What is crossfit: history, exercises, benefits, principles

What is crossfit: history, exercises, benefits, principles

The constant pursuit of excellence in all directions is a characteristic feature of man. We are constantly looking for ways and means to improve performance in absolutely everything, and power sports are no exception. Now we will talk about crossfit – a relatively new direction that is rapidly gaining momentum. Being a kind of symbiosis of the most effective and popular sports, it perfectly combines its advantages, and at the same time it is devoid of most of the disadvantages of each of them individually. What kinds of sports, what advantages and what disadvantages – this is what we will consider further.

A bit of history

Like the names of most other sports that allow you to build the perfect body (bodybuilding, powerlifting, fitness), the word “crossfit” also came to us from across the ocean. Cross – cross, cross; fit – fit, fit.

In the form that crossfit classes have now, the direction has appeared relatively recently. The birthplace of this sport is gaining popularity is the United States – the first hall, equipped specifically for this movement, was opened in 2001, in California. The founder of the trend is a former gymnast named Greg Glassman. According to him, the development of principles and combinations of exercises began more than two decades ago. Over the past period, the number of gyms has increased significantly – currently at least 4,000 of them are open in the world, and this number continues to grow.

Due to the serious effectiveness and efficiency of such a sport as crossfit, the exercises of the program from it were widely used – for example, there is a special, separate direction for children (which is called crossfitkids), and there are for football players (crossfitfootball, respectively), for pregnant women , for the elderly and so on. CrossFit at the moment is the basis of physical training for employees of American intelligence services (ranging from military to firefighters).

What is crossfit?

Now – more about what crossfit is. As mentioned above, this direction is a symbiosis of several sports. The list includes:

  • weightlifting (this includes bodybuilding and powerlifting);
  • Athletics;
  • gymnastics;
  • fitness.
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Due to the fact that in each of the above items there is a huge amount of exercises and training variations – the “range” of opportunities when doing crossfit is simply enormous. You can create programs in hundreds of ways – and never happen again.

The very essence of the lessons lies in the high-intensity circular execution of exercises performed with virtually no rest. You probably have not once seen in American films (demonstrating the training of military or athletes) how the heroes alternate the most different types of loads during training: after a deadlift, cross or run with obstacles, then pull-ups, followed by a barbell press. For most of us, accustomed to performing the same exercises, such a program may certainly seem unimaginable. However, the results that crossfit with a barbell and other shells allow to achieve are simply amazing, and one cannot ignore them. For example, you can evaluate the level of physical fitness and the appearance of American soldiers who train specifically for cross-fit programs – few visitors to our gyms can boast of such achievements.

The goal of the classes is the development of each muscle group, ligaments and joints, as well as improving the functioning of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and the general endurance of the body. At the moment, there is no sport that can cope with the task better than crossfit.

Basic principles of training

Now, imagining what crossfit is, we’ll deal with the basic principles that make it such an effective and efficient sport.

  1. The maximum intensity of each workout. To improve the result, many athletes prefer to perform exercises for a while.
  2. The maximum frequency of training. To improve the result, you should engage as often as possible. Many programs are designed for daily execution, and some of them are designed for 2 workouts per day.
  3. The minimum amount of rest between exercises (ideally, its complete absence). Thus, the maximum possible level of load on the muscles, respiratory and cardiovascular systems is achieved.
  4. The versatility of training. The principle of loading should change in each exercise, including as many muscle groups as possible in the work.
  5. Lack of narrowly targeted result. “Lifters” train for the sake of increasing strength indicators and lifting maximum weight, “builders” – for the sake of a clear relief, athletes – strive to improve endurance and speed. CrossFit combines all the methods, allowing you to achieve each goal described above immediately.
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CrossFit: exercises. Applicable exercises

It should be immediately noted that in a sport such as crossfit, exercises number in the tens, or even hundreds. There are a great many variations and methods of their execution – they depend on the level of your training, the number and time of training, available opportunities (shells that can be used during classes). Therefore, we will list the main exercises that are the “base” of this sport.

Using your own weight

  • Squats
  • Push-ups (lying down and upside down).
  • Jumping rope.
  • Twisting and other exercises on the press.
  • Lunges.
  • Jumping, jumping.

Use of gymnastic apparatus

  • Pullups on the rings.
  • Pullups on the horizontal bar.
  • Climbing a rope.
  • Push-ups on the uneven bars.
  • Static exercises on the horizontal bar and uneven bars (“corner”, “horizon” and so on), performed for a while.


  • Running (optimally – for short distances at a fast pace).
  • Running with obstacles.
  • Riding a bike / exercise bike.
  • “Rowing” in the simulator (when training in a specially equipped gym).
  • Sparring / punching bag / shadow boxing.

The use of weights

This point should be discussed in more detail. A variety of shells can be used for training – a crossfit with a kettlebell, barbell and dumbbells will only diversify your workouts, so the more “iron” is involved, the better. The only and quite important nuance: the pursuit of maximum weight is not a paramount task, where it is more useful to perform a large number of repetitions.

First of all, it is important to use multi-joint (basic) exercises from powerlifting:

  • Bench press (with different grip and bench angle).
  • Bench up (from the chest and from behind the head).
  • Deadlift (all variations).
  • Tilts in tilt.
  • Squats.

Add weightlifting exercises:

  • Push (with one and two hands).
  • Jerk.
  • Bench press.
  • “Swing” with a weight.
  • But isolating exercises are not so effective – they are rarely included in the program.

CrossFit Benefits

In fact, this sport is much more effective and relevant for a modern person in everyday life. Agree – it is unlikely that you often needed the ability to reap or pull 100 kilograms? But to have hardy muscles and a stable working heart is much more important.

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We list the main advantages of classes:

  • Endurance, physical strength, and the general condition of the body (in particular, the cardiovascular and respiratory systems) increase.
  • The level of subcutaneous fat is reduced to a minimum.
  • The volume of muscle mass increases (due to the regular implementation of the “base”).
  • Almost all muscle groups and joints of the body are being worked out.

The disadvantages of doing crossfit

Despite the clear effectiveness and efficiency of the direction, there are many people who speak negatively about crossfit. It should be noted that for the most part this is explained very simply: not everyone is able to cope with such serious loads. It is unlikely that you will find a young guy with sculptured muscles who will criticize such a training – usually this is done by older doctors who see danger in everything that goes beyond their understanding.

However, we will not underestimate – some disadvantages and dangers still exist:

  1. The need for space and equipment. It is unlikely that you will be able to practice crossfit at home (at least to the full) – classes require a lot of space and the availability of simulators and equipment. Although maintaining your body in shape by performing lightweight training options is quite possible.
  2. High degree of load. Even an experienced athlete, who has been engaged in some other sport for several years and achieved serious results, is unlikely to cope with intensive crossfit training. For this reason, getting involved in classes, especially for beginners, is very difficult. Often after a short 20-minute training, inexperienced people experience muscle pain, joint pain, nausea, a serious breakdown. This is a clear indicator that you should slow down and reduce the load.
  3. Serious effects on the body. The essence is the same as in the previous paragraph – a fairly serious and intense load can lead to some complications over time. First of all, joints and heart are at risk – so if you experience pain, be sure to reduce the intensity of your classes and undergo a physical examination.

Samuel Mitchell