During a CrossFit workout, there is a tendency to exercise some muscle groups more than others. The ones particularly focused on are those that look great under your t-shirt. While it is true that the biceps, chest, shoulder, and abdominal muscles make huge contributions to your strength, other muscles are equally important and as such should not be neglected entirely. When you ignore certain muscle groups during training, you may suffer from muscle imbalances which if not checked can undermine your performance and predispose you to injury. The following are the four muscle groups you should intentionally exercise even as you concentrate on working out the whole body as a unit. The Glutes Strength training is usually inclined in working out the upper body resulting into flat butts and huge chests. To make it worse, some athletes skip leg day and this further sidelines any attempts to strengthen your glutes and other lower body muscles. The gluteal muscles are one of the largest muscle groups in your system and as such ignoring them can come at a very high price. Not working your glutes can lead to loss of power and strength during sprinting and squatting as well as muscle imbalances. People with weak glutes often complain of conditions such as hip stiffness and lower back pain. The Adductors One of the reasons why adductor-focused exercises are ignored is that they tone the inner thighs which many people feel it gives them a feminine reputation. Your body requires strong adductors which in turn helps your thighs to move laterally and give you space to do any leg movement within and outside the CrossFit gym. When doing exercises such as running, climbing stairs, squatting, and plopping down your couch, your thighs get engaged as they move forward and backward as well as side to side. When you work out your adductors, they will help protect and stabilize the knees. Experts recommend lateral lunges as one of the workout types for strengthening your adductors. The Upper Back Texting, typing, and sitting take a toll on your upper back. A weak back can easily give you a hunched posture which in turn makes your pecs appear smaller than they are because they fall in on each other. Strengthening the back gives you a more upright posture and exposes your chest. It is recommended that upper back CrossFit training should be done almost on a daily basis through pulling and pushing CrossFit exercises. The Calves A majority of beginner CrossFit athletes suffer from underdeveloped leg muscles. Since people particularly men are super visual, they tend to work out only the muscles they can see and ignore the rest. Calves often fall in the ignored category. Calves are functional muscles and the weaker they are, the lesser the volume of work they can handle. Additionally, calve muscles also play a key role in strengthening your ankles. If you are an athlete in a sport that needs quick pivoting or explosive sprinting and change of direction, you need to invest in your calves for higher performance.
People who have never been into CrossFit have all sorts of notions concerning women taking part in weightlifting. Somehow, they think that instead of some serious weightlifting, they work out with some pink dumbbells which do not have any physical fitness benefits. What must be agreed from the onset is that heavy lifting in CrossFit workouts is a key component of building muscle, feeling stronger, and leaning out. When your body goes through these transformations, it will make you abandon the fear of bulking up for good. The following myths have been doing rounds, and in this article, we deconstruct them. Weightlifting Bulks You Up When you pick up weights, your muscles strengthen but do not necessarily get bigger. This is because the fat in your body system gets burned leaving behind the lean muscle. This, in turn, tones your body and gives you a greater shape. When you pick weights that are light and do lots of repetition, you will not build tight and strong muscles, but rather you will build muscular endurance. Therefore, if you want to look good and feel stronger, pick the heavyweights and continue adding weights as your body allows. This is the sure way of getting there. Ensure you combine the heavy lifting with a healthy diet.  Lots of Cardio are Necessary for Weight Loss While cardio has been hyped for long as a weight loss exercise, strength training produces much better results in weight loss. For instance, if you perform four treadmill sessions each week for a duration of about 30 minutes per session in CrossFit workouts, you can burn 600 calories per week. In one year, you can burn a total of about 30,000 calories if you provide for missed workouts. When you go for strength training, your body muscles break down and then rebuild within 24 to 48 hours. During the rebuilding of the muscles, more calories are recruited to make the process happen. This is referred to as the afterburn effect. This causes your metabolism to operate at a higher level while seated on your couch after a workout. This is much more effective than cardio. Women and Men Should Train Differently There is a belief that women should go through different training in the CrossFit gym from men. This is not true because women too can compete in the same type of exercises as men. The only difference will be in the outcome. Men lift to get bigger while women lift so that they can build a dense, tight and lean look. The hormones, testosterone, estrogen, dietary differences and genetics automatically put men and women in different result paths. The last myth is that weightlifting is not good for your bones and joints. Of course, no one enjoys sore knees and achy hips, especially when doing the morning run. However, when you strengthen the muscles that surround and support your joints, you can prevent injuries. By lifting weights, you enhance bone density, and this reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fracture. Women, in particular, need to lift weight because as they age, they become more vulnerable to the bone and joint issues.
Pull-ups are among the most versatile CrossFit exercises today. You can decide to do them simply with your bodyweight, using your narrow and wide grips, throw in some chains, or better still do the exercise with your palms turned over and doing a chin up. There are lots of benefits that pull-ups confer on your body amongst them strength, development, and muscularity. While many CrossFitters appreciate these benefits, they also affirm to the fact that pull-ups is one of the most difficult exercises to do. Below are some of the reasons why you may still be struggling to master this workout. You are Too Heavy Pull-ups is one of those CrossFit exercises which requires a complete balance of strength. This means you should be stronger compared to your body weight and also light. Many times, athletes have had trouble with bodyweight movements because they are heavy and their general physical preparedness is minimal. If you have a lot of fat that you need to lose and your shape is not in line, you need to first start tackling the obvious obstacles before you engage fully in pull-ups. For instance, your CrossFit nutrition should be in order to help you cut some weight. You should also focus on heavy resistance training with dumbbells and barbell and undertake other activities including walking, biking, swimming, sprinting, and rowing. Your pull up numbers will also soar if you tighten your nutrition plan and get rid of the excess body fat. Your Grip Strength is Wanting People who come from sedentary backgrounds are usually disadvantages in that they don’t play as many sports and their activity level is generally low. As a result, their grip strength tends to be lacking and this undermines their pull-ups. In order to enhance your grip strength, you need to undertake exercises which involve static contractions of the forearms, hands, upper back, and shoulders. Try hanging up on the pull-up bar for a few minutes, take a long walk while carrying two kettlebells, or load up barbells and time your holds for anything between 30 and 60 seconds. You Over-Rely on Bands Bands give you resistance or assistance at certain points in your range of motion. However, they can have a major disadvantage in these CrossFit exercises. The most unfortunate thing is that many people hit a snag when they try this and get their chin over the bar. At the top of the pull-up, the band gives you least assistance yet this is when you need it the most. On the flipside, they give you the most assistance on the bottom part of your range of motion. Because of this, people fail to gain a mastery of pull up even after months of exercise. Inadequate Practicing In CrossFit training, you are what you continuously do. If your specific work capacity sucks and as such forced to jerk your body around so as to get your chin over the bar, you are simply teaching your body to go through an inefficient movement pattern. Unlearning a bad form is difficult hence it pays to do it right the first time. You can start by hanging on a cheap pull up bar as you take the numbers and do your sets. Each week add reps as you grease your grove to take advantage of enhanced training frequency to perfect your movements.
You may have hit a level in your CrossFit training schedule, and you just want a break from the high-intensity cardio exercises. Instead of getting stranded and wondering the next best group of workouts to undertake, you can go for LISS. This is a simply a low-key style of cardio training that has gathered steam especially on social media. LISS is an acronym meaning low intensity sustained the state. It encompasses any aerobic and cardio based activity which is performed at a low intensity but for a much longer period approximately 30 to 60 minutes. Contrary to what many think, LISS is not a new type of fitness. The reason it is trending today because it has received massive support from some popular trainers such as Kayla Itsines who is an Australian trainer and Instagram star. LISS has been used by bodybuilders for decades. Research shows that this workout trend was popular as early as the 60s and 70s and its main aim is to help the body lean out. It is usually combined with low carb diets. Why LISS is Popular The popularity of this workout regime to get added to CrossFit training schedule cannot be pointed to one reason rather there are multiple reasons, and each is enticing in its own way. Below are some of these reasons. Active Rest and Recovery –LISS is an ideal regimen for active rest or recovery for athletes who regularly engage in higher intensity workouts as part of their daily CrossFit workout routine. It significantly lowers the risk of injury. It is Friendly –People who are new to fitness and exercising prefer a much softer entry point into the workout arena. LISS is one of the gateways that ushers you into the journey and helps you get stronger and perfect to be able to handle more demanding workouts later. Think of it, walking on a treadmill or simply jumping in for a casual swim is not as intimidating as enrolling into a boot camp class. The Lazy Girl Concept – LISS is one of the CrossFit training schedules that won’t demand as much effort from you but will give you excellent results. It makes a lot of sense to be attracted to a category of exercises that promise you a trimmer, leaner body with just a couple of hours doing a slow walk on a treadmill. The no pain no gain mantra tends to be intimidating. LISS Activities and Their Effectiveness One of the outstanding features of LISS is that you can undertake it either inside or outside the CrossFit gym. For instance, you could bike to work, do a brisk walk, or use the rowing machine at the gym. These are just some of the lease activities. On the question of whether it works, the answer is an absolute yes. However, for it to give you the results you expect, you should incorporate a balanced exercise schedule. LISS is effective at metabolizing fat, but not as good in accessing and breaking down fat that is stored hence the need to bring in other workouts to complement this.
Oftentimes, we admire bodybuilders and fitness models, not knowing they are dedicated to the gym. Each one of them has a past, and out of their resolve to work hard and build lean muscle, they are where they are today. One of the ways you can also walk along this path of fitness is by switching things up and escaping the confines of traditional routines and moves. There are non-traditional exercises that can greatly improve your physique and athletic performance. This is where it makes sense adding in those traditional CrossFit exercises in your routine. There are several Crossfit exercises that can potentially shock your body and push it towards gaining more muscle and shedding fat. Barbell Thruster This is one of the CrossFit exercises that touche every muscle group in your body. As a total body conditioning workout, barbell thruster demands increased energy from your body, and this goes a long way in slashing body fat. Because of this core demand, the abdominal region also benefits from a thorough workout that helps to flatten it, particularly on the mid-section. When this is combined with diet and additional cardio, getting the desired 6-pack doesn’t take long. To usher you into the thruster, load up your bar with 8 to 12 rep marks and then perform 3 to 4 sets at the end of a leg or shoulder workout. Wall Ball When beginners are introduced to wall ball in their CrossFit training program, it looks so deceiving because it seems to them that there is no magic in squatting and throwing a medicine ball up against a wall. The reality is, the medicine ball is not as heavy, but the plus to this exercise is on the movement pattern demands it imposes on your body. Once you get 10 reps, you won’t believe how your core, shoulders, and legs become taxed. If you want a great conditioning and fat loss workout, try 5 rounds of wall ball of 20 reps each and resting just 30 to 60 seconds between the sets. Overhead Kettlebell Swings Even though this exercise is known for its fat loss and conditioning potential, it is an excellent workout for your hamstrings and glutes as well. Overhead kettlebell swings tap into your muscle fibers to create an explosive component in your hamstring and glutes workouts. You can try 3 to 4 sets each containing 12 to 15 reps of this exercise to enhance your glute-ham tie-in. Box Jump This is not a new workout; it has been used by CrossFitters for quite a long time. However, it has its unique place in the CrossFit training schedule of physique-minded athletes. Just like the overhead kettlebell swing, the box jump encompasses explosive movements which most often than not excite the central nervous system. This in turn greatly improves the neural output of any lifter in the course of their strength training program. 3 sets consisting 5 reps each are recommended before hitting the weights. To add to the above physique exercises; rope climb is another magical workout. This uses the upper body to climb the rope thereby resulting into a wonderful upper body pulling exercise that works your lats, arms, back, and grip.  
CrossFit is an intense sport targeting a breed of workout goers who want to exercise at maximum intensity and capacity for maximum results. You don’t have to be in CrossFit for long for you to accustom yourself to the level of fierceness that comes with this industry. As you put your body through extreme physical exertion and as you overcome your limiting beliefs, you will realize that there is nothing you can’t accomplish. One of the key ingredients to a successful workout is your sporting attire especially the CrossFit shoes. There is a temptation to just pick any shoe or take your favorite basketball or running shoe and hitting a CrossFit box. This is inappropriate, and it can undermine your performance. Breaking Down the Essential Elements of CrossFit Shoes From the onset, you must appreciate the various CrossFit movements that come with different rigors. Your CrossFit shoe must be able to withstand these pressures if it is to serve you well. Movements such as deadlifts, squats, box jumps, and scaling of long ropes require befitting shoes if you are to be comfortable performing them. Compared to running shoes, CrossFit shoes are supposed to be more stable and supportive. In terms of shape and functionality, they are supposed to be broader and more protective. Most modern CrossFit shoes have unique and cool features such as carbon rubber that help in giving you traction and a good grip as you climb ropes. Some of them have an innovative mid-sole technology which helps to lock the foot into place so that you can be comfortable and even minimize chances of developing blisters. If you are the type of gym rat who accomplishes the difficult, hardstand push-ups, you will find greater utility in zero drag heel shoes because of the smoothness they give you next to the wall. Telling the Difference between a CrossFit and a Typical Running Shoe It is important to appreciate that CrossFit as a sport is an offshoot of cross training. This means the shoes used in CrossFit will have similarity to those recommended for cross training. That said, the shoes in CrossFit are specialized to accommodate the demands of workout of the day.    CrossFit movements are quick and demanding and the lifts heavy. Therefore, the shoes you wear must provide you with a proper supportive base especially at the ankle level so as to prevent injuries. If you have minimalist running shoes, they can’t help you much in a CrossFit environment. Running and jogging is a relatively lengthy and continuous exercise. Therefore, running shoes do not need as much traction because you are traveling in a linear path and you must be as lightweight as possible to make your running effortless and smooth. On the other hand, CrossFit is a compilation of different movements in all directions and in some instances, serious heavy lifting. This is why the shoes recommended are heavier and supportive.  Typical CrossFit shoes must have a nice flat sore that gives room for your foot to establish contact with the floor when performing heavy lifts and other CrossFit exercises. Now that you know the right shoes for the sport, the onus is on you to consider your budget and get the best value for money.  
Squats are a fundamental human movement, and they can help you strengthen your muscles and build the physique of your dreams. They have been termed severally as one of the key building blocks for solid lower body strength. However, you may find it difficult to do squats during your CrossFit training because your body is hurting. Physical therapists are familiar with complaints concerning hurting lower backs, hips, and knees when people squat. The pain could be coming from different sources, but the reality is, irrespective of the source, pain during squatting is an anomaly. According to experts, squat pain usually stems from sitting and not training. When you sit all day long, some physiological issues are likely to develop, and some of these may manifest themselves during squatting. Among the sources of squat pain include tight back, tight hips, weak glutes, or a weak core. Weak Glutes Particularly in women, there tends to be an overuse of their quadriceps and much lesser use of their hamstrings and glutes. The dominant use of the quad is occasioned by the sedentary lifestyle most of them live and the absence of proper education on lifting form. According to the experts from CrossFit training, in order to successfully perform a squat, your glutes, hamstrings, and quads must work together. If the glutes are not as strong so as to control both the eccentric and concentric movements or support your core in maintaining an upright torso, the other body muscles will have to work extra hard. Because of weak glutes, lifters may be forced to lean too far forward when squatting. As a result, the lower back and hip flexors are made to compensate. The overuse of hamstrings relative to glutes also makes lifters susceptible to knee injuries. A Stiff Upper Back and Tight Hips The upper back, also known as the thoracic spine as well as your hips, are meant to be very mobile. However, it is not always the matter because of the sedentary lifestyle. CrossFit training says, spending too much time in a sitting position undermines this mobility. Squatting with limited mobility in your thoracic spine or hips makes you lean forward. An excessive forward leaning may make the spine lose its natural arch. This is much more pronounced in the lower part of the spine. The coming out of the spine from its natural position makes you to feel some aches during the CrossFit exercises. Weak Core Though often overlooked, the core plays a key role during a squat. The importance of maintaining an upright neutral spine during a squat and sustaining it over the duration of the lift cannot be overemphasized. With a weak core, it becomes difficult to keep your torso upright. Failure to maintain an upright torso position will lead you again to an excessive forward lean and loss of the natural arch. Both of these results in discomfort and jeopardize your performance in the CrossFit gym when it comes to lifting. To solve the above issues, you need to perform exercises such as the glute bridge, stir the pot, and foam rolling. These exercises target the paining area and rectifies the problem.
There is a push for athletes to master rope climbing because of the benefit it has in improving arm strength, back strength, and grip strength. With rope climbing, you can easily learn how to lift your bodyweight and build confidence in your abilities. If you have not as yet done it, it is important you incorporate this wonderful exercise into your CrossFit training routine. Among the many benefits you are likely to reap from rope climbing include: Grip Strength The grip is often a limiting factor, and this means that any lifts which involve the grip can only be done to the extent of your grip strength. For instance, you may have a strong back, but if you don’t have a great grip, then your deadlift will be limited. Rope climbing is categorized as one of the fantastic exercises that help in building grip strength. To do this, you should first hold your weight for an extended period, and secondly, you should resist gravity as you progressively climb higher and higher. This makes your grip to work unilaterally as well as stabilize your body. Arm Strength When climbing the rope, your arms are pushed to extend as they pull your body higher. The dynamic created on your arms by this movement cannot be effectively created or achieved through your regular pull-up and chin-up CrossFit exercises. Every instance you pull yourself up, you are forcing your arms to work in unison. Back Strength Adding Rope climbing into your CrossFit training routine can help out in strengthening your lats and the upper back musculature. When climbing the rope, your body is forced to pull close to the rope, and this means your lats are put to work much in the same way they move during a chin-up or pull-up exercise. The major difference between rope climbing and pull-ups is that lots of stabilization are required when climbing the rope. A Power Indicator Your ability to climb a rope fast is strongly correlated with upper body power. In 2015, there was a study done and published in Research Gate which compared the power output of a timed 5-meter rope climb with other tests for upper body power such as medicine ball throw, pull-up test, and 1-RM bench press. According to the researchers, having rope climbing in CrossFit training routine is a more reliable and valid test for the assessment of upper body power. Confidence Another difference that exists between rope climbing and other exercises you do in the CrossFit gym is the fact that a clear-cut finish line exists which is the top of the rope. Every time you climb and get to the top on your own, your confidence levels rise. As you start adding progressions including removing your feet, you can clearly see that your strength is improving. For you to engage successfully in rope climbing, your central nervous system must be in shape because the exercise draws heavily on this. For ease of climbing, you must do adequate chin-ups and pull-ups as a prerequisite so that your elbows may not experience much discomfort during the exercise.