CrossFit is a sport. Like all sports, injuries can happen. But many injuries that happen are preventable if you are smart about what you are doing. The tips below are great advice (and a great reminder) for all CrossFit athletes, but especially important for any new CrossFit athlete.
Don’t try to outlift or outperform the person next to you
Your Ego Is Your Enemy!
I tell that to just about anyone, especially those just starting CrossFit or anyone who asks me about CrossFitters and injury rates.
Regardless of how long you have been doing CrossFit, if you try to keep up with the person next to you who may be stronger or better at a skill/lift than you, you are putting yourself at a higher risk of injury.
RX IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT!
If you cannot safely lift the RX weight for a workout, or maybe can only lift it 3-4 times safely, it is probably not a good weight to use for the actual WOD. Scale your weights appropriately so you are safe during the entire workout.
The same goes for gymnastics skills. If you have finally gotten an unassisted pullup, probably not a great idea to do a workout with a high number of pullups without a band. Continue to use a band as needed to scale in order to be able to further build the strength and endurance necessary to maintain the movement under fatigue.
Listen to your coach
As much as you want to believe otherwise, your coach knows best, I promise!
A trained coach can tell if someone’s movement pattern is off due to a possible injury, we know if someone should be scaling or modifying a movement in order to be safe during a workout, or if someone should scale in order to perform the workout to the intent it was written.
If a coach suggests you scale down your weight or rep scheme or asks you to modify a movement for that workout, DO IT!
What situation would you rather be in? Not having RX by your name on the whiteboard? Or not being able to workout for several weeks because you injured yourself by not listening? Think about it…
If you feel pain, stop
There is a difference between discomfort from pushing hard during a WOD and actual pain…and you need to know the difference!
Yes, CrossFit is uncomfortable, I get that. If you want to perform and compete, you need to push that discomfort threshold when your body (and mind) is trying to tell you to stop.
But if it actually becomes painful, and feels like you may actually strain a muscle or injure your joint, stop the workout. There have been several workouts that I stopped in the middle of because I felt if I continued I was going to injure my back. Would I have? Maybe, maybe not. But I wasn’t about to find out.
Not finishing one workout is much better than not being able to work out for a while in my book!
Besides that, it is not uncommon for me to see an athlete in my clinic that was dealing with one issue, continued to workout for several weeks with it, and then ended up injuring something else as well due to compensations.
Have questions about something you are dealing with? Email me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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