Does Crossfit Work?

rich-froning-shirtless-crossfit-1Founded back in 2000, CrossFit is a exercise technique that combine gymnastics with strength, circuit and endurance training. It’s definitely no joke and it’s extremely grueling – but there are no shortage of CrossFit fans called CrossFitters. In just 13 years, CrossFit now has 7,000 gyms and more than 10 million participants.

So how effective is the technique? Is it just another fitness fad and marketing gimmick? Or does it live up to the hype? A recent study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise enlisted the help of researchers from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse to answer those questions.

For the study, 16 healthy male and female individuals ages 20 – 47 were recruited. Baseline fitness levels for established for each participant – and then each participant went through two separate CrossFit workouts. Throughout and/or after the workout, researchers recorded the participants’ heart rate, Vo2, ratings of perceived exertion and blood lactate concentration.

Though it took participants varying amounts of time to complete the workouts, times averaged roughly between 6 and 9 minutes. In that amount of time, participants burned between 64 and 117 calories. Heart rates were elevated to 90% of maximum heart rate – the higher end of industry recommendations. Similarly, VO2 levels were at the higher end of guidelines at 80% of VO2max. Blood lactate levels were 3 – 4x normal threshold levels.

So what’s the bottom line?

Researchers concluded, “CrossFit works.” It’s a great exercise, especially for its short duration. And like any high intensity interval training workout – like Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout – you’ll see much greater increases in aerobic capacity versus traditional training.

Of course, this doesn’t mean CrossFit is for everyone. Beginners, older populations or individuals with medical complications may not be well-suited for CrossFit. Moreover, as many CrossFitters can attest, the injury risk is very high.

But for the healthy and brave, CrossFit can be a great option to kick their workout into high gear.


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  1. Interesting snippet…

    Sounds good for cardio, weightloss, lung capacity and general fitness

    But what’s your take Dave on using crossfit for bulking and/or muscle building?

    I have an extremely fast metabolism, and I find myself frustrated that almost every fitness article I read concerns itself with keeping weight down- burning calories, avoiding dreaded ‘carbs’, keeping up the heart rate etc…

    I know I have the better of two curses, and should stop complaining but as someone who hits the gym four times a week, eats plenty of protein rich foods (eggs, chicken, brown rice etc) I find it frustrating that 70kg is my ceiling.

    What tips do you have?

    • sylv3st3r says:

      supplement with whey protein after workouts and casein protein between meals..

      • Yes I do that.
        Creatine before workout too to get the most from my muscles.

        I also have eggs, peas, brown rice, banana and unsalted nuts on hand as snacks between main meals.

        Surely there’s something I’m missing.

        I feel like the ‘fat chick’ who says
        “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong! I’ve tried so many diets to loose weight”
        … Then she goes and drinks 3L of diet coke and woofs down some buttered thick bananna bread.

  2. I have been contemplating CrossFit for a while now. It seems logical that this study would back up that it ‘works’. It was a small study but did have some significant results.

  3. Afgallego says:

    I like cross fit. I really enjoy this awesome app called “best workout for me by ubmobile” to help me with my workouts! Download it!

  4. Hey guys, The best results that I have ever had was with Red hot slim (i found it on google) Without a doubt the most incredible diet that I have ever tried.