As the popularity of CrossFit has risen, so have injuries associated with the intense workout.
Combining weight training, aerobics, running, and even gymnastics, CrossFit has emerged as a popular and intensive exercise regimen. The program emphasizes strength and endurance, with devotees doing several repetitions in a short period during the workout of the day (WOD).
As CrossFit tends to push athletes to their limits, it may result in serious injuries if you’re not careful. Common injuries among CrossFitters include cartilage tears in the shoulder, Achilles tendonitis, and back pain from pinched nerves or herniated discs.
Fortunately, those injuries are generally preventable. Whether you’re an experienced CrossFitter or just starting out, you should take precautions before, during, and after the workout so that you can stay safe and enjoy all the benefits of your training.
PREVENTING CROSSFIT INJURIES
Avoiding injuries while doing a CrossFit program depends on following some important tips. Here are five that will ensure a safe and productive workout.
Start Slow. Newcomers assume they can match the skills of more experienced CrossFitters. But it takes months and even years to reach that level. Anyone starting CrossFit should progress at their own pace and then work up to harder exercises. Doing too much too soon only leads to injury.
Warm Up Before the WOD. At least 15 minutes prior to your workout, stretch the tendons and muscles in your back, upper legs, and buttocks. Stretching exercises focused on the calves, feet, and knees, for example, help protect the Achilles tendon. Once the WOD is over, cool down with those same stretching and flexibility exercises to avoid any strains or muscle pulls.
Work with an Experienced Trainer. The popularity of CrossFit has spawned many gyms, or “boxes,” specializing in the sport. When deciding on a “box,” choose one with experienced, knowledgeable trainers who can observe your form and recommend changes to your approach. Adhering to proper lifting and jumping techniques can minimize the chance of injury.
If It Hurts, Stop. While it’s typical to have sore muscles after a workout, intense pain shouldn’t be ignored — it could be a sign of serious trauma like a torn ligament or tendon. Many CrossFit injuries are due to overuse, so powering through will only make it worse. If your pain is significant or persistent, it’s time to stop, rest, and possibly visit an orthopedist for a diagnosis.
Know Your Fitness Level. CrossFitters tend to be competitive and want to “beat” other participants. Ultimately, though, the objective for any CrossFitter is to improve their cardiovascular health and muscle strength. Rather than focusing on what others are doing, set your own fitness goals and strive toward that target at your own pace.
WHEN CROSSFIT INJURIES HAPPEN
The doctors at New Bone & Joint Specialists have decades of experience treating a variety of orthopedic injuries. If you think you may have a sports injury from CrossFit or another activity, we can diagnose the issue and recommend a therapy plan. We can also recommend ways to avoid injury while you enjoy your favorite workouts.
The sports medicine experts and orthopedic surgeons at New York Bone & Joint Specialists want you to have a safe, active lifestyle, and we’re here to help make that happen. Contact us to set up an appointment today.