Misconceptions about CrossFit

Jan 11, 2024

 by patrick gendron

Have you ever heard that CrossFit is filled with only cardio? Or maybe you are nervous you might get injured.


Somewhere along the line, CrossFit got a bad rap...


The following 4 comments are the most common misconceptions I have heard in my past decade of experience.


1.) There is no consistency.


Being that part of CrossFit's main motto is “constantly varied”. This approach to training helps an athlete be as physically prepared as possible. The focus is going to be around specific, fundamental exercises and branching out from there. Truth is, there is plenty of consistency in our classes.


Crossfit focuses on deadlifts, squats, cleans, snatches, pull-ups, rows, and overhead presses. These movements are regularly programmed at different intensities, with the goal being to get stronger and improve the skill itself on a regular basis.


2.) All they do is cardio.


While metabolic conditioning is a large part of CrossFit, it’s only that - part of it. Strength training along with powerlifting movements, Olympic weightlifting, and gymnastics movements are constantly being used in this metabolic conditioning or HIIT-type training.


This doesn’t mean the workout won’t make you huff and puff, but part of the classes will be strength or skill-based. Workouts are also directed towards achieving the intended stimulus of the day whether that be strength, conditioning, or multimodality work.


3.) Someone show them how to do a real pullup.


Strict pull-ups (often classified as a "real pullup) are often programmed in the strength part of the workout and even in metabolic conditioning. 


CrossFit has a wide variety of pull-ups. For example, butterfly pull-ups, kipping pull-ups, and even sometimes weighted pull-ups! The idea of using this in a CrossFit style workout is oftentimes to do as many reps or do reps as fast and safely as possible. If you had to do 100 pull-ups as fast as possible, with the standards being: arms straight, followed by chin over bar, strict pull-ups could take you a long time and might be completed at such a slow pace that overtime might stop causing the kind of adaption you would be looking for. That's where the different styles of pull-ups come into play. It's a nice way to switch up the stimulus.


Not to mention, the kipping and butterfly pull-up is a great way to add extra volume to your pulling day workouts.


4.) It’s way too dangerous.


Let's be honest, you can get hurt doing anything. Truth is, you can get hurt doing regular weightlifting in a commercial gym.


The great thing about CrossFit is that every gym has certified instructors. A Level-1 CrossFit certification is a requirement of a coach's education. In that certification, the coach will learn appropriate movement patterns, how to spot faulty movement, and how to modify a movement for a class and an individual's needs. 


Check out this study showed that the injury rate from CrossFit training was lower or comparable to other common forms of exercise. 




As much as I hope this article brings light to some readers, the best thing you can do is join a class and see for yourself. CrossFit might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it certainly is for everybody.


DR. Patrick Gendron