THE CROSSFIT WOMEN PHENOMENA

    

Article by Keller Williams

When you talk to women about exercise or workouts, the pervasive fear is that of becoming big or bulky. It is therefore understandable that when a woman first hears of Crossfit and what it entails, she is apprehensive. Crossfit is a fitness system found at Crossfit.com that combines gymnastic movements, running, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and some exercises most people have never heard of. Yes, that is right, power and Olympic lifts. The Crossfit workout of the day or WOD as it is called, commonly includes powerlifts such as the deadlift and back squat and Olympic lifts such as clean and jerk. Go to any Crossfit gym though and you will quickly find out that women not only do Crossfit, they excel at it. These women have discovered one of the best-kept secrets for women’s fitness. Let us look at some of the advantages of Crossfit.

Many would assert that Crossfit is a surefire way to produce what women do not want, bulk. The truth is that Crossfit methods in a drug free individual will not produce the competition-size mass seen in most bodybuilding magazines. What it will produce for women is functional lean mass and a reduction in body fat. Crossfit WODs not only produce outstanding results for women, they are scalable, quick, and functional.

To begin, all the WODs are scalable. Every workout can be scaled or adjusted to the individual. For example, the WOD “Elizabeth” entails doing twenty one repetitions of squat cleans then twenty-one ring dips, then fifteen repetitions of each exercise, then nine repetitions of each exercise for a total of 45 reps for each exercise. The workout is done as fast as possible and the weight prescribed by Crossfit.com is 135 pounds for the squat clean. The weight is for an average male. Therefore, the weight would be too much for an average female and this is where scaling is used.

If the WOD Elizabeth were scaled for a woman of average strength and size who was relatively new to Crossfit, the result would be the same rep scheme with lower weight. The squat cleans would be performed at 65 pounds and push-ups substituted for the more challenging ring dips. To scale down even further, lower the rep scheme to twelve, nine, and six. Lessen the weight for the squat clean to 45 pounds and instead of regular push-ups, complete the push-ups from the knees. By scaling, the workout becomes manageable and appropriate for a novice or beginner.

Crossfit WODs are quick. Of course, most people desire more free time. Finding time to exercise can be especially challenging to busy women and mothers. Compare a Crossfit WOD to the typical half hour or more of cardio or aerobics and then low intensity weight training. Crossfit WODs usually run between ten and thirty minutes. Total workout time is cut in half.

Crossfit is functional. Functionality is a glaring omission from many workout routines that women engage. Ask any mother of young children though, how many times a day they lift loads from the floor or a low position in the form of kids, car seats or laundry baskets. The deadlift and related lifts are training for this type of movement. How many times does a mother squat down during a typical day? Again, the point is that performing functional movements such as squats will only increase the ability to function in day-to-day life.

Women all over the world are finding that Crossfit, the fitness system that involves intense weight training, is just what they have been looking when it comes to toning and building lean mass. It is scalable to any fitness level, quick and efficient, and functional. For many women, this shift in the paradigm of women’s fitness is long overdue.