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CrossFit is a type of high-intensity functional training with continuous workout variation. Functional fitness and CrossFit share similarities but they also differ in workouts and exercises. Both have the role of improving strength, muscle coordination, cardiovascular endurance, and even mobility.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a combination of sports based on functional fitness principles under a branded name. It involves strength and conditioning exercises, typically performed in a circuit method. A typical CrossFit workout is called a WOD (Workout of the Day). This workout is constantly changing targeting different exercises or balancing different intensity levels between strength and conditioning.
What is Functional Fitness?
Functional fitness represents exercises and workouts that work multiple muscles and joints at the same time. It is used for strength, conditioning, and coordination. Functional exercises typically involve core stability muscles more as compared to isolation exercises and workouts such as those in bodybuilding.
Benefits of CrossFit and Functional Fitness
Both CrossFit and functional fitness work multiple muscles at the same time. They don’t isolate a single muscle such as in gym training which means they have the potential for burning more calories. Some of the key benefits of CrossFit and functional fitness include the following.
- CrossFit improves physical strength
Typical CrossFit exercises such as squats, kettlebell swings, and deadlifts are known for building core strength. Such exercises are considered both for inexperienced and experienced trainees looking to gain strength in all muscle groups.
- CrossFit burns calories
It’s estimated CrossFit burns between 15 and 18 calories per minute. The intense workouts or ‘WODs’ are responsible for burning a higher amount of calories per minute. CrossFit is an efficient training method if you want to lose weight and stay in shape.
- Functional fitness improves muscle balance and agility
Functional fitness is driven by functional training and functional exercises. It involves movements you do daily, hence the name ‘functional’. Improved balance and better agility are among their prime benefits. It has the potential of improving your coordination daily. Functional fitness is among the recommended workout approaches for aging people who need to improve coordination.
- Functional fitness may help you lose weight
As CrossFit, functional fitness can help you lose weight. The principles of functional training involve exercises that target multiple muscles at once. Multiple activated muscles burn more calories and help you lose excess body weight faster.
5 Differences Between CrossFit and Functional Fitness
While similar in many aspects, CrossFit and functional fitness have their differences. Here are a few of the most important distinctions between these styles of training.
- CrossFit is based on varied workouts
CrossFit workouts are different every day. The exercises, repetitions, or the interval to perform a certain movement are switched from one day to another. Such variation separates CrossFit from functional fitness.
- Functional fitness is often based on bodyweight exercises
One of the main perks of functional fitness is it allows you to train almost anywhere with bodyweight-only exercises. This represents a considerable training location advantage over CrossFit which is often characterized by training with kettlebells, barbells, or wall balls.
- Functional fitness is less intense than CrossFit
While both these training approaches focus on complex multi-muscle exercises the impact, they have on the body is different. Functional fitness and even high-tempo functional fitness is not as intense as CrossFit. It’s within CrossFit that you often race against the clock to perform as many repetitions as possible in each time interval.
- CrossFit is more competitive than functional fitness
CrossFit is recognized as a competitive form of training. Even a simple workout is often a competition for those attending it. People compete to finish first, which is often not the case in functional fitness training. Some types of CrossFit workouts such as AMRAP (As Many Reps as Possible) reward the person doing the most repetitions in each time.
- Functional fitness has a reduced risk of injury
Functional fitness trainees aren’t as exposed to potential injuries as it’s not as competitively inclined as CrossFit. The idea of finishing first is inexistent in functional fitness classes.
Common CrossFit and Functional Fitness Mistakes
Training mistakes are as common in CrossFit as in many other forms of training. While many of these common mistakes can be applicable to functional fitness training, they can also negatively influence CrossFit training.
Not mastering the basics
Going through the basics known as ‘fundamentals’ is essential in CrossFit. Packaged as introductory training classes, these first training routines show you how to correctly perform each movement. These classes show CrossFitters how to perform a correct squat or a correct snatch. They start with minimum to no weights as they serve educational progress.
Using high weights too fast
Starting with no weights is best to master complex multi-muscle functional exercises such as those in CrossFit. Progression is then based on a combination of correct technique or execution with an increase in strength to handle higher weights.
Aiming to be the best while neglecting form
It’s easy to overlook form just to finish first in a WOD. One of the most common beginner mistakes in CrossFit is aiming to finish first while neglecting exercise form. You need to learn the basics of how to perform certain exercises even under a time constraint before aiming to be the best in the CrossFit class.
CrossFit and functional training are ideal workouts to get and stay in shape. They use multiple muscles at a time, and they burn more calories compared to the typical isolation movement performed at the gym with bodybuilding-type workouts.
CrossFit is a branded type of functional training with its own set of rules. While everybody can do functional training not everybody can do CrossFit.
A ‘box’ is a specialized type of CrossFit gym that is the only recognized place to run WODs or CrossFit classes. On the other hand, functional training is not bound to the gym as it can even be performed outdoors. Both are efficient at getting people in shape, however.