Since the first CrossFit gym opened in 1995, it has become one of the world’s hottest and controversial workouts. While CrossFit can be a great workout for some, there are several reasons why I believe it is not appropriate for others. I want to point some of those out and also explain how X3’s Fast Track is different (and of course I think better) workout.
Let’s first look at who I believe CrossFit is and is not for:
- Who I believe CrossFit for?
- If you’re an 18-year-old Army recruit about to be deployed to Iraq.
- If you have experience with Olympic type lifts
- If you want to train for the CrossFit games
- Who I think is CrossFit NOT for?
- Women who want a slender look
- Beginners and people who do not workout regularly – To do it right, you need a level of proficiency in the lifts in order to prevent injury and get optimal results
- People who are injury prone or have structural imbalances – see many reasons below why CrossFit has a high risk of injury
- Sport specific athletes, as CrossFit is not designed for any specific sport.
Here are a few reasons why I don’t feel CrossFit is good fit for many people:
- Loose Certification Criteria – The basic CrossFit certification introduces participants to numerous workout protocols and exercises, including Olympic lifts, such as the snatch and clean & jerk. According to recent comments on a website from an individual who is certified (and from information that I viewed on that person’s website) certification primarily consists of participating in workouts. Pay your fee and participate in workouts, and be certified and promote your business as a CrossFit affiliate.
- CrossFit is a Brand, not a Facility – Once an individual pays for certification, that person is now licensed to open a CrossFit location. There is no ongoing system of accountability to ensure consistency or quality. Basically, you cannot be too sure if your CrossFit instructors really know what they are doing.
- Testing Protocols – In looking over detailed notes from a CrossFit certification, I was concerned about the lack of testing for structural balance issues with trainees. Not addressing these while implementing a heavy Olympic lifting workout just adds to the possibility of injuries.
- High Risk of Injury due to lack of proper technique – I firmly believe that, to teach Olympic lifting and weight training, individuals should have USA Weightlifting certifications so that they are competent to teach certain types of exercises and can adequately prescribe protocols for complex training methods. In this category, I would include the classical Olympic lifts, strongman exercises and plyometrics, which many CrossFit instructors may not be qualified to teach. Often in the strength coaching profession these aforementioned training methods have been criticized as dangerous; but when you look at why athletes become injured from these training methods, it can often be traced to poor technique. (see video below)
- Repetition of Complex Exercises – Although high repetitions and short rest intervals can be used to develop muscular endurance, I believe these protocols should not be used in some exercises (that are used in the CrossFit program). This is especially true with the Olympic lifts. For example, you should never do more than 4 to 6 reps of these exercises because your technique will deteriorate. As you force the exercise and excessive reps, you are more susceptible to injuries and will decrease your performance.
- Endorsement of Controversial Exercises – On one website of a CrossFit affiliate, I saw video clips of athletes jumping onto cars and standing on Swiss balls. I appreciate having a wide variety of exercises to use with clients, but you have to question the logic of using such high-risk exercises in a program.
Now let’s compare CrossFit with X3 Sports’ Fast Track class:
What is Fast Track?
Fast Track is a unique mixture of cardio and resistance training that helps you lose weight, tone muscle and improve coordination. Fast Track utilizes sports training equipment and exercises such as bungees, medicine balls, kettle bells and hurdles. Depending on the location, we use 20-25 yards of indoor Astro Turf to help prevent injuries. This is a great class for those looking for a fun & challenging workout.
Benefits of Fast Track
- Fast Track’s main purpose is to provide an intense workout in a fun, group-based environment.
- Fast Track relies more on “Conditioning” and “Agility” training rather than complex weight lifting exercises. So it’s easy to learn and very beginner friendly unlike CrossFit which can be intimidating to beginners.
- Structural Balance issues are addressed by our Strength and Conditioning coaches on an on-going basis.
- Fast Track utilizes a high variety of exercises & equipment to keep you challenged and having fun while preventing plateau. Examples include bungee cords, kettle bells, agility ladders, medicine balls and hurdles.
- Fast Track is focused on improving Cardiac Output, VO2 Max, and burning fat through High Intensity Interval Training.
- Olympic lifting and weight training at X3 Sports is taught only by individual’s trained at the Olympic level, i.e. USA Weightlifting certifications.
- Fast Track is geared towards any age and fitness levels
If I have not persuaded you yet to try Fast Track, stay tuned for Part Two of this series where I will go into more technical detail about CrossFit and Fast Track and explain what you can expect from a Fast Track class at X3 Sports. If you want to try out one of my classes or any of the other fast track instructors, simply fill out the form on the right of this page to get started! In the mean time, if you have a question or just want to comment, feel free to drop me a line below.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Various Charles Poliquin articles
Disclaimer: Although each statement herein is based upon actual CrossFit locations, all CrossFit instructors and locations may not be as described.
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