These days it’s the ultimate trend – crossfit training. Since emerging from the US in 2000 and making its way around the rest of the world, countless studios and courses have sprung up offering crossfit training – and it has lots of avid fans. Yet crossfit is probably one toughest forms of training in the world and is not for the fainthearted. But what exactly is crossfit training, what crossfit exercise are there, and why are many crossfit fans afraid of just a few specific women’s names? We reveal all.
Crossfit training – What is it?
Crossfit was born way back in the 1980s when Greg Glassman, a high-school gymnast, developed it together with his then wife, Lauren. The aim is to exercise the body by performing functional and ever-changing sequences of movements. Crossfit training includes around 60 exercises, and there’s a good reason why it’s considered one of the toughest forms of circuit training in the world. With exercises such as chin-ups, weight-lifting, and squats all done within a short period of time, it not only encourages muscle building but improves coordination, speed, speed strength, strength endurance, and flexibility too. So it’s little wonder that at first it was only cops and soldiers who did the crossfit exercises, which can be very demanding. It may have taken ten years after Greg Glassmann first developed crossfit training with his wife the first studio to open offering specialist crossfit classes, but now there are around 3000 studios offering crossfit workouts in the US alone. And crossfit training is popular in Germany and countless other countries too, because of its effectiveness.
Crossfit – What equipment do you use?
If you think of a crossfit studio as being like a fitness studio in the traditional sense, you’ve got the wrong idea. It looks more like a playground for adults instead. You’ll find rings, ropes, dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls and chin-up bars. After all, crossfit training is less about working your way through one piece of exercise equipment after another and much more about using your own body weight to exercise, with running, jumping and throwing. And you can even do crossfit without any equipment whatsoever. We’ll talk you through a few exercises below.
Crossfit training – here’s how it goes
A crossfit training session always begins with a warm-up, which is then followed by the Workout of the Day (WOD). Then comes a selection of the roughly 60 crossfit exercises, always in a different combination. The order of the exercises and also the intensity of them changes constantly, so your body is provided with a new training stimulus every time. Next up, this is where the feared women’s names come in to play – names such as Annie, Diane, Elizabeth, and Jackie. For the Workout of the Day that goes by the name Diane, for example, you have to complete three rounds of deadlifts with 100 kg and handstand push-ups. As a general rule, you either complete the Workouts of the Day for a set time or a certain number of repetitions. For example, if there is a number sequence on the floor such as 50 – 40 – 30 – 20 – 10, then first you do the exercises in question 50 times without stopping, then 40 times, and so on.
The abbreviation WOD and even the women’s names used for the different crossfit workouts are just a few of the unfamiliar terms and abbreviations you’ll come across in your crossfit training. The website crossfitforglory.com has a list of the most important abbreviations and terms to make sure you have the perfect preparation for your first crossfit training session.
There are around 60 exercises used in crossfit studios and in the Workouts of the Day. Here’s a little more detail about how to do a few of them:
- Burpees: The world of crossfit would be hard to imagine without this combination of a push-up and a jump. This exercise is very challenging and is demanding on your legs and the upper body.
- Overhead squats: This involves doing squats while holding weights above your head. And the exercise starts with lifting the barbell with the appropriate weight over your head. You then go into a deep squat and come back up out of the squat again.
- Box jumps: Also very taxing, especially for the legs, are so-called box jumps. So it’s little wonder that you’ll see boxes for jumping on in every crossfit studio you see. To do it, use your arms to give you momentum and jump onto the box. Then repeat several times.
- Wall balls: We already mentioned medicine balls, and it’s hard to imagine crossfit training without them. Walls balls is one of the crossfit exercises that uses them. So choose a medicine ball with a certain size and weight, go into a squat with it in your hands, and then as you come up out of the squat throw the ball gently against a wall.
- Handstand push-ups: Most people probably know what a handstand is, even if only from their childhood. For this exercise, however, you do a handstand up against a wall, lower your body down until your head touches the floor, then lift back into the original handstand.
- Rope climb: There’s a reason why you’ll always see ropes hanging around in a crossfit studio. In the rope climb exercise, you climb hand over hand up a rope until you reach a mark. You can use your legs to help you or do it without using your legs. This exercise works the arms, back, lower arms, and stomach really hard.
- Pull-ups: Anyone who’s ever tried chinning the bar will know it’s far from easy. But that’s exactly what the pull-ups exercise is all about. To help you do more reps of this exercise, use your body to generate the momentum you need.
- Sit-ups: If you think you already know how to do sit-ups, then you’ve never tried the crossfit version of this familiar exercise. To do it, sit on the floor with your legs bent and knees turned out so the soles of your feet are touching. Then lie back on the floor with your arms stretched upward. By throwing your arms forward, you generate the momentum you need to sit up and place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Repeat as many times as possible or as many times as indicated in the WOD.
If you want to try crossfit, it is essential that you start out doing it with a trainer. To be able to complete this tough crossfit workout at all, you also need a basic level of fitness to start with. Otherwise, you risk injury. If you already have a little experience with crossfit training and you know your own physical limits, then you can do all these crossfit exercises on your own. Whatever the case, have fun trying out one of the toughest forms of exercise in the world!