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How to Become a CrossFit Trainer

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CrossFit is often referred to as a revolution in human performance and is recognized as the fastest growing fitness movement on the planet. As a system based on swiftly changing functional movements that are executed at a high level of intensity, CrossFit training is the holy grail of fitness programs.

This core strength and conditioning workout has even been adopted by the U.S. Military Special Forces, including the Navy SEALs, as well as many police and fire departments, college athletic programs, and professional athletic programs, among others.

Functional movements in CrossFit are defined as multi-joint movements using both the core and the extremities. A CrossFit workout is not for the faint of heart. These training programs, which are generally conducted with a small group of people under the guidance of a personal trainer or certified coach, are hard and fast.

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As a CrossFit personal trainer, your guidance is crucial, as you will be responsible for ensuring that your clients engage in proper, consistent mechanics, both during the initial training period and when incorporating the CrossFit exercise system.

CrossFit: What It Is and What It Is Not

CrossFit should not be confused with other, specialized programs, as it is not a structured program but a workout that incorporates any number of possible exercises meant to address a wide range of physical fitness skills, including:

  • Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Accuracy
  • Balance

This means that CrossFit does not consist of workouts with isolated movements and separate periods of aerobic exercise, but instead compounds movements into shorter bursts of high-intensity cardio sessions. The concept of CrossFit is to build skills in as many of the above areas as possible to experience an overall level of fitness.

A CrossFit program will have a set number of sessions held at set times throughout the course of a few weeks or even months. Your personal training sessions will always focus on achieving proper form and technique in the nine CrossFit foundational movements:

  • Sumo deadlift high pull
  • Shoulder press
  • Push press
  • Push jerk
  • Overhead squat
  • Medicine ball clean
  • Front squat
  • Dead lift
  • Air squat

Your clients may use a CrossFit workout to supplement their athletic training for a specific sport, although this type of training is more focused on fitness as a sport. CrossFit draws both athletes and general fitness buffs into its ranks, as the goal is to enhance competency at all physical tasks – no matter what a client’s beginning level of ability may be.

CrossFit is not gender, age, or intensity specific. Instead, it can be adapted (scaled) to suit men and women, adults and children, housewives, retirees, and conditioned athletes alike. The philosophy behind CrossFit is that it provides an “all-inclusive” lifestyle change, focused on:

  • Achieving a maximum neuroendocrine response
  • Developing power through cross-training with a number of training modalities
  • Consistent training and practice through functional movements

The CrossFit approach has been tested, with positive results, not only on well-conditioned athletes, but also on the sedentary, overweight, sick, and elderly. Studies have shown that these types of people experience the same level of success as athletes do relative to their beginning level of ability.

The Coaching and Team Focus of CrossFit Training

One of the main aspects of CrossFit is the employment of state-of-the-art coaching techniques. The program is based on maintaining a low client-to-coach ratio; therefore, your personal training sessions are likely to include a small number of clients. The small class size allows you to monitor the progress of your clients to ensure all aspects of the workout are completed using proper form and technique.

As a CrossFit personal trainer, you will encourage your small team of clients to push, encourage, and help each other along the way. All participants will work on skills together and perform the same workout. Your job as a CrossFit personal trainer will be to teach correct form and technique to ensure clients avoid injury and see maximum results.

All members of your CrossFit team will need to master the form and technique of the foundational movements named above before they can begin participating in the class environment. Your work as a personal trainer may be specific to helping your clients achieve these foundational movements or you may choose to train your clients and then oversee a CrossFit program.

The CrossFit workout features a number of dynamic exercises such as plyometric jumps and Olympic lifts using non-traditional weight equipment, such as sand bags, water-filled containers, kettle balls, and suspension systems. You will encourage your clients to complete a specific number of repetitions in a specific time frame. You may even encourage your clients to compete against one another.

How to Become a Personal Trainer with a Specialty in CrossFit Training

To become a CrossFit personal trainer, it wise to ensure you are properly educated and trained so as to serve as a competent fitness professional for your clients. The first step in your educational plan should involve completing an associate or bachelor degree in personal training or in a field related to personal training, such as:

  • Physical education
  • Exercise physiology
  • Exercise science
  • Kinesiology

In any of these majors, you can expect to complete a core set of courses focused on the study of movement and the functional responses and adaptations to movement:

  • Nutrition
  • Strength and conditioning essentials
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise physiology
  • Exercise testing and prescription
  • Exercise leadership

Upon completion of your degree program, you will want to achieve professional certification in personal training through a nationally accredited certifying organization.

If you want to focus your personal training career on the CrossFit exercise system, you will want to achieve specialty certification through CrossFit Inc. as a Certified CrossFit Trainer and/or a Certified CrossFit Coach.

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