The endless debate between CrossFit and Bodybuilding and which is better for your body in terms of physique, performance, training…etc. both are so different in so many ways. Since there are so many variables to compare, I picked 3: History, Training, and Range of Motion.
CrossFit is considered a ‘new’ sport, was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman. The sport gained more popularity after the First “CrossFit Games” were held in 2007 in the USA to find the Fittest Male and Fittest Female on Earth. CrossFit has become a new trend in the sports world. Athletes and celebrities started doing CrossFit to improve their fitness and enhance their performance in their respective sports. CrossFit became more visible in movies and music videos. Famous sports brands have been creating new lines of customized shoes and sports attire to cater to the sport.
Weight training existed among the ancient Egyptian and Greek communities as an athletic activity to gain strength. Bodybuilding has been around for decades. It started in the 1890’s by Eugene Sandow, the first famous bodybuilder and the father of modern bodybuilding. The first bodybuilding contest was held in 1891. It was called “The Great Show,” was developed and promoted by Sandow. Many celebrities in the 80’s and until present time have been doing bodybuilding to improve their physique and enhance their marketability.
CrossFit AKA the Sport of Fitness, is constantly varied, functional movement performed at a high intensity. I’ll explain what that means in a moment.
CrossFit aims to improve 10 physical elements: cardiovascular/endurance, speed, strength, stamina, flexibility, power, agility, accuracy, flexibility and balance. To become a well-rounded athlete who is prepared to do any task at any given time that’s where the concept “constantly varied” comes in. Every time you go to your CrossFit Gym AKA “Box”, you wouldn’t know what WOD you’ll be doing on that day. You could expect anything (different combinations of exercises) to be thrown at you. CrossFit combines (functional movements) weightlifting, power lifting, gymnastics, and endurance training aiming to make you a well-rounded athlete.
Bodybuilding is a strength-based sport. The main aim is to build bigger muscles in the entire body. It is low intensity workouts that include low reps 1-10 reps with heavy weights. It could include sprints and 1RMs to train the anaerobic pathway. Bodybuilders will do a lot of isolation exercises such a bicep curls, leg presses, back rows etc. in order to train certain muscle groups together. The do a little bit of cardio right before competition in order to shred off excess fat. They follow a very strict diet (high in protein and fat)
Range of motion (ROM)
In CrossFit , a full range of motion for the muscle is required for the rep to be counted. This rule is applied in competition. Lets take the pull up for example, you have to start in a “Dead hang” position with your arms fully extended, do a full pullup (chin over bar) then back to the starting position with arms fully extended. Same concept applies on presses, squats, box jumps etc.
In body building some exercises should be done in partial ROM. Some body builder incorporates, some exercises in their programming that are performed in partial ROM in order to increase lactic acid buildup which leads to a release of cortisol that tears apart muscle tissue. The body will repair the tissues and grow once it has healed itself. In conclusion, partial ROM speeds up the muscle growth process.
Nutrition, Injuries, performance, time, accessibility, price, trainers…etc are other variables to take into consideration. Personally I choose CrossFit simply because it improves my fitness levels and it just makes me always ready to perform day-today activities (carry my heavy groceries, lift heavy items off the ground, change my car tire etc.) I love change and I love trying out new things so I always try out new outdoors activities/sports such as Rock climbing, Hiking, standup paddling, kite surfing…etc. Some of the activities I mentioned require strength some require accuracy and balance, and some require flexibility. That’s why I would pick CrossFit because it makes me well rounded enough to perform any task.