Fitness company Crossfit was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai. It is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, and is used in more than 10,000 gyms and clubs worldwide. There are more than 5,000 gyms and 35,000 accredited trainers in the US alone that follow the Crossfit program. Crossfit has exploded in popularity in recent years, particularly among military members and police personnel. There are even Crossfit Games – basically Crossfit’s own version of the Olympics – in which participants compete against other followers of the program to win up to $275,000.00 in cash prizes.

Rank Chart
Price
Nutrition Info
Our Score
#1
Good
7.5
#2
Yes
6.7
#3
Good
6.7

 

The Good

Crossfit incorporates a bevy of exercise styles that target both calorie burning and muscle building. It uses elements from popular training methods such as interval training, weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and others.

Crossfit uses a multitude of equipment, many of which are easy to obtain and use if you choose to follow the program at home. These include barbells, bumper plates, jump ropes, kettlebells, plyo boxes, resistance bands, gymnastics rings, power balls and abmats. Crossfit doesn’t use machines, so treadmills and ellipticals won’t be part of your workout. Crossfit includes moves like squats, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, sit-ups, rope climbing and more. Some Crossfit locations even incorporate running, swimming and rowing into the routines.

Beyond simply making people fit, Crossfit is renowned for increasing endurance, stamina, power, strength, speed, agility, balance and coordination. Since Crossfit incorporates many types of training into the program, athletes from a variety of sports find it appealing. In addition, the variety keeps you from getting bored.

Crossfit maintains an enthusiastic, team-like community of support and motivation. Trainers and fellow participants will push you to do your best and succeed. If you prefer group workouts and like competing with the guy next to you, you’ll enjoy the Crossfit environment.

The program is very high-intensity, so results often come quickly. You’ll notice within weeks that your body is getting stronger and fitter.

The Bad

Crossfit has earned a reputation as an injury-inducing fitness program. Of course, risk of injury is present any time you exercise – however, in recent years, there have been increasing reports of injury to Crossfit trainers and athletes. In early 2014, a Crossfit trainer incurred a critical spinal injury performing a common Crossfit weightlifting move known as a snatch lift and is now paralyzed – though the trainer was not at a Crossfit gym or Crossfit-sanctioned event when the injury took place. There have also been several reports of Crossfit athletes suffering from rhabdomyolysis, a kidney condition caused by excessive muscle breakdown that can cause permanent damage. A more common – and minor – report is athletes throwing up during Crossfit training. This is also a sign that they’ve pushed their bodies past healthy limits, although it won’t have any long-term effect unless it becomes a regular occurrence. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Crossfit itself is dangerous – but could indicate that athletes are encouraged to keep working out past a safe point or that trainers aren’t skilled enough to pace and correct the athletes properly.

The various exercises in Crossfit are time-based circuits, which means that you’ll be expected to keep going even if you feel tired or weak before time is up. If you’re competitive, you could be tempted to overdo it and hurt yourself rather than stopping before the buzzer.

Your Crossfit experience may vary, as Crossfit doesn’t have franchises. Each location, known as a “box,” pays a yearly affiliate fee to Crossfit but has ample freedom over the exercises and environment they offer. While this makes it difficult to know what to expect from each Crossfit location and trainer, this also means that if you don’t enjoy working out at one Crossfit location, then you may still enjoy another.

Crossfit is done in a group setting and many exercises are done with a partner – so if you prefer to work out solo, you may want to opt for another type of program.

The price of a Crossfit membership is about $150.00 per month, though the exact cost will vary from location to location. This isn’t as expensive as SoulCycle or SurfSET, but it will set you back financially more than a typical gym membership will. While you can do Crossfit at home, you will need to purchase a lot of equipment to complete the variety of exercises – so you will still be spending some cash on kettlebells, weights and more.

The Crossfit website is somewhat difficult to navigate and may require you to do a lot of scrolling to find what you’re looking for. Pages such as Exercises & Demos are extremely long, one-column lists in a very small font – they’re challenging to read and not optimized for easy searching.

The Bottom Line

If you enjoy spirited competition, intense physical challenges and a varied workout, Crossfit may meet your needs. While Crossfit’s history of injuries is somewhat concerning, there isn’t enough evidence to indicate that Crossfit is unsafe – but this may mean that it needs to better regulate its affiliate locations or trainer certification process. Since each location and trainer may vary, we recommend that you shop around to find a Crossfit location that offers safe and supportive instruction.

Are there any inaccuracies in this review? We take our accuracy very seriously and would love your feedback. Give feedback here.

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20 Crossfit Reviews

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  1. User Score

    9

    July 30th, 2015 Raymond, NH

    I have been doing CrossFit for 11 months. I go 5 times a week. The only reason I rated it a 9 and not a 10 is the cost. The coaching is great at my box, CrossFit Bonafide. Safety is a very high priority with the coaches.

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  2. User Score

    10

    July 30th, 2015 Marietta, GA

    I have been involved with fitness for over 25 years in different capacities. What it all boils down to is “does it work for you?”!! I have personally never seen a more effective training method. When people say that CrossFit hurts people, it is a statement made out of ignorance. CrossFit is an in-animate object–it does not posses the ability to hurt (or do anything else, for that matter). When people get hurt or injured, it is usually their own fault for a wide variety of reasons ranging from inflated ego that won’t allow them to alter a prescribed workout to fit their fitness level, to not listening to instruction from their trainers. There ARE trainers out there who are not as effective–even some who are dangerously ineffective, but that is true at any gym that you go to, and in any fitness program. This is the Land of the Free, so if you don’t like it, go do something else and quit wasting so much effort bashing something that you probably haven’t even given a good honest try.
    My .02 cents.
    ‘Murica!!!

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  3. User Score

    9

    July 29th, 2015 Trenton, TX

    With anything it boils down to what works for you. Crossfit works for me. I always thought you had to be in shape to do crossfit. That is incorrect. I am 5’4″ and was 268 lbs. 41% fat. I used to be a thin and very active person, However, after kids and a lot of bad habits, I became overweight. I finally had enough and tried Crossfit. I cannot do pull ups or certain other exercise, However, there are a lot of things I can do. I can do a 230 lb back squat or a 100 lb strict press. etc. I can row a lot. There are modifications for everything. If you join a good box with great coaches that know what they are doing, it is a great fitness program. It is not just a cardio program. If you work hard, you will get stronger and fitter. You have to know your limits and listen to your body. Injuries can and do occur with every sport, and every fitness program period. Most of the injuries associated with Crossfit are not because of a program or coach, it is because the ‘athlete” does not listen or know their body. Every gym can have over crowding or lack of enough equipment. etc. Find what works for you. Try a few boxes if need be to find what you like. You would do the same if you joined a gym. CrossFit TBR is awesome. Since going consistently, I have lost 17 lbs and down a little more than a dress size. I have became stronger and feel so much better. I have had to deal with modifications, injuries (not from Crossfit) and getting my mind set right. But have persevered through it and found that CrossFit works for me. Just because it may not work for you, does not make it a bad program. It works for thousands of people. One thing you have to remember also with CrossFit is check your ego at the door! If you cannot do that, than Crossfit is not for you!

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  4. User Score

    7

    July 28th, 2015 League City, TX

    I feel there are inherent issues with the business aspect as well as the mentality of coaching. While the premise of if you don’t like the box you’re at, just go to different one. If you own that business, the point of business is to turn a profit. We are service business, and with saturated area that have boxes in excess, the product gets watered down. Many people never get the chance to get to a quality box before injury or burnout happens. I feel a certain standard of operation to give the “affiliate” the right to open under the name CrossFit. The so-called level 1 training program you pay $1000.00 to some how say you’re qualified now to train humans safely and correctly is severely flawed. After participating and seeing some pass this seminar, I wouldn’t let them train my cat. That’s not say I’m any super qualified, but again it’s a slap in the face of those who are fully qualified. The overall mentality brought to the box by trainers and athlete is to push and exceed their limitations. While I’m all for big goals aiming towards big gains, it’s a reciped for disaster by many trainers who have bought into the same mentality. Yes the program is scalable, but in many cases it is not properrly explained to the athlete in a way the is beneficial to them. It at times is almost a secondary thought because the “box” is striving fr it’s own identity before it’s truly ready. This is clear by the terrible form/technique at competitions.The solution by many coaches at t he competition is to yell more emphatically to push them. My overall belief is that CrossFit HQ has no desire to change their policy, because when you have a box opening seemingly everyday, there is not incentive to do that. On a personal note, when I watched HQ back away and wash their hands of one of their accredited trainers to do something to cause severe injury (paralyzed) . While we all know we are ultimately responsible for our actions, it was disgusting that their first reaction was to make sure that they were not liable, where was that “community” that is spoke of often.
    I am not altogether unhappy with the CrossFit method. It has very beneficial effects and results for anyone, if approached and done with the athletes true abilities taken in to consideration. I feel a step up true certification and annual surveys, or inspections with penalties for those that are not keeping up with a certain quality control. My thought is part selfish (due too high saturation in my area) but it’s also in my interest that corporation I ma affiliated with doesn’t get a bad name or watered down with unqualified people leading the way! I am very proud to be a part of this revolution in fitness, but that does not preclude me from having my opinion. I want this to sustain and flourish. You can not flourish devaluing the product by not monitoring the people that represent you.I welcome those inspections, as well the ability to get trained in the care of the athlete and maybe a little less emphasis on the competitive nature. I love the competition, but there i that elephant in the morning, people think they are better than they are and we need to be honest with those people. People who come here want to be lead and advised, if we are honest with them along with a plan that will get them to where they want to go , then we are doing a real job.
    Lastly the whole affiliation idea is great in the sense that I maintain my independence, but being a little standardized is not unacceptable. Paying the affiliate fees do not afford any training, all training is a charge, and sometimes costly. I do believe charging is wise to add value to what you get, but maybe at a discount. If I own a box and feel I have given the brand a good name, why do I pay the same amount to a person who is not a part of the ownership program.
    My overall grade if I had to give…B-
    As with everything… I am not perfect but I am trying to be better and just want all involved to do the same.

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  5. User Score

    3

    July 27th, 2015 Long Beach, CA

    I did CrossFit gym for about six months and had a few issues. Now I know that CrossFit has an almost cult-like following (like anything else) so I’m sure the CrossFitters will tear into me, but I don’t care.

    Issue 1: Since Crossfit was the new thing to do, it was popular and we had a lot of people doing it. Problem was there were days where there were so many people the gym was short on space and equipment. Not a big deal when you’re doing something like pushups or sit ups, but when you’re doing anything with weights (deadlifts), you need a bit of room. This was of course an issue with the gym not having adequate space/equipment.

    Issue 2: No scalability. The WOD was posted on the board with number of reps and different weights for men and women. I was 40 and 275#, so there was no way in hell I could do kipping pull ups (let along “regular” dead hang pull ups)…so I’d just try and engage my arms/shoulders/back/core and just hold on as long as I could. Then there was the day we had to do double unders and I have a hard enough time just jumping rope….just couldn’t get the timing or manipulate the rope correctly. Coach said “You’re tall, get a longer rope”…I had the longest one I could find from their limited inventory. I was so pissed off I actually walked out of that workout. Suffice to say I never “RX’ed” a workout and thought signing your finish time (I was either me or the other not-so-fit guy that got the “DFL” designation…yes, if you finished last, you had to put that next to your name instead of your finish time).

    Issue 3: Coaching. Other than some free weight work I did in high school (say bench presses), I’ve never done Olympic style lifting. Most of the time I was using just the bar for the more complicated (to me) lifts (thrusters?) but could do about 250# deadlift. The instruction was pretty minimal and with all the other people in class, you got little attention unless you pulled the coach aside, when he wasn’t too busy with ladies or the more “elite” people (they had a CF team). I know the job of the coach is to push you and help you excel but sometimes they’d just yell at you for whatever reason (motivation?). One of the coaches told me that one of the ladies (she was in great shape) was lifting more than me. I said something like “That’s nice, she’s really good but I’m new to lifting and don’t want to get injured” and he just started laying into me. Got to the point where I mentioned it to the staff and eventually stopped going when he was instructing (I only did CF two or three days a week).

    Issue 4: Injuries. Other than “feeling it the next day”, I had no serious injuries that laid me up but did something to my shoulder trying to do those damn kipping pull ups (trying to do the swing and pulling as high as I could). Mr. Yeller Coach would tell (motivate?) me to go faster, more reps, more weight but I knew what I could/couldn’t do so I largely ignored it. Makes no sense working out to the point where you can’t function in daily life or train again (all while paying that monthly rate).

    Issue 5: Cost. You’re not paying for a membership to 24 Hour Fitness, you’re paying for fairly technical instruction. I don’t remember what certifications the coaches had, but I don’t think any of them had say advanced degrees. Was on the expensive side for me, but I’m a security guard so don’t exactly make a ton of money. So for the money spent, I didn’t see a ton of results (mostly because I was doing it twice a week if my schedule allowed).

    Don’t get me wrong, CrossFit done properly with the right “box”, coaching, and support is really beneficial. I just got unlucky by picking the wrong box and while it didn’t completely turn me off from trying CF again, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to do it anytime soon. Just sticking with running and body weight exercises for now (“Body weight everything before free weight anything”).

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  6. User Score

    10

    July 21st, 2015 Mount Olive, NC

    It all comes down to the coaching at your Box. I’ve been training for over 30 years, I’m 48 years old, and haven’t come close to the “overall” condition I am in now. I’m stronger, faster and can jump higher. Before joining my affiliate, I did it at home for 2 1/2 years. Though my programming was sufficient, a coach with a Masters in Exercise Science and multiple certifications made it seem like child’s play. The best part of Crossfit is that you rarely do the same thing twice in a row. You can get hurt, just as in skate boarding, cycling, rock climbing or even running. With activity comes risk but this activity is a blast. Worth every $.

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  7. User Score

    10

    July 18th, 2015 Ellensburg, WA

    BEST workout I have EVER done in my life. I have taken a year off and CAN’T wait to get back. Good, honest, black and white work out. The community in Crossfit is REAL. It’s being part of a team.

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    1

  8. User Score

    10

    July 15th, 2015 Kennett Square, PA

    I am a 50 year old woman that used to just run and occasionally go to the gym and use the circuit equipment. I joined Crossfit 1 year ago and it has changed my life. I used to dread going to the gym, used the machines half hearted and never felt satisfied after a workout. I admit I was a little intimadated when I first walked into Crossfit. Thinking this was not for me I almost left. So happy I didn’t. I love the coaches, it’s like get a personal trainer every class. They listen to me, help me and only push me to what I can do. Many times they have taken the weight off the bar and had me just use the bar to work on form. I love the people, I read once that Crossfit is the only sport that the person finishing last gets the biggest cheers, it’s so true. Believe me as one a few females over 50 at my box I have heard those cheers many times 🙂 Exercise always runs the risk of injury, however if you listen to your body, take rest days and listen to the coaches you will be fine. You will also make some great friends with similar interests. I can’t promise you will ever learn to love burpees though 🙂

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    4

  9. User Score

    10

    July 15th, 2015 Saint Louis, MO

    I have made friends, gotten in WAY better shape and have learned a lot about fitness, health, nutrition, and I have become overall a more healthy person.

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    2

  10. User Score

    3

    July 14th, 2015 Saint Cloud, MN

    I did crossfit on a regular basis for 2 years. I enjoyed the competition and hard work it encouraged, but it came at a cost. I had chronic back pain and many many other minor injuries which would not go away.

    Before Crossfit I worked out on a regular basis mixing cardio with body building type weightlifting. After crossfit my cardio level was higher but due to the high rep little rest of many of the work outs I lost muscle mass.

    Overall I looked and felt better by doing traditional workouts designed for myself. Crossfit can be addicting due to the people and the workouts can be like a sport. So I can see why people are so dedicated to it and defend it so much.

    Crossfit is good for cardio and muscle endurance at the expense of having constant injuries. If you have trouble finding workouts on your own or pushing yourself on your own then crossfit is good otherwise doing your own proper workouts and pushing yourself to your own limits is a much better way to be fit. For that reason crossfit gets a 3 out of 10.

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    1

  11. User Score

    10

    July 11th, 2015 Pittsburgh, PA

    The most fun you can have with your clothes on.

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    2

  12. User Score

    10

    July 10th, 2015

    If you never worked out a day in your life you would still love crossfit for the people . The coaches are exceptional and take great care in teaching you how to be healthy as well as exercising. Its all about building your confidence with many other folks in the class you feel you have a team supporting you at every workout. I’ve worked out most of my life by myself,How boring!! Crossfit gives me the kick in the butt I need. I give a five star rating to 5 Rivers Crossfit in Morristown Tn.

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    3

  13. User Score

    10

    July 10th, 2015 Oak Park, IL

    My box, O’hare Crossfit is great. They focus a lot on proper technique and form. It is a great strength program and overall fitness program. Their coaches are very knowledgable and are very good. They also offer nutrition education and are very good at motivating members to be more healthy overall.

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    2

  14. User Score

    10

    July 8th, 2015 Gates Mills, OH

    Crossfit is fantastic on many different levels. (Depending on the quality of your coaches). A good coach will progress you slowly, while still challenging you both physically and emotionally. You WILL get stronger, have more endurance, lose weight, have more mobility and OVERALL get better. I can, without doubt, encourage ANYONE to try Crossfit.

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    3

  15. User Score

    10

    July 5th, 2015 Burtonsville, MD

    CrossFit literally changed my life. I was never even remotely athletic coming up in high school and was always at least mildly overweight. As I got older, it got worse to the point was over 300 lbs when I finally had enough.

    I started eating right and went to a local “globo-gym” and hired a personal trainer (at over $700 for 10 sessions…YIKES!) The interesting thing was the trainer I was assigned to also happened to be a CrossFit coach, but I wasn’t aware of that. After discussing my goals of getting lean and strong, he started putting me through workouts that was so different from what I had ever experienced! I found myself losing weight and trimming up faster than I ever had. (I’d yo-yoed a lot in my weight through the years) and I felt GREAT!

    Long story short, I wound up at a local CrossFit gym and wound up at 16% body fat and feeling better and stronger than I ever had at 54 years old! CrossFit is infinitly scalable, so wherever you are and whatever your goals are, you can meet them here. CrossFit is very similar to having a personal trainer as the coaches program your workouts for you. They are there to watch and make sure you’re doing the moves safely and you meet a GREAT group of people in your gym. (if you find the gym you’re at doesn’t drill safety, then you’re at a bad gym. Move on!

    It should be noted that all CrossFit gyms are independently owned and operated, so they all operate differently. Each gym has their own personality, so to speak, so if you’re at one that doesn’t fit you, then try out another one!

    If you’re serious about getting in shape, CrossFit’s the way. If you’d rather just play around and do something to occupy your time, then go to a regular gym.

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    3

  16. User Score

    10

    July 5th, 2015 Auburndale, FL

    Crossfit has changed my life. I cannot live without it.

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    2

  17. User Score

    7

    July 4th, 2015 Loganville, GA

    All Crossfit boxes are not created equally. I do believe the risk is far greater of injury doing crossfit versus going to the gym. You just have to be smart and listen to your body and be a student and learn the fundamentals and do the mobility work. When you are very tired and start losing form, stop! And go back lifting again. Just have to check your ego at the door and don’t buckle under the pressure. Personally I believe you should do Crossfit maybe 3-4 days a week. Ice whatever seems to be hurting and do a lot of mobility work.

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    5

  18. User Score

    10

    July 3rd, 2015 Salt Lake City, UT

    Excellent. I hired a personal trainer prior to starting crossfit and found it incredibly boring. You get more than a gym membership and fitness. You make life long friends.

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  19. User Score

    10

    July 3rd, 2015 Howell, NJ

    I enjoy the sport. I have a background in gymnastics and have had great success in meeting my goals. I think the gym you belong to and the coaches play a big part in getting the best results and training. Our gym starts with basic classes scaled down for beginners and you work your way up. Also, the athlete themselves has to take responsibility also for following the direction of the coaches during each class. If you decide to do it your own way you risk injury. If you feel you need to be scaled the tell the coach. Our gym also is a community. We don’t compete against each other. We all support and cheer each other on as we workout. I think you either love it or hate it. You just really need to listen, follow the direction of your coach (which is why they are there) and work to your own capacity. it is not a competition. The only person you should compete against is yourself. All in all … I LOVE IT!

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  20. User Score

    5

    July 2nd, 2015 Kannapolis, NC

    While I do enjoy Crossfit and participate from time to time, I believe you are much better off to hire a trainer and train to meet your own goals. Crossfit classes are too diverse in age, ability, gender, etc. to really give the individual attention a person needs to improve in the most efficient and safe way. The classes are fun and you meet a lot of great people, but everyone has different goals for fitness. I feel like crossfit got me somewhat better in most areas, but not really good in any area. I believe this is because the programming has to take into consideration everyone who could be in the class. There would be sometimes over 10 people with one trainer doing complicated and/or heavy lifts. They can’t possibly help everyone at once. I hired one of the coaches to do one on one sessions to focus on my weaknesses and goals, and have seen much better results.

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    3