This post has been brewing for a long time. Crossfit. If you train seriously the name has become pervasive in your daily life. You will inevitably see someone at the gym, on the street, on the train or in the bar who “does Crossfit”. It’s everywhere. Turn on the tv and you see the Crossfit Games. There’s no escaping it nowadays.
Crossfit gets a lot of hate in this industry and it’s not always undeserved. I myself have looked at a lot of the things Crossfitters do and marveled. Butterfly pull-ups? Or how about that now infamous “strongman” video?
I am not a Crossfitter. I don’t do it. I don’t teach it. I don’t train in a box. I’m not Crossfit certified. So some might say I’m not qualified to have an opinion. If you’re reading this you obviously care what I think, though.
Whether some people want to admit it or not, I think there’s a lot of good that has come from Crossfit’s notoriety. For years trainers have been preaching that classic barbell lifts, Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics style movements are the way to go if you want to get stronger and more athletic. As a matter of fact, I think a lot of the hate comes from the fact that trainers are pissed off that Crossfit has had such success with gaining acceptance of these modalities even though the rest of us have been saying it forever.
Either way, all of a sudden non-athletes are doing snatches, pull-ups and deadlifts while avoiding machine-centric workouts. Women are doing squats and lifting real weights! They’re turning away from the cardio bunny lifestyle! And they’re getting really, really hot while doing it!
Still, nobody can deny that Crossfit does some really stupid shit. But, when you think about it, how much stupid or dangerous nonsense do you see in the gym on a regular basis anyway? Is the stuff that Crossfit does really much worse? People are going to do silly things in any training environment. Crossfit just happens to be popular enough that people focus on it a little more.
I have a friend who competed in the Crossfit games this year and I went out to watch the competition one weekend. Did I see some dangerous stuff? Absolutely. I witnessed at least a dozen instances of dangerous crap. But I also saw people break their asses for the sake of physical competition. I saw a community where everyone was cheering everyone else on. It was pretty cool. And afterward we hung out and played on the rings and bars like kids in a jungle gym. I even hit my first strict ring muscle-up.
While it astounds me what some of the Crossfit leadership does and says I can’t help but be happy that the community at least encourages healthy living and an active lifestyle. I’ve known some great coaches who were Crossfitters and that’s taught me an important lesson: Crossfit’s lack of quality control, while detrimental in many ways, means that you don’t know what you’re going to get until you speak to the coach. But that’s true of any trainer, isn’t it? This industry is well known for a lack of quality control – it’s not exclusive to Crossfit.
I guess my whole point here is that Crossfit is not intrinsically bad as some trainers would have you believe. Is the occurrence of stupid stuff a little higher with them? Possibly. I don’t know. But just as every powerlifter doesn’t want to be looked at as a lazy lifter who just doesn’t want to eat right or do conditioning, or every bodybuilder doesn’t want to be looked at as a roider, I assume the good Crossfitters out there want nothing to do with the nonsense that seems to go viral every month. Stereotypes are bad, mmkay?
I wonder how many of my readers are Crossfitters? I know that this blog has been linked on a number of Crossfit sites and I’d like to hear back from you. Crossfitter or not tell me your opinion of the craze in the comments.