What is CrossFit?

9.12 Blog

CrossFit defines its community based fitness program on a regimen of various functional movements performed at high intensity. CrossFit Workouts of the Day (WOD) use various cardiovascular exercises, power lifting, Olympic lifting, and elements of gymnastics. The overall goals are to improve agility, accuracy, balance, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, coordination, flexibility, stamina, strength, speed and power. These various functional movements help form a well-balanced athlete for preparation in any fitness or athletic task. A variety of joints and muscle groups are used to simulate the movements you need throughout life’s tasks. CrossFitters train in group settings, helping to create a community of goal-oriented and motivated individuals. It is often said that in CrossFit the loudest cheer is for the person finishing last.

The most common question asked about CrossFit is, “Is CrossFit Safe?”

Every sport has an inherent risk of injury. Professional and Olympic athletes get injured on a daily basis. Does that mean we should sit on the couch and do nothing? Absolutely not! The benefits of fitness far outweigh the risk of injury. That being said, education is the best preventative tool one can use to avoid injury. Know your body, know your limitations, get help from knowledgeable coaches, and practice safe body mechanics!

Tips to Avoid Injury

  • Before choosing a CrossFit gym, research the education and experience of the coaches. Take a trial class to meet the staff and ask any questions you may have prior to committing to a membership, and try a couple of local CrossFit gyms to see how they compare.
  • Make sure the gym you choose has a beginners class for you to learn the basics
  • Know your limitations! Be up front about the history of your injuries, and listen to your body! A good coach can scale or substitute any movement so you won’t miss out.
  • Leave your ego at the door. Do not try to be “macho” by adding weight before you have mastered the mechanics. An injury will set you back further. Do not prioritize personal records over proper form.
  • Remember: if something hurts, there is a reason why. No pain no gain does not apply to injury.
  • Rest days are necessary for everyone! Microtrauma occurs in muscles during strength training. Rest is needed for the muscle to rebuild and strength to improve

CrossFit offers a community, that challenges and builds physical and mental strength, resulting in great accomplishments. As healthcare professionals who actively train and coach in the sport of CrossFit, we recognize the benefits of CrossFit and have confidence that it can be done safely. Just as we would recommend researching the credentials of any healthcare professional or hospital you choose to see, it is up to you to research CrossFit fitness facilities, gyms and coaches. Always make sure you are medically approved for physical activity before starting a new fitness regimen.

Jeanna Hill is a doctor of physical therapy and certified athletic trainer at HSS Spine & Sport in Jupiter, Florida. Jeanna graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training, going on to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. She is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, co-owner of CrossFit Waterway, and a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach.






Jeff-Angotti-200-240Jeffrey Angotti is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and athletic trainer at HSS Spine & Sport in Jupiter, Florida. Jeffrey has a Bachelor of Science in Health degree with a focus in Sports Medicine Athletic Training from the University of North Florida. He is a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.


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  1. Question
    Is Crossfit designed and beneficial for all ages groups with specifics/different types of exercises? Will the end results be the same as described above?

    1. Hi Luis, thank you for reaching out. Jeffrey Angotti, Athletic Trainer at HSS Spine & Sport, says: “All age groups can be appropriate for CrossFit. However, certain limitations do come with age and injuries. It’s important that a participant is medically cleared before they begin any exercise program and that the CrossFit coach has experience working with their particular population and limitations.”