Lovers of CrossFit are increasing and the military uses this discipline to take their fitness to a next step. Is this athletic discipline, which is extremely tiring, really as useful and full of potential as public opinion would have us believe? We talk about this topic with Daniela Lucini, head of exercise medicine at Humantas.
What is CrossFit?
With approximately 13,000 training centers worldwide, this extremely popular and intense training regimen incorporates elements from a variety of disciplines, including Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and interval training, along with endurance activities such as running and rowing. Training participants follow exercises in quick succession with little or no intermediate recovery time, sometimes using a variety of equipment ranging from balancers and balls to ropes and elastic bands. The idea of CrossFit, whose motto is “forge elite fitness”, is to train in an extreme way to maximize endurance, speed, strength, power, agility and coordination. Lessons last 30 to 60 minutes and also include warm-up, movement instructions and cooling at the end of the course.
What are the benefits of CrossFit?
If you can meet a schedule that both beginners and experienced athletes find exhausting, you’ll certainly burn a lot of calories, reduce fat mass and be in better shape. In a small study commissioned by the American Council of Exercise, it was found that among those aged between 20 and 47, men burned an average of 21 calories per minute, while women burned 12 calories (compared to an aerobics lesson), with heartbeats at 90% of their maximum heart rate. On the other hand, an article in the Journal of Sports Medicine talked about an accident rate of close to 20% in an average of 400 CrossFit participants: shoulders, low back and knees the most commonly affected parts.
Any operating program, especially if it is high-intensity, is inherently risky. Many of the movements require an almost perfect shape to prevent excessive strain and injury, but the resistance required to achieve them is really high and it is easy not to be trained properly. That is why it is very important to rely on facilities that are highly qualified and that do not subject beginners to too extreme a sport. In any case, this is a type of training not recommended for those suffering from heart disease, pre-existing injuries (such as back problems or other injuries to the knee and tendinitis of the elbow), biomechanical problems, osteoporosis or any other health condition that could preclude a high impact physical activity. It is best to avoid this even if you are a beginner and are already in excellent physical shape.
“The CrossFit should only be performed after a series of very thorough examinations and medical checks – recommended Professor Lucini – If you enjoy it, it is not discouraged but certainly we cannot say that it is simply an activity that helps keep fit. When I’m asked to recommend healthy physical activity it’s not CrossFit that I think of first.