An Overview of CrossFit
B. Ease of Access and participation in CrossFit
Another fact that supports the claim that CrossFit is superior to other training methods is that the space or amount of equipment available has little impact on the ability to do CrossFit workouts. CrossFit workouts do not require the large number of specialized equipment that isolation or bodybuilding routines do. The first CrossFit gym was in a corner of a jiu jitsu training center. Then and now, many CrossFit athletes are doing CrossFit in their garage each day (Beginner’s Guide 5). A isolation training program or bodybuilding program requires an excessive number of weight lifting machines and floor space. A local traditional gym, National Fitness and Racquetball Club, is 40,000 square feet and has over a hundred specialized machines. According to Peter York, a certified CrossFit trainer, and co-owner of a CrossFit affiliate gym, a typical CrossFit gym could be only 1500 square feet and has only 3 machines, and those machines are Glute Ham Developer (GHD) machines. These machines should hardly be counted as machines as they just hold your feet when you do a sit-up (York).
CrossFit is better than other programs because it doesn’t require lots of floor space, machines, a personal trainer, even a membership. Any athlete can do CrossFit in his or her garage. This supports the claim that CrossFit being better than most other programs.
C. Specialization in Training
One of the major focuses of CrossFit is not specializing. The CrossFit main website actually says, “Our specialty is not specializing” (Crossfit.com). This is because of the cons of specializing. These cons include; a lack of balance in the ten skills (Refer to Endnotes Table 1), excessive training in one or two of the metabolic pathways, high rate of overuse injuries, and a lack of ability outside of chosen area.
1. Lack of Balance
Specialized athletes lack balance in the ten general skills and therefore do not have a true high level of fitness. A power lifter lacks cardio endurance, stamina, agility and speed. A long distance runner lacks strength, power, speed, agility, and accuracy. Even a gymnast lacks explosiveness, possibly cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, and to some extent, stamina. True fitness comes from having balanced strengths in each of these areas. Everyone has heard the expression “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” The skill that an athlete is weakest in is his or her weakest link in the chain.
2. Metabolic Pathway Specificity
Specialized training results in a disproportionate amount of time in a single metabolic pathway. Training that focuses on a specific metabolic pathway results in imbalanced fitness. A long distance runner does little to no training in the phosphagen or even glycolic pathways and focuses on, specializes, in the oxidative pathway. Conversely, a collegiate wrestler trains and competes in the phosphagen and glycolic pathways (What is Fitness 11). Specialized training in one metabolic pathway always results in a weakness in the other metabolic pathways. Think of the last marathon runner you saw. That athlete was probably a very skinny person with very little muscle mass. They are severely lacking in any activity that would require strength. CrossFit strives to gain the benefits, cardio endurance, stamina, fat burning, etc., of long distance running without the drawbacks. CrossFit programming does this by not specializing in only long distance, or only in weightlifting, or only in gymnastics.