CrossFit® Training: What You Need to Know

Written by Dwight S. Tyndall, MD, FAAOS

CrossFit® Total Empowerment training has been gaining popularity over the last several years. There are more than 9,000 CrossFit-associated gyms in the United States and CrossFit provides accredited training seminars worldwide. It has a strong online presence, appears in magazines, and CrossFit games can even be seen on television. CrossFit has also garnered its share of controversy.

What’s so good about CrossFit?
Advertised as “the sport of fitness,” CrossFit has its advantages. Its focus is on performing high-intensity exercises within a set time period. It has shown effective results in improving aerobic conditioning and burning calories, and people are, for the most part, in better physical shape than they previously were.

Is there a downside?
Nothing is perfect, and CrossFit is no exception. It is not for everybody; for example, if you want to specialize in one area—say, powerlifting or a particular sport—or prefer training on your own, it is probably not the program for you. A few thoughts to consider:

Should I try CrossFit?
As with any exercise regimen, know your body and use caution.

In the final analysis…
If CrossFit aligns with your goals, it can be a good program—if you use common sense and good judgment in following the principles. Getting and staying in shape is a long-term commitment. Don’t try to condense a decade into a month or two. Again, make sure the coaches in that gym are experienced and competent. There may be a few CrossFit gyms in your area, so make a careful, informed decision.

Bear in mind, too, that is a financial as well as a time commitment. CrossFit can cost 2 to 3 times as much as a commercial gym, for the classes alone.

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