Adapted version of multisport crossfit system for academic physical education service

Postgraduate student D.A. Kokorev1
PhD, Associate Professor D.V. Vyprikov1
I.M. Bodrov1
1Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow

Keywords: students, physical education, multisport training system, adapted CrossFit version, physical fitness.

Background. Age-, gender- and personal-needs-specific CrossFit practices applied in the academic education process are known to improve the students’ physical education motivations, values and priorities and their functionality and physicality indices [1, 2, 3].

Objective of the study was to test benefits of a high-intensity experimental version of the multisport adapted CrossFit system applied in the academic physical education process to counter the students’ health sagging trends.

Methods and structure of the study. The adapted CrossFit model testing educational experiment was completed in 2015-2017 (2 academic years). The CrossFit-driven physical education model was implemented at Plekhanov Russian University of Economics under the academic Physical Education discipline in application to Experimental Group (EG, n=210, including 70 male and 140 female students) that was trained 90min twice a week, with optional 60min training sessions once a week. The CrossFit practices took 50% of the training time, with the other 50% assigned for the traditional academic sports including the basic athletic gymnastics [4], standard body conditioning practices, functionality trainings, races and sprints. The EG training system included the CrossFit-driven physical education model with a special emphasis on the training elements to make the students highly fit for the GTO Complex tests.

The Reference Group (RG, n=200, including 70 male and 130 female students) was trained 90min twice a week under the traditional academic physical education curriculum including standard body conditioning practices, swimming, body-building, martial arts, aerobics, track and field sports and team sports.

The study and experiment were designed to develop and test benefits of the experimental multisport CrossFit-driven training model giving a special priority to the safety rules, gender-specific off-class trainings and fitness trainings for the GTO Complex tests with application of the modern athletic training methods including interval, circular, isometric and combined training ones.

The multisport CrossFit model mesocycles applied in the academic physical education curriculum implied the physical practices designed on a combined-and-sequential basis so as to facilitate progress in the students’ physical fitness and functionality indices. The model offers a set of new progress test and developmental exercises from the CrossFit WODs (Workouts of the Day) system to update the academic physical education with a special emphasis on the right execution techniques, body shaping and the off-class training formats – and it resulted in the new competences building model giving a high priority to the application aspects of the modern physical education including its socializing and practice-oriented aspects. The new model offers an efficient mechanism to help the students master the multisport CrossFit system basics and facilitate the academic progress and practical skills in the relevant sport disciplines: see Table 1.

We applied the combined-and-sequential format for the academic physical training management process that implies due succession in the training process design and management, with every prior WOD securing due functionality basis for transition to the next WOD so as to maximize the training process benefits. Each training mesocycle is designed to prudently distribute training loads by the WOD modules with an emphasis on the training process intensity, variations, volumes, quantities, goals, progress tests, diets and timing of practices in the WODs.

The training system includes the following key elements: aerobic practices; gymnastics; standard body conditioning practices; exercises with own body weight; gymnastic practices on apparatuses; athletic gymnastics; dumbbell sport basics (with 2-8kg and 6-24kg dumbbells for the female and male trainees, respectively); high-intensity CrossFit WODs; and stretching practices [3].

Table 1. Basic CrossFit training model implemented in 2015-2017


Academic year 1

Academic year 2

1. Training process priorities, theoretical and practical grounds

Health and developmental focus; WOD basics mastering; adaptation to the aerobic and strength-building trainings; HR and BP tests; and safety rules

Athletic and developmental goals; complex coordination building practices; competitive practices; basics of CrossFit WODs; high-intensity WODs

2. Competitions

Group competitions; accessible exercises; HR and BP tests; most efficient gender-specific competitive formats

University competitions; combined exercises; untraditional weight practices; competitions in specific CrossFit WODs; demo practices

3. Fitness trainings for the GTO Complex tests

CrossFit WODs with pull-ups and prone push-ups; pre-swimming trainings; 50m swimming; 3-6min runs to get fit for 2-3 races; and flexibility tests

Specific CrossFit WODs with GTO exercises and functionality trainings; interval trainings; combined practices; 3-6min runs to get fit for the 2-3 races

4. Physical education tools

Swimming; standard body conditioning; body-building; track and field practices; aerobics for women; 5-20min functionality trainings; cardiac system training systems; jumping practices

Swimming; track and field practices; races; Tae Bo sessiojs; strength sport elements; 15-25min functionality trainings; rowing machine assisted trainings

5. Progress test exercises

GTO Complex exercises; CrossFit WOD #1; cross-country race; body conditioning; bench press practices; deadlift; burpee; plank; lower-limb static strength training; parallel bar for men

GTO Complex exercises; weight squats; optional practices (50m swimming, dumbbell); CrossFit WOD #1/2; burpee; cross-country race

Burpee, key CrossFit exercise

Males: 10-30 times in Semester 1 and 30-50 times by the year end; Females: 10-20 times in Semester 1 and 20-35 times by the year end

Males: 30-55 times in Semester 1 and 40-60 times by the year end; Females: 20-30 times in Semester 1 and 35-55 times by the year end


Study findings and discussion. The multisport CrossFit training model applied as the standard body conditioning practice in the academic physical education program was found beneficial as verified by the significant physical progress of the EG versus RG. A questionnaire survey of the sample showed the students appreciating burpee as one of the most effective functionality training exercises in the CrossFit WODs to secure progress from 5min to 20-25min. It should be emphasized that the new model was designed to step up the workloads in a phased manner, increase weight and difficulty levels of the WODs and training exercises. Thus the male subgroup made progress in burpee exercises from 10 times in September-October to 15 times in November-December, 20-25 times in January-March and 30 times in April-May in the first year. The second year trainings were designed to secure further (30+ times) progress by competitive and combined training practices.

The sets of progress tests and developmental practices (including bench press; weight squats; deadlifts), motor skills mastering practices (scored in points); body shaping and building practices; and off-class practices helped the students rethink the academic physical education service values and priorities in the context of their social and professional benefits. This was the reason for the students to appreciate the importance of the new training model easily customizable to gender and fitness level, available training equipment and training process goals. A special emphasis in the practices was made on the movement harmony, weight/ gymnastic stick/ body-bar control skills, postural control and respiration control skills.

Conclusion. The adapted multisport CrossFit-driven training model implemented in the academic physical education process was found beneficial as verified by the significant progress of the Experimental Group in physical fitness, functionality, weight exercise performance indices, GTO Complex tests and physical education competences.


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The study analyzes benefits of an experimental adapted version of the multisport CrossFit system applied in the academic physical education curriculum to counter the students’ health sagging trends. Essentially CrossFit is a high-intensity fitness system incorporating elements from several sports and training practices including fitness and strength/ cardiac training components, with a top priority being given to the functionality improvement trainings. The adapted CrossFit version includes special athletic training tools, simplified exercises, basics of functionality trainings and bodybuilding designed as mesocycles in an annual training cycle. The adapted CrossFit model was found beneficial as verified by the significant progress of the Experimental Group in the physical fitness indices, GTO Complex tests and physical education competences.