The group fitness model of CrossFit is amazing at broadly increasing general fitness and health markers in any type of population, but it has its downfalls. Being able to help any given person pursue a healthier life is amazing, but looking more specifically a 6’2” 300 pound person likely has very different goals than a 5’8” 130 pound person. This is really the main place that a group model is going to fall short. Both of these people do have the same needs in general, but the degree to what they need each of those things can vary greatly.
The needs I’m talking about are things like general conditioning, muscular power, and stability through joints. Everyone needs to do rotator cuff strengthening exercises, but a baseball pitcher is going to have a much greater need for them than a track sprinter. This is a narrow example, but it gets the idea across. Someone with a goal or need will better be able to work towards them with an individualized focus on those things.
Having someone like a personal coach or someone to program to your specific needs is the best way to work towards them. If they’re knowledgeable in what they’re doing they can come up with the proper balance between things that need a greater focus, or that you want more, and the stuff that is still necessary but to a lesser degree. If you want to have a 500 pound squat and run a mile close to 5 minutes, and you already squat 490 but your mile is close to 8 minutes then you need a much more structured approach to running than squatting. A coach can plot out a plan to reach these goals, and adjust them as you adapt week by week.
Most CrossFit Coaches I know do a great job making personal connections and taking time with each athlete through the class, but it just simply isn’t going to be the same hands on focus as being 1-on-1 with a coach. Even coaching remotely there tends to be a more invested connection into consistent communication and progress. Having an individually focused program can also allow for more structured and thought out adjustments to things like injuries.
I’m a huge proponent of the group dynamic of CrossFit, and truly believe that it is one of the best possible ways to increase general fitness in any given person that just wants a healthier life. There are cases though where a more specific approach is beneficial. Someone coming off an injury or wanting to pursue a specific goal require the singularly focused structure that comes with individualized coaching or program design.