CrossFit vs. Bodybuilding – Bulging Biceps or Badass Fran Time?

Jeff Baldelli
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What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a training method and lifestyle designed to build practitioners into “Rx athletes”. Rx stands for prescribed, which means your workouts are designed for you.

When you first learn about CrossFit, you may think that the program mirrors bodybuilding, but in reality it does the opposite. While bodybuilding consists of body pump, biceps curls, and tricep extensions for example, CrossFit focuses on functional movements that mimic those of everyday life.

Functional movements simply means common movements that we do every day, like carrying groceries, lifting our kids, climbing stairs, or playing a sport. CrossFit workouts focus on these movements as a foundation for all movement. In CrossFit, movements are either “Olympic” or “Strength”.

Olympic movements are the Olympic lifting moves. These include cleans, snatches, and squats, which are more “explosive” movements than the slow, methodical power movements of traditional weightlifting.

Strength is represented by the bench press, the deadlift, and the squat, and are the heavier, sustained movements where you load more weight on the bar, and attempt to get the weight from point A to point B the best you can.

What is Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding is a sport or competition revolving around the development of the muscular physique. Bodybuilders generally concentrate on improving their muscular development through exercise and diet. This is achieved by doing fitness competitions that are often called physique competitions or bodybuilding competitions.

Competitions are done in three parts and divided up by weight class. The first part of the competition is usually the weigh-in. Here the bodybuilders get on stage and are visually inspected for the first time. Part two is a posing routine, and part three is the costume/swimsuit segment. The costumes are the most fun part of the competition. It’s a window into the personality of these usually serious athletes. They can be over the top, sexy, or even funny. It’s even a chance for the bodybuilders to show a softer side than they normally display and to show that they have a sense of humor.

So Which One?

Which One is Better? CrossFit vs. Bodybuilding?

CrossFit vs. Bodybuilding … the two go together like peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, Kyle Chandler and Friday Night Lights, Luis Suarez and mouthing off, and so on.

The two are literally the ying and the yang of fitness, going hand in hand in both inspirational and anti-inspirational ways.

Bodybuilders often refer to CrossFit as a fad. CrossFit peeps often write off the physique focused training protocols as more of a cult.

What makes the two such polar opposites?

There is an undercurrent of disagreement between CrossFit and Bodybuilding.

On one hand we have CrossFitters working to be fitter, faster, stronger generalized athletes. On the other hand, we have the bodybuilders that are focused on hypertrophy.

But it really shouldn’t be viewed as a dichotomy.

What gets left out is everything in between. Are you specializing in functional fitness or hypertrophy? Are you focused on the conditioning portion or the aesthetics part? Is muscle gain your primary interest or is it more just a nice byproduct?

Lets dive in:

Let’s look at the positives first.

The bodybuilder “how they look is all that matters” crowd:

The Main Idea

It is no secret that CrossFit is the fastest-growing fitness sport in the world. But there are those bodybuilders for which a barbell is foreign. Bodybuilders spend the majority of their time in the gym building muscle mass, while CrossFitters train for speed and endurance. In this article, we will look at the difference, and you can decide which sport, or fitness-integrated lifestyle, is right for you.

The History of CrossFit

CrossFit was created by Greg Glassman in 2000 in California. Initially, there were only 27 participants. Since its foundation, CrossFit has expanded, and today there are over 10,000 CrossFit affiliates with 1 million users regularly taking part in CrossFit workouts.

CrossFit is a training model that aims to improve fitness. The idea of CrossFit is to not specialize in any particular one-sided workout, but to use a variety of techniques. It has three distinct phases – strength, stamina, and sometimes even speed.

Other CrossFitters see CrossFit as an athletic engine that can be custom-built to suit potential competitors in any sport, including gymnastics, swimming, track, basketball, baseball, and even football.