Saturday, 2 February 2013

Crossfit - 'Forging Elite Fitness'

I debated for a while whether to join a gym this winter, or Crossfit, something I had heard about through friends. After doing a taster at the Plymouth Life Centre, and watching a Plymouth Crossfit session, I decided I would give Crossfit a go. It looked more nasty and more intense than a gym session fuelled by your own determination could ever be. It started with an 8 hour (2x 4h sessions) at the weekend for my 'On-Ramp' course. This involved teaching me all the basics of the core moves, 3 types of squats, 3 types of press and 3 types of lifting. There was also pull ups, chin ups, double unders (skipping), hand stand pressups, box jumps and various other exercises. Although using small weights, 8 hours of squatting meant I could barely walk down the stairs the next few days, I was as stiff as I have ever been!

So what exactly is crossfit? Well in terms of an exercise routine people would understand I guess you could say it's a little like circuits, but it focuses more on dynamic movements-so rather than going on a machine at the gym and working one or two muscles it focuses on the whole range of muscles to provide a movement, like box jumps for example. It is a strength and conditioning program which will improve co-ordination, balance and strength and by doing all this prevent injuries (hopefully!). The workouts incorporate elements of gymnastics to encourage bodily control, weight lifting to elicit strength and power gains, technical lifts to improve co-ordination, agility and speed and endurance work to build stamina. There is generally a workout of the day which encompasses (quite often) a fair amount of barbell or kettlebell work with other exercises and running. It is always timed and always against other people, with an instructor every time, making you work much harder than you would on your own at a gym. I have visably improved my strength ridiculously in two months, from barely being able to pick up any weight at all to almost tripling it, without getting any bigger.

So I was hoping this training program would improve my windsurfing, that was the idea, I never want my own fitness level to hold me back in a competition. I had two sessions recently, and although the first session my forearms cramped a little, after they got over the initial hour or so I found I lasted longer, didn't struggle (as much) with the killer walk up the sand dune at the end and felt way more confident to try more moves, as I feel stronger and hopefully less prone to injury! You throw yourself around a lot in crossfit so you become more confident on the water.

Crossfit is a different workout everyday, timed, a competition, fun and completely addictive.

There is a link to Crossfit Plymouth here and a link to Crossfit.com here.

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