CrossFit Football Comes to DC

The traditional CrossFit offshoot caters to the power athlete and features even shorter, more explosive workouts.

CrossFit Football is an offshoot of traditional CrossFit that's geared towards the power athlete. Workouts are shorter and more explosive, and feature heavier weights. Photograph courtesy of CrossFit Football.

There’s CrossFit, and then there’s CrossFit Football.

“CrossFit Football is for the power athlete,” explains Cali Hinzman, a CF Football rep. “The workouts are for an athlete who needs to work for a short duration and higher power output.” 

Short duration. High power. Aren’t those words synonymous with traditional CrossFit’s workouts of the day (WOD)? You know, the ones that have local attorney Vincent Lopez doing 30 headstands and 30 pullups in one go, and nurse Christy Phillips lifting 135 pounds above her head over and over? 

Yes and no, says Hinzman, who coached at CrossFit Dupont before joining CF Football. The offshoot was developed in April 2009 by ten-year NFL veteran John Welbourn. “He knew that for the general population, [traditional CrossFit] was a great tool to achieve well-rounded fitness,” explains Hinzman. “But it didn’t necessarily apply to athletes who were [looking] for more of a sports-specific goal.”

Welbourne took certain aspects of traditional CrossFit and tweaked them for athletes—and not just football players, as the name suggests. The training method has attracted high school coaches and athletes in track and field, rugby, soccer, and lacrosse—all sports that require agility, speed, and power.

“We are for the athletes who know what they’re training for,” says Hinzman. “CrossFit,” on the other hand, “is for the unknown.”

Workouts of the day can last anywhere from 6 to 12 minutes (not a minute longer) and involve heavier weights and more explosive movements. Another important goal of CF Football is to train the body for change of direction and agility, something that’s not stressed in traditional CrossFit. The athletes “need to be able to absorb impact if playing a contact sport, or need to sprint quickly and change directions quickly,” explains Hinzman. “They probably have a slightly bigger stature—traditional CrossFit may make you too lean for contact sports.”

CF Football is just one of the few offshoots of traditional CrossFit that’s developed in one of the fastest-growing sports that boasts 7,000 affiliates in the world (almost 50 percent more than last year). It joins other specialty programs such as CrossFit Endurance, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Gymnastics, and more. Says Hinzman, “We all play a part in using CrossFit in a more specific application.” 

Georgetown University hosts a two-day CrossFit Football seminar this weekend, where those in attendance will learn more about the program and nutrition for the power athlete, and take part in two workouts. For more information and to sign up, visit the Georgetown University Sports Performance Department’s website