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Does CrossFit Work?


If you haven’t done CrossFit, you’ve probably at least heard about it. CrossFit involves short, high-intensity workouts that include high intensity interval training, plyometrics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, calisthenics and more. However, despite CrossFit’s popularity (there are over 10,000 CrossFit gyms in the U.S.), there is little research demonstrating its effectiveness. So, does CrossFit work?


Does CrossFit Work?:

One recent study recruited participants to complete 2 popular CrossFit workouts. Each participant was tested on a number of measures while completing WODs (workout of the days) called Donkey Kong and Fran. Donkey Kong consisted of 21, 15 and 9 reps of burpees, kettlebell swings and box jumps, while Fran consisted of 21, 15 and 9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups. The researchers found that males burned an average of 20.5 kcal/min, while females burned an average of 12.3 kcal/min. Participants, however, varied greatly in terms of how long it took them to complete the workouts, with some finishing the workout in as little 5 minutes. On average though, males burned 196.6 calories while doing Donkey Kong and 112.5 calories while doing Fran. Females burned an average of 117.2 calories while doing Donkey Kong and 63.9 calories while doing Fran.

Participants’ heart rates were at an average of 90% of their maximum heart rate. VO2 was at an average of 80% of VO2max, indicating that participants were well above the anaerobic threshold.

Another study, conducted by the U.S. Army, found that soldiers increased their fitness levels by 20% in just 6 weeks. A final study found significant improvements in VO2max and  body fat in just 10 weeks.



CrossFit clearly works. It’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and strength in a short amount of time. There are over 10,000 CrossFit gyms in the U.S., so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one near you!

P.S. Check out the top 10 most popular CrossFit workouts according to Google search queries.



“CrossFitTM: New Research Puts Popular Workout to the Test”. American council on Exercise. Retrieved October 20, 2015.

Paine, J., MAJ James Uptgraft, and MAJ Ryan Wylie. “CrossFit study.”Command and General Staff College (2010): 1-34.

Smith, Michael M., et al. “Crossfit-based high-intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and ed pills.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 27.11 (2013): 3159-3172.


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