Training leads to a hard core
Depending on who you ask, CrossFit is either a killer workout, or a workout that could give you a killer injury.
Those who are dedicated to the sport see it as a lifestyle more so than a form of exercise. Its popularity has skyrocketed over the past 10 years, and there are over 7,000 affiliated CrossFit boxes open around the world, a mind-boggling number when compared to the mere 15 that were open in 2005.
Recently, the sport has been under heavy criticism, and many are questioning its safety and practicality.
I’ve been involved with CrossFit for almost a year now and have never experienced an injury (with the exception of a few calluses and bruises). I spend more time stretching and recovering most days than I do actually working out, and anytime I have ever complained that I was sore or felt like a workout was doing more harm than good, the trainer supervising the workout would make an adjustment or simply advise me to stop for the day and rest.
Never at any point have I felt like I was pushing past my limits during a workout, or that a trainer was encouraging me to do something that wasn’t in my best interest.
CrossFit doesn’t have a safety problem. Rather, a small number of people who participate in the sport have a severe common sense problem.
It’s easy to criticize the morons on YouTube attempting to do an overhead squat with a barbell while standing on a medicine ball (yes, this does exist, and it’s hilarious). However, they have nothing in common with those who use CrossFit as a smart and healthy way to train.
Yes, there are plenty of people in the CrossFit world who end up injured as a result of over-training, poor mechanics or just flat-out stupidity. However, the same can be said for any sport.
If a football player leads with his head every time he makes a tackle, he’s going to end up concussed. If a baseball pitcher continually throws with bad form, he’s going to injure his elbow. If a runner doesn’t listen to her body and tries to run through the pain, she will end up injured.
A study done at the All Wales Trauma and Orthopaedic Training Program found that injury rates among CrossFit athletes are similar to those for other exercise forms such as Olympic weightlifting, power-lifting and gymnastics — and that CrossFit injury rates are lower than sports such as rugby.
Is there a good chance you could suffer a minor injury from CrossFit training? Absolutely. The same study found that 73.5 percent of those who participate in the sport do. This number is also comparable to minor injury rates of Olympic lifting and powerlifting. However, the study also found that only 7 percent of participants suffer injuries that require surgical repair, a rate lower than that of competitive contact sports.
So what do these injuries rates show us? That the world is, overall, a dangerous place, and that if you partake in any form of physical exercise, the chances are pretty good that you’re going to end up getting hurt sooner or later, whether it be a minor or major injury.
However, statistics prove that CrossFit isn’t any more dangerous than any other form of popular exercise. It’s only as dangerous as you make it.
I always thought the most fascinating thing about the cries against CrossFit is that the critics make it sound as if CrossFit itself is literally inflicting injuries upon innocent bystanders, and that they are helpless to stop it.
At the end of the day, each person is responsible for what they do in the gym, whether it’s at a CrossFit box, an International Fitness or the home gym they set up in their garage. Use common sense. If something doesn’t feel right during a workout, don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.