Crossfit is bad for anyone who participates in endurance sports. Crossfit actually works against some of the key components that are critical for excelling in long-distance running and triathlon. These are the 5 reason why crossfit is bad for endurance sports:
- Crossfit makes you heavy. This is perhaps much of the appeal crossfit has with people. It is often called “body image”, but in plain English – crossfit makes you ripped. On the other hand, having to carry all those muscles across long distances can turn out to be quite a feat. Most long-distance runners and triathletes are slender. Bulk will work against them.
- Crossfit exercises are short. That is obviously much of the appeal crossfit has for people (“20 minutes and you’re done”). But endurance is all about length. Even the fastest of triathletes train for many hours just to be able to compete for “only” 2 hours in the olympic distance. Short exercises such as in crossfit are not appropriate for this type of effort. Crossfit advocates will tell you that because crossfit combines strength and elevated heart rates, it is actually good for you. That may be true. But it is not good enough for endurance athletes.
- Crossfit is often practiced in a group. On the other hand endurance athletes need to be able to remain focused over time on their own. Relying on a team can be fun, but it can weaken an endurance athlete.
- Much of crossfit is about explosive power. Endurance athletes need to be able to produce power. However, more importantly they also need to be able to sustain power over distance. This is usually not part of crossfit. The longest runs in crossfit exercise are 1 mile and most are not more than 100 meters or 400 meters at the most.
- Crossfit may strain the knees and back. Flexible knees and back are critical in endurance sports. Putting strain on these joints is central to many crossfit exercises including lunges and squats. This problem is especially worrisome for beginners with crossfit, because doing the exercises correctly will greatly reduce the chances of injury.
There are many advantages to incorporating strength and weight training in endurance sports training. For many, crossfit is a fun alternative to strength training. It can also be a welcome off-season break from long training sessions. But if you are serious about endurance sports you must remember that being a great crossfit athlete is not the sole solution for you.