CrossFit Training – Safe or Dangerous?
In the last couple of years, CrossFit training has gained popularity with exercise and sports enthusiasts. You may have even walked by one of the many new CrossFit gyms popping up. With its popularity rising, injuries are also rising, causing news sources to name CrossFit as one of the “most dangerous workouts”. But what exactly is CrossFit training and how true are the reports that it is unsafe?
CrossFit training is a high intensity workout with constantly changing movements that work the entire body. The idea behind CrossFit training is to maximize strengthening and training by not allowing your body to get comfortable with one particular exercise, or movement. The military and police forces have used CrossFit training for years to ensure they are professionally trained. So if CrossFit training is so popular, effective and used by special operations units – then what is the issue? The issue is safety.
CrossFit training when offered by a professional coach or trainer can be very safe. But many individuals trying the latest exercise craze do not take the necessary precautions needed to prevent injury. Many others are just trying to jump on the CrossFit bandwagon with all the new resources available to the public, but are simply not ready. This in turn, has led to a rise in CrossFit injuries and the question of whether it is safe or not.
The most common CrossFit injuries include shoulder injuries. CrossFit training involves heavy weight lifting, which puts your muscles to the test. Heavy weight bearing on weakened shoulders, or those who have previously had an injury, can cause shoulder sprains, rotator cuff tears and bicep tendonitis. Shoulder tears and injuries are very painful and can take months to heal.
Other common CrossFit injuries are knee injuries. In CrossFit, the nature of the training is high-intensity and includes various movements, many of which involve bending the knee. Squats, jumps, running and other moves during a training session put stress on the knees. Any wrong movement can cause ligament sprains or even tears. Runner’s knee is also a common knee injury causing knee pain under the kneecap and swelling.
Lastly, back injuries due to CrossFit training are becoming more common. Heavy weight lifting when done improperly can cause you to strain muscles and or sprain ligaments in your back causing back pain or worse, result in a herniated disc. Also included in CrossFit training are core workouts. If you have an unstable spine or weak core, exercises that are constantly challenging your midsection will lead to fatigue, technique breakdown and resultant injury.
So is it fair to say CrossFit training is the “most dangerous workout”? Probably not, but it is safe to say that too many untrained enthusiasts are attempting the sport without the proper preparation, training or guidance. When working with a professional CrossFit expert, the training can be effective and also a lot of fun. But to jump into a CrossFit program with little to no experience is not advised. Listen to your own body. If you feel your body is ready to take on a high intensity workout, make sure you do so under the guidance of a professional CrossFit expert and do not overexert yourself. If you feel pain or an injury coming on, take a break and make sure not to do more than your body is ready to do. Progress comes fast when you safely train. Progress comes much slower if you don’t listen to your body and end up with an injury.