We continue with our three part series on giving you the lowdown on one of the fastest growing sports in the world, CrossFit. In CrossFit South Africa – All You Need To Know (Part 1 of 3) we looked at what is CrossFit, where to train, and getting started. In CrossFit South Africa – All You Need To Know (Part 2 of 3) we looked at CrossFit and diet, gear and accessories, and some dos and don’ts of CrossFit. Now we look at misconceptions of CrossFit, terminology and lingo, and motivation…
Misconceptions of CrossFit
There are a few misconceptions when it comes to CrossFit, and we’ve covered the important ones here…
The online community that CrossFit has, enables and promotes athletes to follow the program, without proper guidance. Yes, people out there will try going it alone, but that’s the same as watching a professional gymnast and going outside and trying out a double backflip, face-planting and then blaming the sport. If you want to do CrossFit, go to an affiliated CrossFit gym!
Movements in CrossFit are cheating and lack form, and CrossFitter have terrible technique. Not true. CrossFit is all about applying correct form, and the movement standards come from many different backgrounds, like gymnastics, weightlifting, etc. When those that do not know, see CrossFittters doing kipping pull-ups, for example, they say they’re cheating and lack form – a kipping pull-up is an actual form of pull-ups requiring a rhythmic swing to it. CrossFit also sees movements that people are used to, like a normal (dead-hang/strict) pull-up. Form may lapse slightly during hectic workouts, but there are still minimum standards you apply to avoid “no reps” – think of it this way, Muhammed Ali didn’t look as sharp in later rounds as he did in round one of his fights.
You’ll get too big or stocky! You won’t, if you do not want to. By doing the workouts you’ll definitely see positive change, but how much change is dependent on you too. If you get to a size or shape you’re happy with, then make sure you control your diet and workload to suit that level.
CrossFit is too hard or you’re too old. This is far from true. Don’t let those pictures of those “monsters” out there freak you out. CrossFit if infinitely scalable, which means you only need to do what you can. You’ll never be forced to do something you can’t do. You’ll simply be pushed to eventually break past your current boundaries, and that is still up to you.
CrossFit is expensive! Also far from true. Monthly fees at the “normal gym” might be subsidised by your medical aid, but remember you and others in your classes get a certified CrossFit trainer who trains you throughout your time in CrossFit. Group workouts are also a good thing… you have other people to measure and benchmark yourself against. Not forgetting the community in CrossFit tend to cheer harder for the person finishing last or going for a new personal best. You’ll also be grateful to leave all the “jean-pant” criminals behind at the “normal gym”.
You need to be fit/strong before starting CrossFit. Another definite no. Because workouts are scalable, you don’t need to be at any level of strong or fit. People with previous “training experience”, typically from “normal gyms” (except gymnasts and Olympic Weightlifters) tend to bring bad habits. If you have no predisposed bad habits, you’ll learn the correct way from the start.
Injuries are common in CrossFit. Also untrue. At an affiliated gym, and not those emulating the CrossFit program without a certified trainer, you get a trainer who will ensure you warm up and stretch correctly, following the right steps in harnessing a movement. Injuries often occur from doing things you’re not meant to do, not having the correct form taught to you, and often as a result of big ego’s, which are not accepted in the CrossFit community (check that at the door!).
CrossFit is like “Bootcamp”. Um, no. Bootcamp emulates CrossFit on the same level that a ten year old punches as hard as Mike Tyson. You can’t “sort of do CrossFit”. You either do it or you don’t, and if you do it, then you should be training at an affiliated CrossFit gym.
There are no machines at a CrossFit gym. Definitely not true – the people training at a CrossFit gym ARE THE MACHINES!
Here’s a video to motivate you beyond any misconceptions… CrossFit, What’s Your Excuse?
There are a number of common acronyms and terms which are used amongst CrossFitters, and if you’re keen to get started, it’s best you know what these are. We’ve put together a list of those which are the most common to help you get up to speed ASAP.
Box: A CrossFit gym.
WOD: “Workout of the Day”. Every day will have a new “WOD”.
Amrap: “As Many Rounds as Possible”, usually within a given time.
MetCon: Metabolic Conditioning workout.
Rep: A repetition or one instance of a given exercise.
No Rep: This is when you unsuccessfully complete a rep – this may be due to not completing the (predetermined) full range of movement, or not completing that rep within an allocated time.
Set: A group of repetitions.
Tabata: Twenty seconds of as many reps of the assigned exercise as possible, and then rest 10 seconds. This is typically repeated in a cycle of eight intervals.
Rx: The prescribed parameters of workout, or weight used in a workout.
Scaled: Scaled back/down parameters of workout, or weight used in a workout.
The Girls (WODs): Benchmark workouts in CrossFit named after women. Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, explained it best: “… anything that left you flat on your back, looking up at the sky asking ‘what just happened to me?’ deserved a female’s name.”
Hero WODs: Benchmark workouts named after military servicemen, police, or fire-fighters that have died in the line of duty; these tough workouts are programmed to provide a challenge and to serve as a reminder of that heroes’ sacrifice.
PB: “Personal Best”.
PR: “Personal Record”.
Double Unders: Skipping, where the rope passes under your feet twice before landing.
Box Jump: An exercise requiring you to jump onto and down from an elevated platform (usually a wooden box).
Burpees: Starting from standing, you drop to the ground and perform a push-up. You then in the same movement jump up to standing and off the ground, where you clap your hands overhead.
Kipping Pull-Up: A rhythmic swinging pull-up which lets you transfer horizontal motion into vertical force, allowing for more/quicker pull-ups.
Ring Dip: Like a conventional bodyweight dip, only on gymnastic rings.
Wall Ball: Holding a medicine ball, you squat down and explosively stand up, throwing the medicine ball towards a predetermined target/height on a wall.
Snatch: One of two Olympic lifts where athletes explosively lift a weighted barbell from the ground to overhead in one movement, often squatting under the bar and then standing up.
Clean & Jerk: The other Olympic lift, which includes two separate movements. It starts by explosively lifting a weighted barbell from the ground to the shoulders (sometimes ending in a front squat, and then back up to standing again), and then taking a shallow dip to drive upward to propel the bar overhead, often landing in a split position and then bringing your feet back in line.
By this point, we’ve given you a fairly good idea of what CrossFit is all about, and importantly if it’s something you would get involved in. The simple answer should be yes, but if you feel you want more motivation, check out some of these great videos which will certainly help you make the right choice…
Together with Inov-8 and REBEL Elite Fitness, we’re giving away a R2 200 hamper to one guy and one girl, respectively; consists of one pair of Inov-8s, Pure Pharma O3 (Omega fish oil used by all top CrossFitters) and a REBEL Enduromax high speed skipping rope. We are also giving away a R9 500 hamper to one CrossFit box; consists of one Olympic bar and one full set of rubber bumper plates (2x 25kg, 2x 20kg, 2x 15kg, 2 x 10kg, 2 x 5kg). Note: the CrossFit gym does not need to be an official affiliate.
How to enter? (You can gain multiple entries by entering on this article even if you entered via our last articles/posts!)
Simple! All you need to do is comment below and give us your thoughts on this CrossFit feature, or give us other misconceptions of CrossFit, or CrossFit lingo we might have missed, or tells us what motivates you to do/start CrossFit. Include your gyms name (e.g. CrossFit Jozi) and they’ll automatically be entered into the competition for you to win them the R9 500 equipment hamper from REBEL Elite Fitness – be your gyms new hero and do it!
Make a point to follow Inov-8 South Africa and REBEL Elite Fitness:
Inov-8 Facebook: Inov-8 South Africa Fan Page
Inov-8 Twitter: @Inov8SA
REBEL Elite Fitness Facebook: REBEL Elite Fitness Fan Page
REBEL Elite Fitness Twitter: @REBELFitness