What is CrossFit?

Is it possible that you get to the gym everyday just out of habit but it’s the same old routine? Monday is chest and arms, Tuesday is back and legs, Wednesday is cardio day on the treadmill, etc. That routine was mine until just a few years ago. Some of us have had the same routine for years without having any results as far as increase in strength, body fat loss, or whatever our fitness goal was when we began training. If the gym works for you and you are happy with your success, I would not recommend changing anything. I know, for me personally, there had to be something else that would be challenging yet help with my overall fitness. A few years ago I was personally introduced to CrossFit. It has helped me tremendously with strength, agility, balance, stamina and an overall feeling of health. I really feel that I accomplish something each day when I finish the WOD (workout of the day).

Let’s define what CrossFit really is, how it works, and what the benefits are. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program of functional fitness for all age levels. It uses different types of stimulus to increase your strength, conditioning, agility, etc. The programming contains some different functional exercises taken from gymnastics, endurance training, and Olympic weight lifting. CrossFit’s goal is to provide a high intensity functional workout that is constantly being varied. CrossFit’s specialty is not specializing; the WOD is always different and is constantly changing.

Most CrossFit gyms work as follows. Each person, when they sign up, is evaluated on their level of fitness through a series of functional tests. Each person must go through a two or three day beginner class to learn some of the functional movements that they will be required to perform during the normal WOD. Some CrossFit gyms require a doctor’s release if someone has not trained or worked out for some time. Once you have successfully completed the beginner’s classes, you are now ready for the daily WOD’s. Each day, depending on the CrossFit gym you are in, the daily WOD is posted on the gym’s website so you know what the workout is the day before. The workouts vary daily from weight training, endurance training and gymnastics. Sometimes all three will be used in the same workout. Some days just one will be used. The workouts can vary in time depending on what the WOD is that day. Some workouts are timed and some have a time cap. That’s what makes it so much fun! It’s never the same. The equipment used can also vary from workout to workout. Here are a few examples of the different equipment used routinely: kettle bells, rowing machines, sand bags, prowler sled, jump ropes, Olympic weights and barbells, boxes at different heights for plyometric exercises and ab mats, among several others.

On a weekly basis I see patients in my office that have injured themselves while working out at CrossFit gyms. The reason why most people get injured is they are too focused on how much weight they are lifting rather than focusing on technique. Another reason we see people get injured is improper form and not enough warm up time with each movement and exercise. My recommendation is to make sure that you are working with a Level I Certified CrossFit trainer. Focus on good form and technique and remember that your strength and endurance will follow later. Please leave your ego at home and just go have fun.

Before starting any exercise routine or program, it is highly recommended that you see your primary doctor for a complete physical examination. Upon completion of your physical exam, discuss your intentions on beginning the CrossFit program. Let your doctor know that you would like his or her approval to begin. With CrossFit, get ready for some real fun and some of the most challenging workouts you will ever experience.

Dr. Mickey Cohen is a Chiropractic Physician in Plantation, Florida. He has been in private practice since 1994. He can be reached at [email protected] or www.nobhillchiropractic.com.

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