CrossFit has been around for well over a decade now and is still growing. For those of you living under a rock who may not be familiar with what Crossfit is. It's basically a training philosophy and sport that involves a little bit of everything, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics and other movements. Basically, it's an overall training regimen that involves strength, power, and mobility.
CrossFit is also a sport. People from all around the world (over 300,000 in 2016) register to compete in the CrossFit Open, a competition where the top 20 to 25 participants make it to the regional competition and eventually filters out to the final event known as the Crossfit Games. So yeah, it's basically a sport where you compete to become better at working out.
The benefit of CrossFit is that, in theory, it should help you with ALL generally strenuous or endurance laden exercises and movements and providing those who are outdoor enthusiasts a method of training that serves them well in most activities they love.
Some popular CrossFit movements, referenced from the Crossfit151 website are:
- Air Squat: Move from the standing position with hips below the knees, and back to standing.
- Back Extensions: Using a GHD, you move from an L-shaped position with the head directly below the pelvis to an extended horizontal position.
- Box Jump: From standing on the floor jump and land with both feet on top of the box. Typical heights 12,18,24,30.
- Burpee: Beginning in a standing position, drop to the floor with the feet extending backward, contact the floor with your chest and the tuck legs into a squat and fully stand with a small jump at the end.
- Handstand Push-Up: Beginning in a handstand bend arms until the head touches the ground then push yourself back to the fully extended handstand position.
- Jump Rope: The most variation in CrossFit is referred to as the “Double Under” in which the jump ropes makes two revolutions per jump.
- Knees-to-Elbows: Hanging from the pull-up bar raise the knees until they make contact with the elbows and then fully extend and repeat.
- Lunge: Take a large step forward, bending the front knee until the back knee makes contact with the ground then back up and alternate
- Muscle-Up: Hanging from gymnastic rights perform a pull-up to a ring dip then fully extend to locked out position.
- Ring Dip: Starting with your body supported on the rings straight vertical arms, lower your body until the shoulders drops below the elbow then push yourself back to starting position.
- Pull-Up: Starting from a hanging position with arms straight pull up until the chin is over the bar or the chest touches the bar then lower ones self back tot he starting position and repeat
- Push-Up: Starting in the plank position arms fully locked out lower ones self to the floor and as your chest touches the floor push yourself back to a fully extended position.
- Sit-Up: With the assistance of an Ab-Mat placed under the lower back move from sitting to shoulders on the ground and back to a sitting position.
- Rope-Climb: Starting from the ground, you slowly climb the rope and touch a point typically 15″ and lower yourself back down in a safe & controlled manner.
Although these are movements sound very basic, these movements coupled with a high-intensity competitive environment and set programs to push you, making CrossFit workouts quite a challenge. This makes CrossFit perfect training for those who love hiking, rock climbing, rafting, and other outdoor activities.
Here are just a few outdoor activities where CrossFit training can benefit you:
- Hiking, Canyoning or Mountaineering - By performing loads of weighted lunges, squats, and wall balls, hiking on mountains or canyons, even long distances will seem like a stroll in the park. Once I began doing CrossFit workouts, general weekend hikes didn't make me sore while in the past a like 5-7 mile hike would get my out-of-shape legs pretty achy.
- Rock Climbing - Although rock climbing involves a lot of skill based coordination you may not get in many CrossFit exercises, the strength of the core and arms are key. If you are proficient in rope climbing, pull-ups, and muscle ups, rock climbing movements are similar. Although if you really want to focus on rock climbing movements, visiting a rock climbing gym focused on this activity is ideal. I visited LA Boulders, a local rock climbing gym last year and my forearms were sore for a week!
- SnowBoarding / Skiing - Since CrossFit focuses on Glutes, hamstrings, and quads, it's perfect for those looking to shape up before the next winter ski and snowboarding season.For upper body work, more gyms and CrossFit boxes are now carrying the Skierg, an endurance and training device focused on training your core and arms for skiing.
- Mountain Biking - Since CrossFit's focus is functional movements, most of the exercises are great for mountain biking. Whether you need powerful bursts on some inclines or to lift and carry your bike over some rough terrain, the generality and high-intensity bursts of CrossFit is perfect for something like mountain biking.
- Rafting or Rowing - Rowing on the rowing machine in intervals or for long distances is a favorite of Crossfit program creators. That coupled with other leg and arm explosive exercises really can prepare you for your next raft or row trip.
- Backpacking - If you enjoy carrying a heavy bag on your back while walking or running, then you may want to look into Rucking. But since most of the common CrossFit exercises like farmer carries, stone lifts, overhead lunges involve carrying various sized items of heavy weights while walking, lunging, squatting or standing, training like this will make backpacking less of a rigorous exercise and more of an experience for nature lovers and travelers.