CrossFit has been around since the early 2000's and is now a widely participated sport worldwide with CrossFit boxes in almost every country, but is it worth taking on this sport to improve your swimming.
So Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of CrossFit as supplementary training for a swimmer.
To provide further context, CrossFit training involves various exercises, from bodyweight, olympic lifts to endurance based activities. All these exercises are usually combined into circuits creating high-intensity training sessions called WODs (workout of the day) - lasting anywhere from roughly 10-45 minutes.
CrossFit uses a variety of muscle groups at the same time with a strong focus around core strength. The workouts are all high intensity that are timed and they are all performance related. Sounds slightly similar to swimming right?
The points listed above are some of the PROs of CrossFit in relation to swimming. There are definite similarities and so it could be said to be a really functional kind of training for a swimmer - we are not suggesting a swimmer replaces actual swim training for CrossFit but looks to supplement it in to a training plan.
So are there any CON's to including CrossFit into your swimming training plan....
The exercises are not always very easy to perform. The movements to be performed can often be fairly complex and technique is extremely important. Without good technique the risk of injury can be extremely high. Moreover, bearing in mind that fatigue kicks in at a certain point in the WOD, the risk of hurting yourself is even higher.
Sometimes the internal training load of a specific exercise is not sufficiently precise or given due consideration. To explain what an internal training load is, imagine you have two people in front of you, one conditioned and the other fairly unconditioned. They are both asked to lift a 50 kg weight. 50 kg is the external (objective) training load; somebody who is trained will have a lower internal (subjective) training load, because it will be easier for them to lift this weight. Some WODs do not take this into account, because they have standard external training loads, differing only for men and women. They sometimes do offer a scaled option and we would recommend if you are unfamiliar to weightlifting and CrossFit to start with the scaled option.
Overall we would suggest there are some solid benefits to incorporating CrossFit into your Swimming training and if there is a Box near you it would be worth giving a go.