Even if you don't think you will ever drink the Kool-aid, there are some great lessons that you can learn from the CrossFit methodology to add to your own training. Give some of these aspects from CrossFit a try in your workout.
Lesson #1 - Bodyweight Training Has ValueYou go to a gym full of heavy things to pick up why would you possibly need to incorporate bodyweight training into your workout? To be totally candid, it's because bodyweight training is fundamental.
The strength that you develop with bodyweight is called relative strength meaning "strong in relation to your bodyweight," and is part of having a body that is strong enough to move more than just a barbell or dumbbell. You would also be surprised by the size you can develop in your upperbody by utilizing bodyweight/gymnastic strength training.
Another great aspect about bodyweight training is that it encourages you to stay lean and athletic. Unless you are a competitive, super heavyweight, strength athlete you may want to consider how much weight you want to put on your frame and your ability to move said frame with all that weight.
Training with bodyweight allows for you to stay strong relative to your size, coordinated enough to move well, and provides valuable insight as to when enough is enough in regards to body mass.
Lesson #2 - Unconventional Rep Schemes Can Produce ResultsWhen it comes to training it's easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same rep schemes like three sets of 10 or five by five training. Both are great and proven rep schemes that produce results, but every now and then it's nice to add a little bit of variety and a challenge into your training without completely overhauling your workout program.
Here are some of the best unconventional rep schemes from CrossFit that you can implement into your training.
Walk in to any CrossFit gym and you will soon discover that they are speaking in a different language when it comes to training with abbreviations and words like WOD, C2B, T2B, AMRAP, OHP, Oly Lifting, Chipper, EMOM, HSPU, and more. Sounds complicated right? Well out of all of that jargon there are some gems that can be applied to bodybuilding and strength training.
AMRAP TrainingOne of these abbreviations is the "AMRAP" or, "as many rounds/reps as possible" in a given a length of time.
As a bodybuilder this is a great method for performing supersets and trisets. Instead of having a predetermined number of sets for each exercise pick a weight for each exercise and cycle through them for as many "rounds as possible" in a set time say 10-15 minutes for a triset and 5-10 minutes for a superset. The trick here is to do as much QUALITY work as possible in the specified amount of time. This is a great way to build up volume necessary to put on some size.
EMOM TrainingSimilar to AMRAP training "EMOM" stands for "every minute on the minute." There are a number of ways that this can be incorporated into your training but, the simplest is to pick one exercise and begin a set at the top of each minute. The key here is to pick a weight that is heavy enough to perform 10-12 and try and perform a set of 8-10 each minute only resting with the remaining time in the minute you performed your set.
Another more complex method is to perform different exercises on the odd and even minutes of the time limit that you have set. When you do this you can extend your rest periods and train a little heavier with each exercise. Generally, an EMOM lasts for 10-15 minutes depending on the exercise or exercises if you are doing the odd/even method.
Timed SetsThe final unconventional reps scheme is the timed set where you have a set amount of reps with a set weight and you get them done as quickly as possible. This is a great way to get a pump and works best with barbell back squats, front squats and every style of barbell press. The barbell is the best for timed rep sets because when you set it down you only have one object to pick back up instead of two dumbbells or kettlebells.
Lesson #3 - Conditioning for Health and PerformanceConditioning can fall by the wayside as most gym rats tend to favor the weights over the cardio machines. We are all guilty of it, when someone asks what you do for cardio is your response "lift weights faster."
While this may be funny initially it is important to remember to train the muscle that works the hardest every single day, your heart. This is one aspect of training that the CrossFit methodology places a premium on and is one that needs to be considered by every gym rat not just professional exercise competitors.
The mode of conditioning that you choose is up to you. Some of the popular choices that are utilized in the CrossFit community are the Dual Action bikes like the Schwinn Airdyne or Assault air bike, Concept 2 rowing machines, kettlebell swings, jumping rope and running. The heart doesn't really care what mode you choose just get the conditioning done and take care of your heart so that it can take care of you.
Wrap UpEven though it seems that the CrossFit and bodybuilding communities are destined to war with each other until the end of time, there are lessons that each community can learn from the other. Put these methods learned from the CrossFit methodology to work in your program to mix things up and keep things interesting.
Maintain your strength-to-weight ratio by incorporating bodyweight movements into your training, vary your rep schemes from time to time to challenge yourself, and remember to take care of your heart by adding in some conditioning.
Remember to keep an open mind and learn what you can from the methods that you come across. Be a results driven gym rat rather than someone who blindly follows the pack. CrossFit does have aspects associated with it that are suboptimal but, there are also some interesting lessons that you can learn from it and apply to your own training to get you closer to your goals.