Crossfit or Bootcamp - Which One is For Me?

Find out which group workout style is best for you and your goals

Crossfit or Bootcamp – Which One is For Me?

There are a lot of similarities between CrossFit and Bootcamp training. So to clear up any confusion, this article is going to explore the purposes of each, pros and cons, and hopefully help you to decide which one you would prefer. At the bottom of the article, there is a quick little quiz you can do to help you make that decision.

Crossfit vs Bootcamp

Differences Between Crossfit and Bootcamp

When you think ‘Bootcamp’ some of you probably see a drill sergeant shouting insults at a group of recruits doing pushups in the mud. Whereas Crossfit is a paleo eating cult, where vomiting after a workout will earn you a badge of honour, and good form is inconsequential. You’d be wrong on both accounts, though I won’t deny the claims are not completely unsubstantiated.

In summary, Bootcamps run in groups, typically between 20-40 people, generally outdoors. There is one (or a couple) of trainers who set up what is usually a circuit style workout, with focus on teamwork, team spirit and challenging yourself.

Crossfit is also run in groups, only a little bit smaller, but can also be done solo in a gym or at home. However, it is generally run from a ‘box’ (local Crossfit gym). It’s an individual sport, where your performance is compared mainly to your own previous achievements, and focus is on skill, strength and speed.

What is Crossfit?

As mentioned above, Crossfit is usually run from a local box, which often consists of nothing more than a shed (with a notorious lack of temperature control) full of equipment, including:

  • Rowers
  • Pull-up Bars
  • Gymnastics RingsCrossfit Equipment
  • Barbells
  • Bumper Plates
  • Medicine Balls
  • Kettle Bells
  • Sleds
  • Truck Tyres
  • Jump Ropes
  • Boxes

Everyday a WOD (workout of the day) is written on the board, and the class, which ranges from about 10-40 people, all start preparing and setting up for that workout.

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However, WOD can be completed anywhere that has the appropriate equipment. Although it differs from box to box, most have a warmup and a pre-workout or post workout (both are like mini-workouts) before the WOD starts.

Examples of movements that could all be included in a Crossfit workout is:

Metabolic Movements:

  • Rowing
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Stairs
  • Skipping and Double Unders
  • Burpees
  • Box Jumps
  • Wall Balls

Bodyweight Movements:Crossfit Workout 2

  • Pull-ups and Bar Muscle ups
  • Squats and Pistol Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Ring dips and Ring Muscle ups
  • Lunges
  • Situps and V-snaps

Lifts:

  • Deadlifts
  • Cleans and Clean and jerks
  • Snatches
  • Push Press
  • Thrusters
  • Front Rack and Overhead Lunges
  • Back Squats, Front Squats and Overhead Squats
  • Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Tyre Flips

A Crossfit workout could be the combination of any number of these movements, and lasts anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes. Though you can create an infinite number of workouts, there are a number of ‘Benchmark’ workouts which enable you to monitor your progress as you go. The infamous ‘Girls (Crossfit workouts so named due to the way they leave you feeling) are all examples of benchmark workouts.

The sheer number of different possibilities and combinations is one of the things that makes Crossfit so attractive. Because it takes so long to master the different movements, and there is so much to learn, it’s very hard to get bored. The flip side is that it is also easy to get overwhelmed.

Crossfit Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Extremely varied and is unlikely to get boring or old
  • Incorporates complicated movements that takes time to master and gives you bragging rights
  • There are opportunities to complete and make a career out of it
  • Great supportive atmosphere
  • Great way to build muscle and become extremely fit
  • Most Crossfit gyms are small and personable enough to know when you’ve bailed on a workout, and they will keep you accountable.

Cons:

  • Can be overwhelming initially with lots of new terminology, movements and form standards
  • If you have trainers that are not vigilant or qualified, the risk of injury is higher than with Bootcamp

 

Things to Consider:

Crossfit is more of a solo-act than Bootcamp. Although there are plenty of team competitions, the daily training is very individual.

You should ideally be able to commit to at least 4 days of training a week, as there is so much to learn and stay on top of. Crossfit is a full time sport!

Bootcamp Training In Summary

Bootcamps have recently gained a lot of popularity, and although the term did indeed originate from the yelling drill sergeant, they have come a long way since then.

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As I mentioned previously, Bootcamps are usually run outdoors, sometimes at different locations every time, and so there is less equipment compared to conventional Crossfit. Though it tends to focus on bodyweight movements, some typical Bootcamp equipmentBootcamp gear includes:

  • Truck Tyres
  • Kettle Bells
  • Dumb Bells
  • Medicine Balls
  • Jump Ropes

In Bootcamp workouts, the trainer will have the circuit set up, and they will tell you what to do. Class sizes are generally slightly larger than Crossfit, about 20-50 people.

Some typical examples of movements that could be included in a Bootcamp workout is:

Metabolic Movements:

  • Running, High Knees and Butt Kicks
  • Skipping
  • Stairs
  • Burpees

Bodyweight Movements:

  • SquatsBootCamp workout
  • Push-ups
  • Lunges
  • Situps and V-snaps
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Flutter Kicks
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Bicycles
  • Planks

Weight Movements:

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Tyre Flips
  • Medicine Ball Sit ups
  • Medicine Ball Squats

As with Crossfit, the workout could be any combination of these movements, and so the possibilities are abundant. Bootcamp workouts tend to last longer than most Crossfit workouts, but are generally less intense.

As bodyweight movements are easier to scale to your ability, Bootcamp works better for beginners and people who have pre-existing conditions or injuries.

Bootcamp focuses more on teamwork, and completing tasks as a group, whereas Crossfit is much more a solo act. That’s not to say that Crossfit doesn’t value team spirit and encouragement.

The best way I can explain it is; where in Bootcamps sharing the load and helping someone by physically taking load off is considered a nice gesture, in Crossfit you help and encourage mentally, but you never step in and take over – that is the battle of the person struggling.

Bootcamp Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Done mostly outdoors, and you get to enjoy nature (for better or worse)
  • Very scalable and open to all fitness levels
  • Great team spirit and training in working as part of a group
  • Easy to understand and perform most movements (until you get to the end of the workout and everything hurts)
  • If you run out of steam, there is usually someone who is willing to help you out
  • Great way to burn lots of calories and lose weight

Cons:

  • Repetitive and simple movements can become boring if you are planning to continue for an extended period of time
  • Don’t expect to pick up any cool skills that you can use for party tricks
  • In a group scenario it’s easier to ‘hide’ behind other team members achievements and not own your own achievement, for better or worse

Things to Consider:

  • Bootcamp can be a great way to get a foot in the door if you are unsure or feel a bit intimidated by it all
  • Bootcamp is also a great if you want to lose weight, but not as interested in building muscle and learning cool skills

Is Crossfit for me? The BootCamp Vs CrossFit Quiz

If you are sure you want to try one of them, but you are still unsure of which, answer the questions below while counting the number of B’s. Depending on how many B’s you get will determine your results, which can be found at the bottom of the Quiz

1. How Much Time am I Willing to Commit?

A) 1-3 Sessions per week

B) 4-7 Sessions per week

2. How fit am I Currently?

A) I haven’t exercised for years/have never exercised and get puffed walking up a set of stairs

B) I could probably quite comfortably do a 2-3km run, lift a 20kg sand/soil bag and do 1 or more pull ups.

C) I do exercise somewhat, but I still can’t do the above

3. I Prefer to Train…

A) Outdoor

B) Indoor

4. If I am Constantly Over Achieving/Beating my Peers, I Get…

A) A kick of out!

B) Bored

5. I Want to…

A) Lose weight

B) Lose weight, build muscle and learn skills

6. When I am Completely Buggered, I Prefer…

A) That someone else takes over and finishes for me

B) That people keep insisting that I finish myself

7. I Prefer To…

A) Work as a team and accomplish great things as part of a group

B) Work on my own and know that any improvement is 100% of my own input, and do teamwork occasionally

8. If I Struggle to Get a Handle on Something, or It’s Taking Time Perfecting Something…

A) I get frustrated and get down on myself, and am likely to give up

B) I get motivated to try even harder, because I know that when I do get it, it will be all the more satisfying

Results:

6-8 B’s: Born Crossfitter

4-6 B’s: This could go either way – you probably need to try both once and make a decision from there

2-4 B’s: You are probably more of a bootcamp person

0-2 B’s: Bootcamp is your domain!

A Few Closing Words

I am personally a CrossFitter and I love it. I used to do bootcamps, but quickly outgrew them. Both can be a bit intimidating to start if you have never done anything like this in the past, they are also both more expensive than a regular Gym membership. But if you give either one a go, you will quickly see the benefits of working out as part of a group, rather than just on your own.

Let us know in the comments whether you are leaning towards Crossfit or bootcamp as your training of choice.

Matt Rollans

Matt Rollans

Matt has been doing Crossfit since 2015and is the founder of Rxdsleeves.com. He has competed in multiple competitions throughout his community. He has made it his mission to provide the best, high quality and honest reviews of crossfit products out there on the market.
Matts PRs can be found on the about page http://www.rxdsleeves.com/about/
Matt Rollans

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