Crossfit vs Bodybuilding Compared: Which One is Best?

(Last Updated On: December 12, 2018)

CrossFit or bodybuilding? It is hard to choose! Or, is it?! If you’re thinking to start a complex physical activity that will help you become slimmer and fitter, but you’re not sure which one is right for you, you’ve come in the right place. Below, there are plenty of useful details regarding each of these two types of training. Choose wisely, stick with the one you selected, and master it!

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A. CrossFit

What Is CrossFit?

This is much more than a simple workout. It is a complex training program that includes functional movements. Moreover, these activities must be performed at a high-intensity level. CrossFit specific exercises reflect some of the best aspects of weightlifting, running, gymnastics, rowing, and others.

Through CrossFit varied movements, trainers all over the world help people improve the way they look and feel, no matter their shapes or sizes. These hardcore workouts are usually done in an encouraging environment. With the help of these challenging exercises, you will significantly increase your body’s strength.

CrossFit’s Main Principles and Fundamentals

If you want to become great at CrossFit, you must target certain areas of your physical health like stamina, endurance, flexibility, speed, strength, coordination, balance, power, agility, and others. Below, I have listed the main principles of any CrossFit activity:

  • Set one big goal and then split it into several incremental milestones to keep track of your progress;
  • Remember that any progress is a step forward;
  • Try to do every move well because each one of the lifts or reps truly counts;
  • Be self-disciplined because it will help you concentrate on doing all the movements correctly;
  • Follow a regular sleep pattern because it will help you reach your athletic objectives;
  • Combine CrossFit with a healthy and well-balanced diet;
  • Train hard but also smart;
  • Be consistent, get rid of bad habits, and learn to be patient.

Common CrossFit Exercises

CrossFit workouts involve your entire body and they are comprised of specific movements such as pushing, pulling, squatting, rowing, running, etc. There are hundreds of challenging exercises that one can perform during CrossFit routines but here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Burpees – in this exercise, you’re supposed to work only with your body weight. You must begin from a standing position. Then, you have to drop down to the floor as quickly as you can, do a push-up, and come up into a squat position. Finally, you are required to jump back up in an explosive manner.
  • Power cleans – using a weighted bar by pulling it up from the floor until it reaches your shoulders’ level. This exercise is performed in a fast and forceful way.
  • Thruster – again, the weighted bar plays the main role in this exercise. Start from an upright position and hold the bar at your shoulders’ level. Do a low squat, and then stand back up while also pushing the bar above your head.

Crossfit’s Health Benefits

  • It can be a versatile workout program that focuses on diversity;
  • Improves one’s posture, strength, flexibility, and balance;
  • It is a very effective fitness activity that can offer you amazing results in a short period;
  • Helps you lose weight and build muscle mass;
  • It is not time-consuming because it is high-intensity functional training;
  • You will become a member of the CrossFit community and you will receive plenty of support.

Pros and Cons

Advantages

  • Strengthens your entire body;
  • It is built on the idea of a strong and supportive community;
  • Everything is done in an exciting atmosphere that will encourage you to reach for that extra push;
  • It involves both teamwork and competition which will motivate you to complete the workouts.

Disadvantages

  • There’s a lack of personalization when it comes to CrossFit programs. The trainers don’t provide customized workouts for each of their clients;
  • Although it is said that CrossFit is a universal training program, it is quite hard to scale it in terms proper exercises for beginners, intermediate trainees, and experienced ones;
  • Programming is everything and CrossFit doesn’t focus on that aspect. What I mean is that you need to target someone’s specific needs to reach solid yet safe results. Still, instructors don’t program or personalize their fitness routines.

Potential Risks

Although many people show interest in CrossFit, most of them are afraid that this program might harm their organism. So, is CrossFit safe or is it dangerous? Well, unfortunately, it can become dangerous. For that reason, preparing your body plays a crucial role in this type of physical activity. There are plenty of possible injuries that can occur if you don’t do these routines properly:

  • Rhabdomyolysis – a rare yet serious muscular injury that can happen when one is involved in vigorous exercises;
  • Kidney damage – created by muscle ruptures;
  • Back problems – if you lift too much weight right from the start without gradually increasing the difficulty of the exercise;
  • Knee or elbow injuries, etc.

To avoid any of these issues, you should never do CrossFit if you suffer from a previous injury. Always talk to your doctor first. Also, you must never perform CrossFit workouts when you’re fatigued because this will only increase injury risks.

Who Is Crossfit Good for?

Crossfit is good for people who are more into functional movements and who can resist through high-intensity training programs. According to CrossFit specialists, the program is created for everyone who is interested in starting this type of activity and who is healthy enough to complete these challenging workouts.

This program is for you, no matter if you are a professional cage fighter or someone who simply wants to look better. Good trainers will know how to properly adjust both the load and intensity of your programs without actually changing the routine.

Still, despite the fact that CrossFit can suit everybody, it is not a good match for all of you. In my personal opinion, these programs work best for certain individuals:

  • Active people who are searching for a community to support them;
  • Those who are new to weight training;
  • People who like a good sweat and are forcing themselves to overcome their own limits;
  • Fitness fanatics – those who love to work out on a regular basis;
  • Former athletes – because CrossFit is about competition but also teamwork and camaraderie.

B. Bodybuilding

What Is Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding is a physical activity that uses progressive resistance exercises to develop someone’s musculature. There are also professional bodybuilders who participate in competitions where they display their muscle size as well as aesthetics level. When discussing bodybuilding, most people tend to associate it with iconic personalities like Arnold Swarchzenegger.

Through exercise and a proper diet, you can grow and develop your body, and the majority of bodybuilders use to lean on three major strategies to accomplish their fitness goals: specialized nutrition that sometimes involves steroids which are a controversial topic, strength training, and periods of rest.

 Bodybuilding Main Principles and Fundamentals

The main principles of bodybuilding are the following ones that all those who perform this type of training should apply:

  • You must engage both your muscles and your brain in these exercises. One should focus completely during bodybuilding workouts if they want to reach a greater intensity level without harming their body.
  • Vary your training so that you won’t find yourself in a rut. So, make sure you constantly change your exercises. Believe me; your muscles will thank you because you don’t let them get complacent in the same routine.
  • Use your instinct while you’re gaining knowledge. Learn as much as you can and seek out information from multiple sources. Then, experience with these new approaches until you have mastered the practice of bodybuilding.
  • Don’t forget to address your weaknesses. This means that you should improve your appearance without forgetting about maintaining your body’s symmetry.

And now, let’s see some of the most important bodybuilding fundamentals:

  • Focus more on multi-joint exercises rather than on single-joint or isolated movements;
  • If you’re doing low reps, you should use heavy weights;
  • Gradually increase your weights level but keep in mind that your goal should be achieving a good form;
  • After each properly-done workout, you need rest. During this time, you must let nutrition ensure your progress;
  • There’s no such thing as the best exercise that will get you miracle results.

Main Bodybuilding Exercises

Bodybuilding is about versatility and complexity so you must do specific exercises that target each part of your body. For example, something that many guys seem to forget about is focusing on their legs as much as they pay attention to their upper body strength. Here are some of the best bodybuilding exercises you can try:

  • Olympic squat – old-school bodybuilders used to do this exercise to develop their legs. It is a squat variation during which you must also hold a weight bar and pull it above your head every time you go back in an upright position;
  • Deadlift – if you want to develop your back, this is the right movement to do and it is a bodybuilding classic exercise;
  •  Bench press – this is another classic bodybuilding movement which is highly effective because it allows you to lift a lot more weight than any other regular upper body exercise.

Bodybuilding Health Benefits

  • Bodybuilding will improve your overall health and you will achieve a stronger organism;
  • It lowers the risk of coronary heart diseases;
  • Regulates your blood pressure;
  • Lowers cholesterol and helps obese people in their weight-loss journey;
  • This activity improves one’s mental health and overall well-being by reducing anxiety, stress, and depression;
  • Promotes healthy nutrition which will also lead to a better general health.

Pros and Cons of Bodybuilding

Advantages

  • It teaches you self-discipline and helps you become more organized;
  • You will regain control over both your mind and body;
  • Supports you in maintaining a healthy body  by providing an optimum physical activity;
  • Makes your body burn fat and build muscle mass which can also lead to a boosted self-confidence;
  • If you become a member of the bodybuilding community, you will also learn the correct way of eating nutritious foods.

Disadvantages

  • It might make you become obsessed with the way you look, especially if you don’t really know how to maintain a balance in everything you do. This might lead to eating disorders or mental breakdowns;
  • You cannot truly be spontaneous or flexible when it comes to bodybuilding. You will follow a strict meal plan and even a short trip will be similar to a military operation;
  • Some people say they felt isolated because the bodybuilding community is rather small;
  • You will sweat a lot which can lead to dehydration;
  • A major part of any bodybuilding activity is weightlifting that can be dangerous if you don’t do it properly.

Potential Risks

This kind of activity has quite an impact on your joints and this can lead to serious injuries if you don’t focus enough. Also, because of the high intensity of this training, your heart health can be at risk. Research has shown that heavy lifting might tear the aorta through which blood exits your heart.

Some specialists think that performing too intense workouts is not good for our health and it doesn’t match the way our organisms were built. In other terms, millions of years ago, humans were only engaging in mild or moderate physical activities. Therefore, you should always rest in between exercises as well as after a workout to give your body time to recover. Otherwise, strength training becomes dangerous.

To make sure you won’t deal with any of the issues presented above, you should always get medical clearance.

Who Is Bodybuilding Good for?

Basically, anybody who is ambitious, perseverant, and self-disciplined can become a bodybuilder. It doesn’t matter if you want to compete with other bodybuilders or simply want to achieve a stronger body. Try it and see if it matches your preferences. Still, make sure your doctor approves of this, especially if you suffer from a health condition.

CrossFit vs Bodybuilding – Final Verdict

Before choosing one or the other, you need to establish your goals first. Then, you will know what the right path is. Or, you can try them both and see which one offers you the best results. In my opinion, I think that people who are looking to achieve a sculpted physique with massive muscles should focus on bodybuilding. On the other hand, if you’re more into circuit training, then CrossFit is the best option. All in all, the final decision is all yours!

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