That is what you will very likely hear one day if you are ever stupid enough to take up CrossFit:
There are plenty of reasons to make fun of CrossFit. From a powerlifter’s perspective, the stupidest thing, by far, about CrossFit is the fact that it combines heavy weights with high repetitions.
This is not functional fitness. This is functionally retarded.
The proper way to train with weights, the way that keeps people safe and makes them strong, is to combine light weights with high repetitions, OR heavy weights with low repetitions.
Both methods build muscle and strength through hypertrophy. The first method tends to build mass and volume, which is why it is often favoured by bodybuilders – it is not uncommon to see mass monsters in the gym doing hammer curls to what seems like infinity with 10lb weights. The second method builds strength and explosive power through putting the muscles under prolonged tension in the concentric and eccentric movements.
Both methods work, and work very, very well at making people strong and fit.
You know what they don’t do? Break your damn back or make you puke up your guts.
Longtime reader Dire Badger explains exactly how a properly constructed fitness regimen should be done in a comment from over two and a half years ago on another similar post about CrossShit:
I have to say, that in boot camp, you get worked harder than you ever have before in your life.
We WERE fatbodies going in. we would be exercised until we fell down, carrying huge weights for miles compared to our prior lives, ‘cycled’ (exercised for hours as punishment) but one thing that NEVER happened.
No one threw up.
The reason is because we were CYCLED. no single exercise was overdone. [W]e might do pushups for fifteen minutes straight and then made to wait ‘halfway up’ for fife [sic] minutes, but then we were doing 5 point bodybuilders, and then from there into situps. Each exercise was DISTINCTLY seperate [sic], because that way we could get a continuous long workout without destroying our bodies.
It trained our endurance while building our strength.
From what I understand of [CrossFit], it attempts to build endurance AND strength ‘in the same exercises’. This is wrong, it is dangerous, and it can be absolutely deadly. There is no rest down-time from one set of abused muscles to the next. You abuse the same muscles, again and again… this destroys muscles rather than building them and increasing endurance.
Cycling through different types of exercises, giving one set of muscles time to rest while working out another set, is indeed the right way to do things. This gets results. It creates gains. It builds strength. It forges endurance.
It does not destroy muscle, snap bones, pop tendons and ligaments, and generally cripple people.
Here is another good perspective on the failings of CrossFit, from a guy who has incorporated a number of different workout ideas into his own programme that involves gymnastics, calisthenics, yoga, and powerlifting:
Again – he is correct. If you focus on doing the right movements correctly and with good form, you will get much farther, much faster, than by simply trying to rep out everything as fast as possible with horrid form.
CrossFit adherents might think that their exercise routine forges elite fitness and turns them into athletes – it does nothing of the sort. CrossFit is not a sport. It is simply exercising. In CrossFit, exercising is not a means to an end – it is the end.
If you want to exercise and get fit, hey, great. I have nothing but respect for that goal and you have my full support. Find a good program and get started – I can recommend a few or I can tell you how I work out these days. I do not claim to be a shredded beast of any kind – because I am not – but I am in decent shape.
But please don’t pretend that CrossFit is anything more than a cultish, clannish, unscientific, and often deeply dangerous form of what Martin Berkhan once very memorably called “f**karounditis“.