Why train CrossFit at all?

Why train CrossFit at all?

If we ask people why they go to the gym for the first time, few will say they want to train CrossFit. In fact, the answer will probably be “to shape up”…

…However, we tend to connect the definition of “being fit” with our physical aspect or body composition (muscle mass and fat percentage).

This is not always the case. In fact, this confusion can make us establish superficial objectives, checking our progress in the mirror or scale. But if our objective is not competing, there may be more effective and efficient ways of reaching our original purpose.

If our objective is…

…being able to play football with our child and being able to keep up; getting ready for climbing; complementing my triathlon workouts; gaining muscle mass; losing fat and having a more efficient metabolism… Following the classic exercise routine for muscle hypertrophy does not make any sense. This is due to the fact that said exercises and workouts have been designed solely for esthetic purposes.

A hypertrophy routine will prioritize analytic exercises and give little important to the energy pathways. Consequently, it will not be effective when it comes to improving our physique and health.

Different Physical Composition

CrossFit Methodology

The CrossFit methodology has a very specific definition for this. That is, if you train CrossFit, you will develop the 10 basic capacities of “Fitness”:

  • Strength: Ability of our muscles to resist a weight.
  • Power: Ability to produce strength per unit of time.
  • Speed: Ability to shorten the time it takes to complete a movement pattern.
  • Agility: Ability to shorten the transition from a movement pattern to another.
  • Flexibility: Enhancing the movement range of a joint.
  • Cardiovascular resistance: Ability to process and release oxygen.
  • Muscle resistance: Ability to metabolize and use energy.
  • Balance: Ability to control the gravity center of the body regarding its support base.
  • Coordination: Ability to combine several movement patterns in a single movement pattern.
  • Precision: Ability to control the movement in a certain direction at a specific intensity.

These would more or less the physiological abilities that would define our state of health.

This will be a constant challenge due to the wide ranges of domains and abilities involved. In fact, this methodology will put our weaknesses on display but in turn the progress will be constant.

Physical Balance

CrossFit and physical composition

Some of the most frequently asked questions by those who start training is how and when they will start noticing said progress in their physical composition.

Will CrossFit not have an impact on my physical composition?

Evidently, it will have. Let’s say that it is a different philosophy, a different a approach to fitness and health. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program. Therefore, the objectives will enhance the performance while producing the physical adaptations that occur when pursuing said objectives.

Practical example:

By developing the different energy pathways and capacities, CrossFitters will be able to:

  • Lower their marks in 400 meters race from 120 seconds to 60 seconds.
  • Lower their marks in 5km race from 26 to 20 minutes.
  • Increase their 1 RM in dead lift from 160 to 200 kilos.
  • Increase their 20 RM in shoulder press from 35 to 50kg.

Evidently, there has to be a physical re-composition in a six month period in order to experience such a great progress in terms of performance:

  • We test a race where the energy system is lactic (400m).
  • Another race where the energy system is aerobic (5.000m).
  • Also, we test a central strength exercise, which is possibly the most complete in terms of neuronal component.
  • Finally, we can also test a specific muscle resistance adaptation such as 20 RM. This weight increase for the same number of reps cannot occur if our muscles have not adapted by creating new fibers and increasing their size.

CrossFit and the adaptation to the new stimulus

All this means that our body is capable of performing better because it has adapted to different energy demands. Consequently, our physical composition has improved and we are capable of using different substrates to produce said energy (mainly fats and carbs).

Therefore, our physical composition will improve (as long as we follow a proper nutrition to support the recovery). Moreover, we have reached our main objective, since we will be physically ready to face almost any activity. This is very important for those who enjoy sport in many shapes and forms.

In future entries, we will see how CrossFit can prepare ourselves to develop different capacities.

Here you have a video of one of the most relevant CrossFit athletes:


Related Entries:

Why Train Crossfit Review

Objective when going to the gym - 99%

Methodology - 100%

Physical Composition - 100%

Adaptation to new stimuli - 100%


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About Ismael Montalbán
Ismael Montalbán
Ismael Montalbán is a trainer specialising in strength and conditioning, as well as founder and CEO of the competitive Alpha Athletics team.
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