CrossFit vs Weightlifting: Which is Better?

CrossFit has become the “darling” of the resistance training world, but there are many people who still see regular weightlifting as being the best way to build strength and power. Talk to a CrossFitter, and they’ll expound on all the ways their workout is better than anything else. The same happens when you talk to a weightlifter. So which is better? Below, we take a look at the argument of CrossFit vs weightlifting to see which is your best option…

CrossFit vs Weightlifting: Difficulty

If you’re a fitness newbie, CrossFit may be a lot more than you’re ready to handle. The truth is that CrossFit is not for the faint of heart, and it’s a high-endurance workout that requires a certain degree of fitness. For those who are just starting out, it’s better to try weightlifting first.

CrossFit vs Weightlifting: Weight Loss

For weight loss, you’re probably better off with CrossFit. Weightlifting is excellent for weight loss, as the resistance training engages your muscles, burns fat, and promotes improved cardiovascular function. All of this leads to a better body composition. However, CrossFit has one added component: high intensity exercise. While weightlifters are pounding out consistent sets, CrossFitters are hitting the workouts hard to complete them in as little time as possible. The cardiovascular toll will lead to serious fat- and calorie-burning that regular weightlifting can’t quite match.

CrossFit vs Weightlifting: Injury Risk

With any exercise, there is always a risk of injury. Perhaps you move the wrong way, lift too much, or stretch too far. No matter what you do, you always have to be careful. Weightlifting is much more consistent in terms of form, intensity, and weight. Your risk of injury remains about the same in every workout. With CrossFit, however, the workouts are always changing, and the intensity is always dialed up to max. This is when your risk of injury seriously increases. Weightlifting is much “safer” in terms of injury risk.

CrossFit vs Weightlifting: Endurance

In one study, it was discovered that CrossFitters had greater muscular endurance than weightlifters. Weightlifters who train for strength often have less endurance, while CrossFit workouts incorporate both strength and endurance training. You’ll find that a CrossFit workout will help you to keep up with your activities of daily life better than your basic weightlifting training, as the workouts focus more on functional strength then raw power.

CrossFit vs Weightlifting: Strength

If your goal is to get stronger, weightlifting is the better choice. Remember how CrossFit focuses on functional strength? That’s the strength you need to lift your kids, pull up your body weight, or carry groceries. Weightlifting focuses more on building raw power, the power needed to push, pull, curl, or carry heavy weights. The strength may not translate into the rest of your life as well, but in terms of raw strength and muscular capacity, you can’t beat weightlifting!

CrossFit vs Weightlifting: Overall Fitness

Now this is the tough question to ask: which one improves overall fitness more effectively? You’ll find that both CrossFitters and weightlifters will argue that theirs is the best option for overall fitness. Weightlifting focuses primarily on muscular strength (with some endurance), but there’s not as much attention paid to cardiovascular endurance or flexibility. Some functional training workouts will add these other elements, but the true focus is on power. CrossFit, on the other hand, incorporates cardiovascular endurance training into the muscular strength and endurance training. CrossFitters end up fitter overall because their workouts focus on more than just one element of fitness. For better overall fitness, CrossFit is the way to go.


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