Getting injured is not "part of" CrossFit as many critics would have you believe. Hurting oneself has never been, and should never be an element of the sport of fitness; but just like any other physical activity the risk of getting hurt will always be present. Luckily we have control of the risk we put our bodies in every time we pick up a barbell or jump on a set of rings. The Box Magazine points out 4 common mistakes crossfitters make that put them at a higher risk of injury. Read up on them to keep yourself safe and able to train.
Many injuries cited by CrossFit participants come from a small list of mistakes:
1. Avoiding Fundamentals Training
Most gyms require a Fundamentals series prior to participation in regular classes. If you come across a box that doesn’t, beware. To dive into a high-intensity training regimen that requires a number of movements that are likely to involve some skill development, you must have a solid foundation. Even after Fundamentals courses, your “basic training” shouldn’t end. You MUST ease into and practice foreign movements regularly and master the skill itself before adding weight or attempting anything a step beyond. Exhibit some patience in the beginning. Building upon a weak foundation can only result in endless repairs. Be smart and feel structurally sound before you move on.
2. Overlooking the Need to Observe
Credentials don’t always tell the whole story when it comes to CrossFit coaches. Before you commit to any box, be sure you stop in and watch a class and coach in action. You’ll want to look for coaches who are verbal, member-focused, provide individual instruction, and are encouraging. Without those characteristics, a coach provides little value to your experience and may overlook a potentially hazardous situation. You’re looking for leadership with regards to your health and fitness goals, so be sure you’re placing yourself in good hands; it will set the tone for your entire experience.
3. Dismissing the Developmental
Process Babies aren’t born with the ability to walk. Development, practice and new neuronal connections provide the means to master most physical skills. So, when joining a box, you can’t expect to be an expert in everything. Whether you are an avid runner, a former collegiate lifter or have zero athletic background, you will come across unfamiliar territory at some point. And when you get there, remember that you must teach your body with repetitions, constant corrections and, sometimes, physical cues. If you know that your squat is consistently higher than 90 degrees, place a wall-ball under your bum as a physical cue for where that perfect point is. Your body will pick up on it, and eventually when you remove that ball, you’ll have the habit of proper range of motion. Seek feedback for any verbal cues that you can’t quite pick up on and focus on getting in tune with your core and extremities and how they react and engage.
4. Engaging Your Ego
It’s no secret that there’s a facet of CrossFit committed to competition. In the best scenarios, a person will use the clock, their peers and the whiteboard to establish a point of reference and bring the best out in their workout. An ego, on the other hand, blinds an athlete to self-awareness and shifts his energies to everybody else in the room. Rest days disappear, workouts are done too heavy, and the whiteboard consumes him. And regardless of what feedback a coach provides, that athlete can’t brush away the nagging feeling of having to outdo everybody else. So screw the ego and remember that CrossFit is about specializing in not specializing. It’s not designed to have the same “winner” every time, and your focus should be on doing YOUR best, not doing THE best. You wouldn’t buy a house with a weak foundation. You wouldn’t take your child to a daycare you hadn’t stopped into and checked out. You wouldn’t try a back flip on a balance beam without prior training. And you wouldn’t sprint past a stop sign without looking just to beat your friend across the street. So proceed with a little caution and some common sense and the assurance that if you make the right choices in your CrossFit journey, you’re bound to have a healthy and happy experience.
About the Author:
Abi Reiland is a Trainer and Co-Owner of CrossFit 8035 in Des Moines, IA. He wrote this article for The Box Magazine.
Chris Spealler is not only a CrossFit legend, but he's arguably the best bodyweight specialist to ever compete at the CrossFit Games. Watching him fly through muscle ups or handstand walk his way past the competition was truly amazing and inspiring to watch.
With over a decade of CrossFit experience as both a coach and athlete, and with 6 Games appearances, Chris Spealler has racked up a wealth of knowledge on proper movement and technique.