The Crossfit Women Phenomena

By Keller Williams

When you talk to women about exercise or workouts, the pervasive fear is that of becoming big or bulky. It is therefore understandable that when a woman first hears of Crossfit and what it entails, she is apprehensive. Crossfit is a fitness system found at that combines gymnastic movements, running, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and some exercises most people have never heard of. Yes, that is right, power and Olympic lifts. The Crossfit workout of the day or WOD as it is called, commonly includes powerlifts such as the deadlift and back squat and Olympic lifts such as clean and jerk. Go to any Crossfit gym though and you will quickly find out that women not only do Crossfit, they excel at it. These women have discovered one of the best-kept secrets for women’s fitness. Let us look at some of the advantages of Crossfit.

Many would assert that Crossfit is a surefire way to produce what women do not want, bulk. The truth is that Crossfit methods in a drug free individual will not produce the competition-size mass seen in most bodybuilding magazines. What it will produce for women is functional lean mass and a reduction in body fat. Crossfit WODs not only produce outstanding results for women, they are scalable, quick, and functional.

To begin, all the WODs are scalable. Every workout can be scaled or adjusted to the individual. For example, the WOD “Elizabeth” entails doing twenty one repetitions of squat cleans then twenty-one ring dips, then fifteen repetitions of each exercise, then nine repetitions of each exercise for a total of 45 reps for each exercise. The workout is done as fast as possible and the weight prescribed by is 135 pounds for the squat clean. The weight is for an average male. Therefore, the weight would be too much for an average female and this is where scaling is used.

If the WOD Elizabeth were scaled for a woman of average strength and size who was relatively new to Crossfit, the result would be the same rep scheme with lower weight. The squat cleans would be performed at 65 pounds and push-ups substituted for the more challenging ring dips. To scale down even further, lower the rep scheme to twelve, nine, and six. Lessen the weight for the squat clean to 45 pounds and instead of regular push-ups, complete the push-ups from the knees. By scaling, the workout becomes manageable and appropriate for a novice or beginner.

Crossfit WODs are quick. Of course, most people desire more free time. Finding time to exercise can be especially challenging to busy women and mothers. Compare a Crossfit WOD to the typical half hour or more of cardio or aerobics and then low intensity weight training. Crossfit WODs usually run between ten and thirty minutes. Total workout time is cut in half.

Crossfit is functional. Functionality is a glaring omission from many workout routines that women engage. Ask any mother of young children though, how many times a day they lift loads from the floor or a low position in the form of kids, car seats or laundry baskets. The deadlift and related lifts are training for this type of movement. How many times does a mother squat down during a typical day? Again, the point is that performing functional movements such as squats will only increase the ability to function in day-to-day life.

Women all over the world are finding that Crossfit, the fitness system that involves intense weight training, is just what they have been looking when it comes to toning and building lean mass. It is scalable to any fitness level, quick and efficient, and functional. For many women, this shift in the paradigm of women’s fitness is long overdue.

Posted on: April 26, 2010admin

15 thoughts on “The Crossfit Women Phenomena

  1. I love this article! I’ll never forget Kellie’s first day at CF. She was a little nervous because she hadn’t really exercised in a couple years due to the pregnancies. It was a kettle bell WOD and she walked over to pick out her bell. She immediately picked up an 8lb bell. As she was waiting with anxiety for the 3, 2, 1, GO, Sam S. came up to her to introduce herself and welcome her to our CF family. Kellie was glad to meet her and explained that she was excited & nervous for CF because of the previously mentioned pregnancies. Sam smiled and asked “oh so how old are your boys?”. Kellie replied “one is 2 and the other is 5 months”. Sam continued the conversation with her usual sparkling personality, “that is so cute… so how much does your 2 year old weigh?”. Kellie said “he’s about 22lbs”. Sam then took Kellies 8lb kettle bell from her hands and handed her a 15lb bell and said in absolutely the nicest way… “well here you go sweety. If you can lift your little boy all day, you can lift this”. I couldn’t stop laughing. Kellie was scared as hell at this point but she went on with the WOD and kicked ass. She’s now been going strong for almost 7 months and is hooked. She’s reached Rx on many WOD’s, and I am soooo proud of her.

  2. I will admit I have never worried about bulking. So when I started cross fit I was more afraid of the 100 pull-ups, or the exercise methods. I have lifted for two years by myself, and I have lifted heavy, but I have never lifted in the intensity of cross fit. I love lifting weights and seeing results. My goal when I started cross fit was to put an inch on my lats, and I did! I dont think I look bulky in a matter of fact my whole family thinks I have lost weight. My legs have tightened up even more, and being a mom of two I did not think they would get any tighter then what I had them at! I am still nervous every time I go to cross fit for the Wods, but I am sooooo excited to see what I can do!. If any girls need help or want to talk about cross fit I would be more then happy to. I love the trainers and their insights, Stacie has helped me so much on form, even though I still have a long way to go! Any whoo I will see you guys tonight 🙂

  3. Crossfit has done wonders for Jerilyn and her confidence. She continues to develop physically and mentally through this program. Although she claims she is not a competitive person, Crossfit has brought competition into her every day thoughts. Whether she is competing for time, against her prior work out scores, the times on the board or me, she is becoming a competitive being and it shows.

  4. Jodie and I both loved this article as well. I can’t even tell everyone how much Jodie loves CrossFit. It makes me so proud to see her every time she does a little better. Wether it’s getting a pull up without a band, more reps in a row, more weight lifted, etc. She literally talks my ear off with her bubbly personality after every WOD for hours! 🙂 She talks about how well she and the other girls did or didn’t do, the ease or difficulty, etc.. Basically just a recap of the WOD and everyone she talked to. It’s amazing how good you feel after every workout. It’s taken a bit of time for Jodie to build confidence with her workouts. For a good six months I tried to convince her that she could do more weight. Now I see her doing Rx weight on her own with some of the WODs, and sooo excited about it too. I’m very proud of her and neither of us could imagine life without CrossFit and all of you anymore. It’s definitely a way of life for us.

  5. I have one more thing to say on this article. The question is…when you are old do you want to be active, hike with grand kids, play at the parks, go on vacations and truely enjoy it? Or do you want to sit at the bottom of the hill while your grand kids go play, watch why they enjoy the park, and be on one of those bingo buses that go to Vegas. I believe you are what you are, so my theory is act like a kid, do things they do, lift weights so you do not lose bone density. I am almost 30 but I feel better then I did when I was 20 and worring about being thin. So enjoy women and be proud of shoulders, strong backs, endurable legs, and freedom from that skinny/fat woman that some of us have tried to be! Rock on Cross Fit 🙂

  6. Thanks Brody for all the love, and Sam thanks for the push. Crossfit is a wonderful way to be fit, both physically and mentally, so we can be the mother, spouse, and friend that can keep up, and kick your A@# if you lip off. And Loraine for crying out loud I’m going to to be on that Bingo bus to Vegas doing flying burpees down the isle with my stylish but every so sheek Crossfit Depends 🙂 I’m am officially inviting you to come with me in thirty or so years.

  7. I am the one that feels like i’m bulking up. My shirts are tight on my shoulders, and my pants are tight on my legs! Is this a diet problem?? Help.. Also, in response to Loraine, what if you’re too damn tired to play with your kids? Cause that’s what cross fit does to me!! Ha ha kidding, i love it 🙂

  8. Kellie you can ride the bus. I am going to be sky diving, but I may need buy one of those Crossfit Depends…hahaha. Mindi D. If you are too tired to play with your kids up your protien and lower your complex carbs, but dont cut out your simple carbs(fruit) in your diet, this will also help with the feeling bulky trust me!! 🙂

  9. Mindi you look incredible and you’re a damn good CF’r. I bet your diet is fine. You were probably just tired one day and you used hot water on the laundry and shrunk your clothes. That and your added lean muscle is why your clothes feel tight. 🙂

  10. Yo my Crossfit family. No dissin on are awesome men…but really women are so much stronger in many ways. We bare children, have you ever seen a mamma bear protect her cubs. Its the same for us women. I’m so proud of this group of women in CrossFit. When there is a new girl I always try to connect with her…the family part of Crossfit to me is number 1. Girls are so strong, push yourself, tell yourself you have to do it to protect your kids. Your energy sky rockets! Or if you hear All The Single Ladies. Lol. Some of us carry around 40-60 pound children, so push yourself! Kelly your amazing, and so sexy with your new haircut! 3-2-1 go! That’s what she said…… bawh ha. Luv ya’ll PS I ran up the hills all 4 times. I ROCK!

  11. Jacie has been nothing short of a phenom to me when it comes to crossfit. I remember her telling me about the workouts she did and I was amazed that she did it. I decided to follow her footsteps and join CF about 4 months ago……….mainly because she was the one carrying all the heavy furniture around the house AND opening all the food jars for me. I have watched her over these last few months and I can proudly admit that she is incredible to me. Her form is perfect and she has more mental toughness than most. The only problem is trying to pry Jacie away from the WOD. If you haven’t noticed, Jacie is a chatterbox and enjoys her CF family. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. I agree with Sam we have some amazing women at CF. Yes the family part is awesome. I have soo many friends I never would have had otherwise. You all lift me up and give me something to aspire to. I have a few of you women, Chris, Stacie, Joni, Bitty that I would love to be like someday!! I have never been so connected to a workout before. That is because this is much more than just a workout. It is a new way of life. There are so many lessons we learn in Crossfit (mental toughness, never give up, do your best) that flow over into other parts of my life. I cannot imagine my life without Crossfit and all of you that I have grown to really love, men included!!

  13. You are all so amazing! I’m so proud to be a part of this CF family! Thank you Celeste, you amaze me all the time, SO STRONG (not just physically). I love this article and agree with it. I have worked here for 8 years and enjoyed fitness for most ALL of my life. Heavy lifting has always been fun to me, but I didn’t know true fitness till now. My butt and legs have changed a ton….and I’ll tell you what, there’s nothin in the world like RIPPIN OUT THE SEAM IN YOUR FAVORITE PAIR OF JEANS because your glutes are tighter and rounder than ever before!!! At first I was pissed, but then I thought, wait, these glutes are freakin awesome, I will buy BIGGER jeans, that’s fine!

    Crossfit Rocks……& I love you guys!

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