There has been so much debate about this topic that it’s almost impossible to come to a good conclusion because the topic is not black or white – but falls in a grey area.
CrossFit has reached cult-like status with thousands of gyms all over the world dedicated to it, and hundreds of thousands of Crossfitters love it and can’t stop talking about it.
* Is it safe?
That said, CrossFit is NOT a program that’s ideal for everyone – and yes, it is dangerous. The problem with CrossFit is that it encourages speed while moving heavy weights.
Some of the exercises in a typical CrossFit workout are kettlebell swings, squat jerks, deadlifts, overhead presses and so on. When you’re executing such moves with heavy weights and high speed, there’s a very high risk of accidentally injuring yourself.
Of course, the CrossFit fanatics will tell you that if you practice good form, you’ll be fine. However, CrossFit tends to be competitive in nature to some degree. People’s egos are invested in the workouts.
So, to do well, you have to be fast and strong… and usually, form goes out the window and that’s when injury occurs. There have been countless injuries ranging from sprained shoulders to painful backs and knees.
The protocol is merciless and not for beginners.
* What’s your fitness level?
If you’re overweight and led a sedentary lifestyle for years and you’re just starting to get active, CrossFit is NOT suitable for you. You’re better of starting on a program like P90X or Insanity Max.
The goal should be to boost your metabolism and torch the fat stores. These workout programs will challenge you without leaving you totally wiped out. CrossFit, however, is intensely demanding.
To make matters worse, there’s a haphazard approach to CrossFit when it comes to rest days which aren’t really specified. Unlike home workouts such as P90X, CrossFit workouts tend to be different based on the gym you’re going to.
Some workouts may leave you in pain for 3 days. This is counterproductive when you’re trying to get fit and lose weight.
You want programs such as P90X, CIZE, etc. that challenge you, but are still safe enough for you to come back to the next day. There’s also more structure and these programs have had a lot of thought go into it during the planning stage.
* Sacrificing form for speed
As mentioned earlier, you should never sacrifice from for speed. If you’ve watched people doing pull-ups during a CrossFit workout, you’d notice that they often jerk (kipping) just to get momentum going so that they can do more reps.
This is poor form and may even get you injured. This is very common in the CrossFit arena. Trying to get strong and build stamina is an ambitious goal, but it’s better to do it sensibly.
* The better way
If you’re unfit and overweight, the best thing you can do is go on a home workout video regimen for 60 to 90 days. Programs such as Alo Moves, P90X, Insanity Max, Bodyrock, etc. are fantastic for getting you in shape.
Once you’ve completed a program, your stamina and strength would have improved remarkably. You now have a solid foundation.
Then you’ll need a training regimen where you engage in resistance training 3 times a week, and you can have 2 days of cardio where you do any one of the workouts from the home workout videos.
During your resistance training, you can focus on form and hypertrophy. Always maintain good form and do not jerk the weights.
This approach will still sculpt you a fantastic body while keeping your endurance level high. You do not need CrossFit to become fit. Period.