I often get asked… Does CrossFit cause injuries? For most, the benefit of what you will achieve in CrossFit significantly outweighs any potential risk of injury. So, why do people get injured?
It comes down to 3 key points:
Let’s face facts, we sit a lot, we rarely put our arms over our heads, not to mention how often have you found yourself hanging like a monkey off a bar since becoming an adult? Over a period of time your flexibility and body positions change to accommodate your poor quality or lack of movement patterns which cause you to become tight and restricted. Then, CrossFit comes along and we start to hang or press weights above our heads, moving into positions the body isn’t used to. We begin to run around like we are kids again, as though we never stopped and attempt to move all sorts of heavy objects in different ways like we are superman or woman. At first, it seems perfectly fine but over time, some niggles will start to surface which can get worse! The simple fact is that it takes time to transition your poor movement patterns and positions into good ones and it is something you need to consistently work on with your coaches. Which leads us to…
Ego doesn’t always mean you think you’re the best but what it does do is make us feel like we should be better than someone else, or we can’t or shouldn’t be weak! It can make us feel disappointed in ourselves when we don’t meet our own or other people’s expectations. All this causes us to push harder or to possibly lift more than we should that day or to push harder in a workout with bad form just to keep up with someone. Sometimes we push and create poor positions that the body isn’t ready for. Anytime ego presents itself it becomes about how we cope with our feelings and learning how to be ok with our results, independent of what everyone else is doing.
I spoke about this briefly in a blog about “what is crossfit” and I wanted to elaborate some more. The very nature of competition is to test your limits and to see what your maximum potential is in any given movement or workout within CrossFit. With that comes the potential for injury. Whenever you test yourself to your maximum capacity you are pushing your body to its limits and sometimes it goes over that limit and an injury is caused. So why do we do it? For a lot of people the satisfaction they get from competing is well worth the risk. I’ve done heaps of comps and to date I may have walked away from one or two with a tweak or a strain but most of the time I’m sufficiently prepared and I understand my body enough to stay safe and healthy. However, I’m fully prepared and understand that there are risks and it’s my decision to take them. I also find comps are a great motivator for me to improve in my training as I want to perform well on the day. This is just the reason I like them. Some people like the challenge and they can also help you gauge what level you're at in comparison to others within the community.
All in all whilst there are some risks to getting an injury, like any sport, the benefit far outweighs the potential for an injury. Increasing flexibility, building strength, improving quality of movement and building better midline stability are just some of the major benefits you will reap by doing CrossFit
These are some things you can do to increase the benefits to your training and reduce the risk:
- Listen to your coach. We are here to teach you to move correctly and to assist you to select the right weights and movements to get the most out of the day's workout. We don’t tell you to lift less weight because we feel insignificant or want to bring you down. It’s because we want you to get the most out of your training with the reduction of any issues that could present themselves.
- Keep your ego in check. You are often your own worst enemy. Don’t try to win every workout at all costs. Focus on the areas you need to improve and move at your own pace. You don’t need to set pbs everyday. If you feel good go for it but then give yourself a few attempts and call it quits. This is a long journey so there will always be another chance
- There are so many ways to look after your body. Keep it prepared to move well and take care of any old injuries or tightness. Utilising simple cost effective tools like:
These all give you easy to follow instructions to help you to take care of your body. Our preferred option is ‘Balanced Athlete’ as DR Andrew Alekna from the Chiropractic Hub designs and runs this program and is a local legend in the Perth CrossFit scene!
To summarise, like any sport there are small risks to taking part in CrossFit however the benefits far outweigh the risk and with a little bit of care you can train to feel the best you have ever felt in your life for many years to come.