[This is a guest blog from Brandon Hooks. Brandon is a senior at Ferrum College pursuing his degree in Health and Human Performance. Brandon is participating in the coaching mentorship program at Athletic Lab.]

superfitCrossFit is based on functional movements at high intensity such as running, jumping, squatting, pushing and pulling.  Changing movements during the workout at a high level is a key component to CrossFit. The Workout of the Day (WOD) is the set of routines that are going to be performed for the day and is designed to incorporate a broad range of exercises with a specific number of repetitions per exercise. For example: 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 squats could comprise the WOD.

CrossFit is high intensity training.  High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) implements alternating short anaerobic bursts of exercise followed by recovery periods. This interval is critical for increased fitness. Research has shown that HIIT provides improved athletic capacity and condition and improvement in fat burning. The question that many ask or wonder is that, is CrossFit really good for you?

There have been concerns and arguments that CrossFit isn’t good for you because of the risk of injuries that are involved with doing certain CrossFit movements such as the kettlebell swing. In CrossFit competitions, the kettlebell swings are done to an overhead extension instead of to shoulder or eye level. Doing a kettlebell swing this way increases the risk of injury. I believe the Russian kettlebell swing is better for someone who is not used to doing those movements or in non-competitive CrossFit. I have seen the benefits and the good results from knowing a person that used CrossFit. This guy was a former Division I basketball player, who still holds some NCAA records. After his playing career ended he settled down to his middle aged years and led a sedentary lifestyle as a businessman. Well he gained a significant amount of weight and was not considered fit. However, last winter, he began doing CrossFit workouts. After three months he, not only looked much better physically he indicates he feels and can move like he did in his twenties.

The approach that Athletic Lab takes when it comes to having CrossFit for the general population is that all the workouts are done in a safer manner than the type that is usually shown in CrossFit competition. The workout is broken done in a couple different sections, first starting off with a technical skill type exercise and then into a power or strength exercise portion then the last part is finished with a conditioning part. In a study that compared the relationship of aerobic capacity, anaerobic peak power and experience to performance in CrossFit exercise, and (1) the result of the study reported data related to the motivational climate within CrossFit training centers suggesting positive impact for the types of goal established during training. (2) In an article written by E. Murawska-Cialowicz, the conclusion, it describes that a beneficial influence of CrossFit training on the subjects’ body composition, anaerobic capacity and cardiovascular fitness as well as an increase in Brain-derived neurotrophic factor makes it possible to assume that this type of training could have very high application value, especially in a therapeutic process leading to improving a patient’s wellbeing. In a 12-month study of a CrossFit gym conducted by Katie M. Heinrich (3), the results that were gathered were that the motivational climate within CrossFit training centers suggesting positive impact for the types of goal established during training. To conclude, from evidence I have gathered and read, CrossFit seems to be very beneficial to increasing aerobic fitness levels and VO2 oxygen levels.

References

  1. Bellar D, Hachett A, Judge LW, Breux ME, Marcus L. The Relationship of aerobic capacity, anaerobic peak power and experience in Crossfit exercise. Biol Sport. (2015;32(4):315-320
  2. “CrossFit: New Research Puts Popular Workout to the Test.” Empire State CrossFit. 2013. Accessed July 14, 2016.https://empirestatecrossfit.com/crossfit-new-research-puts-popular-workout-to-the-test/.
  3. Heinrich, K. M., Ph.D, Irwin, B. C., Ph.D, Gilmore, K., B.S, & Paolili, T. (n.d.). Greater self-efficacy and group cohension facilitate adherence to Crossfit exercise. Retrieved from https://www.k-state.edu/kines/labs/Heinrich 2015 – Greater self-efficacy and group cohesion.pdf