Strength Training is Better Than Crossfit for (Almost) Any Goal
Updated: Feb 15, 2018
Do you remember when Crossfit was HUGE? It seemed like everyone and their momma was doing it…and posting about it on Facebook. In fact, if it wasn’t on social media the WOD probably never happened. (That’s the Workout Of the Day for those of you that don’t know.)
Crossfit successfully branded themselves as the hot, new training style. We saw the Crossfit games. Pictures and videos of incredibly fit men and women.
They said Crossfit would replace all other training styles. Crossfit would make you:
-Fast as a Sprinter
-Strong as a Linebacker
-Endurance Like a Marathon Runner
-and Much, Much More
But what do we see in reality? What are we seeing now that the Crossfit fad is slowly fading into the distance?
We see people getting great results if they stick with it over the long haul- just like most any fitness program.
We also see a competitive environment. We see form getting sloppy. We see injuries. We see 40 year olds who have worked at a desk for the last 10 years doing Olympic lifts after doing sprints.
That’s not Ok.
Look, there are a lot of good things about Crossfit. But there’s a better option. A MUCH better option.
In fact, it’s so much better the ONLY reason you should choose Crossfit over what I’m about to tell you is if you either 1) plan on competing in Crossfit or 2) you LOVE that style of training.
Here’s what you need to know:
Strength Training is a Better Choice Than Crossfit for Almost Any Goal
Strength Training is less about a certain style of training, and more about focusing on one thing: Being better than your former self.
The only person you compete against in Strength Training is yourself. The exercises you use and the number of sets and reps you do are 100% dependent on your training history, your current fitness level, and your goals.
So why is Strength Training a Better Choice Than Crossfit?
1) Strength Training is Much Safer
Look, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you about how if you do Crossfit you’ll definitely get injured. That’s not true. Lots of people do Crossfit with no injuries, and if done properly it can be safe.
BUT when you’ve got people who haven’t worked out in years, who are incredibly stiff and immobile from spending years at an office job, doing very complex lifts in a fatigued state…I think you’re asking for trouble.
If you have a great trainer, you eliminate a lot of this risk. However, it’s really difficult to find good trainers. Not just in Crossfit, but in general! Combine a not-so-great trainer with a large class of clients like the one mentioned above and…well…you’re playing with fire.
At Steel Strength Training, we do all the exercises that get you great results while keeping you very safe. We call these exercises "low risk, high reward."
We spend a lot of time teaching you good form. Perfect form. We want you mastering the basic exercises. When you master a movement, you’re way less likely to get hurt.
We DON’T do the exercises we call “high risk, high reward.” This includes things like Olympic Lifts and Box Jumps. Sure, they look sexy on Instagram but they’re not necessary to see incredible results. (And as you know, an injury is a great way to NOT see results.)
Another thing we emphasize is rest. Plenty of rest! The goal is to get stronger, not to beat the crap out of you, exhaust you, and make you puke. We rest anywhere from 1-3 minutes between sets. And the funny thing is your results will actually be better doing this!
Why? The stronger you get, the faster your body will change. And the best way to increase strength is to rest plenty of time between sets so your performance is at its best.
Basically what I’m saying is “Do fewer sets, rest longer in between, feel great, and enjoy better progress.”
2) Strength Training is More Sustainable
Sustainability is not a sexy word. It’s kind of like Reliability. As a 16 year old I made fun of my Mom for buying a Toyota Camry. Why’d she do it?
“It’s reliable. It’s going to last.”
That was so lame. Til it wasn’t.
Dang, these days a reliable car is sexy. And so is a sustainable program.
At the end of the day, you want results. And if you want results, you need a program you can do for the next decade, not the next 2 months.
For some people, especially younger athletes, Crossfit might be sustainable. (Though, as a 24 year old guy with a wife, baby, and a business it sounds horrible.)
For everyone else, a more moderate approach will actually get you better results.
If you’re ready to ditch the quick fixes and create a lifestyle change, you need to stop asking “What’s Going to Get Me the Fastest Results?” and start asking “What’s Going to Get Me the Best Results Over the Next 12 Months?”
Do you think the answer is workouts that crush you? Leave you sweaty and exhausted?
Or workouts that challenge you, but leave you wanting more? That’s strength training.
Clients often say our program feels easy, and they’re surprised at how great the results are. They’re so used to killing themselves with their workouts and are amazed they see BETTER results when they take the intensity down notch.
Just remember, if you want to be fit for life, you need a program that’s sustainable. Not one that’s sexy or going to “get you the fastest results.”
3) Strength Training Gets You Better Results
In point #2 I pitched Sustainability against Faster Results; like you have to choose one or the other. Well what if you could have the best of both worlds? Faster results AND sustainability.
That’s exactly what Strength Training provides.
Check out some of the results our clients have seen:
When Crossfit came out, people said it would revolutionize working out. By focusing on everything in one workout…speed, endurance, strength, power, etc… you’d be great at all of them.
But if it actually worked like that, every single athlete would train with the Crossfit method.
It doesn't. You just end up being a jack of all trades and a master of none. (Read Why Your Workouts Need Way Less Variety Than You Think.)
At Steel Strength Training, we know the fastest way to change your body is the get stronger. And the fastest way to get stronger is Strength Training- focus on getting stronger and remove all the other fluff from your workouts.
4) What Should Your Workout Look Like If you Want it to Be Safe, Sustainable, and Incredibly Effective?
If you want great results, you need to keep your strength training and conditioning work separate. You can even do them in the same workout. Just don’t combine them!
If you want to get the best results, here’s what you need:
1) Start your workouts with Heavy Weight, Low Reps, and Long Rest Periods on 2 big exercises like the Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Row, and Pull-ups (if you can do them)
2) Next, do some light “extra” work that focuses on muscles you want to work on. Go for a pump. Feel the burn. Target muscles like glutes, abs, arms, and shoulders.
3) Finish your workouts with 5-10 minutes of a conditioning exercise. Get your heart rate up for 10-20 seconds, rest as long as you need and repeat 5-10 times.
If the workout is too easy, add more weight/reps to your lifts. If the workout is exhausting, scale back on everything.
Aim to do 2-3 workouts per week.
The workouts should last anywhere from 30-45 minutes.
Walk on your non-training days. That’s it!
If you do this for the next 6 months, you’ll see incredible results, stay safe, and find the workouts are both enjoyable and sustainable.