CrossFit: A New Definition of Fitness

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Who’s the fittest man on the Earth? Wonder and think. First tell me who’d you think to be the fittest? The one who could run faster, lift heavy and has a lot of explosive strength. The fittest man should be the combination of all – strength, power and stamina. And this is where CrossFit comes to picture.

If you’ve ever been to the Unites States or Russia, you must have heard about CrossFit. CrossFit is a set of strength building and conditioning workouts. It emerged more than a decade ago and since then, the programme became so popular that it has been adopted by many military training units, police training units and hundreds of different world class athletes for their training and fitness. The good thing about CrossFit is that no matter what your age or gender is, you can always find a suitable set of workouts that would hit you the best. CrossFit, in its schedule, implements exercise from Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), powerlifting, strongman and numerous other sports.

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There’s this one thing about humans. Most of them don’t try new things unless they know “what’s in it for me?” So, here I reveal that the world’s fittest man is not an Olympic athlete, not a martial artist, not a runner or a swimmer. He is a CrossFit athlete. You could also be the world’s fittest man! Practice it seriously and you’ll see the change. CrossFit focuses mainly on the improvement of cardiovascular endurance with other physical factors – power, strength, flexibility, accuracy, coordination between different organs of the body, agility, mobility and I can write 50 more words. Currently, there are more than 10000 CrossFit gyms across the world. The good thing is that there’s no hard and fast rule for the workouts.

Here are some of the famous workouts that CrossFit administers:

  • Ring Dips: A classic signature move of the Olympic gymnasts. The whole body is supported upon the rings, elbows are close to the locked position. The motion is basically same as the regular parallel arm dip, but in ring dips, you need more flexibility and coordination between different limbs and most importantly a very good balancing sense. A little slip, and you fall! Drop the body till the shoulders go below the level of the elbows and then slowly come back to the starting position.
  • Push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups: I’ve talked a lot about these basic calisthenics moves in my other articles. For a beginner, these are the best exercises to start with hitting major muscle groups at a time. CrossFit further implements the weighted push-ups and the ring-pushups to the curriculum. And trust me, if you have never done a ring push-up, it’ll take you more than a fortnight to get it done. The balancing move is too demanding here. Hand stand push-up is yet another variant. As the name makes it clear, you have to stand upon your hands – upside down and then do the push-ups. Quite difficult given the fact that most people can’t even stand on their hands!

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The level of difficulty of pull-ups is also increased in the same fashion by adding up weights, or by keeping the motion constrained or by making it out to a muscle up. The beginners who can’t perform a pull-up are often assisted with elastic bands, which reduces the overall effort of pulling. Sit-ups could be made more difficult just by adding iron plates. Hold it close to your chest and do the normal sit-up, that’ll put more stress.

  • Lunges and free squats. Good ones for thighs. You have to take a large step forward, bend the knee until the back knee touches the ground and then recover. Repeat with the other leg. Free squats are simple up and down motion without any weight. Sit down and stand up – keep your back arched.
  • Clean&Jerk and Snatch. The famous two lifts of the Olympics style weightlifting is probably the main running nerve of CrossFit schedule. Olympics lifts test you explosive power and overall muscle coordination. The two lifts could be made tougher by performing their power versions in which you’re not allowed to go deep all the way to the ground, you have to lift the weights overhead with your hips not going below your knee-level.
  • Powerlifting moves. Bench press, squats and deadlift. The ultimate test of strength. You can’t cheat, you can’t go the other way. It’s you versus the loaded barbell. Powerlifting moves are pretty much common among the amateur bodybuilders as well. Before moving on to the isolated exercises, these moves are done to add up more mass.
  • Farmers carry. A popular exercise from the World Strongman Competition. The exercise is very simple. You just have to pick up some weight and carry it to some distance.
  • Rope Climbing. A classical move. Used in all military training. A note to the beginners – you don’t rely only on your arms to climb through a rope, actually, most of the work is done by the legs!

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There are various other exercises like Box jump, squat jump (very painful it is), back extension, L-sit, press, thruster etc. that are implemented in the CrossFit schedule. CrossFit organizes a game of itself every year – The CrossFit Games. US military was the first to implement the CrossFit workout in their training sessions and after 6 months of training, the average power output was measured to be increase by more than 20% than those training conventionally.

What are you waiting for? You can find the instructional videos of the workouts on YouTube. Start today and stay healthy, stay fit!

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