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CrossFit is a demanding, high-intensity style of training based on functional movements. Only certified facilities and instructors can claim to provide true CrossFit training. This article gives you an overview of this style of training so you can assess if it's right for you.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a style of training developed by Greg Glassman. He summarises what he believes world class fitness to be in 100 words:

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean and jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climbs, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.”

Greg Glassman

CrossFit is a series of high intensity and constantly varied functional movements. The movements are based on aspects of gymnastics, running, weightlifting, rowing and more and are chosen to represent the core movements of life. It is believed that these actions are ideal for maximising the loads and distances that can be achieved and also maximising the amount of work done in the shortest time. Daily workouts are constantly varied and done at high intensity to obtain the most dramatic results.

Overall, the aim of CrossFit as stated on their global website is “To forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness supported by measurable, observable and repeatable results. The program prepares trainees for any physical contingency — not only for the unknown but for the unknowable, too. Our specialty is not specializing.

Can anyone do CrossFit?

The CrossFit program is adaptable to all levels of fitness and experience by scaling the load and intensity rather than changing the program. As a result, people of all types and standards can participate at the same time. There is a relatively short introductory/beginner program that must be completed prior to joining the mainstream classes. This gives you a grounding in the basic concepts before joining the larger groups.

Dedicated CrossFit Kids programs exist that are provided at many certified facilities and cater for young children and teens.

What are the benefits?

  • The basic fundamentals of functional movements mean you’re training your body for the rigours of daily life. Your quality of life should improve as you are able to function more easily.
  • Exercises have a large range of movement which results in improved flexibility and strength.
  • Unlike some weight machines, functional exercises target multiple muscle groups in a balanced and natural way. This result is a more balanced development of your body and improves your body structure and posture.
  • Whole of body training methods challenge the body more which works the cardiovascular system harder, improving fitness levels and increasing calorie burn.
  • The high intensity of classes significantly improves your fitness without having to train for long periods each day. Classes are no more than 1 hour in length.
  • Qualified instructors run all classes in small groups.
  • The CrossFit community is large and supportive.

What is a Box?

A CrossFit “Box” or “Affiliate” are facilities that are certified to provide CrossFit classes. If you want a genuine experience, you should only use a certified Box. You can confirm if your gym is officially certified by searching here or you can use our free gym search below to find your local Boxes.

What is a WOD?

To keep your training varied, there are new and different programs each day called the “workout of the day” or “WOD”.

How is it different from Functional Training?

Functional training is also based on functional movements and is done in a time based, interval style program. The key difference is in the use of weights. Functional training primarily focusses on bodyweight exercises whereas CrossFit incorporates a much stronger focus on weight lifting. This means it can be an incredibly tough form of training with big results but is more likely to be prone to injury than functional training. It’s extremely important that you do it in a controlled environment supervised by a qualified coach.

Where do I find gyms that provide certified CrossFit coaches and classes?

A huge number of facilities located all across Australia provide certified programs. To find the ones closest to you, enter your address or suburb in our search page and then filter for CrossFit. It’s so easy to suss out gyms that support CrossFit!