Introduction to Crossfit, a complete sport

As we are again in that time of the year where we eat until we feel sorry for ourselves, ie. Winter Holiday times, I want to stress the importance of having a physical activity also during this period. My bf is a sports addict, so little by little he forced inspired me to practice more sport, and so I discovered Crossfit.

Today I will introduce you to the sport I started practicing this year. This sport is not only for the body, but also for the mind, as it shapes not only your body, but the way you think, you feel and you live. And even though I’m not very assiduous as to go at least two times a week, I can still see overall improvements after one year. And roughly, one year means 30 entries (sometimes twice a week, sometimes only once a week, and during holidays and coach potato times, maybe once a month). The sport I want to talk about is Crossfit.

But what is crossfit?

Developed around the ’50s in the US as a military workout to improve force and cardio for the soldiers and firefighters, crossfit as we know it today was born in 2000, after many adaptations. The principle is that everyone is able to do it.

Known as the mix of multiple disciplines, crossfit is so complete it works out everything: cardio and endurance, muscles and weightlifting, gymnastics, equilibrium and stretching.

In a one hour workout you will have to run, to do burpees*, to do pull-ups, or to weightlift.

burpee* is a sequence of push-up – squat – jump 

The mentality of crossfit

This sport’s mentality is that everyone is able to do it. For a beginner, you will have intermediate versions of a given exercise. You can’t do pull-ups? Well, you can jump and then control the descent in 3 or 5 seconds, depending on your force. You can’t do push-ups? Yes you can if you do them on the knees. You can’t weightlift? Of course you can, but less heavy. You can’t do burpees? Quit joking around, those everyone can do them!

And now that you have mastered an intermediate level, what? Well, put some weights on your bar, try harder on your push-ups, try the pull-ups on your toes until you can’t do them anymore, then continue on that previous level you thought you mastered.

There’s always going back and forth, things to learn or to try, but always trying to be better than the other day. You’re competing only with yourself. That’s why you’re required to properly count the repetitions, count all those seconds in your mind, and if you lost track between 40 and 50 reps, you’re probably at 40.

How is a crossfit class structured

As already mentioned, a crossfit class takes one hour and is structured in 3-4 sections as follows:

1. Warm up 5-10 min:

Depending on the WOD‘s exercises, the warm up is concentrated on a certain group of muscles.

For instance, if there is weightlifting for the WOD, we will warm up the ischio muscles; if the WOD is cardio oriented, we will do a general warm up.

2. Cash-in 5-15 min:

During this section we will try a (new) movement we’ll be doing during the WOD. If it’s a new weightlifting move, we will see it and try it decomposed, part by part, at first with the light bar, then with the technical bar (of 5 kg), and if we are more advanced, with the weightlifting bar (of 15 or 20 kg). It can be a muscle-up* where we work the transitions or try our best to do a real muscle-up.

muscle-up* is a sequence of pull-up – dip

3. WOD 10-20 min:

Crossfit bruises
No pain, no gain

So what exactly is this WOD? It stands for Workout Of the Day and we are supposed to do series of several exercises, of different repetition.

It can be:

  • a gymnastics WOD, where you have to do pull-ups, push-ups, hand-stand, etc.
  • cardio WOD, where you would do burpees, airdyne intervals, running, or jump rope.
  • more of weightlifting WOD where you work with your (charged) bar and struggle to do repetitions of dead-liftsfront squatspower cleans, etc.
  • even a general WOD with a combination of all types of exercises, or a WOD concentrated on working a particular group of muscles, or whatever the coaches thought for that day’s WOD.

The WOD can have an imposed time, or imposed number of repetition, or a combination of those. It can be anything the coach thought of. There are also named WODs, the classic ones, that you can do for instance twice a year to see your personal improvement.

A WOD is always horrible and that’s a good thing. Saying the WOD was horrible is actually a praise.

Here’s how my leg looks like 2 days after power clean exercises. The same goes for the shoulders.

4. Cash-out 5 min:

This section is optional and depends on the time left for the hour workout. You will be required to do some stretching exercises or some very chill airdyne intervals while relaxing after a heavy WOD.

Where to try crossfit in Paris

I definitely love the ambiance of the Crossfit Original Addicts, so this is what I recommend. They have two locations in Paris 11, at Charonne and Bréguet Sabin subway stations. The coaches switch between these locations depending on their schedule.

You’re in Paris for a while? Join the Addicts’ club!

What sport do you practice? Have you tested Crossfit? Leave your impressions in the comment section below!

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