CrossFit has gained wide mainstream recognition for its perceived ability to develop strength and muscle stamina. It’s akin to strongman activities but a bit different. Developed by Greg Glassman, CrossFit is a branded fitness regime that presents clients with a high intensity strength and conditioning workout that pushes athletes to the limit. Part of CrossFit involves lifting very heavy weights, an act that has come under a lot of scrutiny. Is it safe? Or is Olympic lifting a better way to go?
What CrossFit Brings to the Table
CrossFit can potentially bring many benefits. You might have already seen the show on TV, CrossFit Games, with contestants swinging from ropes, performing deadlifts, performing chin-ups, holding handstands, and engaging in other amazing physical feats.
Because it can be so challenging, CrossFit can have great potential to build your strength, improve your balance and agility, help you burn calories, and even improve your aerobic capacity. It doesn’t come without its drawbacks, however.
Athletes who train using CrossFit workouts don’t always spend time focusing on their technique because there are so many activities involved in the practice that it becomes difficult to be a master of all of them. CrossFit tends to create powerful generalists. Some people argue that coaching can be subpar in the practice and therefore, the regime, dangerous.
For example, when it comes to challenges like lifting large amounts of weight-snatching and cleaning weight over your head-it’s super important to practice the right technique so you don’t end up with a terrible injury. Is CrossFit the way to go?
The Benefits of Olympic Lifting
When it comes to building solid strength, many think Olympic lifting can be a better route to take. Because this activity involves one skill only, by focusing on it over time with the right supervision, you can better learn to do it safely and effectively.
Olympic lifting involves lifting a barbell carrying weight plates over your head. In competition, the person who lifts the most wins.
According to Cara Heads Slaughter, a USA weightlifting coach and former Olympian, it can take up to six months of solid practice to coordinate a proper lift, which consists of the snatch, the clean, and the jerk. While it’s just one sport, (and not many rolled into one), if you want to build your body so you’re able to lift heavy amounts of weight, focusing on the Olympic lift alone is probably a better bet, compared with diving into CrossFit training. Olympic lifting can bring you many of the same benefits listed above, and allows you to zero in on one skill safely, reducing your risk of injury.