5 things you didn’t know about CrossFit

20 April 2017 by
First published: 19 November 2016

Fancy a bit of fitness trivia? Here are 5 things you didn’t know about CrossFit. The CrossFit craze is sweeping the world, as you’ve no doubt noticed. The sport, which originated in the US a couple of decades ago, has become a firm favourite for fitness fanatics everywhere. “CrossFit is a method of training that involves many different aspects of strength and conditioning, including weightlifting and gymnastics,” says Bex Hall, Team Reebok UK athlete. “Every session is varied and will see you working on aerobic endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance and coordination through an array of exercises and workouts.” Want to find out more? Here are 5 things you didn’t know about CrossFit.

Founding father

It’s fair to say that a large number of people have heard of CrossFit. However, how many of us know the story of how CrossFit began? CrossFit was founded by Greg Glassman, a former gymnast. As a teenage gymnast, Glassman wanted to increase his strength. He found that by using dumbbells and barbells, he could become stronger and as a result, become a far superior athlete to his peers. He discovered that by creating new exercise routines that focussed on strength, he could improve as an athlete in a number of different disciplines, not just in one.

Small beginnings

In the 90s, Greg forged a reputation for himself and his new workout venture. In 1995, he received a call from the sheriff’s department in Santa Cruz. They had heard of his new training technique and asked him if he would train their officers. These 60-minute sessions at the Spa Fitness health centre for the officers at Santa Cruz became the first CrossFit workouts to officially take place. Very soon, word spread and CrossFit sessions were in very high demand in Santa Cruz, day and night. CrossFit then continued to grow into the worldwide phenomenon that it is today.

Strong bonds

CrossFit has a very close connection to its roots. With the first official CrossFit workouts taking place for the officers of the sheriff’s department in Santa Cruz, many police academies, tactical operations teams and military special ops units champion CrossFit as their principal strength and conditioning programme. It is also favoured by professional athletes all over the world, although anyone can take part. “You don’t need to be ‘fit’ to start CrossFit,” says Bex. “Every CrossFit gym will have members of all fitness levels and abilities and all classes are suitable for both beginners and the more advanced.” CrossFit workouts are full of variety, making it an ideal workout for anyone, regardless of fitness level or experience.

Always remember

Some may wonder why CrossFit workouts have been named things like Fran, Victoria and Murphy. According to Greg, the reasoning behind naming CrossFit workouts after women is because ‘Workouts are just like storms, they wreak havoc on towns.’ However, on a more serious note, other CrossFit workouts have been named to commemorate naval officers, sergeants, SEALS and other soldiers who have been killed in action. Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, killed in Afghanistan in 2005 aged 29, had a particular favourite CrossFit workout. The workout, which consists of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and a final mile run, has been renamed ‘Murph’ in his honour. 

Gender equality

It may seem as though the gym is often a male-dominated environment, but that’s not the case when it comes to CrossFit. According to the American Council on Exercise, out of over 10 million CrossFitters, nearly 60 per cent are women. However, the really fantastic aspect of CrossFit is the way that it promotes gender equality in sport. In CrossFit, there’s no such thing as a male or female workout. All CrossFitters do the exact same exercises. During CrossFit competitions, men and women compete in the same arena, are afforded the same amount of airtime on TV and are awarded the same amount of prize money. Sports like football and rugby have a lot of catching up to do!