Back to List
Previous Article:
Can’t Lift For A While?
Next Article:
The Truth About Fibromyalgia

Crossfit Vs BodyBuilding

Are They The Same, Or Is One Better?

Posted by begadsaeed - January 11th, 2016

As a humble crossfit athlete, who has trained myself and my friends for almost a year and half now, let me tell you what I have learned so far about the distinction between bodybuilding and crossfit.

Image title

What Is Crossfit?

Crossfit is a core strength and conditioning program. It is not a specialized fitness program designed to focus on one area of overall health, strength or size, but more as a mixture of all of these things focused on helping you become the fittest person you can be.

Crossfit is not always about losing fat, or building muscle like bodybuilding is. It's not even about increasing your speed like so many people think it is. Instead, it's about turning yourself into a true athlete, who can not only lift a ton of weight, but can do it with short rest periods, as well as doing it over and over again. To call yourself an athlete, you need to be adept at more than just one aspect of physical fitness, and that is just what crossfit is designed for.

Crossfit Fundamentals

There are many different areas of fitness and physical health which are important if you want to be better than average at crossfit. These include:

  • Cardiovascular Endurance
  • Respiratory Endurance
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Accuracy

How Do I Know If Crossfit Is For Me?

It really, like a lot of things, depends on your goals. But if you are sitting there thinking 'There is no way I could ever do a crossfit workout', then you already have your answer about a) whether crossfit is for you, and b) whether or not you can actually do it. The reality is, if you put your mind to it, then you can absolutely become a good, maybe even a great, crossfitter.

Always remember that your needs and an Olympic athlete’s differ only by degree, not kind. Every workout is scalable, it's just a matter of working at your own pace, setting your own goals, and achieving them in your own way.

Image title

What Muscles Are Worked During Crossfit?

Essentially, you will be working a little bit of everything during a crossfit workout. But if they were to be grouped into categories for muscles most commonly used for crossfit workouts, they would be:

  1. Leg Muscle Group
  2.  Back Muscle Group
  3.  Shoulder Muscle Group

But you will also find that crossfit is about your deep muscles as well as your superficial muscles. By this I mean you will be working the muscles around your heart and lungs for example, not just your quads and delts.

Your heart and lungs are obviously used whenever you do any type of workout, be it bodybuilding or crossfit, but for the latter, there is extra emphasis placed on these two important engines, which keep your body functioning throughout your' Workout of the Day' (WOD).

Put simply, you need to have great overall muscular strength if you want to be good at crossfit. You can't rely on just having powerful legs or shoulders, because that will only get you so far in the crossfit arena.

So Is Crossfit Going To Make Me Look Like A BodyBuilder?

The simple answer is: Probably not. Bodybuilding requires you to target each muscle individually to build it, shape it, and sculpt it. In crossfit, while you will work some of your lesser/smaller muscles, you probably won't give them enough volume to build them to bodybuilding standards. Let's take a look at a couple of those smaller muscles, as used in a crossfit workout, to see why this is the case...

The Biceps

Yes, you do pull ups, cleans and muscle ups during crossfit workouts...that will build a good base, but there is no direct bicep work involved. These are functional movements, which are great for building muscle, yet it cannot develop a strong pulling muscle like the biceps. It's more than likely that you will need to do some isolate movements to strengthen it more. For example, why not add some dumbbell or hammer curls into a normal WOD?

The Rear Shoulders

Your rear shoulders are going to get some activation from a lot of your pulling movements for the back. However, any experienced bodybuilder will tell you that to develop aesthetic and powerful rear delts, you need to target them individually as well.

Image title


You need to decide what your goals are before you pick a fitness path that involves crossfit or bodybuidling. You can always do a little bit of both, but if you want solely to look your best and have a sculpted physique, doing crossfit alone will only get you so far.

Crossfit is amazing, and I love it, but that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to ONLY crossfit. Do your bodybuilding too, and get the best of both worlds. Just finished a WOD? Then how about doing a bodybuilding split routine the next day? Just completed a hardcore chest workout? Then why not do a WOD circuit to really finish things off?

Crossfit, after all, is really just a fancy name for circuit training. There is no reason you cannot do both, just make sure you have set your goals, and that whatever you choose to do, is going to get you to your desired end result. So train inside of the box, but think outside of the box.

Related Articles:

Are You Training Or Working Out?

Image title

Muscle Hypertrophy Explained

Image title

Share this article on:

great article

Awesome article! I also agree that it depends on your goals. I have been in the gym for 20 years and decided 2 months ago to try out Crossfit. Reason was I would like to compete in events like the warrior race and similiar races that has alot to do with strenght and fitness. I could not believe what I achieved in crossfit the past 2 months that I could not in the gym. But I am greatful for my gym training as it is a great foundation fo starting crossfit. I also gained 1.8kg muscle in 5 weeks whereas I got stuck with in the gym. And I am naturally skinny so this is a big result for me.
So yes.. I found my workout routine that fit with what I would like to achieve. It is not for everyone but as long as you exercise and love doing it.
Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

oh yeah!  As soon as you switched it up I bet you saw great progress.  That is why I am doing Cheat & Recover :-D


This is an awesome article @begadsaeed! It's a popular question people ask about the difference between bodybuilding and crossfit!


Great stuff Begad, this is the kind of stuff I know I can always expect from you.


That is a really good article Begad, that im sure will answer alot of questions that people are always asking or wondering. very well explained my friend :)


Begadsaeed great article man. I am cross-fit yet at the same time I want to gain muscle on my body: light-medium body.  So that I can have the best of both worlds; crossfit and bodybuilding!

begadsaeed  Edit  Delete  Close

You will bro!. We are all waiting you on board!