High Intensity and CrossFit type workouts, are they for you?
Rope climbing, barbell clean and jerks, kettlebell swings, and heavy medicine ball throws are just a few examples of older style exercises that have experienced a resurgence. CrossFit and other workout programs like boot camps and fitness training camps tend to emphasize high intensity and power training. These moves were typically used by strength coaches working with elite athletes who needed to perform at the highest levels for competitions. The re-introduction of these high intensity conditioning programs include explosive lifts that are designed to push the human body to it's very limits.
Created in 2000 by former gymnastics coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit has tapped into an unprecedented consumer demand for results by using challenging strength and power exercises combined with bodyweight gymnastics and plyometric movements. In its definition of “World-Class Fitness” CrossFit advocates:
“Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, clean and jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc. hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow.”
This isn't in and of itself a bad outlook, but use caution: any program that doesn't allow for modifications and a slower, safer pace, mixed with good form is one that requires wariness. If you go into a program, and the exercise is pull ups, but they want you jerking your back up to get there, take heed: you need to build to these exercises! The foundation of strength and power is basic stability. If you don't already have a baseline of fitness, you are setting yourself up for injury.
Ask for modifications, research good form, ask a personal trainer for a program to get you started, and you will soon be having a great time in these more intense workout formats. You are you own best advocate for your health and fitness!