Crossfit is attracting more and more followers, but some are still hesitant to go through the door of a “box” because of the sometimes negative image that sticks to the skin of this extreme sport. Nicolas Bigot, Crossfit coach in the R2 Bastille room, takes stock with azindes to disentangle the truth from the false of this discipline made in the USA.
CrossFit, what is it?
“Crossfit is the mixture of three disciplines: cardio technique (“conditioning” in English), gymnastics, and weightlifting,” explains Nicolas Bigot, Crossfit coach at R2 Bastille (Paris).
It is, above all, a method of physical condition which makes it possible to develop ten fundamental qualities:
The little history of Crossfit
“Cross Fitness” was born in the United States in 1974. Greg Glassman, a former gymnast, created this method of physical conditioning. Visionary, the man opens the first “Box,” the name given to Crossfit rooms… In his garage! He then founded his own Cross-Fit company, which later became Crossfit Inc. “It first happened in France for law enforcement, firefighters, and the military. Then, a few French athletes are also put there”, specifies our expert. Since then, the brand has been registered, and many Boxes have taken over cities worldwide to allow everyone to train “the hard way.”
Who is Crossfit for?
“We can do Crossfit from 7 to 77 years old!” assures Nicolas Bigot. Everyone can practice it, except for exceptions such as a severe pathology or a formal contraindication from your doctor.
At what pace to train?
It will depend on your level and your goals. It is better to start gradually; anyway, the aches will quickly slow you down! At first, it is best to alternate each session with a rest day for optimal recovery.
How does a Crossfit session take place?
Crossfit is rules-driven, which means that over a week, you must have had a workout where you only do calisthenics, a second workout with calisthenics and cardio technique, and finally, a session. Including gymnastics, cardio technique, and weightlifting.
The session always begins with a warm-up (“Warm up“) to increase the cardio. There is then a technical phase (“Skill”) to learn all the movements we will do afterward. This is also the time to pass milestones by progressing on some of them.
According to Nicolas Bigot, this is an essential step: “Some people can’t do pull-ups or walk on their hands, so we teach them to step by step to integrate the movement. This phase also allows them to learn to move their body and see what we can do with it”.
Then, the strength stage (“Strength”) and the famous WOD. It’s time to push yourself out of your comfort zone. The session ends with stretching or mobility (“Cool warm”), and a small ritual obliges; everyone claps their hands and congratulates themselves on having succeeded in improving their statistics (or “surviving” a training for newcomers).
What are the fundamental movements of Crossfit?
There are 9 in total:
• The Air squat; • The Front squat; • The Back squat or overhead squat; • Shoulder press; • Push press; • Push jerk; • Deadlift; • The Sumo deadlift high pull; • Clean and Clean with Medicine Ball.
The main accessories used are the weightlifting and pull-up bars, the rowing machines, the medicine ball, the kettlebell, the rings, the box jump, and above all, the PVC tube, which is very useful for learning technical movements without a heavy load and therefore without risk of injury.
What does a Crossfitter eat?
“When we talk about Crossfit, the basis is food. Training starts at the table. If you train well, sleep well and eat well, you will be healthier. Not talk about diet, but about good eating habits”, recommends our expert.
Favor vegetables, do not abuse red meat, eat a few seeds, and hydrate yourself enough; these are the essential tips for managing your food intake.
What are the health benefits to be gained from Crossfit?
Crossfit is a complete sport. It provides benefits at the cardiovascular level and can prevent many diseases related to being overweight such as diabetes. It also helps build muscle and bone mass.
Another asset not to be overlooked, according to Nicolas Bigot: is the benefits felt “in the head.”
“It’s a community sport; Crossfit pulls everyone up, we help each other, we come to play sports, but also meet friends. The expression good in your body, good in your head takes on its full meaning with Crossfit,” he tells us.
What are the most common injuries?
Like all so-called “extreme” sports, the possibility of injury is not excluded. Among the injuries that can be found in this discipline, rhabdomyolysis is the one that sticks the most to the skin of Crossfit. It causes the destruction of muscle fibers which leads to the release of muscle cell contents (potassium, uric acid, and others) into the blood and urine.
We should not be alarmist for Nicolas since these are relatively rare cases. The coach points out that triathletes are also much more affected by this pathology than cross-fitters. “Crossfit is a high-intensity sport, so we talk about it, and coaches need to be aware of that,” he explains.
A survey on the frequency of injuries in Crossfit was carried out in 2013 via discussion forums. A total of 132 responses were collected. 39 women and 93 men took part. The responses found that 97 participants (73.5%) had suffered an injury during a CrossFit class, which prevented them from training or working. 186 injuries were reported, of which 9 (7%) required surgery, but no cases of rhabdomyolysis were reported. With an average of 3.1 injuries per 1000 hours of training, this survey does not show anything concrete, and this result seems quite “normal” compared to other sports activities.
In short, Crossfit does not hurt more than other sports “if it is properly supervised,” recalls Nicolas Bigot.
What about professional Crossfit?
Whether they are beginners or world champions like Rich Froning, the first competition in which Crossfit enthusiasts can participate in the Open.
Then there is the Throwdown (French, Spanish), a competition in which all European teams meet.
The GRAAL remains participated in the Crossfit Games, which brings together the best cross-fitters and cross-fitters from around the world. In 2016, Frenchman Christian Galy climbed to the second step of this coveted podium.