Many have seen the almost rocket ship pace in popularity of CrossFit and have been confused at how such an infant sport could overtake almost everything in an industry that fast. CrossFit whether you love it or hate it has become a house hold name with gyms dedicated specifically to it in an almost cult like fashion. The question really, when asked, is how did this over take the likes of bodybuilding, powerlifting and strongman to name a few.
Though complex the answer may be just as simple as ease of use. Looking into the actual events of CrossFit a theme starts to arise that anybody can join a CrossFit gym and compete at some level. It seems to be a sport not dictated totally by genetics or ruined by the use of drugs and other ergogenic aids. It is a sport total developed around pure athleticism and will power. CrossFit is also the first real team sport in the field where you compete against other gyms in large scale tournaments.
The reason bodybuilding as a whole seems to suffer is just the nature of it. For many the reward does not justify the journey to get there. As most people enter the gym with fitness and self-preservation in mind and this is not body building at its top level as the sport is marred and riddled with drug use, it is almost a joke to think someone can be at the top level naturally. Having aspirations to be a top-level competitor almost indefinitely will shorten your life expectancy and if you survive the quality of life there after as well can be damaged. Contributing to the rise of CrossFit is that ability for individuals to adequately live more normal live even at the highest levels of competition. The strictness and sheer will power it takes to compete in body building turns many away.
Strongman out of all of these, though extremely fun to watch, is a sport dominated by genetic freaks, just massive humans. No number of drugs or anything you can do for that matter is going to make you six feet eight. It is a sport that can be performed by many and is but at the end of the day many people do not like the singularity of the sport. Also, there are not a lot of strong specific gyms as monetization of the sport is not nearly as high as many others. This could be a contributing factor to it as well.
With a broad brush, it is easy to see why CrossFit exploded in popularity. The ability for ordinary people to do events that even the top-level pros do and be somewhat competitive coupled with a team aspect has really taken root for many. This allows for a great group training atmosphere and a way to develop into a pro.