I have seen both the good, bad, and the ugly when it comes to Cross Fit. I have personally concluded that the safety and effectiveness is determined by the experience and knowledge of the Cross Fit Personal Trainer and these trainers greatly vary in ability. Do you think the Cross Fit Certification is too lenient?
I have also seen many sides of CrossFit, including a few fantastic trainers, but I am not so sure that tougher certification is the answer. Their program itself is sound, it just seems to attract a certain mentality (of trainer AND client) that harder is better, and pain is good, and who cares about form. Perhaps more education and stress on safety could help, but you will always get trainers (and clients) who are going to ignore warning signs and keep pushing. It seems to me that CrossFit attracts this type of person, and more education will go unheard.
I don’t think it has anything to do with the their certification per se. There are many ACSM certified personal trainers doing questionable things as well.
The issue is with the industry in general. Being unregulated basically opens the door for anyone to do anything.
In this business, it’s up to the individual to educate themselves and implement a program that is based on knowledge, science, safety and sensible programing for the individual/group.
Cross fit is making millions of dollars, mostly based on their business model and the fact that they form social environments within their gyms. People gravitate towards it for the camaraderie and support they get from their peers which is compelling by the millions of dollars they are pulling in not to mention that Reebok is a sponsor.
I have seen the good, bad and ugly on Crossfit. The problem with Crossfit is it is a high reward that comes with high risk program. The exercises can be extremely difficult for your general population people that are out of shape. I have seen one Crossfit gym out of six I personally know do a beginner class to get members ready for being part of the regular classes. These participants cannot attend the other classes until they graduate pass the beginner classes. I thought this program had the right idea and they have fewer injuries.
I have never taken the certification, so I would not know if they teach the trainers to build up a fitness base for endurance along with form for the members.
If performed wrong, these are very dangerous and high risk exercises. I actually picked up a client very recently thanks to a crossfit studio putting a 50 year old woman in a regular class and expect her to do all the same exercise as everyone else. No modifications were given either.
I want to echo the others. I have seen bad trainers with good certifications. I have even seen physical therapists acting as trainers and not being as safe as I think they should be.
We also have a flip side of participants who view themselves very differently from where they are and who will completely overestimate their abilities. Those will be the first ones getting hurt, and they would hurt themselves even in the presence of good instructors.
I like Noel’s comment about the beginner classes that had to be graduated from to qualify for a regular class. I have seen it in my MELT classes (which are about as far from CrossFit as it gets) when I wanted to implement an ‘advanced’ class which had the ‘basic’ class as a pre-req. People showed up for that and were mightily upset when I asked them to leave because they just knew that they were ready for ‘advanced’ no matter the class.
Thank you for your valuable answers. Everyone’s comments offer a unique perspective that has greatly educated me on the issue at hand. It is good to hear that some gyms are offering beginner classes to help clients build proper form, posture and a fitness base to safely progress to challenging exercises. This topic personally intrigues me because I am always interested in learning from present models of what does and doesn’t work, along with a desire to help raise the standard for fitness. Thank you again for contributing o the community and I am looking forward to hearing more feedback.
– Alex Wisch