Crossfit vs Functional Training: Differences, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Crossfit, promoted as a type of functional training, is one of the trendiest activities today and therefore one of the most popular. The same happens with the functional training provided in group classes in gyms. 

We tell you the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of Crossfit and functional training in its most basic definition.

Differences Between Crossfit and Functional Training

Let’s start by remembering the definition of functional training: it is a type of training that is based on movements and not on muscles, allowing us to improve gestures and skills very frequently used in everyday life.

Thus, functional training is based on compound or multi-joint exercises and recreates commonly used movements such as lifting a weight off the ground, moving heavy objects, bending, pushing, or pulling various objects.

Crossfit is an activity with its own brand, it is not a sport discipline in itself and therefore, it is a form of functional training but with its own name due to the payment of a license fee that enables to open a box.

Thus, those who practice Crossfit and at the same time have attended a functional training class should know that we can find very similar movements, but in a Crossfit session, we find different names to many exercises, particular objects, and training modalities also original compared to those found in a functional training class at the gym.

In short, Crossfit is a brand and a way to achieve functional training, but the latter can be achieved both in a Crossfit box and in a gym or at home without any problem.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Functional Training

Functional training is all that focused on movements and that helps us to optimize everyday gestures. In this sense, its practice can offer many benefits: from helping us to prevent injuries, to increase sports performance and develop a better general physical condition.

We can achieve the same in Crossfit, but… the big disadvantage is the popularity of Crossfit or the fashion of its practice, which makes the box in a very crowded place and therefore, often do not pay special attention to the needs of the person who comes to train, thus losing the functional character and even be dangerous.

Who has attended functional training, and therefore has a good technique for performing different exercises, will surely get a great benefit in Crossfit classes that can be motivating for its originality and challenging constant activities.

On the contrary, those who have never trained and start from scratch in a Crossfit box can be injured or completely demotivated if the teacher does not know how to adapt the daily work to the beginner.

Although we can get a lot of benefit from both, for beginners it is better to go to a functional training outside the Crossfit boxes and thus, guarantee good effects when we go to them.

Advantages of Functional Training

In functional training the activity we perform is greater than in conventional training with machines. In addition, the movements performed are usually more complex and involve more parts of the body. 

This means, on the one hand, a higher calorie burn with exercise. To this must be added the wear, which will also be greater with respect to conventional training with machines.

The intensity in the routines and the naturalness of the movements of functional training will help us to achieve greater development when it comes to muscle growth. 

On the other hand, with conventional machines, we perform a static and rigid movement that always affects the same part.

Disadvantages of functional training

By involving more parts of the body, there is a greater risk of injury. It is necessary that we control all the movements or at least that we have clear the routine that we are going to follow. 

Another point to keep in mind is that muscle growth with functional training will not be as fast in a certain area as it is with more conventional training. 

However, in the long run it will be of higher quality, since the whole area will be strengthened in a balanced way.

Crossfit Benefits and Disadvantages

Crossfit Benefits

1- Increases cardiovascular endurance. The heart improves its resistance session after session. It may be hard to believe at first and you can hardly breathe. However, in a relatively short time, you begin to notice the results.

2- Muscle strength increases throughout the body and gradually, those who practice this sport experience an increase in strength.

3- Fat percentage is reduced. If weight is an obsession, this may not be the best sport to see how it changes. However, this discipline enhances the change in the figure. Why? Because in addition to reducing fat, it increases muscle mass.

If you’re looking for answers: muscle weighs more than fat, so you may feel leaner but weigh the same. Don’t pay attention to the scale and pay attention to your well-being.

4- The athlete is motivated to improve his own performance every day. This is a distinguishing feature of CrossFit: motivation. You compete against yourself, so you don’t get frustrated by reaching other people’s levels.

5- It adapts to each athlete because if a person can not do a certain complete exercise, you can do half. If neither can, there is another one that can be done until the day comes when he/she can do the one that corresponds.

Thus, there is no reason to do something you are not capable of, thus avoiding frustrations and possible injuries.

6- It creates a strong sense of community. This is beneficial in general, but especially in times of low spirits. Even though you are competing against yourself, you are not practicing alone.

A whole team is doing the training and it is very common to support and encourage each other.

If someone falls behind, the others will cheer him or her on so that he or she can make it. It really creates a very comforting halo of camaraderie.

Disadvantages of Crossfit

1- You need a good physical base to be able to practice it: if you have never done sports or you have not moved for a while, you should first do physical conditioning in the gym. Once you get a good base, go for it without fear.

2- Shoulder injuries are common. They occur from Olympic lifting exercises, especially when you increase the intensity in your eagerness to move forward.

3- Skin injuries. Hands can be injured on the Olympic bars. To prevent this, leather wrist bands are worn from the wrist to the fingers to protect the palms of the hands.

4- There are still few boxes where Crossfit is taught, and sometimes it can be a little out of budget: time to time, when it grows as a trend we will have more training places.

Routines or Circuits to Put Into Practice

If you have been practicing Crossfit for some time or you want to start functional training, these are some routines or circuits that you can put into practice:

  • Functional training circuit at home: without equipment and in any space we can perform this circuit ideal for training the whole body and burn calories with basic or multi-joint movements.
  • Functional training circuit at the gym: using machines to different elements that we can find in a gym, we can also develop a functional training as this circuit.
  • Three Crossfit routines to perform at home: Crossfit without the boxes but practiced at home is very similar to functional training performed without equipment, therefore, we leave these three routines to put into practice at home.

Now you know the different advantages and disadvantages of Crossfit and functional training in its more traditional form, as well as some ideas to get you started in its practice.

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