Yes and no. As a black belt, multi sport athlete, National weightlifting coach, and Crossfit coach for nearly a decade I think I can be considered an expert in exercise and human movement. My answer to this is yes Crossfit is for beginners. There’s a catch though. We’ll get to the in a second.
Crossfit is a group implemented program. Whether you typically enjoy working out alone or in a group the effectiveness of expert coach lead group exercise can’t be argued. Study after study shows group exercise keeps people energized during their training which leads to better effort put into the workout and inevitably better results. It’s hard to not give your best when you’re working with older, younger, newer, more experienced people from you. You are part of the team and everyone wants the team to succeed, together.
Crossfit is all about measurable fitness, not competition. The difference between science and screwing around is in writing it down. The difference between progress and spinning your wheels is in how measurable your exercise goals are. We exercise to improve our health and fitness, not to compete against anyone except the person you were yesterday. You exercise to be more fit than before, performance exercise does exactly that.
A great exercise program includes the right movement selection and a purposeful approach. In Crossfit we train movements and we program for variety of stimuli while keeping the big picture in mind. The goal is to strengthen movements through full range of motion, improving stability and capacity to do anything with our improved fitness. Variety allows us to learn new things which is important for neural plasticity and the ability to adapt to new situations. When we continue to learn new things we become good students and are able to find enjoyment in the process of continual challenge and growth.
There is a catch.
Not everyone is ready for functional training, not because of the intensity but because of lack of mobility and strength imbalance in proximal joints. The fundamental aspects of all movement are range of motion and stability, regardless of what type of exercise you enjoy these are non-negotiable aspects of your exercise routine.
Assessing your current capacity is an important step. We need to test posture, and range of motion/control around proximal joints to figure out what we need to address and if there are any serious issues that need extra attention. A good beginner’s program will help address the common problems and set you up for success in the long run.
Learning new movements takes consistent and frequent practice, at least 3x/week. Building a solid foundation should be the goal, setting up good habits with nutrition, mobility, practice, and accountability are important components of a good program. A good beginners program should be long enough to make noticeable changes in mobility and improve both strength and cardiovascular capacity.
Functional group exercise is fun, highly effective, and suited for everyone who wants to improve their fitness. Crossfit is for beginners, all you need is a good beginners program to get you started at the right pace focusing on the right pieces to set you up for long term success.