5 Reasons Why CrossFit Is An Utterly Stupid Way To Get In Shape

not-functional-mediumSo, you’re on the fence about CrossFit and are thinking of trying out a class or two.

Maybe it’s because your friend won’t shut up about it, and you just want to see what all the hype is about.

Maybe it’s because you stumbled upon a few CrossFitters that are in extremely good shape and you’re thinking to yourself “it might be worth a look!”

Whatever the reason may be, it can’t hurt… right? At least you’ll get a good workout in.

But you see that’s the thing — it can hurt. In fact, it can hurt big time.

So before you go signing up to what is essentially a glorified cult with standards so low, that it makes drunk frat boys who will bang anything with a pulse look like sophisticated gentleman, consider the following 5 reasons why I believe CrossFit is an utterly stupid way to get in shape.

Reason 1: They Think Doing Random Shit Is “Functional Training”

The entire term “functional training” is utterly ridiculous. It’s about as meaningless as the term “inner beauty.” No one really knows what it means, not can anyone come up with an acceptable definition.

CrossFitters think that just because they’re doing Medball throws and burpees that they’re being functional. Functional for what? I don’t see how a mom of two needs to throw a 20 pound object against a wall unless she training to tossing her own children out a window.

Or unless the said mom happens to be Indian, Jamaican or Filipino. Then I guess such a skill would come in handy.

But think about this for a second: Can a biceps curl ever be a functional exercise?

Almost 99.9% of people whom I ask this question answer with a “no”. But what about to a football or rugby player? Having strong biceps correlates to being able to keep the ball tucked into your body, and less of a chance of a fumble.

As you can see, function depends on your goal. If you want to get shredded abs, then technically speaking, putting the damn fork down while taking the stairs instead of the elevator can be considered functional training. Get what I’m saying?

So, as much as CrossFitters like to say that their training and WOD (workout of the day) mimics real life and is “functional,” I can assure you it does not.

“The term functional training is about as meaningless as the term inner beauty” (Tweet This)

What I recommend you do is first, is find out what you want out of the hard work you’re going to be putting in. Are you stiff from sitting on your ass for the past 10 years and also need to lose 20 pounds? If so, then strength training combined with some mobility work is the way to go.

But if you want to become a National level powerlifter, then your training is going to be very, very different. CrossFit likes generality when all the data and evidence in the world shows that specificity is the key to success. That’s why we have the famous phrase “jack of all trades, but master of none.”

Reason 2: They Constantly Change Everything Too Often, Then Boast It As A Selling Point (It’s Not)

lego-blocks-mess-smallOn CrossFit’s own website, they say “CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.”

First of all, one of the biggest variables to success in any fitness program is consistency. More importantly, consistency over the period of weeks or months.

Do you know why competitive strength coaches design training programs that have phases which last longer than a day? Because when you change your variables too often, you have no idea what the fuck is working!

Think about it: if you do squats, bench press and overhead press one week, then do dips, pull-ups and squat jumps the week after, and keep switching the exercise order, how are you going to get good at anything?

How will you track your progress in terms of strength, volume and total work done?

Hint: you can’t!

Once your plan or program is set, the only variable that should change from week to week is the weight on the bar. This is also known as progressive overload. As in, you should be getting stronger in the exact workout you were prescribed.

But What About Muscle Confusion?

There’s no such thing. You DO NOT need to change up your workouts everyday, nor can you body ever be “confused.” The only ones that are confused, are the idiots that came up with that term.

What you really need to be aware of is the adaptation/plateau cycle. When you perform a workout, you’re basically applying stress to the body. And in return, if the stress is great enough, appropriate enough, and you allow enough time for recovery, the body will adapt by growing stronger, leaner, sexier etc.

However, if the stress changes too often (like in CrossFit) or there isn’t enough time for recovery (ahem, like CrossFit) then adaptation will either be weak or nonexistent. This results in a plateau, which means you won’t be building muscle, burning fat and all the other benefits that you want. You can also see a plateau if the type of stress you apply says the same for too long.

Bottom Line: every workout plan has a “sweet spot” — the perfect amount of time that allows you to get stronger week after week while providing the results you want. The problem is, there isn’t one set magical time. Sometimes it can be 3-4 weeks, sometimes it can be 6-8.

“There’s no such thing as ‘Muscle Confusion’. The only ones confused, are the idiots that came up with that term” (Tweet This)

So how can you find this sweet spot? Well the easy way would be to consider online coaching. This is where you’ll get a custom-designed program based on your goals, training history and other factors that are unique to you. Your program will then be tweaked and adjusted based on how your body is responding. All you have to do is follow it and put in the work — no thinking required.  I’ve had years of experience as both an athlete and a coach and guarantee results.

Or you do it by trial and error till you have the ability to “listen” to your body and know which signals to look for. While I’m not discouraging this, just know that this will take at least 2 years of experience.

Reason 3: High Volume Intensity Combined With Complex Movements Will Wreck Your Shit

kermit-injuried-smallIt’s still absurd to me when I see CrossFitters do 20 or even 30 reps of a complex compound exercise (such as the Snatch) under a time limit. Seriously, I think you’ll have less of a chance at physical injury if you were to jump off a bridge.

There’s a very good reason why Olympic weight lifters spend years (or even a lifetime) perfecting the movement patterns and technique of an exercise such as the Snatch, and do them for only 1-3 reps per set. Each rep of a complex lift takes time and concentration during execution. And the more reps you do, the more fatigue you experience.

And as every human innately knows, as fatigue increases, the quality of technique decreases. Ever tried doing 30 pushups? How does your 28th rep look compared to your 4th? I bet there’s a big difference.

You know what else forces the quality of technique to decrease? The pressure of a time limit!

Time constraints are fine if you want someone to bang out the maximum number of reps of a simple movement because even if the quality of the technique drops, the chances of injury is still relatively low. Consider the 30 reps of the pushup we talked about above. What’s the worst that will happen if your arms are so burnt out that you collapse? Maybe a bloody nose? Even that is an extreme outcome. I’ve never seen anyone hurt themselves due to failure from pushups.

But when you’ve tossed a loaded barbell around for 10 reps, and you want to get in 5 more within the next 15 seconds, you’re asking for a one way trip to Snap-City.

As a general rule of thumb, the more complex an exercise, the fewer reps you should be doing per set. And the more you decrease your time per set, the simpler the exercise should get. So if you’ve decided to do 20 seconds of work per set, stick to machines, light dumbbell work, bodyweight exercises or natural human movements such as running, jumping, swimming or biking without external equipment.

Reason 4: Most CrossFit Workouts Are Based On Random Exercise Selection Instead Of Logical Planning

dice-random-smallA classic CrossFit example is a WOD (workout of the day) I saw which started people off with heavy, high rep deadlifts followed by clean and jerks (C&J).

This violates logic and basic biomechanics.

You see, heavy and high-rep deadlifts fatigue your lower back rather quickly (since that’s one of the major muscle groups they work). Now if you want to do a dynamic and complex movement such as the C&J while staying injury free, it is imperative that your lower back is not already fatigued. This also the reason why it’s a bad idea to do heavy or high-volume deadlifts before squats – yet I’ve seen Crossfit gyms recommend that too. What a surprise.

As you can imagine, these are just a few examples. The tip of the iceberg. About 95% of the WODs I’ve looked at seemed as if they were thrown together by an ape. Actually, that’s rather unfair and offensive to apes. I’m pretty damn sure a Silverback could put together a better workout program based on instinct alone.

Bottom Line: Any workout program that doesn’t take muscular bottlenecks into consideration is not worthy of your time. And since CrossFit is basically built on this pile of crap, it is by extension not worth your time. It’s sort of like having a weight loss plan that revolves around eating more food. It fundamentally doesn’t make any sense.

Reason 5: Kipping Everything Is Idiotic

I’m sure you’ve seen CrossFitters do pullups — they look like a freshly caught fish, flopping around trying to survive before its inevitable death. These idiots claim that such a move comes from gymnastics and since gymnasts are ripped, then by the correlation, everyone should be doing the same thing to get ripped.

Utterly nonsense.

First, you should know that I’m actually a certified gymnastics coach and have been involved with the sport — both as a coach and athlete — for over 10 years. There are only specific reasons to kip, and that is during a bar routine so you can perform extremely high level tricks. Fundamentally, you have to understand what a kipping movement actually does — it helps you use momentum so you have to do less work while focusing on doing more complicated movements.

But when you’re trying to exercise in the hopes of achieving greater levels of fitness, making shit easy is the last thing you want to do. As an example, kipping in the pull-up completely eliminates the eccentric portion of the exercise, which research has shown to be even more beneficial for strength and muscle gains than the concentric (the act of pulling yourself up).

That’s like throwing away the beef pattie from a burger. Why would you purposefully get rid of the best fucking part?!

This is why no gymnast in the world does exercises that are easy. If you were to look at the conditioning plan of the men’s program at the gym I’m at, you’ll see that every athlete does proper weightlifting and bodyweight exercises with strict form and challenging loads. If you want more info on how these athletes really train, hit up my good friend (and fellow coach) Steve on Twitter. He trains these boys, and will tell you how challenging their strength & conditioning really is.

So don’t let CrossFitters tell you that kipping is somehow beneficial. It’s stupid in every single way… unless you’re doing a high bar routine at a competition. Which you are most likely not.

“Any workout program that doesn’t take muscular bottlenecks into consideration is not worthy of your time” (Tweet This)

Want To See CrossFit Kipping Stupidity First-Hand?

Take a look at the video below of a Crossfit “instructor” coaching dips. Be sure you’re not drinking anything, then turn up the sound. Also, try not to get brain damage.

 

That’s Just The Tip Of The Idiotic IceBerg

As you can imagine, there are more than five reasons why CrossFit training is not only a waste of time, but an embarrassment to every intelligent, hard-working individual that wants to better themselves. I’ve listed a bunch of “bonus” reasons below as to why you might want to avoid this glorified phys-ed class for grown ups.

Joke Certification Process

CrossFit “coaches” can get certified over a weekend. Think about that for a second. Normally, it takes decades to master the Olympic lifts such as the Snatch or the Clean & Jerk yourself. Now if you want to coach it adequately, and spot corrections on an athlete or client, it takes even longer. Yet some jerk off with a bit of cash can come out of weekend seminar and can now magically teach you how to perform complex movements? I think not.

CrossFit “Games”

It’s not a sport, nor are the winners the “fittest on Earth”. The only reason it can even be mildly entertaining to watch is because the technique standards are so bad, it defies belief. Also, there are quite a few fails that will make you laugh your ass off.

The Cost

You’re going to be paying a few hundred dollars a month to workout in what is essentially a shed with sparse equipment, and business hours that are shorter than daylight time during a Canadian winter. Oh and you can’t just go in and do a workout either, it has to be with a group of other rah-rah members who will yell at you to do more shoddy reps until you puke as a badge of honor. They call it being “supportive.”

Lawsuit City

The amount of lawsuits that CrossFit has against it is staggering. And there’s a reason for that — it’s basically injury city. Don’t believe me? Google that shit.

So there you have it, 5+ reasons CF is basically the glorified bastard child of fitness. Sure, it’ll get you “in shape” because the workouts basically beat you to death. But the benefits you’ll receive for the work and cost that you’ll put in is grossly inefficient.

You want sexy abs, a powerful body and the ability to move, jump and live life? It can be done in a safer and cheaper manner.

Hit me up if you’re unconvinced. I’ll guarantee it.

 

About The Author

Coach Sahil is the founder of HTS, a National Deadlift record setter and author of a multitude of books. Click Here to learn more about him.

2 Comments

  • Willis Tyler December 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Crossfit workout is an extremely popular way to train and there are some pros as well. First of all it’s a challenge based training. Many fitness trainers know that the best way to get most out of their training is to give people a target or a specific goal. If you give a metric to compare themselves against others, peers or competitors, it would drive them to reach those goals. Secondly crossfit training is a metabolic conditioning program rather than steady state cardio where anaerobic exercises are structured one after the other which is a more exciting way to train. Thirdly there is no denying the benefit of teamwork in crossfit training.

  • Al Smith May 4, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you, because you nailed it. I’ve been in the gym for over 30 years now, had my share of injuries, but not many mainly because when you do this long enough you can FORESEE where an injury could potentially happen, then assess the [training] Risk vs. Reward scenario—then modify your routine accordingly. Truth be told though, now that I’m older (43) I’ve come to realize that some people just don’t have that ability. As a result, they just follow whatever shiny thing pops up in front of them, then try to deal with the consequences later. CrossFit is definitely one of those things.
    Personally, I knew it was crazy the day I saw them advocating hopping on top of boxes, stacked over 2 ft high…secured by…NOTHING! Seriously, as you properly pointed out, as NORMAL fatigue sets in, if someone is just 1 mm weaker than they were on their previous hop…it’s injury city; not to mention if the box just moves 1mm. All in the name of doing an exercise—training a muscle group—that could’ve just as easily been accomplished doing a much safer exercise. But CrossFit people don’t care about this type of logic or reasoning which is why I consider CrossFit more of a Fitness Religion, because they do it based on “emotional faith” not SCIENTIFIC FACTS.

    Bottom line, to some people SCIENCE and FACTS simply don’t matter, and regardless of what you tell them…they just want to remain part of an ignorant heard…and get upset when you try to show them the truth.

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