The 7 Most Common Misconceptions About CrossFit

1. CrossFit is dangerous

CrossFit is dangerous… You will get injured… My friend got injured doing it… One of the biggest misconceptions people have about CrossFit is that by doing it, you’re going to get injured. It’s important to remember that CrossFit is a training methodology and YES you are asked to push yourself, so it is not without it's share of risk. But so is walking down the stairs in the morning, crossing the road to catch the bus, talking on the phone while driving or going for a run. You see others do these things everyday. The truth is that injury rates within CrossFit are comparable or less than sports such as gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting and other fitness programs or weekend sports— and are far less than many perceive them to be. Running in fact has the highest injury rate among all sports because it is the most easily accessible and most people do it or have done it. 


2. You need to be ‘fit’ to do CrossFit

Just as you don’t need to have previous athletic experience to do CrossFit, don’t assume that you need a certain level of fitness to join an affiliate either. One of the great things about CrossFit is that every workout is infinitely scalable meaning anyone can do it. Good coaches will be able to identify good scaling options for you after watching you perform different movements. If you can’t do strict pull-ups, then use a set of rings and do ring rows to make it easier. Don’t feel comfortable using a certain weight in a workout? Reduce the weight or use an empty barbell or broomstick instead. Through CrossFit’s scalability—and almost endless list of movements — athletes of all backgrounds (old, young, overweight, underweight) are able to participate in CrossFit and achieve their goals.  


3. CrossFit is not for older people

Another misconception. Sure, the athletes in their 20’s and early 30’s might be the ones ‘in their prime. Thanks to the scalability of CrossFit programming, specific needs of older athletes (range of motion, mobility, joint and health issues) can be taken into consideration and workouts modified sufficiently so that they are able to exercise safely but at a high intensity (relative to them). Here is a report from the Exercise Physiologist of one of our members who recently had to redo an annual fitness test for work:


4. CrossFitters only do CrossFit

Yes, people who do CrossFit are pretty passionate and will tell you all about it. That doesn't mean they aren't willing to do and try other things that can help them achieve their fitness goals. A classic example of this is Yoga. It is the perfect compliment to CrossFit, no weight, lower intensity, holding positions to build strength and flexibility. Our members are always using their fitness outside of the gym, teaming up to do Tough Mudder, Spartan races, coastal treks and half and full marathons. Because our fitness program is constantly varied, we use functional movements and perform them at high intensities, CrossFitters often throw themselves in the deep end and challenge themselves with new and exciting sports and or hobbies.     


5. Every CrossFit gym is the same

This is a very common misconception that needs to be cleared up. CrossFit Headquarters does not run its gyms in a franchise system like Fitness First or Anytime Fitness. Each CrossFit affiliate is independently owned and operated. Aside from having to pay an annual affiliation fee to CrossFit HQ, the owners of an affiliate are free to program, market and operate as they see fit. This allows owners and coaches to make it their own. This means the coaching, equipment, programming and the members of each gym are different. You will find the ones who care more about their members will have an on-boarding process which is there to teach members the basics, what to expect during a class, perform some basic lightweight movements, perform a scaled workout and learn this in a slower paced environment. This allows new starters to feel comfortable while learning the ropes and to be shown the right way from the start rather than being thrown into a class and figuring it out on their own.   


6. As a woman, if I do CrossFit, I’ll get bulky

Many women watch the female CrossFit Games athletes who compete on ESPN and assume that if they do CrossFit that is what they will look like. Those women look the way they do because they put countless hours into their training, nutrition and recovery sessions. Most if you ask them didn't plan to “look” like that it just came as a by product of setting themselves athletic goals and busting their asses to achieve them. Chances are if you do 3 or so CrossFit classes a week and outside of that you are a mum or work full time or travel a lot for work or run your own business then you can look forward to the results which most others get which are: reduced body fat percentage, improved muscle tone, a new group of friends and finding an enjoyable way to exercise. Don't think that by touching a barbell or lifting weights you will immediately look like a bodybuilder.... It doesn't work that way... 


7. You don’t do real pull-ups in CrossFit

Yes, we do! Strict pull-ups are an excellent bodyweight exercise for building strength and are regularly programmed into CrossFit workouts for that exact reason. So many people watch videos of CrossFit online and make comments about two styles of the pull-up that are commonly performed by CrossFitters which are the ‘kipping’ and ‘butterfly’ pull-up. The reason these movements are used is to do more work (Pull ups) in less time. It is still pulling yourself from straight arms from below the bar to chin over or chest touching the bar but you can perform lots more reps in a much shorter time using the kipping variation. Couple kipping pull ups with strict, weighted, wide grip, narrow grip, holding your chin over the bar and many others variations and you will see vast improvements in your ability to do Pull ups. Constantly varying your training is one of things we use to keep training challenging, fun and you can always make improvements somewhere.