Attempting pull-ups, burpies, the perfect squatting technique and more, all while running 400m in between sets… let’s just say that the Modern Athlete newbies weren’t the prettiest bunch in class. But while we predicted a few sore bodies the next day, CrossFit did give us a look into the importance of strength work to maintain good form and avoid injuries on the run, and made a pleasant change from the usual gym circuit.
CrossFit is an exercise philosophy that focuses on strength training and conditioning, incorporating weight-lifting, interval training, plyometrics (‘jump training’) as well as gymnastics and strongman workouts (deadlifts or squats). Typically, each class or ‘box’ offers an hour-long session incorporating a warm-up, a skill development period, and then a high-intensity workout featuring whatever was learnt in that session – usually with running in between. There is a library of workouts to choose from, from a basic bench-press to rope climbing, and the workouts develop stamina, strength, balance, flexibility and speed. You definitely feel like you’ve worked your butt off at the end!
We wanted to know if CrossFit will benefit us as runners, so we asked Pierre Ferreira, owner and instructor at CrossFit Flaming Heart in Bedfordview, about that after the session. “I have encountered runners and cyclists who have done CrossFit and it’s only benefited their training,” he says. “They develop a stronger core and upper body, and it helps for overall fitness, which you’ll feel helping at the end of a run.”
Also, with CrossFit’s focus on conditioning, endurance athletes become less prone to injuries because the knees and core can handle hitting the road better, and with the running intervals between sets, athletes can also test their stamina and progression. “Running is important for base fitness,” says Pierre. “I’ve been doing CrossFit for five years and instructing and competing for three years. In the beginning I didn’t focus on running that much, and it showed.”
There are different styles from box to box, so find the coach and style that suits you. To give CrossFit a try with Pierre, call him on 082 532 2962 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Or find the nearest CrossFit to you at http://map.crossfit.com
Follow on Twitter: @flamingheartCF
Like on Facebook: CrossFit Flaming Heart.
Our Team on CrossFit
Nicole: “I was pleasantly surprised at how effective the combination of cardio and strength training is. I can imagine quick results, as my muscles were aching afterwards!”
Charlie: “This mommy is so unfit, I’m in need of a hell of a lot more exercise, but it was great fun.”
Richard: “Was awesome to build some camaraderie outside the office walls, whilst frantically wiping the flowing torrent of perspiration from my brow that was threatening to drown me!”
Jen: “The combination of strength and cardio is tough, but a nice change from either just running or the usual gym routine. And ‘burpies’ is a swear word!”