If you go on crossfit.com or see quotes from Greg Glassman (the founder of crossfit) you may see that it is ”constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement”. For an idea on what functional movement is have a read of my blog ‘suitcases’. The ‘internet’ says that CrossFit is a program developed to offer a full-body workout combining cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training, and more, in order to prepare the body for the unexpected. I would personally go on to describe CrossFit as a form of fitness training that incorporates all of these components as well as Olympic lifting in order to develop all components of fitness (i.e. speed, strength, endurance, flexibility…) so that you are able to meet the demands of any given situation in everyday life. PLUS it has the added bonus of having a really strong emphasis on community.
Like bootcamps, HIIT classes and fitness classes of a similar nature you are in small groups, normally around 8 people per coach (numbers may differ from box to box). This is so that the coach can give helpful feedback on technique and aid your progress. As well as having that high intensity element (the WOD – Workout Of the Day), often at the end of the workout, there is a large focus on the development of strength and or technique at the start of a class, which is where most of the coaching happens. This portion is incorporated so that you can gradually increase strength and or build up to more complex movements such as muscle ups, double-unders, Olympic lifts etc. It is unlikely you will be doing all movements right off the bat! The WOD at the end can be a combination of any of the areas mentioned in the first paragraph. It may be a test of how quickly you can complete a laid out routine/complex/set (for time) or an AMRAP (As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible) for a set time given. See example below
Work up to 5RM (Rep Max)
Reduce weight by no more than 5% and perform 4 sets of 5
20 minutes to complete
Hero WOD – ‘JACK’ 20 minute AMRAP
10 push press
10 kettlbell swings
10 box jumps
Rx = 115lbs
Nowadays, all classes include a good 10minute+ warm up with lots of dynamic movements and mobility exercises t the start of a class. Some boxes incorporate activation exercises throughout classes to fire up the muscles needed for the exercises being performed. There is also growing popularity with boxes using ROM (Range of Movement) WODs. These are smaller workouts after the main WOD focused on developing mobility and flexibility, which is so important to avoid injury and prevent imbalances so that you can continue to train and keep making progress.
*Note – the RX is the prescribed heaviest weight. However, there are always scaled options for nearly every exercise i.e. RX box jumps would be 24′, you may choose to perform 20′ box jumps or lower or an easier variation such as step ups – Most boxes encourage people to scale and work at their own appropriate level*
In nearly every class you get the opportunity to work on your own and with others. For example, you may be working on your own at the start of the class on dips or pull ups (any exercise not using a heavy weight that requires spotting, as with the example given above) and then it may be that you have to work with a partner or in small groups for the WOD and work against other small groups. For me, one of the main selling points and things I love about CrossFit is that interaction with others and that real sense of community you get. Not to mention how challenging and varied every session is!