Just like figure skating and hockey, sprinting and long distance running, sports of the iron variety differ greatly. Even though the equipment remains the same, differences in technique and goals set these three sports apart from the rest.
You’d think that since all three use weights as their tools that they’d all find something in common.
Discrimination against Crossfitters, Bodybuilders, and Powerlifters can be heard amongst any of these iron heavers. Bodybuilders are too vain. Powerlifters lift heavy just so they can stay fat. And Crossfitters… well, do they even lift?
Don’t knock it ’til you try it
I think all of this boils down to a classic example of neophobia: the fear of trying anything new. How will you be able to accurately evaluate something without trying it yourself?
I started out with Zumba. Next, I got into running. Finally, I started lifting weights. I was more interested in body sculpting – most of my workouts I got from Bodybuilding.com’s figure/bikini athletes. My weights weren’t extremely heavy and I did anywhere between 10-12 reps for everything. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I wanted to lift heavier.
Strength in fitness competitions like bikini and figure competitions is not required. That’s not to say that bikini competitors don’t have immense strength. Canadian athlete, Hailey Goss, can deadlift 300+lbs.
Clearly Hailey knows the feeling of satisfaction and overall badassery you feel when you lift something really heavy from the ground. This is exactly why I decided to take more of a powerlifting approach to my training.
However, I don’t consider myself a strict powerlifter. I’m more of a sweaty generalist. I like doing a lot of obstacle racing (think Tough Mudder and Rugged Maniac). For obstacles, you need a lot of coordination and functional strength to help you. Last summer, I tried Crossfit for 6 weeks.
I’ve never sweat so much in my entire life.
Each WOD exhausted every ounce of power within my body and even though workouts were only 45 minutes in length, each time I wanted to puke mid-sled push. I did discover something I really loved, though, and that was Olympic lifting. I don’t quite have the mobility for it yet, but I really want to make an effort to train with some oly lifts and learn to snatch, jerk, and clean with the best. If you want to get more of a sense of what Crossfit is like, Buzzfeed made a great video:
Timing and high reps give Crossfit its cardio-focused reputation and, if you have a great coach, the “bad-form stereotype” will quickly disappear from your mind.
Where is the love?
Whatever your preference, we all love iron and have the callouses to prove it. There needs to be a paradigm shift within the fitness community because, well, the gym would be a better place if we all supported each other – no matter how we’re lifting.