by Matt Basso | August 2012

Why I Hate CrossFit

Principally, the reason I hate crossfit is because a sign is not displayed outside each crossfit center that reads...

Warning: This is CrossFit...NOT a fitness program developed for fat loss, in fact not a fitness program at all, BUT more correctly a new sport. Within this center you will do random workouts that make you better at the sport of crossfit. If you don’t want to get better at crossfit go somewhere else.

Warning: The random workouts that we prescribe will require you to do exercises that utilize different energy systems in rapid succession with as little rest as possible. This is known as complex training and requires you to perform power exercises (maximum capacity exercise) in a fatigued state. This can lead to injury like other sports.



Then, for the general public to really understand whats being said, a sign that has the following metaphor should be displayed as well:

Mixing power exercises, randomly, and without proper rest, in with strength and endurance exercises, is like draining your car of 98% of it’s oil and then getting on a race track to see how fast you can go in a certain amount of time...It serves no other known purpose then to see if you can do it without blowing an engine.

Understand your Goals
CrossFit is to get better at crossfit. Are you gonna compete in the crossfit games, or are you just looking to be fit and healthy? Are you willing to risk injury doing super high intensity exercise frequently?

Don’t follow the pack
If you’re looking for something new then consult someone who has all the facts. Don’t jump on the bandwagon and assume this will get you to your goals.

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m the furthest thing from a hater. I’m not writing this to be a jerk. I’m writing this because i get frequent questions about my new program and how it’s different from others (crossfit and P90X), AND because I know very “fit” individuals who have sustained injuries while doing crossfit.

I even say that “crossfit uses great exercises but very poor programming”.

I can identify crossfit as a sport, the problem is that most people identify it as a fitness PROGRAM.

A fitness program that has a particular goal, lets say fat loss, uses exercises and workouts that optimize for that benefit...Not just high intensity timed base workouts all the time.

The major reasons for me not liking crossfit is because I feel as group they don’t articulate well that they’re a sport. They could do this using my signage suggestion above.


The improper, almost irresponsible, definitely stupid usage of power exercises like cleans, snatches, clean and jerks, and plyometrics.

Power exercises (olympic lifts)  are at the top of the food chain. I’ve had clients for over 6 years and we haven’t, nor will we ever use high intensity power exercises. The reason is simple. While they may benefit from them, there is also a high chance of injury that doesn’t out weigh the benefits...Period

If you get hurt, you can’t train. If you can’t train, all your goals go out the window.

That’s why it’s so important to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Olympic lifts can be dangerous for the same reason they can be so beneficial. They require an all out effort that taxes your central nervous system so much that when done properly you hit a wall. A point at which you cannot do another rep...failure.

If you watched the Olympics this year you may have seen a weightlifter drop a bar loaded with almost 500lbs on his upper back/neck area. He almost killed himself because although he is super strong, he had reached his limit.

To put this in context, crossfit asks you to perform these technically very difficult lifts in conjunction with strength exercises and endurance exercises that already have your body pre-exhausted.

Whether you are using a weight that is very heavy for you or not, the benefits that you should be getting from the power exercises go to the waste side because of the state of fatigue and stress your body is enduring.

This is without mentioning the difficulty of understanding the technical aspects of these lifts. It takes YEARS not hours, days, or months...It could take a lifetime to get these lifts technically perfect...Meanwhile they could be in your first, second, third etc etc workout...Even better is who is coaching them.

If you have a great coach, and I’m not talking motivational, I’m talking technical, then great. If you don’t, well, that sucks. You’re screwed.

One example of a very stupid exercise that crossfitters do is the rapid no look box jump.

You know, the one they show on the commercial all the time.

Here’s the deal. The box jump is used to minimize the amount of impact a jumper endures on his or her joints upon impact. The force applied to our joints upon landing from a jump could be as much as 9 times our body weight. If you jump onto a box you can effectively limit the landing force. When doing the popular crossfit box jump exercise the jumper is not only jumping on and off the box, essentially killing the point of the box, but they are also jumping backwards to land.

So not only do you miss the benefit of a softer landing, but you further the risk of injury by jumping backwards so you don’t know when or where you will land...Oh and you do like 9000 reps.

Thinking out of the box when training is great. However certain rules exist for a reason. They are tested and effective.

As with the order of operation in math... Certain exercises should come before others in an effective workout. Your body likes it that way.

Power lifts go first if you’re doing any.
Strength and/or endurance next depending upon what you’re working on.

Dear crossfit,

I hate you because you are not clear about your true self. You are a new sporting event, not a health and fitness program.


Filed under: Training