You have certainly heard the term, it stands for a true power training. But what exactly is behind it? We will explain Crossfit and all the terms and forms of training that go with it.
Where does Crossfit come from?
Strictly speaking, Crossfit is not a sport, but a brand. It was developed by the Americans Greg and Lauren Glassmann. In 1980, the two protected the term and made Crossfit a worldwide business. To this day Crossfit turns professional athletes as well as hobby sportsmen into trained fitness machines.
But cross-fitting is not only about physical strength, as our Women’s Health Trainer Ulrike Glöckner knows. She is one of the best Crossfit athletes in Germany. The Berliner has a degree in sports science and a great passion for functional fitness. We talked to Ulrike about Crossfit and learned from her what makes this workout so exciting for her.
“Crossfit is a special sport. I love the fact that all kinds of people come together there. No matter what your level, you can train with everyone else in the box.” Because everything, from weight to time to distance, can be adjusted according to your level.
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Originally, the workout was intended to make police officers fit during their training. However, the general masses also quickly took a liking to the functional training – which is why the first studio, a so-called Crossfit Box, opened in Santa Cruz in 1995.
What is a crossfit box?
The crossfit units are completed in so-called crossfit boxes. This is the name of the specially certified sports facilities. Crossfit is sometimes also offered in fitness studios or martial arts centres, but most of the courses are held in the boxes. There are various stations and equipment set up with which you can do a Crossfit training.
What is Crossfit?
Crossfit is a type of training in which the athletes* do not focus on a specific muscle group, but rather the entire body is trained. In contrast to regular strength training, for example, the focus is not on the abdominal muscles, but on functional training and all muscle groups are exercised. The muscular abdomen then follows all by itself.
The training takes place in special studios, the so-called crossfit boxes. © Flamingo Images / Shutterstock.com
A crossfit unit usually takes about one hour and is made up of the following components:
- Warm up: Here you get your circulation going to warm up your muscles and prepare them for the exercises to come.
- Workout of the day: After the warm-up, a workout specially put together for the day (WOD ) powerfully and intensively trained.
- Stretching: In order to avoid painful sore muscles and to bring the circulation back to normal, the training is concluded with a stretching of the muscles.
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Crossfit: What is a WOD ?
WOD means “Workout of the day” and describes a special sequence of exercises in crossfit. Every day there is a new WOD . The WOD s can have funny names, are sometimes named after women or famous athletes. The WOD s usually last around 30 minutes.
Crossfit is not only mega-exhausting, it also burns many calories. © Flamingo Images / Shutterstock.com
By the way, Crossfit is not trained alone, but in a group of 8-10 people. This group feeling is what makes this sport so special for many people. Because this way, everyone motivates each other in the community and pushes each other to new best performances.
What does functional training mean?
With its special training concept Crossfit belongs to the category of “functional training”. Experts refer to “functional training” as workouts that train the body as a whole, i.e. not only targeting individual body parts or muscle groups. Full-body workouts consist of free exercises that stabilize the musculoskeletal system and improve health. Defined muscles and better endurance are provided free of charge, so to speak.
Many female athletes from different sports do crossfit because it makes them better in their own discipline (for example boxing, judo, tennis or gymnastics). Ulrike Glöckner says: “Crossfit makes you a better athlete all around.” An argument that convinces many people, because Crossfit always lets her be one step ahead of her sporting competitors.
What do I train with the Crossfit?
Crossfit not only strengthens the muscles, but also trains endurance and makes the body flexible. Glöckner: “Crossfit is a mix of strength, bodyweight and endurance training. In addition, there is the ingenious side effect that this special kind of functional training also produces the desired visual effects”.
Thus, the Crossfit does not focus on pure muscle power, but above all on increasing performance and minimizing the risk of injury. The group training includes various units: Endurance, strength, flexibility, speed, dexterity, balance, coordination and accuracy. An all-round success for fitness.
During the exercises of the WOD s it is either about a maximum weight, a certain time limit or a number of repetitions – so the training is guaranteed not to be boring.
According to many athletes Crossfit has absolute addiction potential, most of them are quickly infected by the competition atmosphere in the boxes. Higher, faster further – Crossfit is a competition. No matter whether with the inner bastard or the training partners.
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How many calories do I burn when Crossfit?
Crossfit is not only mega-exhausting and goes to the substance, but also burns extremely many calories. All the effort and sweat is well worth it with up to 780 calories per hour. Researchers at Kennesaw State University found out that a combination of pull-ups, push-ups and knee bends is really effective. Up to 13 calories per minute are burned, depending on the intensity – a good idea to enjoy every minute of a hardcore workout, right?
For whom is Crossfit suitable?
Crossfit is in principle suitable for everyone. Those who are new to the sport should register in the box for a special beginners course. Here the WOD s explicitly explained and the level adjusted. Uli Glöckner: “In general, you can almost always train with good supervision. In case of acute or chronic injuries, no matter what kind of training you do, you should consult a doctor.
Our tip: Arrange trial training sessions in different boxes at the beginning and then decide which one suits you best. A successful crossfit training stands and falls with the right team.
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These are the most popular crossfit exercises
You want to get a feeling for Crossfit? Then we have the five most frequently used Crossfit exercises for you here:
1. Barbell Thruster: This exercise is done with a barbell. The barbell is first placed on the shoulders, in this position you then go into a deep squat. When you straighten up out of the squat, the barbell is finally pushed up, the arms are stretched out and the bar is brought over the head. Important: At the end, put the dumbbell down in a controlled manner.
2. Burpee: For the Burpee, bend your knees, place your hands next to your feet and squat down. Support yourself on your hands and from this position jump into the plank (push-up position). Lay down your body. From the prone position press up the body again and jump back into the squatting position. Jump from squat up into a stretched jump. From here on the next round starts.
3. Box Jump: This requires a stable box or crate, for example made of wood. Stand upright in front of it and jump on it with swing. Land on top with both feet in a slightly crouched position. Stand upright and jump down backwards.
4. Kettlebell Swing: Stand with legs shoulderwide apart and kneel slightly. Carefully lift a kettlebell with both hands, swing through the legs and then bring it up over the head.
5. Overhead Plated Lung: Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Grasp the weight in the form of a weight plate with both hands and hold it with outstretched arms above your head. From this position walk into a “lung”. This means: take a lunge with legs bent forward. Come back and carefully put the weight down.
Ulrike Glöckner raves: “Thanks to the crossfit exercises I have become more flexible and have discovered that I can train anywhere. No matter whether with or without equipment, whether in the fresh air, indoors, at home or on holiday. You don’t need a special gym to practice this sport and ultimately do yourself some good”. Meaning: If you choose Crossfit, say no to all excuses!
Group feeling: Crossfitters motivate each other and push each other to new limits. © Flamingo Images / Shutterstock.com
Glöckner continues: “Apart from the physical progress, Crossfit has improved my general well-being. I also sleep better and have more confidence.”
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What equipment do I need for Crosfit?
You do not need any special equipment for Crossfit. Sports shoes and functional training clothes are sufficient to complete the training. The clothing should be breathable and be able to transport sweat to the outside, as with any sport.
There are many so-called “bodyweight” exercises in the Crossfit. In other words: For these exercises you don’t need any equipment, but only your own body weight. In the boxes you will of course also find dumbbells and dumbbells, wooden boxes, weights, ropes, bars or rings as training equipment.
Crossfit is exactly your sport if you love a strong community and tough challenges. Once you’ve found the right box, you’ll probably stay true to it for the rest of your life and push your body to its peak.
P.S . By the way, Uli Glöckner is also at your side as a personal trainer in our Coaching Zone and makes you really fit: