CrossFit Fundamentals

8 min read
21 Nov 2017
8 min read
858 words
From the Archive (Dec, 2016): CrossFit has been taking the fitness world by storm, and 'CrossFitters' take pride in working out the way they do


This programme has no such specialisation and includes exercises that combine three core components:

  • Gymnastics: which includes moves using one’s own body weight such as pull-ups, squats, handstands and cartwheels

  • Metabolic conditioning or cardio: which can be anything from interval running (different distances) to skipping

  • Weightlifting: which consists of basic lifts/weighted squats to Olympic lifts such as the Clean and Jerk for the more advanced CrossFitters.

“For us instructors, when we conduct our classes, we always follow this mantra: wellness is the key. Hence, we aim to help our client perform better not just in the gym, but also in their day-to-day life,” says Prajapati.

This goal is attained with the functional movements that are a part of every CrossFit class. These are movements that are based on real-world situational biomechanics. For instance, when you are just doing weightlifting, you might do bicep curls, but this is not a move that you would do in your daily life.

Additionally, the goal of any CrossFit trainer is to help the clients improve their overall fitness and health. Prajapati says that this is done with the foundation movements that one can expect in any class. CrossFit includes major compound lifts together with weight training and/or calisthenics, and this ‘formula’ aids in pushing one’s fitness level a notch higher.

Not Your Typical Gym

So what can CrossFit first-timers expect? You can definitely look forward to working out with ropes and tyres (pounding them with a hammer etc), but fret not, as you will not be pushed to doing advanced moves immediately.

According to Prajapati, beginners start classes with the basic moves and are categorised into group settings according to their fitness level and ability. They will then start working out in that particular group in which the trainer will incorporate moves that cover all the three core elements, but the intensity will depend on the group members.

“Most of our clients fear that they will be pushed too far, but the opposite is true, actually. There will be various exercises for the entire group, but it is completely scalable based on one’s skill. Thus, say, if your group is doing pull-ups, but that is too much for your current ability, then in that group itself, you can start with aided pull-ups.” You can also expect to work out in a hardcore, yet accepting and encouraging environment.

Who can do it?
“Everyone,” says Prajapati. He says that since CrossFit is a rounded strength and conditioning programme with functional exercises, it should be tried by everyone. Age, fitness levels and even injuries are no hindering factors. “I say that because the instructor is trained to assess the clients and customise the most suitable class for the group. CrossFit can also be done if you are injured, although this would require that you take personal one-on-one classes with the trainer. For clients with injuries, we develop a class in which the moves can be done by the uninjured muscles and/or muscle group(s) to compensate for the injured one(s).”

Expert Advice

Look up CrossFit, and you will find that it is notorious for its high injury- risk element. Prajapati says that in any exercise program, there is always the possibility that one can get injured. He adds that there are some specific reasons that lead to injuries in a CrossFit class. Here are some of his suggestions for helping you avoid them:

  • Do not try to compete with others. Since the moves are given to the group as a whole, some clients push themselves beyond their ability as they want to be better than other members. That’s not how you should do things. Your focus should be on your personal growth, not on how you rank against another.

  • Ask the trainer if you are unsure about how to perform a certain move.

  • Get the trainer’s attention. Sometimes the trainer might be distracted and may not be paying attention to what the class is doing. In that case, you should let him/her know and get his/her attention.

Tony Prajapati is a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer and runs The Pump at Gyan Mandala, Jhamsikhel.