It’s that time of the year again, so say hello to the CrossFit Games! This annual athletic competition, which was started in 2007 by CrossFit, has a unique format. Every year, it starts with the Open round, where over a few weeks, millions of CrossFit enthusiasts around the world participate by performing a series of workouts that are released by CrossFit. You could do it just as a fitness enthusiast or use it to try and qualify for the latter stages of the competition, when it becomes a more elite contest.
Mostly, after the initial weeks, people just become spectators and watch some of the world’s fittest men and women get into the beast mode. The CrossFit Games has developed a cult following. This week, the 2023 edition enters the business end of competition.
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The workouts for the Games change every year, and oftentimes, the details of the workouts are not announced until right before each event, writes the event’s official website. This means that participating athletes train year-round for a competition that is almost completely a mystery to them—it is exactly that thing that makes the Games so exciting.
CrossFit made exercise mainstream by turning it into a competitive sport, and creating a worldwide community that endures and enjoys the pain of tough workouts collectively. CrossFit has also played a big role in both popularizing exercise and also effectively monetizing it, with a plethora of content and broadcast material. Although exact figures are hard to come by, a few years ago, Forbes had estimated CrossFit’s value to be about $5billion. Independent estimates have pegged the company’s annual revenue at approximately $82million annually in 2021. And the final stamp of approval came when celebrities turned to CrossFit—think Henry Cavill or Aamir Khan—and everyone wanted to try it.
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It is fair to say that despite the occasional negative press, and a valid concern about injury, CrossFit is a success. Mumbai-based fitness enthusiast Payal Goel believes that this success is down to CrossFit’s innovation of injecting an element of sporting competitiveness into fitness. “The element of sport and competition makes exercise fun and you naturally fit,” feels Goel, who has invested in opening two CrossFit boxes.
Athletic fitness programmes, such as boot camps and CrossFit, at our disposal nowadays have made people realise that treating fitness as a sport is great for their health, social wellbeing and also improves their performance in recreational sports they like to play, says A.K. Abhinav, coach and founder of Namma Fit in Bengaluru.
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Another factor working in CrossFit’s favour is variety. “The workout changes every day, that ensures things remaining interesting and people don’t get bored. At the same time it is intense and challenging. People stay enthusiastic about such routines and it also burns fat faster,” says Gautam Rajda, founder of Kolkata’s Grid Iron fitness studio which focuses on CrossFit-like functional fitness workouts and combat sports.
“When you approach fitness like a sport, not only do you compete against others in your gym but you also compete with yourself on every workout every day, every week. You keep score. You know and there is empirical evidence to show if you have improved. It’s not a mere feeling. The scores show if you have improved your time or are lifting heavier. And nothing is more motivating than seeing improvement and that makes you persist with such exercise routines,” adds Rajda .“The sport of exercise is the healthiest thing you can get addicted to.”
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2023 CrossFit Games Quarter-Final individual workouts: Give these competition workouts from this year a try. Don’t worry about using the prescribed weight; do the exercises with whatever weight you are comfortable with.
Test 1: 9 front squats, weight 1 (heaviest); 9 handstand walks, 25 feet; 15 front squats, weight 2; 15 muscle-ups; 21 front squats, weight 3 (lightest); 21 chest-to-wall handstand push-ups. Front squats weight progression (men): 155, 125, 95 pounds. Front squats weight progression (women): 225, 185, 135 pounds. Time cap: 15 minutes
Test 2: (12-minute AMRAP [As many rounds as possible]): 8 dumbbell snatches, arm 1; 8 overhead walking-lunge steps, arm 1; 8 dumbbell snatches, arm 2; 8 overhead walking-lunge steps, arm 2; 40 crossovers. Dumbbell weight (women): 50 pounds. Dumbbell weight (men): 70 lb
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Test 3: (5 rounds for time) 5 burpee box jump-overs. Add 1 clean and jerk after each round. Women: 185 pounds clean and jerks, 24-in box. Men: 275 pounds clean and jerks, 30-in box. Time cap: 10 minutes
Test 4: (20-minute AMRAP) 1,000-meter row; 50 GHD sit-ups; 500m row; 25 V-ups
Test 5: 21 deadlifts, weight 1 (lightest); 21 chest-to-bar pull-ups; 15 deadlifts, weight 2; 15 bar muscle-ups; 9 deadlifts, weight 3 (heaviest); 9 rope climbs, 15 ft. Weight for deadlifts (women): 155, 185, 205 pounds. Weight for deadlifts (men): 225, 275, 315 pounds. Time cap: 15 minutes.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.
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