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Three Rebuttals for CrossFit Haters

Like anything else that garners attention, CrossFit has attracted its own rabble-rousing group of “haters.” These passionate few seek to poke holes in the CrossFit ethos and expose the modality as a farce. These are just a few useful rebuttals for the CrossFit hater in your life…


“CrossFit is dangerous!” First, you’ll need to clarify. It’s more dangerous than what? I’ll be happy to concede that activity is 100 percent more dangerous than the lack thereof with regard to acute accidents. CrossFit is also more dangerous than training on a leg-extension machine whether or not you’ve buckled the machine’s built-in seatbelt, as well. Guilty as charged.

There are some things that CrossFit, in all its weightlifting glory, is statistically less dangerous than, though. It’s less dangerous than the major sports (soccer, baseball, basketball and football) and even some of the more niche sports like cheerleading. Yet signing a kid up for CrossFit is child endangerment but enrolling them in peewee soccer is a civic duty?

“Some of the CrossFit coaches are unqualified. Where’s the quality control?” I agree with part of this sentiment. What do I mean, you ask? Well, I’d agree that there are poor CrossFit coaches out there. My rebuttal, however, would ask: “What is the significance of this observation?”

Let’s be honest, “Gangnam Style” is terrible music. On the quality meter, I’d give the guy one point out of 100. Can I draw the conclusion that since “Gangnam Style” is music, and “Gangnam Style” is terrible, that music is terrible? Nope, it’s broken logic.

Like music, CrossFit is a big pond with a lot of fish in it. Some of those fish happen to be among the best coaches of human performance in the world. So, if we’re going to critique a modality, let’s get back to the task at hand. Plus, have you seen the trainers at your local 24 Hour Fitness in action? Whoa! Next question.

“Elite fitness? Really? Look at the stats… There’s nothing ‘elite’ about running 19-minute 5Ks and back squatting under 500 pounds. That’s average in the running and powerlifting world. And those are stats for the best CrossFitters in the world? Come on!” First of all, pump your brakes, big guy. Despite the implicit ego surrounding CrossFit, one thing I know to be true is that CrossFit never claimed to build a fitness that will break any records in weightlifting, running or anything else, for that matter. That’s the point. The incredible fact is in your very critique, and that is that the world’s best CrossFitters can run a 19-minute 5K and back squat nearly 500 pounds.

To attack a modality for its inability to do something it has never claimed to do doesn’t make much sense. Sure, you can say CrossFit won’t build world-class strength, speed or endurance. Not a soul will disagree with you. You can’t say, however, that CrossFit is ineffective at building the most broad, general, inclusive fitness possible. And that’s the point!

Now, this article won’t save you from all 21 questions your favorite CrossFit hater might ask you, but it’s a good start. At the end of the day, there’s good news, and that is that we all can train as we please. If you’re a CrossFitter, I recommend just loading up on fitness and tackling life’s adventures no matter what anyone says.

— Logan Gelbrich