CrossFit slims and defines the body; know the method and its benefits – VivaBem

Created in the early 2000s, CrossFit is a training modality that attracts a lot of people, mainly because it is very dynamic and brings several benefits to practitioners.

The method combines exercises from Olympic weightlifting (OLP), track and field, gymnastics and other sports. Every day, the student does a different workout and works on different physical abilities at the same time, such as strength, endurance, power, coordination, etc. Because it is intense, activity provides a large caloric expenditure, which helps to lose fat and define muscle.

Next, we explain the main benefits of CrossFit and answer some common questions about the method.

Get the Top Questions About CrossFit

What is CrossFit?

First of all, it’s important to know that CrossFit is a trademark, not the name of physical activity or sport. It is possible to find places that offer practically the same training method under other names, such as CrossTraining; MMT or Mixed Modality Training and even functional training.

The purpose of CrossFit — and similar methods — is to combine exercises from different sports, such as athletics (running, jumping), Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and functional training, to work the 10 physical capacities of our body in a single training program. .

What are the 10 physical skills worked on in CrossFit?

These are the skills that training will help you to improve:

  1. Cardiorespiratory (or aerobic) endurance
  2. muscular endurance
  3. Force
  4. Flexibility
  5. power
  6. Speed
  7. Motor coordination
  8. Agility
  9. Balance
  10. Precision
CrossFit, Box Jump, Group Workout - iStock - iStock

CrossFit workouts are done in groups, which helps increase motivation to exercise.

Image: iStock

How is training divided and what is WOD?

The activities are functional, dynamic and performed at high intensity. Unlike a strength training workout, where you follow a sheet with the same exercise routine for about six to eight weeks, in CrossFit there is a different workout sequence each day, which is interesting for those who don’t like monotony.

At sessions are held in groups, in a space known as box, and usually last 60 minutes. It is generally divided into four steps:

  1. Heating It aims to prepare the body for the demands of training;
  2. skill The athlete does some exercises to improve the exercise technique;
  3. WOD (workout of the day) It is the main moment of the activity, the training of the day. In it, athletes are encouraged to overcome their limits and perform movements with maximum performance, always safely;
  4. stretches Exercises that help improve flexibility, relax muscles and make the body calm down.

What exercises are done in CrossFit

WOD exercises are usually performed quickly and repeatedly, with little or no rest between sets, or with a large number of repetitions, in a short period of time.

As it mixes several sports, a CrossFit workout can have numerous exercises. But these are the most common:

  • burpee
  • clean
  • jerk
  • snatch
  • squats (squats)
  • deadlift (deadlift)
  • push press
  • bench press (bench press)
  • power clean
  • box jumps
  • medicine ball throws
  • pull-ups (fixed bar)
  • handstands
  • climbing ropes or climbing
  • sit-ups (a kind of sit-up)
  • short races
  • ergometer rowing
  • bike
  • jump rope

What are the main benefits of the activity?

By combining exercises from different modalities, CrossFit provides different stimuli to the body, which allow the development of multiple capacities and improve the physical conditioning of the practitioner in general.

Training brings numerous benefits, such as:

  • Increase in cardiorespiratory capacity, due to aerobic movements (running, rowing, burpee, jumping rope);
  • Gain in muscle strength and endurance;
  • Lean mass gain and fat loss, which helps to define the body;
  • Improved flexibility and motor coordination;
  • Improved balance, agility and mobility;
  • Tones all the muscles of the body;
  • Stress reduction;
  • Improved self-esteem;
  • Increase in motivation and sense of well-being.
CrossFit, training, naval rope - iStock - iStock

Generally, CrossFit practitioners are able to have a lean body and defined muscles.

Image: iStock

Is CrossFit good for those looking to lose weight?

By having exercises that work several muscles at the same time and are done at high intensity, CrossFit provides a good caloric expenditure, which even remains high after training. Therefore, activity is, yes, a great ally in the weight loss process — but having a good diet is always essential to lose weight.

  • In 1 hour of training you can burn up to 1500 caloriesaccording to going Santos, physical education professional, coach of the Wolf Cross Box, in Recife, and head cross coach Shark, in Jaboatão dos Guararapes (PE).

In addition, exercises that recruit a large volume of muscle mass stimulate the production of hormones such as testosterone and GH, which favor the reduction of body fat and the gain of muscle mass.

Is CrossFit Effective for Muscle Hypertrophy?

CrossFit workouts develop muscle strength and endurance and can indeed contribute to hypertrophy (muscle growth). However, the focus of the modality is the improvement of general physical fitness and not the gain of lean mass – which happens as a consequence of the constancy in the exercises.

  • If the person’s goal is great hypertrophy, weight training is more indicatedbecause it allows you to work the muscles in isolation, with control of the contraction speed, without competition with other movements, as in CrossFit, which combines different exercises at the same time”, says Ramires Tibana, PhD in physical education and researcher at UFMT (Federal University of Mato Grosso).

Generally, CrossFit practitioners achieve a lean body with good muscle definition, more like an athlete than a bodybuilder.

This is a myth, created because the activity is done at high intensity. In fact, a study conducted at Udesc (Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina), in 2018, carried out a systematic review of the profile of injuries in CrossFit practitioners and concluded that the method has a lower incidence than other sports practices.

According to research, the injury rate in CrossFit ranges from 1.94 to 3.1 injuries per 1,000 hours of training. The rate is lower, for example, than that found in other very popular modalities such as street running (2.3 to 33 injuries), soccer (9.6), gymnastics (5.45), triathlon (5.4 ) and handball (2.5), considering the same 1,000 hours of training.

The study also pointed out that, when they occur, the regions most affected by injuries in CrossFit are the shoulders, back and knees.

How to avoid injuries in CrossFit?

The first step to prevent injuries is to identify potential risk factors. This assessment can be done by an exercise and sports physician. He will analyze, among other things, if the person has any kind of previous injury, their level of physical conditioning, if they practice other sports at the same time and their general health conditions.

With this monitoring up to date, another fundamental variable to be considered, according to the physical education professional, specialist in biomechanics and head coach of CrossFit Brazil Ricardo Leone, is the training load control. The professional explains that, normally, injuries occur because of exercises that demand beyond the practitioner’s ability, inadequate movement technique and lack of adaptation of body structures to the exercises.

Therefore, it is important that students observe the correct execution of the exercises and properly follow the guidelines and training planning carried out by their coach. It is this professional who will, based on the condition, limitations and previous history of each one, define the load to be used, the movements to be performed and how many repetitions to perform.

Another point is not to fall into the trap of trying to accelerate the process with an overload that interferes with the sporting gesture and forces your muscles unnecessarily. It can be tempting to copy the colleague on the more trained side who seems to do the WODs almost automatically, but it is essential that each one respects their own evolution time in the modality.

Thiago Gomes, an orthopedist and professor at the UFVJM (Faculty of Medicine at the Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys), in Minas Gerais, also draws attention to the duration of training. According to the expert, fewer hours of training per week and sessions that do not exceed 90 minutes are more indicated, in order to prevent injuries among practitioners.

That story that the sport is only for athletes or well-trained people is legend. anyone and everyone he can do CrossFit, regardless of age, level of physical fitness, whether you have any kind of limitation or previous injuries. Today, there are even boxes with specific activities and classes for children and the elderly.

The training can be adapted according to the needs and profile of the practitioners. For this, it is essential to have the follow-up and supervision of a professional qualified in physical education and certified in the modality, who will make the necessary adjustments.

Source: Ramires Tibana, PhD in physical education and researcher at UFMT (Federal University of Mato Grosso); Ricardo Leone, physical education professional, biomechanics specialist and head coach of CrossFit Brasil, the first box of the modality in the country; Thiago Gomes, orthopedist and professor at the UFVJM School of Medicine (Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys), in Minas Gerais; and Vando Santos, physical education professional, coach at Wolf Cross Box, in Recife, and head coach at Cross Shark, in Jaboatão dos Guararapes, Pernambuco.

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