The Truth Behind Functional Training: Is CrossFit Bad for You?

CrossFit has a bad rep because the look of people throwing weights around just simply doesn’t look safe. However, is there any truth to such beliefs?

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a high intensity fitness programme that involves both strength and functional training. It is build on the foundation of constant variation, functional movements, and high intensity.

Some of the movements that are emphasised are squats, presses, kipping pull-up, thrusters, deadlifts, and snatches.

Needless to say, it wouldn’t be an easy workout for the average person.

Is CrossFit good for me?

who physical activity guideline
Are you getting enough exercise 150 minutes of aerobic exercise alone may not be good enough for you The World Health Organisation WHO clearly recommends at least 2 days of muscle strengthening activity

It depends.

There’s definitely huge benefits to keeping your workouts varied, functional, and at a high intensity. World Health Organisation recommends 75-minute of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise and two days of strength training every week.

With CrossFit, you would easy meet the recommendation.

As a fitness programme, CrossFit can be easily tailored to people of different abilities. CrossFit Kids amongst parents. There are also CrossFit boxes that cater towards individuals with disabilities or severe injuries.

Hypothetically, it is the perfect functional training programme for everyone.

How can I make CrossFit work for me?

crossfit singapore, olympic lifting
Some of the exercises do indeed look scary to execute However there is a lot of value to engaging in such exercises

The first thing to understand is your own body’s capacity. Without having insight into how much you can do — without risking injury — should be the premise on which how hard you should train.

This falls into the principle of good load management.

Once you are able to ascertain your ability, you can planning your training around it.

While compound exercises are inherently better than single-joint exercises, they may not necessary be suitable for you.

For example, the snatch is a ridiculous complex movement to execute. It will require you to have good shoulder stability, thoracic mobility, low back capacity, and more! The snatch is essentially a deadlift, squat, high pull (or clean), and shoulder press combined into one!

The other aspect to consider is the intensity you train at. As much as high intensity workouts can be beneficial, it also comes with its set of injuries. Good load management, in this case, would be able varying the intensity of your training to suit what your body needs.

This means putting aside time to focus on some slow tempo technique work or good ol’ accessory training. This will allow you longevity in the sport!

Choose a good CrossFit box

There are a fair bit of options in Singapore. Some of the popular CrossFit boxes include Battlefront, Actualize and Innervate Crossfit.

There are also some great functional training gyms that are build on similar training principles without using the CrossFit brand. Fire City, Kampung Gym, MVRCK are some spaces worth checking out.

In short, you have no shortage of options.

When it comes down to it, you should always choose a box that prioritises safety. You don’t want to train at gym that focuses on pushing as hard as possible, all the time, because that is guaranteed to lead to injury.

The community, the culture of the gym, will influence your risk of injury. You want to workout with people who can respect your limits and be always looking out for your long-term well-being.

Are there other functional training studios?

Yes! There are other functional training spaces in Singapore. F45 and BFT are options to consider.

F45 is an Australian 45-minute full body, functional HIIT workout. Their research team releases fresh programming daily for their members. They have studios all over Singapore from Jurong West to Changi.

BFT gyms are also from Australia. While there are newer than F45, there are already at least ten of them in Singapore.

When it comes to high intensity functional training, Singaporeans are spoilt for choices.

What does research say about CrossFit?

There are certainly aspects of CrossFit that can be poorly understood by boxes and instructors. With that, we do see poorly designed training programmes and higher risk of injuries. This is what I am most interested in as a chiropractor.

A paper looking at 10,967 functional fitness athletes found that the risk of sustaining an injury from functional fitness training is 33% on average.

This is not to say that CrossFit style workouts are bad for you. It probably alludes more to that the expertise and type of instructors matter. In one of the studies reviewed, the risk of injury is only 2.4%.

Should I start CrossFit training?

That depends!

If you are currently experiencing pain and injury, CrossFit may not be the best exercise programme. This is not because CrossFit is bad for you. Rather, it is that you should always seek professional help for your recovery before engaging in additional physical exercise.

If you are doing really well and you want to join a CF box to keep fit, it’s 100% a good idea. The philosophy of keeping exercises varied and their focus on functional fitness does make it a well rounded exercise programme.


Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.

Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.

*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.