At first glance, calisthenics and Crossfit don’t have much in common. But the 2021 Crossfit Games events showcased a lot of unconventional training kit amidst the barbell work and handstand walks. What can we learn from the 2021 Crossfit Games to optimise our own approach to training?
What was different about the 2021 Crossfit Games?
Crossfit typically features a real range of movement challenges within its workouts, with weight lifting meeting HIIT alongside gymnastics. But the 2021 Games seemed to push the “unconventional” side of its events to another level. Barbells didn’t make an appearance until the final event of day one for individual athletes – until then it had been kayaking and odd objects all the way!
Unconventional training in the 2021 Crossfit Games
There was a significant amount of unconventional kit in the 2021 CrossFit Games, with many workouts not featuring a barbell or dumbbell at all. Check out some of the odd object workouts the athletes had to do.
On day one, individual athletes found themselves swimming and kayaking, sled dragging and “pig flipping” (similar to a tyre flip) before the more traditional Crossfit elements entered the picture.
On day two, the first event ended with a sandbag carry, and on the final day individual athletes carried odd objects called “cheese curds” over haybales followed by a yoke carry.
Adaptive athletes performed sandbag squats on day two of the competition, and the masters and teen athletes did sandbag squats, sandbag carries, and sled pushes.
The unconventional and odd object workouts showed up in the team aspect of the event, too. On day one, teams had to do cheese curd odd object holds and sled push and pulls. On day two, the unconventional workouts included hand-over-hand sled pulls and sled pushes. And the final two days of team competition included med balls, odd object throws, and the dreaded worm which is essentially a giant sandbag suitable for team workouts.
Functional fitness equipment in the 2021 Crossfit Games
Calisthenics athletes love their parallettes, pull up bars, and rings. Strongmen competitors love heavy things in awkward shapes like stones and yokes. So it was interesting to see the 2021 Crossfit Games incorporate a lot of equipment outside the more traditional Crossfit kit of barbells, dumbbells, and the rig.
Unconventional training equipment this year included the “pig” (like a big tyre), sand bag, and sled or prowler (called the “bob”) which was pushed, dragged, and hand-over-hand pulled. We also saw the “cheese curd” make an appearance, which is kind of a cross between a sandbag, heavy med ball, and Atlas stone.
What can we take from the 2021 Crossfit Games?
It’s great to see more sports embracing unconventional training through the use of unusual fitness kit. We’ve known for a long time that this kind of training has a wealth of benefits to fitness, strength, endurance, and general health.
Unconventional training using odd objects to emphasise functional movements and challenge the cardiovascular system and muscle endurance alongside strength.
The best form of training is the one you enjoy most and will keep doing, regularly, for a long time. But the optimal approach is mixing up resistance training, bodyweight work, HIIT, and cardio with unconventional training.
Perhaps what we can all learn from watching the 2021 Crossfit Games is the beauty of adopting lots of different training approaches into our own workouts. Don’t get stuck in a rut – try something new this week.
Check out our range of unconventional training equipment including sandbags and steel maces or “macebells” at the Gravity Fitness online shop.
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