In 1974 Coach Greg Glassman, an 18-year-old college student started coaching gymnastics. He then started training celebrities and athletes. Through his years of coaching gymnastics, sports, weight lifting, and endurance, he realized something was lacking. He started pairing heavy fundamental lifts with sprints and opened the first CrossFit gym in 1995. He was hired in that same year to train the Santa Cruz Police Department. In 2003 the CrossFit affiliation began, and to date there are thousands of CrossFit gyms worldwide.
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program designed to provide a broad, general, and inclusive fitness. The goal of the program is to prepare you for any physical contingency that life could present. This is achieved by focusing on general physical preparedness (GPP). CrossFit workouts optimize GPP via three major concepts: functional movements, variance, and high intensity. CrossFit is empirically driven, clinically tested, and community developed. CrossFit makes people better through improving human movement and building community.
Daily CrossFit workouts, often called WODs, or “workouts of the day,” are designed by taking into consideration how the human body accomplishes work in real life. Instead of designing movements to isolate specific muscle groups (such as bicep curls or abdominal crunches), movements are identified in terms of the work they accomplish. These workouts are different each day, hence the variation aspect of CrossFit.
Almost all of the workouts are timed, as this represents an important measurement of intensity. Intensity is the key to getting results. Each athlete’s performance is measured. Keeping accurate scores in personal journals has important value well beyond motivation. All classes are trainer-led and last about an hour. First the trainer describes the WOD and establishes each athlete’s level of performance and need for scaling. Next comes the warm-up followed by a demonstration of the movements performed in the WOD. Each athlete performs the WOD to assure safety and proper form, and then the clock is set and count down begins: three, two, one, go. You perform the tasks at hand and “time” is called out when you are finished or out of time.
Some of the movements in a WOD might be pull ups, push ups, squats, box jumps, jumping rope, rope climbing, sit ups, back/hip extension, sandbag runs, carrying objects overhead, running with weighted objects, wheel barrel, push/pulling a sled, kettle bell work, slam ball, wall ball shots, weight lifting, rowing, running, ring dips, other gymnastic type moves, flipping tires, and beating a tire with sledge hammer, for example.
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program designed to enhance an individual’s competency at all physical tasks of life. It is foundational and functional. The movements performed in the gym transfer into daily life, and the nutritional prescriptions support elite fitness as well as health. The differences are tangible.