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PART 4 - CrossFit = Injury?

Anytime an athlete pursues a recreational activity with intensity & volume, injuries are possible. CrossFit is no exception. However; there is a misconception, that people get injured more often in CrossFit than other types of exercises, but why?

During a high intensity structured CrossFit workout, your goal is to complete a number of movements as fast as possible, or complete as many repetitions as possible in a certain amount of time. For that reason, it’s REALLY easy for an individual to sacrifice form in exchange for finishing the workout quicker. If you don’t have somebody spotting you or a coach telling you to keep your form correct, then you could be in trouble. Strength training, without proper technique (especially at high speeds and with heavy weights) can quickly result in injury. Unfortunately, if a CrossFit gym is run by inexperienced and unproven coaches – which is a possibility, but unlikely – then things like this can happen.

Injuries in sports (or any athletes for that matter) can occur a result of increasing “load” too quickly. This could be due to increased intensity, increased frequency (and consequent decreased recovery) or increased external load. All of these things are an increase in overall strain on the muscles and joints where the body needs time to adapt and build the strength and conditioning accordingly. Further factors may include technique errors, lacking muscle strength and endurance, muscle imbalances, and mobility restrictions, each of us have these to some degree and I personally believe that it isn’t until considerable volume & intensity is added to these factors that they become injuries.

With that said, CrossFit is a form of physical activity, and, with any physical activity, there is no guarantee you won’t get hurt doing it, but there is none for say running, swimming, or playing weekend sports. But when performed correctly with proper technique and correct coaching the likelihood of injury reduces significantly.

So what’s the takeaway? Major gains don’t come from a single workout. Go for steady, incremental improvements each week and continually build on them. Trying to lift TOO much or pushing yourself TOO hard can and will lead to injury, which will prevent you from working out altogether, and no-one likes to be stuck on the couch.

My final thoughts. Whichever sport or training program you choose; commit to starting slow, be humble and aware of where you still need improvement. Approach each and every training session with common sense. It is your responsibility to listen to your body, make time for recovery, learn when to push and pull back, and eventually, understand your strengths, weaknesses, and limitations - and WORK to improve them.

Ultimately, don't impress people with your intensity. Impress people with your excellent technique and work ethic.

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