Disclaimer: I’m not a CrossFit-certified coach in any way. I’m just an average suburban mom trying to be better at life. Before you start CrossFit, check with your doctor to make sure you’re physically able to participate in an exercise program. Do your due diligence with CrossFit Fundamentals classes and boxes, and listen to your coach.
With that out of the way, there is conflicting information about whether you need a CrossFit Fundamentals classes. The idea behind these classes, also known as CrossFit On-Ramp classes, is simple. You learn the nine basic movements of CrossFit before you jump into regular classes. These nine movements are:
- The Push Jerk
- The Air Squat
- The Medicine-Ball Clean
- The Sumo Deadlift High Pull
- The Deadlift
- The Push Press
- The Shoulder Press
- The Overhead Squat
- The Front Squat
Depending on the box, how run their CrossFit Fundamentals and CrossFit On-Ramp classes varies. Some will do them over a the course of a month; others will be six weeks. Some boxes charge less for Fundamentals than they do for a regular monthly membership.
But do you really need to go to CrossFit Fundamentals?
CrossFit Fundamentals Depends on the Box
My completely layperson’s opinion is that you don’t really need a CrossFit Fundamentals or CrossFit On-Ramp program at your box, and if you’re looking at CrossFit boxes, it shouldn’t deter you if they don’t offer one. Instead, ask the box owner a few questions and attend a trial class to find out if:
- Complex movements are explained and demonstrated before the workout. At Clear Lake CrossFit, the coaches will take us through the Burgener Warm-Up before we do any snatches, cleans, or jerks. They’ll explain movements and demonstrate them, or have an experienced CrossFitter demonstrate.
- Coaches actually coach. Ideally, the coach for your class should be offering you suggestions for safely and effectively doing the movements, like getting into a deeper squat or opening your hips at the top of a box jump.
- The class sizes are capped. If there are too many people in the box, the coach can’t actually coach everyone. It’s hard enough when there are 12 people, but if there are 20? It might feel like you’re on your own with only one coach. Ideally CrossFit classes will be capped at 15 people so your coach can keep an eye on newer CrossFitters.
If even one of these doesn’t happen at your box, then yes, you do need a CrossFit Fundamentals class so you can do the movements safely and get the most out of them.
Not having a CrossFit On-Ramp class is also good for box owners, believe it or not. They don’t have to set aside a time to hold the class, taking away from regular CrossFit classes. Instead, they can get new members directly into CrossFit classes, where – quite honestly – you learn by doing. You see how other people are tackling movements and can get tips from them, like when one of the coaches working out with me told me I could make my burpees faster if I did them with a wider foot stance.
Going directly into regular CrossFit classes instead of CrossFit Fundamentals also gives you a chance to get to know the other members and see how they interact. A lot of CrossFit – more than you’d think – is about the environment. If you’re like me, a mom just trying to be the fittest version of myself, you’d probably want to find a box full of people with the same attitude. A box full of CrossFit Games hopefuls would scare me away.
So my completely layperson’s opinion after four years of CrossFit? No, you don’t need a separate CrossFit Fundamentals class. It helps, but it’s not necessary if you have good coaches who demonstrate movements and actually coach.