Crossfit landed in Uruguay more than ten years ago. The popularity and adherence it achieved was important: there are more and more boxes (Crossfit gyms), there are more and more clubs and gyms that add it as an offer among their classes and more and more people are encouraged to practice it. It had its boom, it was the fashion of the moment. Today it is already an established practice in the market, which has thousands of followers.
In a way, Crossfit is a round business, because it is attractive and at the same time generates a sense of belonging that makes it easier to continue with the exercise. And in the field of training, adherence is customer loyalty. “At some point Crossfit became fashionable. But fashions do not stand alone and also it has been installed for many years. So, what is so attractive?” questioned Lucía Ruibal, a graduate in Physical Education.
for the too coach Crossfit and personal trainer, the key to success is the effectiveness of the training method and what it generates in the people who practice it. “Crossfit is going to respond perfectly to the current capitalist system, to the ways we have of organizing ourselves, of relating and structuring the world of work. It arose in the neoliberal boom and has been able to accompany recent social changes. The training is based on variability, adaptation and flexibility, concepts applicable to current ways of living. One of the mottos known in practice will be ‘be prepared for everything in life’”, she detailed.
Crossfit proposes a combination of high-intensity exercises, aimed at training physical abilities such as aerobic and muscular resistance, strength, power, speed, and coordination. In this sense, as Ruibal explained, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, running, swimming, cycling and rowing techniques are merged with functional movements.
“The best cross fitter It will not be the strongest, the most skilled, the one with the greatest aerobic capacity, nor the one who is most powerful or fastest, but the one who can combine and adapt in the best possible way to all these capacities”, added the coach, and pointed out that this is one of the aspects that makes it attractive. It is an effective and complex practice at the training level that is even used many times for the physical preparation of those who practice other sports.
The constant search for improvement and tangible goals promoted by Crossfit is, according to Ruibal, another aspect that fuels his success. Each class proposes a new challenge: the search for achievements and personal progress will then generate feelings of satisfaction, motivation and the need to meet new goals.
Sport or exercise?
Physical exercise is a planned, structured and repetitive physical activity, carried out to maintain or improve physical qualities. Sport, for its part, is exercise with rules, in which you generally compete and there are not precisely objectives linked to health or aesthetics, as is often the case in the previous case. Having made this clarification: is Crossfit a sport or an exercise associated with fitness? This is a question that Ruibal seeks to answer in his master’s thesis in Physical Education.
The hypothesis of the graduate is that Crossfit –which is defined as “the sport of fitness” (the sport of fitness) – could be considered a sport due to the characteristics it presents and its competition system. “If you analyze a class from any box in Montevideo, you will surely find a clear competition system, in general, in individual mode, accounting for rounds, repetitions or times, but you will always have measurable and quantifiable results,” he added.
On the other hand, he remarked that Crossfit has clear regulations and that the entire system is regulated by the commercial brand, something comparable to the system of sports federations.
This practice arises as a training method for gymnasts and later as a physical preparation for firefighters, military and marines. Greg Glassman, its creator, opened the CrossFitter Movement Center gym in 1995 and in 2001 established Crossfit as a registered trademark. Ruibal explained: “In this way, a first break is generated and Crossfit goes from being a training method for particular groups of people to establishing itself in a gym open to the public.”
The second break was generated when Crossfit began to grow commercially. “From that moment the expansion begins to be exponential and a well-established market is generated: to be able to open a box and use the brand name you will have to pay an annual license. Crossfit provides training and qualifications, and only those who pass these courses will be authorized to officially teach classes ”, explained the trainer.
Just as there are classes of indoor cyclingwhich are actually the same as those of spinningare there cross training classes or cross training, which propose the same as Crossfit sessions. This is a resource used by various gyms and sports institutions to avoid payment and official license requirements. Ruibal said that in Uruguay most of the boxes are not officially regulated and work under this type of name or similar, although the practice they carry out tries to be the same.
In 2007 the Crossfit Games appeared, “an international competition system that incorporates all the characteristics of the hegemonic sports system, generating its own system of competitions, rules and regulations that are specific to the brand, and that leave out the entire sports system. of international federations and regulations”, indicated Ruibal. The brand, then, structures what the practice and competitions are like. In addition, it establishes training routines, machinery, accessories, clothing, sponsors, and the cost that enables you to purchase a license that allows you to market and promote the practice.
For all public
Crossfit classes last about 60 minutes and are structured, as detailed by the coachin a warm-up, a specific work of strength, the wooden (for its acronym in English, work of day), which is the main part of the class, which proposes a challenge to be met through the use of various methodologies, and the final section of return to calm. The idea is that they are varied and complete workouts.
Although there are various prejudices around this sport and there are even health professionals who advise against it, Ruibal said that it is a practice that anyone can do, although it is necessary to evaluate particular cases, as in any practice. Indeed, in the same class people of an advanced level who perform the most complex techniques in ten rounds can coexist with others who practice much simpler techniques and do five rounds, as he exemplified.
For the coach, one of the main failures that generates bad experiences in students is when there are no professionals in charge of the classes with the necessary tools to be able to teach complex sports techniques, applying them to each session and to each person.
It is that in Crossfit it is essential to take care of the technique, because falling into the desire to load weight and increase the times, without taking care of the quality of the movements, can lead to an injury. This is why the recommendation is always to learn the technical first so that you can then emphasize intensity, which, as Ruibal said, “is very personal and depends on individual objectives.”
“I do not agree with doctors who advise against Crossfit in a generic way because they understand that it does harm or injures. There is a great lack of knowledge, or the knowledge that exists is about the highest or competitive levels that, as in all sports, are far from ‘healthy’ movements or techniques”, Ruibal opined. In addition, the coach recalled that for the treatment of an injury, stillness is never recommended, but to carry out recovery processes that enable the person to return to movement. “Whether it is advisable to do Crossfit or not in the event of an injury, it will depend a lot on the person, their body journey and the injury they have. It is important for this not to step on the professional areas. As a graduate in Physical Education, I would not dare to diagnose an injury or treat pain in a joint; that is the job of doctors and physiotherapists”.
Ruibal went through several sports and classes of fitness before arriving at Crossfit, about eight years ago. What motivated her the most about this practice was that she always has a carrot to pursue, because goals are constantly renewed. In addition, she considers it a complete sport in which there are constantly weaknesses and techniques that can be improved.
Together with his partner, who is also a Physical Education teacher and coach of Crossfit, Ruibal opened in 2020 the box Terra Nova, which he considers his field of research prior to beginning the master’s degree. “I find it very interesting to meet each person who comes to train, to know what motivates them to go, to see the processes and growth, to see the bonds that are formed (groups of friends, couples) and how bodies are ‘tanning’ (in terms of adaptation) to Crossfit: calluses on the hands, clothes full of magnesium, tibias always scraped, resilience, resistance to pain and suffering, knowing one’s own limits but also knowing how to overcome them when the time comes, pleasure to exceed a maximum repetition or that you get a first time muscle up (complex exercise that combines pull-ups and funds on bars or rings). All of that is also part of Crossfit,” she concluded.