All about CrossFit

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a training program that builds strength and conditioning through extremely varied and challenging workouts. With these constantly varied, high-intensity functional movements, CrossFit training coaches’ people of all shapes and sizes to improve their physical wellbeing and cardiovascular fitness. Each day the workout will test a different part of your functional strength or conditioning, not specialising in one thing, but rather with the goal of building a body that is capable of anything and everything.

It’s been around a while, but CrossFit is as popular as ever. If you haven’t tried it and its on your New Year to-do list, here’s a quick lowdown so you know what to expect and what to wear.

What’s a CrossFit class like?

Most CrossFit classes will split their classes into three or four sections.

1. Dynamic warm-up. Not jogging on a treadmill for five minutes, but jumps, jumping jacks, jump rope, squats, push-ups, lunges, pull-ups. Basically, functional movements, stretches and mobility work that complement the movements that you’ll be doing in the workout that day.

2. Skill/Strength work. If it’s a strength day, then you’ll work on a pure strength movement like squats or deadlifts. If it’s not a strength day, you will work on a skill and try to improve it, like one-legged squats or muscle-ups.

3. WOD (Work Out of the Day). This is where you’ll be told to do a certain number of reps of a particular exercise as quickly as possible, or you’ll have a set time limit to do as many of a certain exercise as possible.

4. Cool down and stretching. You do this as either as a group, or you’re allowed to do it on your own.

5 things you should wear to CrossFit

You’ll need a kit that won’t slow you down. From box jumps to burpees to pulls ups and presses, here’s what to wear to power through your hardcore CrossFit workout.

+ The right trainers for you. Go for shoes that are lightweight, agile and will absorb impact during a fast-training session. You also need a stable base for power while jumping and lifting. Make sure they have resilient cushioning with a relatively firm midsole. A minimal heel to toe drops that allows your foot to sit close to the ground for a stable foundation. An upper that wraps the foot with an external heel counter and strong lateral support to stabilize and secure the foot. A breathable upper with plenty of ventilation to keep your feet cool and a high abrasion, non-marking outsole with traction that grips during those lifts and jumps.

+ A breathable tank top or t-shirt. CrossFit is tough, so you’ll be working hard and sweating hard so you need a top that will keep you cool and dry and allows you to move freely with no irritations. Look for lightweight, breathable fabric that wicks sweat away from the skin. Mesh inserts at key heat points such as under the arms for added cooling and in a slim fit as baggy t-shirts can get in the way of the equipment. As you’ll need a full range of movement its best to look for flatlock stitching, as you don’t want chaffing while you’re working hard. Seamless is your best choice.

+ Shorts or tights that allow you to move freely. You don’t want any bottoms that restrict movement. Look for shorts or tights with a 4-way stretch that will allow you to move freely in all directions. Go for a slim, or streamlined fit that won’t catch on equipment, in breathable and flexible fabric with a high elastane content for maximum stretch. Mesh inserts behind the knees will cool you down and flat locked seams will avoid irritation.

+ A good sports bra that is designed for high intensity workouts with optimum support. Look for deep under bands and if you need extra support look for molded cups. Make sure its breathable, has bonded seams, is adjustable and has padded straps to avoid digging in plus mesh inserts for cooling.

+ Technical wicking socks. Good sports socks will make all the difference to your workout. Go for socks with high wicking capabilities to keep your feet cool, dry, and comfortable during your session. Look for a technical, breathable fabric and in an ergonomic fit that hugs the foot to avoid blisters.

How to find a CrossFit gym?

If you happen to live in a city, there are probably more than a dozen CrossFit training groups in your area. Other than picking the one that’s closest to you, community and coaches are important too. You need to find a gym with competent and experienced coaches to make sure training is safe.

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