October 22, 2013

Is CrossFit the right fit?

CrossFit has gained considerable recognition over the last five years in the Plattsburgh area and beyond, and many have asked what it is. 

Due to some claims that CrossFit can cause a higher incidence of injury, people also wonder whether it is safe.

The answer I give anyone regarding the safety of an exercise program is this: It depends who is instructing it. Exercise, in any capacity, must be prescribed appropriately. If the instructor does not have the appropriate education in exercise physiology and human movement, they most likely will not understand the complex mechanisms that occur. It is extremely important that your instructor, no matter what exercise program you are doing, has a very good understanding of how the body works.

CrossFit itself is an excellent way for healthy individuals to develop stamina, body control and strength. At its core, CrossFit promotes hard work and dedication to reach your goals. Added to this is the fact that most CrossFit workouts put you against the clock and against other participants to fuel the feeling of competition. This is likely why many athletes are attracted to this type of workout. 

While competition is great, many who do not have previous experience with complex resistance-training exercises often will break down their form when doing a workout at a fast pace. An instructor who knows exercise progression will be able to help you get started and will make sure to put form and mechanics first. Calisthenics or body-weight exercises are best to start with, followed by higher intensity, more complex exercises as you advance.

CrossFit combines gymnastics or body-weight exercise, cardiovascular exercise and weightlifting. Body-weight exercises include push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups, as well as hand-stand push-ups. Cardiovascular components add running, rowing or biking to the mix. 

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