I spend a good portion of my time online laughing at CrossFit fail videos. Some dude almost ripping his arm off doing a kipping pull-up or dropping a barbell on his face is pretty funny. Judging by the millions of views these videos get from all across the world, I know I’m not alone in thinking that shit is hilarious!
However, I’ve recently found myself questioning if I really want to be in the clique of “real lifters” who troll CrossFitters with comments like, “Do you even lift?”
Honestly, you’ll never catch me in a CrossFit Box. But I’ve recently seen and heard a lot of things that have left me in awe of the ladies that effortlessly complete their “workout of the day” or take part in the CrossFit Games.
Whether you’re a bodybuilder, a CrossFitter, a powerlifter, or just someone who likes to workout, we all have one thing in common: We like to lift heavy things up and put them back down again. So, if we’re so alike, why is there such a negative stigma surrounding CrossFit? Is it really as dangerous as everyone makes it out to be? Can bodybuilding and CrossFit ever live together in perfect weightlifting harmony?
Go on any weightlifting forum and you’ll see the same comments about CrossFit time and time again:
- “CrossFit teaches bad form.”
- “Those lifts are so dangerous—no wonder CrossFitters are injured all the time.”
- “Anyone can get qualified as a CrossFit coach in a single weekend.”
- “You’d never catch a real weightlifter doing any of those exercises.”
If you take those statements at face value, they are certainly true. Some CrossFitters have bad form. Some lifts within CrossFit are dangerous. Some people complete CrossFit level one and then think they’re God’s gift to personal training.
However, the same thing can be said for any other form of weightlifting.
How many bodybuilders have you seen that don’t squat ass-to-grass?
How many videos are there on YouTube of powerlifters rounding their backs while deadlifting?
When was the last time you were approached by an underqualified asshat at Planet Fitness trying to give you workout tips? Last week, right?
The truth is that shitty training isn’t exclusive to CrossFit: It’s an epidemic that can be seen in all types of exercise.
The reason it is so obvious within CrossFit is due to the rapid rise of the sport. During this time, the popularity of social media skyrocketed. CrossFit workouts are generally filmed more, photographed more, and written about more, meaning that the great training gets just as much exposure as the bad. As other weightlifting sports came long before the rise of social media, you see far less of the bad examples online.
The First Rule Of CrossFit: You Always Talk About CrossFit
Additionally, CrossFit has a stereotype of being “culty.” Avid CrossFitters only want to talk about CrossFit and try to “convert” you like it’s a religion. I have yet to experience this with the CrossFitters I know. When they simply tell me they have a free guest pass to their CrossFit gym, it sounds less like brainwashing and more like an invitation to just try something new.
Oh, and let me repeat that one more time: CrossFit Gym. A place where a person goes to do CrossFit, thus meeting other CrossFitters. People go to country clubs to golf, thus meeting other golfers. People go to rock climbing gyms to rock climb, thus meeting other rock climbers. When people meet at a location to share an activity together, you are likely to befriend them. This concept is nothing.
Would You WOD?
CrossFit often gets slated because of the training methods used. Usually done as a group class, there is a new workout every day, cleverly called the “Workout of the Day” or WOD. While a bodybuilder will perform the same exercises with the same rep ranges, week in, week out, the WOD encourages a variety of speed, reps, and sets.
The criticism of this is that CrossFitters become a jack-of-all-trades, and basically do a workout to “get better at working out” rather than focusing on honing one specific movement or skill. However, the proof of this training methods effectiveness is in the protein pudding…
Bodybuilders, powerlifters, and Olympic lifters can hate all they want; the truth is that CrossFitters have to be incredibly athletic, agile, fast, and strong to be able to do the WOD. Case in point—put your average gym-goer against the Eva workout (800-metre sprint, 30 kettlebell swings, 30 pull-ups, for 5 rounds) and they’re likely to be exhausted within minutes!
Similarly, the workouts happen to be excellent for both building muscle and losing fat. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Ashley of CrossFit Hydro. Just through CrossFit, she was able to lose weight and completely transform her body into a lean, mean, clean-and-press machine!
The reason for successful body transformations such as Ashley’s is because CrossFit provides an intense full-body workout in a short period. Combining muscle-building movements such as deadlifts, snatches, and squats, with short bursts of rowing or sprints is a sure-fire way to boost your metabolism, burn fat, and build amazing muscle. Oh, and it also makes you feel a badass warrior woman too…
Peace And Unity At Last?
We’ve shattered the common complaints around CrossFit. We’ve proven that the WODs can make your body both strong and lean, but can CrossFitters and bodybuilders ever stop bitching about each other for five fucking minutes?!
Well, what bodybuilders aren’t telling you is that they’ve secretly been doing CrossFit for a while now, except they’ve been calling it by a different name…
Known as “complexes,” these low weight and high rep movements are used as a way to get the blood pumping and the muscles primed for bigger, heavier lifts. Made up of 6 to 10 different exercises and performed in quick succession, complexes such as Cosgrove’s Evil 8 are a combination of cardiovascular and muscle-building exercise. Do you know who else does that? FUCKING CROSSFIT!
Similarly, if you catch any of the CrossFit Games, you’ll see some strong and sexy ladies performing movements that look eerily similar to Olympic lifts. And that’s because they ARE Olympic lifts!
The fact of the matter is that all weight-based sports can learn something from each other. By trying a CrossFit workout or some bodybuilding accessory movements, it adds variation to our training and provides new stimulus to make our muscles grow. It also stops us from becoming bored and gives a more well-rounded workout. The only reason for someone NOT to try something new is because they’re an elitist asshole. And quite frankly, who really has time for that when there are gains to be made?!
No matter if you’re a CrossFitter, bodybuilder or powerlifter, there is at least one thing we can all agree on, something that will unite us in peace at last: anyone that doesn’t put their weights back is a Grade-A douchebag.