Is CrossFit dangerous? Sure, people do get injured doing CrossFit, but injuries happen in any physical activity. So, I guess the question is if CrossFit is more dangerous than other activities? More dangerous perhaps than most kinds of tai chi or hiking, but less dangerous than football or jujutsu or big wave surfing. Injuries happen in any physical endeavor, and the more you push it, the more chance of an injury. But the more you push, the greater the reward.
However, an injury in CrossFit is different than an injury in other sports. In CrossFit, there is just you and the bar (kettlebell, pullup bar, erg, whatever). Other activities have other variables. A huge guy crashing into your knee, someone stacking you up onto your neck, a giant wave slamming you onto your shoulder, yeah, that’s going to do some damage and there may be nothing you can do about it. CrossFit injuries are different.
CrossFit injuries seem to fall into two categories. Both are preventable.
The first is from going too hard with poor technique. Rounding the lower back or yanking from the ground seems to be the worst. Knee adduction and coming forward onto the toes are also bad. Beyond the first month or so, an injury from going too hard with poor form should never happen. You know how to do the movement correctly. Unless you have an incredibly bad coach who is yelling at you to round the lower back and go faster, you know if you are doing the movement correctly or not. Slow down and do it right. If you get yelled at by the trainer for doing that, find a new place to train.
The second form of injury is simply overuse. Hot shoulders from going overhead all the time. Hot knees from lots of squatting. Hot joints and muscles that are left untreated develop into injuries. You know how to prevent that. Proper stretching and recovery techniques. Ice, foam roll, massage, stretch, contrast shower, fish oil, more stretching, more rolling. And rest. None of this is a mystery. You know you are supposed to do it.
I know it is hard to slow down when you want to go faster, or the person next to you is catching up, but you gotta. I know it is annoying to get to class early or stay after to roll or stretch, or do it at night, but you have to. You are doing CrossFit for the future, the unknown and unknowable tomorrow, and you need to be healthy. Please take the time and effort to do so.
Sometimes I hear a person say that they hurt their knees doing CrossFit. I want to ask them about their recovery and mobility routine, about their diet. I want to push on their IT bands and see how tight they are. I want to watch them squat and see if their knees adduct, or if their weight is forward. I want to look at their refrigerator and pantry. I will bet that those IT bands are tight as a drum and their squat technique and diet are far from exemplary. Of course it is the box’s trainers’ responsibility to teach proper squat form and recovery techniques, but it is the person’s responsibility to do it.
I don’t mean to sound callous, but it frustrates me when I see preventable injuries sidelining people. It frustrates me when something as great, as life changing, as CrossFit is stopped and probably never taken back up because of a preventable injury. It frustrates me when a football coach says that he would never let his athletes do CrossFit because it is too dangerous (Anybody want to take a guess what the life expectancy for a football lineman is? Ten years less than average.)
And I am sure it sounds like a cliche when I say take care of your body and it will take care of you, but it is very true. So get on it.
Please post thoughts to Comments.
All classes and open gym at CF West are cancelled this weekend. If you feel the need to get your heart rate up, cheer on the CF West teams at the Santa Cruz County Affiliate Challenge on Saturday. Or, come help with the final push in our big move. We will be there all day on Sat and Sunday, and we need all the help we can get.