challenge. He had to see how many times he could do “30 Double Unders” and “15 Ground to Overheads” with 75 pounds…in a 10 minute period.]

So My Opinions on CrossFit?

My main concern about CrossFit is form breakdown that happens when training to exhaustion in theses technical lifts. Anyone with a history of back injury would need to be extremely careful and pick the proper CrossFit affiliate to work with who had a good understanding of this. If I was picking a CrossFit gym to work with I’d simply ask them about Stuart McGill. If they say “Who is Stuart McGill”…I would pass on that particular CrossFit affiliate. I can’t make a blanket statement that all CrossFit is good…or that I dislike CrossFit. The right CrossFit affiliate makes all the difference.

Could I See Myself Ever Doing CrossFit?

I like to have precise control over all variables when I train. I am now to the point where I can dial in my workout to get the precise result I desire in a commercial gym. I like to keep resistance training for strength…and fat loss training separate. I simply like to lift heavy for strength and tone…and do intense cardio to get as lean as I desire. That being said…I could see myself doing CrossFit for 3-4 months just to add a little variety. I like to experiment with new routines for 3-4 month periods every other year. The last time I did this was with Adam Steer’s and Ryan Murdock’s body weight program and it was a good change of pace.

I’m Extremely Interested to See How Big CrossFit Becomes

I think there is definitely a place for both CrossFit gyms as well as big commercial gyms. Some people who do CrossFit knock commercial gyms as being a place where you can’t train hard. I don’t agree with that statement…but most commercial gyms don’t have a place to properly do Olympic lifts. On the flip side, a lot of CrossFit gyms don’t have a wide variety of high-end cardio equipment. I’m a big fan of doing HIIT on a special $10,000 StepMill followed by steady state cardio on another piece of commercial cardio equipment. To be honest, it would be cool to belong to a “Hybrid” gym that had both options. Maybe an LA Fitness combined with a CrossFit gym. I’d be the first member!

Speaking of Cardio and Burning Fat…

Within the next week or two, I’m going to interview the owner of a CrossFit gym who developed his own CrossFit workout specifically designed to burn fat. Its a circuit that uses lighter weights and is supposedly “kinder to the back” compared to some of the other CrossFit workouts for those of us with lower back issues. He is a busy guy with a sweet looking CrossFit facility, but hopefully I’ll get to chat with him soon.

Important Message: Although this site has received 25+ million visitors, I am starting from scratch and abandoning it. This site is dated and old school looking, terrible to read on mobile, etc.

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Starting Over...R.I.P. Fitness Black Book!


Thanks for reading all these years!



 

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

flowerd April 29, 2011 at 12:21 am

hey Rusty wanted to know your opinion on the Venus Index? Do you think it will make a girl to bulky because it includes leg squats and lunges? I just want to get lean and toned..thank you

Sam- Look Like An Athlete April 29, 2011 at 3:42 am

I have a weak spot for rough looking gyms. Not saying it looks run down, just rough, bare bones type. I personally go to a commercial gym and prefer going to a specific one that looks like it’s someone’s basement. Old looking but with high tech equipment.

Like you said, commerical type gyms don’t allow for Olympic type lifts and that is a big drawback but at the same time the Crossfit approach of balls to the wall is cool, but only to a point before you hit overtraining.

It’s cool to see different approaches to fitness. Like you pointed out, it’s good to keep variety.

-Sam

Rich - Martial Fitness Guy April 29, 2011 at 8:02 am

Great Post Rusty.

I’m looking forward to the future interview, should be interesting.

Rich

P.S. Love the Rocky Pic : )

Kasper @ FortiusFitness April 29, 2011 at 9:52 am

Excellent review of the crossfit hysteria Rusty. The first gym I opened had CrossFit as supposed to regular classes you see in every gym. We wanted to offer a better alternative to the aerobic style classes to people who enjoy that way of working out. But with more intensity, better coaching and better results.

My biggest concern was exactly the same pointers you have. Performing the technical lift in a fatigued state. But with the right coaching and observance we managed to make this work. We didn’t follow the WOD’s that are posted on crossfit.com but made our own and we kept the participants low.

CrossFit is excellent in giving you a good base. But you don’t specialize in anything. What you see is that serious cross fitters perform heavy strength training beside their WODS. So that is the biggest flaw in CrossFit and a faulty promise – that CrossFit is the superb training form for everything. The strength you gain initially will halt – so to do better you have to make your base of strength better.

I still think CrossFit is a better alternative than traditional classes you find in commercial gyms, but if you have specific goals there are far better methods to accomplish that.

CrossFit is now present in every commercial gym here in Denmark making it much more mainstream. I think that is positive because people are now presented with a better training approach than machines and aerobic classes. The big challenge is the standard of coaches. Good coaches are rare.

I sold my first gym, skipped the CrossFit hysteria and have since build a highly specialized gym for people who want results without all the hype and bullshit that the fitness industry are loaded with today.

Courtney April 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

Rusty,
I’d LOVE to read about the “CrossFit workout specifically designed to burn fat”

I tried Crossfit for a few months last year, and loved the quick workouts. However, the intensity was a little too much for me at times…and I’m pretty fit. I also felt a little disappointed when I couldn’t keep up, or manage some of the WOD’s (with pull ups etc).

I didn’t feel like my form was strong enough to push myself to complete some of the exercises either.

Also, when I looked around at the women that were successful in the WOD’s I didn’t exactly like what I saw. A little too muscular & “veiny” for my ideal body image.

Looking forward to hearing about the alternate workout.

Paul April 29, 2011 at 10:21 am

Great post Rusty! Have you looked into Insanity at all? I have been doing this program for a while it is all bodyweight and it is intense! They just came out with a new program called The Asylum that uses weights and bodyweight that is even more insane.

James - 90 Day Fitness Journey April 29, 2011 at 10:29 am

I’m always trying to mix up workouts. I already do HIIT but I wouldn’t mind throwing some Olympics lifts in my routine. Thanks for the article.

James

P.S. Dulph Lundren would of kicked Sly Stallone butt in real life, lol.

Vic Magary April 29, 2011 at 10:50 am

I went through CrossFit Level I certification in 2008. That basic course was well worth the cost just to see the emphasis they put on technique. I’d being doing body weight squats for years, and their instructors picked my technique apart and my squat (both body weight and barbell) has been leagues better ever since.

That being said, I agree that there is the risk of injury particularly the way they often red line their workouts and use very technical lifts such as cleans and snatches. But like you said, a good affiliate (with good coaches) would make all the difference in this situation.

Mark's Fat Burning Food and Fitness Blog April 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

Exactly!
Couldn’t agree with you more:

The Lactate Concept is quite right and good and sound, but you want to use safe and effective exercises for this, NOT a friggin’ Power Snatch for 100+reps!

That’s simply asking for injury. There’s a very good reason why the really experienced lifters –Olympic Weight Lifters– who have been doing this for centuries, NEVER go above 6 reps on these lifts.

1.Because they’re designed for Power, and you simply will not be training this strength quality with a high rep bracket like that

2.Because of form breakdown with fatigue, like you said Rusty.

The Power Snatch for example is one of the most technical lifts out there, and the shoulders, lower back, even elbows and knees are exposed to a totally unnecessary risks like that.

I personally know quite a few athletes that got seriously injured doing cross fit, and apparently there’s some law suits oustanding right now because of this.

Especially for athletes this is something I would have to totally recommend against

For fitness enthusiasts o the other hand –using the safer exercises– it’s maybe alright.

Mark

P.S.
Why not simply do some strongman stuff, circuits and intevals?
They’re even better yet at fat burning and, with correct know-how and application are really very safe.

Mark's Fat Burning Food and Fitness Blog April 29, 2011 at 11:05 am

I just hope my comment got through … (am on dial-up here !;-)

Just in case not, here’s a summary:

Totally agree, injury risk is way too high, some lifts are not made for high reps.

Lactate Principle is sound, but why not use Strong Man Stuff, Circuits and Intervals?

Much safer, and even more effective.

Cross Fit is NOT for athletes!

For fitness enthusiasts the safer workouts might be alright.

Mark

P.S.

Man, my original comment was a mile long, I just HOPE it didn’t drop out !;-)

Howard - Energia Fitness April 29, 2011 at 11:19 am

Hey Rusty

Like you the rawness of the crossfit gyms does appeal to me and I really appreciate the intensity of the workout philosophy. However when I see some of those heavy lifts at pace I can´t help but wince at the potential for injury or long term damage that will rear its head years down the line. I say this because I have had back pain issues for 15 years now due to lifting with bad form when I was young and stupid…its not fun!!

Saying that if there had been crossfit 20 years ago I would have loved it!

However I think this form of training is great to throw into your routine on a regular basis and I often do some of these exercises myself and with clients but with far more control. I think being in my forties now I like to preserve what I have yet still look good and I can do this without a problem in any commercial gym. Nevertheless the idea of a hybrid gym is one I have thought about for many years and I could definitely see being very popular.

Cheers
H

ps I love the Rocky films and remember well going to watch this one at the cinema. I remember the whole place going crazy like it was a real fight with people screaming for Rocky to win, when do you see that anymore. I still have the Rocky music for when I train and it always does the trick. Dolph Lungdren lives in Marbella Spain near where I live so I hope to meet him and try and get an interview for my blog. Still looks in great shape for his age.

Chris @ FreeMuscleBuildingTips.com April 29, 2011 at 11:56 am

Hey Rusty,

I have a couple of friends who are well known in the fitness industry that recently opened up a Cross Fit…

I’m planning on checking it out in the next month or so and seeing what a cross fit workout is all about.

Should be interesting!

Chris

Marvin Klein April 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Hi Rusty

I love CrossFit, have been doing it for about three years and would recommend it to anyone. I’m not a militant to Crossfit and also think that two things can be true and beneficial at the same time. That’s why I have a membership to both, I like trying new routines and enjoyed your Visual impact, if I could control my diet it would have been just as you stated. I also was in on the BBFFL from Ryan and Adam, private blog two years ago. I did the whole 90 days with you all and was hoping to do another, come on, its time. As for CrossFit, it is great prepertion for anything and has made me better at all my athletic hobbies. My three girls have a new love hate feeling for burpees, ages 4, 7 and 9. It is truly for all levels of fitness with scaling down weights and substituting exercises.

Again, please, have another blog and pick something again for us all to try. I enjoyed it so much I will pay to do it again.

enjoy your work,
Marvin Klein

Matt April 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Women only have 1/10 te testosterone of men. Testosterone is what’s responsible for secondary sex characteristics – one of them being muscular size. Actually, performing squatting movements and the like can sculpt your legs, making them sleeker and sexier. Now, with that being said, it’s all about how you put your program together. Some programs are much better than others when it comes to shaping/toning your body.

Tom- Your Fitness Quest April 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Rusty,

I am aware that there are some critics to the CrossFit craze, and I can understand some of their concerns, but overall, I think it is a good trend. I think functional training and exercises are more beneficial than some of the isolated movement exercises people do on machines. It is always good to see the public get excited about fitness and try new activities and workouts.

I also like the intensity of CrossFit. I am usually exhausted and get a much harder and quicker workout when I go to a CrossFit class. I am amazed at the elite athletes who compete at the CrossFit games.

PS-I loved seeing Rocky shovel snow for his workout when he was getting ready to fight Ivan Drago.

Raymond- ZenMyFitness April 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Crossfit (or some call it Cross Training I think) is becoming very popular in Australia.
It’s very expensive though compared to a gym $50-$70 per week (includes a group trainer) vs $7-$20 for a regular gym so it might catch on a bit slower than other places.

I think its great for athletic performance and getting fit which should be everyone’s goal.

I think Crossfit is very good for girls it would suit them perfectly in a lot of cases.

Guys can either be fit so crossfit is a good choice or they want to big and muscular so in that case regular gym workouts would be better.

Of all the cross fit gyms I haven’t seen them produce bodybuilder types its too intensive for that but cool for lean muscular type but that seems rare as most that go still look pretty normal.

I agree it promotes poor form which can seen in the video of the clean and presses how rounded the back becomes, I think younger people can get away with it someone old like me would have trouble keeping away from injury.
Overall It’s a great variety to add to a routines but more as a stimulus than a cornerstone.
Cool article
Raymond

April April 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I have never belonged to a Crossfit gym but sometimes I would go to the site and do the WOD. Quick, Hard and I felt great! I see a few comments on the physiques of women who do crossfit workouts…but personally I prefer them and their attitudes to the women at a regular big box gym lifiting the pink 2lb dumbells. Crossfit at least makes women start to equate fitness with power and strength and not just losing weight.

I know when I finally did a pullup I was soooo happy that I forgot all about weight loss and concentrated on improving performance. Once that happened my physique just followed…boom! Bikini competition body and I even entered a few!

I like seeing women from crossfit do their version of the pullup(although I much prefer my deadhangs). I wish more women would be a bit more hardcore. Hardcore can be downright sexy on a woman!

ratherkeepanon April 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm

put it this way rusty, i hate to be crude, but i followed this website and its advice religiously but never found it gave me enough motivation to stick to it, never got low enough bodyfat for abs, etc. i started crossfit last year and have been addicted, and now have low body fat and defined abs. and i know you may like to use a 10,000 dollar treadmill for hiit.. its a little better doing interval sprints on, y’know.. ground? or a rowing machine is far superior to a treadmill furthermore, involving major muscle groups while giving you the same hiit kicker. just my opinion.

Crossfit hater April 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I hate Cross Fit. It’s an elitist, almost mindlessly moronic way of exercising. It work great for people who are under 6 feet and weight under 170 lbs (shrimps). For the rest of us – forget about it.

Why moronic? Here is Friday’s WOD. Raise your hand if you have a 15 foot rope in your backyard. Or if your gym has one. Why recommend exercises that most can’t access?

Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
15 ft Rope Climb, 1 ascent
Run 400 meters
Max rep Handstand push-up

Now, if you don’t happen to have a 15 foot rope or can’t do numbers of handstand pushups you CAN do other things. But that’s just it, most Americans are so unfit that Cross Fit is totally useless. Hence, I say it’s elitist.

What typically happens , by the way, is that people start Cross Fit, get tired of the bull and quit. I don’t know what the monthly turnover of their facilities is compared to other chains but I suspect it’s much larger.

I’ve always felt that Cross Fit people were the kind who need daily stimulation of “NEW” because they’ve grown up on a diet of push-button, on demand entertainement. The spoiled children you saw pulling things off the shelf as they sat in mommie’s cart in the grocery store ten years ago – yep, they’re doing Cross Fit today.

These people need to be entertained more than they want exercise. Working towads a specific goal is not cool.

JP April 30, 2011 at 2:56 am

I’ve actually been waiting to hear what you had to say about crossfit. Personally, I love the workouts with crossfit–they’re never boring and it feels great to do them, but I also want to look good. What about doing your visual impact workout 3 days a week with a crossfit metcon instead of an HIIT workout? Is that too much or would it be a perfect combination of both?

Jeremy Priestner | Art of Lifting April 30, 2011 at 9:53 am

The biggest beef I have with Crossfit is the same as yours. I have watched many of the WOD videos on crossfit.com and the form of the athlete breaks down rapidly due to exhaustion. My obvious concern with this is the high potential for injury. It is better not to do those last few reps at all than to do them with poor form.

Cove April 30, 2011 at 10:55 am

I dont think this can beat TurboFire workout program

Kinobody Fitness Systems April 30, 2011 at 11:20 am

I happened to hear about crossfit when it just started to gain popularity back in 2005. Now I can’t believe how popular it has gotten. Even 3 years ago some of my high-school teachers started to do crossfit.

Fast forward to today and now my younger brother is doing cross fit with some of his friends and they love it. Kinda pisses me off cuz he never wanted to workout with me.

The crossfit workouts are definitely killer. However I like your style Rusty – Train for strength and muscle tone. Do strategic cardio for fat loss.

With that being said crossfit would definitely be fun to mix it up and to have some really challenging workouts.

Greg O’G

April April 30, 2011 at 11:31 am

To crossfit hater….true about some of the WOD. I don’t have a rope either..but dang that workout sounds like fun,elitist or not. I remember back when I was in the Army there was this obstacle course during basic training called Victory Tower that had climbing walls, ropes, rappelling. I sometimes wish Victory Tower were right in my backyard. What an awesome gym that would make! I also remember a course called the nutcracker(named because mostly my male peers would fall on a log and hurt themselves) where we’d have to leap over logs. Another one was this tower without a ladder or stairs and you’d have to get a buddy and pull each other to the top. Some of the crossfit stuff I have been able to do makes me feel like I am back in the Army. HEck alot of the stuff I see that’s supposedly “new” I did way back in basic training. I may have hated it then but boy does it bring back a nostalgic feeling that i love. Would I do it everyday? No….but sometimes those workouts are a way to make things exciting again.

Craig - Hollywood Body Fitness April 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Rusty, big thanks for the shout out and I hope everyone enjoys the video of my 10 minute hell WOD 🙂

You are absolutely spot on here regarding Crossfit. I’m 6 months deep into it, and have been going consistently and hard for those 6 months. In fact, everyone gives me a hard time at my Crossfit “box” (Crossfit term for individual gym) for going all the time… The WODs can become very addicting.

I love how everything is measurable and scalable. By measurable I mean that we log our times or scores for the workouts and record them. That way, we can see our progression and see if we are getting faster times/stronger at lifts/etc. By scalable, I mean that there are always options to drop weight to a lighter load, do assisted pullups with a band, or do single unders instead of doubles. That way, beginners can still reap the benefits of a badass workout and eventually build up to the prescribed regimen.

Also you are absolutely right regarding injuries and prevention of them. I am fortunate to have some amazing trainers and coaches at my box, who will keep you in check… making sure you’re doing proper mobility and getting adequate rest to avoid injury. However, I have seen other boxes who push their athletes too hard too fast, it’s just plain dumb – and injuries there are quite common. You need trainers who are on their game and are concerned about your entire fitness future, not just the next week’s worth.

Crossfit is hard. No question. But it’s functional and varied, and has gotten me into the best shape of my life. Is it for everyone? Honestly, probably not. But I think anyone who is an athlete would be interested in trying it out.

Excellent post Rusty, hope you are well buddy!!

Cenz April 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Many of the comments here seem to miss several important aspects about what makes Crossfit so great. For me, the primary advantages relative to training I’m able to do on my own are enjoyment and community. And in close succession, instruction and scalability.

1) Crossfit is fun and attracts a great community of people to classes at the affiliate I attend. Years ago at a globo gym, I have the impression that people had fun and found community among those with whom they trained. I have grown up, however, during a time when training at these establishments “requires” a discman or an ipod. “Working out” involves television screens and mirrors on the walls. Crossfit needs none of that because of the community built around small-group training and the enjoyment of supportive competition among peers. Crossfit isn’t medicine– it’s a blast. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.

2) Crossfit is all about individualized fitness. At the affiliate I attend, our coaches do a fabulous job of making WODs safe and useful for everyone. Every workout– even those programmed on the main site– are infinitely scalable to any ability level. Any piece of equipment can be substituted out for something else more readily available. No access to a climbing rope? Substitute towel pull-ups. Can’t do a pull-up? Substitute inverted bodyweight rows. Don’t have a rack for that? Use your kitchen table. Because improving fitness is necessarily going to be an individualized endeavor, a Crossfitter will either need to rely on good coaching or self-awareness to make good decisions about scaling. Bad form isn’t an inevitable result of programming technical lifts at high volume, it’s a product of an individual’s training choices– good or bad. If you’re worried about the impact of your form, get good coaching or scale down.

Bugsy52 April 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Rusty,

Crossfit is nothing new. It’s about going all out and training to exhaustion. I believe anyone who has trained/exercised for more than 18 months, probably should incorporate a “Crossfit” routine in their annual program. Just my opinion, but I could see this as a 8-12 week routine in a 52 week regimen.

John April 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hey rusty, I was just wondering, what kind of green tea do you drink? You mentioned you drank it to overcome hunger during fasting days of ESE; I was wondering if you got the $0.99 Arizona cans, turkey hill gallon jug, some other storebought variant, or if you just brewed it yourself?

Mohamed May 1, 2011 at 5:55 am

a few months ago i watched the 3oo ( the movie ) cast training
in this video
youtube.com/watch?v=S…
now i know what is it , it is crossfit
thanks rusty

seth May 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Yeah im going to join crossfit. I tried it out and I would say that I am the right kind of crazy to do this. I still have my other commercial gym membership and I am going to go there for my strength training and then go to crossfit after and do my hiit type circuit training. I will see where it goes. Just trying to get from cut to more defined for the summer

Alykhan - Fitness Breakout May 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Rusty,

I have never tried CrossFit, but I’ve been noticing it pop up more and more here in Florida as well. My sister went through one of the workouts and said it was the most intense thing she’d ever done.

I’m also on board with the importance of mixing up workout routines. I’ve been doing traditional weightlifting for a while now and I’m about to change it up and start P90X and see how that goes. Maybe I’ll give CrossFit a shot in the near future!

Alykhan

mortgageguru May 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I really enjoy the crossfit exercises, I usually do the ones involving cardio and basic exercises like pull ups, push ups etc..these are great for fat burning as they kick a*s…i’ve been doing them for quite a few months and am happy with the results

april May 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm

There’s even a crossfit site for us pregger people! I did one of Workouts. AWESOME!

http://crossfitmom.com/

I’ve actually been doing a great kettlebell video for pregnant women from Lauren Brooks, (because babies do weigh more than the 2lb dumbbells that are in most prenatal routines!)

But I will want some more variety since I still have 2 more months to go. The crossfit site for pregnant moms was cool. So see guys….even we pregnant woman can get out our strong on!

Jason - Fitness Doctrine May 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Rusty, I cant believe that was your first time in a CrossFit gym.

I think you bring up a good point about the right affiliate making a difference. But I am not sure how how much a difference that would make. I have a CrossFit cert and have worked in one for some time and the culture of Crossfit makes it too difficult to run a good one.

For those that know of Stu McGill and took his recommendations they wouldn’t be able to do the WOD most times.

No question the workout is tough, but there isn’t such thing as a good crossfit gym because the programing is flawed from the beginning.

Bill May 4, 2011 at 7:56 am

Agree 100% with one added concern. As a 46 year old I don’t think CF is a workout philosophy that you can grow old with.

Vaclav Gregor May 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I mostly agree with you. For muscle building there is resistance training, crossfit is just some “new” fancy way of training.
However, I would love to try it for few months in the future.

Clement May 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm

The interview’s going to be very interesting. I don’t have a very good opinion of CrossFit, but I’m going to keep my mind open for this one, because I know that not every CrossFit trainer or trainee heralds rhabdomyolysis.

John the Drunkard May 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Pluses:
Intensity
Variety
skill focus

Minuses:
While ‘scaling’ to the individual is suggested, it is under-promoted.
Idiosyncratic equipment selection makes it impractial for home use.
While ‘good form’ is encouraged, most people who need such instruction can’t follow it–they lack kinesthetic acuity.

Suggestion:
A ‘reform Xfit’ movement, using body-weight only, or body-weight plus simple additions (jumprope, kettlebelll, pull-up bar etc.)

Dale May 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm

John the Drunkard –

Sounds like you’ve just described Monkey Bar Gym.

Kelly-Fitness Overhaul May 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I have a friend that owns a Crossfit gym in Pittsburgh. I met her at a 10K race last year and checked out her gym and actually made a few posts about it on my blog. I think your point about the specific affiliate making a difference is definitely valid. She is a chiropractor and is very knowledgeable on how to train as well as how to prevent and treat injuries. I think that in the wrong hands, a crossfit workout can be lethal. There are just so many ways to train wrong with this type of training and once you are at the point of exhaustion, injuries are more prevalent. That being said, if you have a good Crossfit trainer, it can be a great experience.

Kelly

Craig May 13, 2011 at 11:53 am

Been doing crossfit for a couple years now. You are entirely correct on the “picking the right Crossfit.” The one I attend, crossfit North Fulton is run by 2 people with many years experience in the fitness, weightlifting, and competitive body building areas. They have multiple certifications and you can tell by the care, instruction and strict adherence to correct form, technique and safety. The other difference between crossfit and “globogyms” is the comradery and competition aspect. I have made lots of friends and everyone pretty much knows everybody else. Having the times to keep track of and multiple people at each skill level keeps everybody motivated and competitive. Here you are encouraged and grunt and yell. The music has expletives in it and nobody cares!

One thing I would like to point out: that you would like to “try it for 3 or 4 months.” #1 this is the point at which you will stop being sore 24/7, and actually really be able to push yourself and become a top competitor at your gym. #2. If you are competitive at all, you will be hooked and stick with it.

Craig May 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

Bill, I completely disagree. Because you can scale crossfit it can easily be tailored due to age. My wife has a 66 year old client who when she first started was in no shape at all. She is a 5fttall and 105lbs. She does the same WODs we do, but the exercises and weights are adjusted to keep her safe, but still make sure she gets a work out. She can deadlift over 120lbs and backswaut around 100lbs!

Raza - Workout Routines Guy May 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm

You’re a fitness legend Rusty. Thanks for the great post.

I’ve been a martial artist for a while and am partial to body weight exercises. I also respect the strength that gymnasts, military folks, and martial artists develop from body weight exercises too.

Never been to a CrossFit gym though…

Trey May 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I did CrossFit for about 9 months several years back. I thought it was great. I was stronger and fitter than I had ever been in my life.

I was plagued by injuries though. I wanted to keep the intensity up and break my time records, so of course I got sloppy. A particularly bad neck injury made me give it up for good.

The workouts are great though and I think a more controlled approach for someone who is interested would provide a nice change of pace

Ken May 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I did Crossfit for several months too. Although they say it’s scalable when signing you up, that fact somehow seems to get forgotten shortly after you begin working out. I liked it while I did it, but the pressure from trainers to beat personal bests and the personal need to not look foolish among the crossfit pros tends to push many folks beyond what they’re initially capable of. I always felt like I was on the verge of an injury while training there and in fact, did wind up with a partial rotator cuff tear that was finally traced back to dead lifts done while sacrificing form to pick up speed. As Rusty said, it’s all about finding the right trainer. A good one will whip your butt into shape. A bad one will send you to your surgeon.

Joe - College Essay Samples May 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I do like Crossfit, but I was getting a little too big doing it. May sound kinda strange.. I dont want to be huge though.

Matt - Veggies For Ecology May 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Will be trying this very soon!

Broseph - size and strength gains May 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Crossfit is an amazing way to train and it is definetly something different from the average training session. Its a great way to put on crazy strength gains and burn fat at the same time!

Health & Fitness May 31, 2011 at 12:01 am

is this what Sylvester Stallone actually used?

ann.marie June 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I tried crossfit about 6 months ago because I am all about outside of the box fitness programs. It was definitely a good workout but I think that boxing at Biscayne Boxing & Fitness Club was alot more enjoyable. It has a lot of non contact classes that keep me more motivated then crossfit did.

Tim@ Best Workout Routines June 6, 2011 at 2:07 am

I’m hearing more about Crossfit, must be some pretty effective training. Thanks for the post.

Clay June 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I think Crossfit is successful for a lot of people due to the social aspect. By participating in Crossfit you have a support group that helps you achieve your goals. That’s why Curves is so successful. Everybody doesn’t need to do Olympic lifts though. If more people realized all that is necessary to do plance pushups or pistol squats they might want to do that instead and bodyweight exercises are a little bit more forgiving then Olympic lifts.

Fitness Guy@ Get Skinny Arms July 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I think Crossfit is a great workout from what I have seen, but it just doesn’t seem to cover more then fitness in general. I cant see it being used for a specific sport.

Btw. Ivan Drago is a beast!.

Alem@ Brad Pitt Workout August 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Well, CF : CrossFit. No there is nothing new in Crossfit workout. i have been involved in Crossfit. actually its an Australian workout system and most of time followed via girls and ladies. it might be good for experienced and aged guys but initially in far most terms it should be used via girls.

cycling to lose weight August 30, 2011 at 9:26 am

Cross fit workouts will certainly improve your overall fitness and strength levels, but in a less targeted way.

Joe August 31, 2011 at 1:16 am

Im secfo and my flight chief had us do circuit training for workouts and ive tried crossfit along with a lot of other different methodologies .The workout one of the sgts put us through during the crossfit session was beast .And it is scalable just gotta make sure you scale it, if you let someone else push you to do something to hurt yourself your doing just that hurting yourself.

Exercise On Abs November 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

I agree with Rusty..
Always liked to separate my muscle build from fat loss.
However, Crossfit does sound interesting !

is bronchitis contagious December 13, 2011 at 12:56 am

Im secfo and my flight chief had us do circuit training for workouts and ive tried crossfit along with a lot of other different methodologies .The workout one of the sgts put us through during the crossfit session was beast .And it is scalable just gotta make sure you scale it, if you let someone else push you to do something to hurt yourself your doing just that hurting yourself.

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Hi Rusty, thank you for another great post. I just came back from reading your Facebook, I like the Idea of short intervals. I’m going to give it a try tomorrow. I don’t think I will do 8 -12 seconds, but probably 10 and 5 for 20 minutes, 10 sec work and 5 rest. I have a feeling it is going to be intense.

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Suresh June 12, 2012 at 4:31 am

Rusty, Great post here…

Just watching a sequence from Rocky and listening to the soundtrack is enough to get you started, if you haven’t worked out in a long time.

Crossfit can be quite challenging and one can find it difficult to keep up, in spite of being fit. I personally prefer it because the intensity is high.

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Chris July 5, 2012 at 6:48 am

I would be interested more in join a Crossfit except for the 140/month price tag. I am currently working out at a 10-20 / month but still trying to tailor a workout that is similiar.

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JT October 18, 2012 at 7:56 am

If you want to see a sweet bare bones gym with a good StepMill and some other cardio options, you need to check out the Virginia Military institute gym. Very few machines, mainly benches, squat racks, dumbbells, dip bars, pull-up bars, heavy ropes, kettlebells and the infamous step mill…Run by a former VT football great Jim Whitten.

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