Crossfit Vs. Bodybuilding

By: Nate Kumapayi

“It is said that the simple fact is Bodybuilders concern  themselves with aesthetics and CrossFitters only worry about performance. Two different goals with two different mindsets.”

Let’s take a deeper dive.

Five Things Bodybuilders Can Learn From CrossFitters

Lesson #1: Exercise Selection 

CrossFit puts a priority on basic multi-joint compound movements.

Lesson #2: Emphasis on Gymnastics / Bodyweight Movements

Piggybacking on the last point, aside from the occasional dip and pull-up most bodybuilders do not do any type of bodyweight or gymnastics movements. The fact is bodyweight is still weight/resistance. Check out the upper body of a gymnast, clearly bodyweight movements can build muscle!

Lesson #3: Quantifiable Workouts

With CrossFit there is a goal in every workout to try and improve. The one training variable that seems to get the least compliance in most bodybuilding programming is rest intervals. If nothing else it at least gives you another training variable to manipulate and try to improve.

Lesson #4: Blending Strength Qualities / Rep Ranges in One Session

Typical periodization focuses on one modality of strength and or hypertrophy during each block mesocycle. Enforcing the fundamental ideas of variation and muscle confusion to resemble a true aerobic workout.

Lesson #5: Sense of Community

This is the BIG one. One of the main reasons why CrossFit has grown so much over the last few years stems from making exercising fun! Whether the group setting, competition like atmosphere, or just the nature of CrossFit workouts everyone seems excited to go train. Group setting naturally encourage athletes to push themselves harder. If you’re truly not a self-driven athlete, working out in a weightroom could effectively limit one’s potential, and eventually results.

Three Things CrossFitters Can Learn From Bodybuilders

Lesson #1: Nutrition

If you really want to nail those body composition targets, and be able to replicate your achievements, then treat your nutrition like you (should) do your training – record and measure religiously.

Lesson #2: Discipline

Respect the discipline it takes to reach that level of body composition and use that discipline to be a better lifter and person. If you don’t feel the respect for this, you probably need some more discipline yourself.

There’s a wider picture here. There is no denying that bodybuilders get themselves into incredible shape for a contest. That kind of shape doesn’t happen through luck or simply good genetics. It’s the result of knowledge, mixed with unwavering application, smothered in a good dose of discipline and that you’ve given that level of commitment, dedication, and downright discipline into crafting your body.

Lesson #3: Pivotal Workouts: Bench Press, Bicep Curl and Squats

The Bench Press

The bench is a functional movement. It is also an incredible strength and mass builder. Use it.

Something else I hear all the time that winds me up is that the bench isn’t functional. The bench came to the forefront in the 1940s and 1950s through the results the bodybuilders of the time were getting from it. It has remained a favorite exercise for bodybuilders, who will often perform numerous variations of the movement.

The Bicep Curl

Isolation movements are not evil and can help with prehab and rehab. Use isolation exercises, such as the bicep curl, to complement your compound training movements and fill in the gaps.

Another movement that is ridiculed by many of those who train CrossFit or other functional approaches is the bicep curl. It is said the concept that the bicep curl is an isolation exercise, and isolation exercises are evil and should never be touched. Some say that the bicep curl is not functional. Strangely then, for such a polarized opinion, when I ask their definition of functional fitness, their answers are delivered with much less conviction.

The Squat

  • Squats are mostly known as a leg exercise, but they promote body-wide muscle building by catalyzing an anabolic environment
  • Squats are also one of the best functional exercises out there, promoting mobility and balance and helping you complete real-world activities with ease
  • Squats also help you to burn more fat, as one of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories continually is by developing more muscle

About Nate Kumapayi

Nate is a corporate marketing associate at McKesson Corporation in Atlanta, GA.  Alongside his path to corporate America, he is a lifelong athlete. From playing Division 1 Club Basketball for the University of Wisconsin Badgers during his college years leading into a stint in the NBA D-League in 2010.  He has leveraged strict weight training during his college days and transitioned into the CrossFit world several years ago.

“Physical fitness is can be viewed as an investment….every individual needs to manage their own portfolio that best suits their needs and goals.”

-Nate Kumapayi