We all know at least one thing about CrossFit, and that is chiseled men and women repping fast pull-ups one after another and lifting and throwing around crazy weights. It might look crazy from the outside, but once you learn a few things about the history of CrossFit, you’ll see how amazing and effective this sport can be.
The birth of CrossFit
As a company, CrossFit was born in 2000, but this is not when the idea behind this movement started. When he was a teenager, the founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman used to be a gymnast. And like many of his peers, he wanted to be strong and athletic. With experimenting with workouts, he discovered that with dumbbells and barbells, there are many ways to become stronger than his peers who only focused on bodyweight training. Also, Glassman didn’t just do gymnastics as the only outlet for his love of sport and athleticism—he was also regularly riding a bike with his friends. His competitive nature showed Greg that he is better at cycling and lifting weights than his gymnast friends and that he’s better at tumbling and lifting than his cycling friends. There were guys who could best him in one thing, but not guys who could do the same in all things. So what price is someone ready to pay for this certain level of expertise?
The CrossFit philosophy
If you look at the question above, you can find the core of the CrossFit philosophy. Glassman’s programs focused on the idea of “jack of all trades, but master of none, but better than a master of one”. Greg’s early days in sport are what shaped CrossFit as we know it today—“achieving greater work capacity across broad time and modal domains”. So in short, CrossFit doesn’t have to goal to provide you with specific abilities but to make you generally fit and prepared for various situations that you might come across in the world of athleticism.
CrossFit trains 10 key qualities: cardio endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. In order to achieve these skills, it’s necessary to incorporate movements from different sports disciplines like gymnastics, sprinting, weightlifting, high-intensity interval training, etc. Plus, CrossFit puts a lot of focus on results that can be repeated and measured. Using specific weights, distances and movements, athletes can easily measure their progress. Plus, CrossFit doesn’t require any specific expensive gear. Most athletes train in gyms using protective gym CrossFit grips and normal gym outfits. These grips provide some extra comfort and safety, but that’s about it when it comes to equipment and gear—all else can be found in your gym, so there is no special investment on your part, which is also a part of the appeal.
The CrossFit community
In 1995, Glassman opened a gym in California, Santa Cruz, and started training the local police department. His civilian work was focused on private sessions. As he was starting to be overbooked, Greg decided to double up clients. Training two or more people at the same time for reduced prices was still more profitable, plus the clients loved the group setting. This was the birth of the CrossFit community. Formally, CrossFit was established as a brand in 2000, with 13 affiliates in 2005, 3,400 in 2012 and over 12,000 today, mostly in the USA.
The CrossFit games
The CrossFit Games first took place in 2007, and their popularity allowed them to grow astoundingly fast. The first games had a prize of $500, but in 2010, the sponsors allowed for a better budget and the first prize was $25,000. With Reebok as the sponsor of the 2011 games, the competition went online with CrossFit being divided into regions. Based on their scores, athletes moved to the Regionals in order to advance to the finals. In 2011, the first prize was $250,000 with ESPN coverage. In 2022, the prize money is $310,000 as the minimum number for each winner, plus the event win prize money. As it turns out, it pays off to be the most competitive athlete in the world and give it your all in the arena!
CrossFit has such a cult status among fitness freaks, so now that you know a bit more about its history, you can see why this movement is so popular. If you also want to try your hand at this demanding sport, find one of the gyms in your area and start crushing it!
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to home improvement, DIY and interior design. In her free time she enjoys reading and preparing healthy meals for her family.