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Cross Fit is fast becoming a world wide fitness craze with lots of opportunities to take part all around the world. But what is it? And why has it suddenly become so popular? It's time to find out just exactly what the benefits are!

Cross fit is a new term that has been attached to a type of fitness training but what does it really mean? In the past 10-15 years there has been a lot more emphasis on strength and conditioning training which primarily works on resistance training/weight training to improve overall health. Cross fit is actually a form of strength and conditioning, but tailor made to be a program rather than a selection of activities. The program of cross fit is designed to improve as many elements of fitness as possible: power, strength, speed, coordination, agility and even cardiovascular fitness. To achieve this, weight bearing activities such as the shoulder press are used.

The emphasis is placed on activities that are mixed such as traditional cardiovascular exercises and gymnastics.

Also heavily included is weight training, which is what cross fit is mainly associated with, but there is a lot more to cross fit than getting strong. It is great for all athletes as it combines all elements of fitness and works on varying the functional movements that are executed to suit that of the sport a person may be training for.

Primarily, cross fit programs are designed to be high intensity actions with high weight where possible. Although anyone can take part, you usually have to have a degree of exercise experience or undertake a level 1 or beginners class to master the techniques of the movements before being able to progress. Classes are usually an hour long and include warm ups, skill development, a high intensity section and then a period of stretching. Quite often there is a scoring system associated with cross fit which is used as a training tool rather than as a competitive measure — keeping track of your weights or lifts is a great way to keep motivated.

Examples Of Cross Fit Exercises

It's easy to explain what cross fit is in terms of how it's used and why, but what does a cross fit session actually involve?

Usually each gym or center has a Workout of the Day (WOD) but you can look around for your own versions.

Some of the common sessions that are undertaken during classes are:

Warm up - Treadmill for 1 mile.

Pull ups - 100 reps, Push ups 200 reps, body weight squat 300 reps!

Cool down - Treadmill 1 mile.

The scoring system for this type of WOD is to see how long it takes to complete the full circuit. There are no planned rests; it's simply go as hard as you can for as long as you can! If you like to use machines or weights during your workouts, have a look at this WOD, again using time as the scoring system.

Warm up - 1 mile treadmill.

Barbell deadlift - (1.5% bodyweight) Complete 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps.

Power Clean - (.75% bodyweight) Complete 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps.

Barbell Bench - Press (body weight!) Complete 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps.

Cool Down - 1 mile treadmill slow walk.

The second program here is for a much more advanced trained athlete, as you are using weights so you need to make sure you have mastered the techniques. In reference to the percentage of body weight, this relates to how much weight you use. For example, for a 100kg man on the barbell deadlift = 100/100 = 1%/1kg, then x.1.5 = 1.5kg of weight on the barbell.

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