Fitness Friday: Cross training your way to better health


Robert Reed, 15, warms up with a jump rope before a CrossFit class for teens in Loyalhanna, Pa. (John Heller/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

Jamie Perez

Utilizing and exercising every muscle in the body is something CrossFit is known for. With high intensity workouts, this is definitely not an activity to be taken lightly, especially for those who are inactive when starting this type of training. With specialized programs and workouts of the day (also known as WODs), Crossfit incorporates body weight training, Olympic weightlifting, endurance exercises, plyometric circuits and speed training all in one.

This type of program has been shown to target all of the major aspects of physical fitness, including cardiorespiratory stamina, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy.

On average, a complete CrossFit workout typically lasts anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes. The entire workout is high-intensity, with little rest in between exercises. Many of the workouts include exercises such as power cleans, burpees, snatches, thrusters, squats, deadlifts, muscle-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, kettle bell swings, tire flipping, rope climbing, sled drags, rowing, overhead lunges, jump roping and more.

Although Crossfit may seem like the perfect all-encompassing workout, there is also a lot of controversy over it. CrossFit is a high-intensity workout. Proper knowledge by good trainers is necessary in order to prevent injuries considering the level of difficulty it encompasses. CrossFit also requires a base level of good physical fitness, to keep injuries to a minimum as well. The possibility of injury is increased with any high-intensity fitness regiment, especially for those who are beginners to weight lifting. The risks are amplified even further when people perform under a fatigued state. For these reasons, it is extremely important to get a coach with good credentials to find a workout that suits the individual and makes sure the amount of weight being used will not injure clients. A good coach will also check for proper form and modify workouts as needed.

If done properly, CrossFit promotes a healthier and fit lifestyle. It is also a good way for mixing up common exercises by providing a variety of workouts. Although the gym is beneficial on its own, it can sometimes be difficult to get the motivation to go to the gym all the time. CrossFit workouts are done in a group setting where everyone is going the same WOD, and encouraging each other along the way until everyone finishes.

Just like any workout, CrossFit has benefits as well as concerns. This type of training is very challenging, but it has been shown to get people in excellent shape and improve their overall physique. By promoting conditioning type workouts and a nutrition guide to ensure the results are heightened, CrossFit can be a good stepping stone on the road to better health!