Friday, July 15, 2011

Is Crossfit Really For You?

Crossfit is a trademarked name, referring to a fitness program that emphasizes generality over specificity.  Most often, this means combining exercises or training methods into a given daily workout, called a “Workout of the Day (WOD).”  So for a typical crossfitter, a 1 hour long class might have you performing a 400 meter sprint, alternated with 21 kettlebell swings, performing 5 rounds in a row for minimum time.  Another workout might have you doing as many reps as possible (AMRAP) of overhead squats with 135 lbs in 10 minutes.  The principle in Crossfit is to spend every training session performing different types of exercises, so that over the coming months and years, your body becomes prepared for most of life in a general sense.  Unfortunately, this also means that you will sacrifice becoming highly proficient in any one aspect of fitness, such as becoming super strong, running a mile in under 5 minutes, or improving your vertical jump.   This means that if you have a specific set of goals in mind, you need to train intelligently toward specifically meeting them.  If on the other hand, you are a person who just wants to be “generally fit and healthy, maybe lose some bodyfat and build muscle,” and do not have performance goals, then crossfit-type training programs could be for you.

The vast majority of people who attend our kettlebell classes fall into the category of people who are interested in looking better, gaining muscle, and losing bodyfat.  As such, many of the kettlebell classes include crossfit-type training methods.  Students might perform a 5 rep maximum of deadlifts and 50 snatches in as short a time as possible, following it up with a circuit of kettlebell swings, cleans and presses, and squats.  Over months of consistent training, a kettlebell student will report feeling more energetic, with improved mood, as well as losing bodyfat, and gaining muscle, strength, and flexibility.  In fact, kettlebells are a much more efficient means of reaching those fitness goals, when compared to Crossfit.  Kettlebells are safe, easy to learn, portable, and require only 20 minutes for an awesome workout.  On the other hand, Crossfit exercises are often very technical and time consuming to learn.  Crossfit exercises can also be dangerous and risky when performed improperly, and require a large space with lots of equipment to practice them, as well as an hour or more of training time. 

All of these facts come down to a few simple truths.  Crossfit programs are great if you are already fit and/or have an experienced background in weight training or Olympic Lifting.  But that is not most of you.  Most people reading this will have limited experience in strength training, and will be mildly sedentary, with multiple aches, pains, and injuries.  For the majority of those people, using the kettlebell in a crossfit-type workout will give you all the fitness benefits you want, with none of the injury risk, in a fraction of the training time. 
To properly learn how to use kettlebells, seek out an experienced and certified coach, preferably with an HKC or RKC certification.  Jason Schreiber is the only HKC in the Silver Spring and Northern Montgomery County area.  You can learn more about him, and what his clients have to say about his training methods, at   You can also find up to date information about his ongoing kettlebell classes at  Class sizes are small, allowing for personal attention, and open to even the most inexperienced novice.  If you are interested in 1-on-1 training, call the office at 301-622-9000 to schedule an appointment.  Our facility, Capital Sports Injury Center, is located at 12200 Tech Rd, Suite #104, Silver Spring, MD 20904, and is easily accessible from Route 29.

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