CrossFit Beginners: 6 Things You Need to Know Before Training

CrossFit includes a wide range of exercises, ranging from dynamic movements like wall balls to weightlifting and gymnastics.
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CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program. The training method is offered by the American company of the same name and includes weightlifting, sprinting and exercises with your own weight.

However, according to head trainer Nicole Carroll, CrossFit is suitable for everyone, regardless of fitness level. She says that consistency, healthy habits, and patience are the cornerstones of CrossFit.

It’s a common misconception that CrossFit is dangerous or only suitable for young and fit people. Scaled exercises are used to adjust difficulty and intensity for athletes of all levels.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program. The training method is offered by the American company of the same name and includes weightlifting, sprinting and exercises with your own weight. But CrossFit isn’t just for expert athletes. And you don’t have to lift heavy weights to start either.

Courses, which vary in length and content depending on the trainer and gym, can have multiple components. For example, start with a strength or skill exercise, which is often followed by more endurance-oriented physical training.

Some CrossFit benchmark workouts are all about completing a certain number of reps as quickly as possible. A classic test called Fran consists of 21 reps of thrusters (squats and barbell overhead presses) and pull-ups, followed by 15 reps each, then nine reps.

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Other workouts are all about completing as many rounds or reps as possible in a set amount of time, known as AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible). Cindy’s workout involves completing as many rounds as possible of five pull-ups, ten push-ups, and 15 sit-ups in 20 minutes.

According to Nicole Carroll, director of training and certification for CrossFit, CrossFit workouts can help improve mental and physical health, develop an athletic physique, and gain confidence.

For starters, you need to focus on healthy habits, do the compound exercises consistently, and be patient as you see results, Carroll said. Here’s what you need to know before your first CrossFit workout:

Anyone can do CrossFit safely

It’s a common misconception that CrossFit is dangerous or only suitable for young and fit people. However, according to Carroll, scaled exercises are used to adjust the level of difficulty and intensity for athletes of all ages and experience levels.

“CrossFit was designed to improve the fitness of all participants in the safest, most efficient and effective way possible,” she says. Research shows that CrossFit is as safe as other sports like weightlifting or gymnastics.

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It’s not about getting as tired as possible with several workouts

Carroll said another myth about CrossFit is that the goal is to get as tired as possible by mixing exercises. However, the various CrossFit workouts are deliberately designed and center around the core principle of “constantly varied, high-intensity functional movements,” according to Carroll.

For example, some workouts focus on heavy weights with movements like deadlifts or squats to improve strength and power, while others involve lighter weights but more repetitions performed quickly to improve speed and endurance. Classes also include skill exercises to perfect advanced techniques like ring muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, or Olympic lifts like the clean.

While there is the opportunity to try complicated exercises, most workouts consist of basic movements combined in various ways to develop all aspects of fitness, from strength and endurance to speed and dexterity.

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The key is to master the basic exercises.

Beyond glamorous CrossFit moves like weightlifting or complicated calisthenics, most workouts follow basic sequences of simple movements, says Carroll. At the beginning of CrossFit training, trainers start with basic bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. Over time, athletes add weight, do more reps, and/or increase speed and intensity.

For example, Murph’s CrossFit benchmark workout includes a mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats, followed by another mile run, all in a weight vest. Beginners can skip the vest, break up the workout into smaller sets, and do graduated pull-ups and push-ups to finish.

While CrossFit athletes are known for their lean muscles and ripped abs, building muscle and burning fat is a secondary benefit, says Carroll, and not the main focus of the program. “We are chasing work capacity. But form inevitably follows function,” she says. “When CrossFit athletes regularly invest time and effort in their training to increase their work capacity and follow CrossFit nutrition principles, they do whatever it takes to build the body of their dreams.”

Prioritize your diet and sleep

CrossFit extends beyond the gym to lifestyle habits that support fitness, Carroll said. Getting enough sleep is important to staying fit, and proper nutrition and a balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein are also critical to training, according to Tia Claire-Toomey, one of the world’s top CrossFit athletes.

For example, Toomey eats carbohydrate-rich staples like bagels and oatmeal for energy. One of the most important aspects of CrossFit is that, unlike many fitness fads, it is not promoted as a quick fix. CrossFit is about a long-term journey that will lead to success, Carroll said.

“Many athletes find themselves in CrossFit after years of popping pills and trying potions. Some of them are finally disappointed because the secret workout that was supposed to fulfill their fitness dreams didn’t work,” she says.

Aspiring CrossFit athletes can get the results they want, but only if they’re willing to work hard and be patient to reap the rewards, Carroll said. “My advice is to enjoy the learning process,” she said. “You just have to start and keep doing it, the development of the skill will come naturally.”

This article was translated from English by Meltem Sertatas. You can find the original text here.

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