No matter what gym or form of exercise you are into, there’s always a chance for injury! From past injuries coming back, to new injuries occurring due to improper training, a mishap, or pushing yourself to fast, there’s a chance of injury in everything – even walking down the street!
In the past few years, CrossFit has made a name for itself within the fitness industry and has become known as the most common form of high-intensity functional training out there. With it’s rise in popularity, we decided to take a look at the exercise to determine what participants need to do to in their CrossFit classes to remain healthy, injury-free, and on the path towards reaching their health & fitness goals.
About Eric Conner Eric has been a native of RSM and Trabuco Canyon his whole life, and loves his local community. After playing soccer collegiately, Eric found CrossFit and never looked back. He began coaching in 2009 and founded CrossFit Reform here in Rancho Santa Margarita in 2013. Eric is a CrossFit Level 3 instructor, and has over 10,000 hours coached."
About CrossFit Reform
For the past 6 years, CrossFit Reform has helped our local community achieve their fitness goals in a fun, community-based environment. Their coaching staff has over 40 years of CrossFit coaching experience and, as a team, they hold the highest certifications within CrossFit. Their services include: group training, personal training, nutrition coaching, and youth fitness.
With Eric’s help, we put together the top 8 most important things you need to practice to remain injury free while participating in CrossFit. Let’s take a look!
1. Warm up With every sports-related activity you participate in, it’s important to warm up appropriately! A common misconception is to static stretch prior to activity. In order to avoid injury, get in the habit of performing a dynamic warm-up, especially in explosive sports like CrossFit, baseball, etc. A dynamic warm-up would include things like: Frankenstein’s, high-knees, etc.
2. Cool down It goes hand-in-hand with an appropriate warm up, but be sure to cool down, too! According to Eric, “After exercise your body is much more open, making it much more beneficial for a static stretch. If your workout was really intense, you don't want to just stop right away. A good cool down would be a 5 minute walk, slow bike, or slow row to transition your body well.” We all live busy lifestyles and commonly have our days stacked pretty tightly, but schedule in that extra 5-10 minutes and your body will thank you!
3. Listen to your body and don’t feel pressured We have heard it time and time again! The CrossFit population that we have seen often say they felt pressured to increase weight, do more reps, or try a harder workout even if the body is telling them “Stop!” Our body has it’s own defense mechanisms and we need to listen to them. If you are uncomfortable doing something or your body is telling you to stop, listen to it! As Eric says, “More isn’t better – better is better.”
4. Never workout alone It is never advised to perform your workouts by yourself and that’s, perhaps, one of the best things about CrossFit; it’s a community workout. Most classes have several people within them, therefore you aren’t alone. One of the great things about CrossFit Reform? Their coaches are with you in each of your workout, ensuring you are progressing correctly and preventing improper form.
5. Use your core! One of the main reasons we chose Pilates for our Physical Therapy clients is the focus it puts on utilizing the core before every movement. Protect your spine in your CrossFit workouts by engaging your core with every exercise as all functional movements start from the core. As you make it a habit, inform your trainer that you are having a difficult time remembering to engage the core so they can remind you through your workout.
6. Focus on form As we fatigue, we often neglect our form. Our focus shifts from doing an exercise right to just getting the exercise done – and that’s not good. Injuries most commonly happen when we forget our form and put additional stress on the body. As you complete your CrossFit workout, be sure you are completing your exercises with good form. If you begin to fatigue and notice your form is failing, it’s a good time to stop and reset. If you aren’t sure what the body should be doing during a specific exercise, ask! That’s what your trainers are for!
7. Slow and steady Slow and steady wins the race! As you ramp up your CrossFit training, don’t throw yourself all in on day one. Slowly progress your way into the more difficult workouts, heavier weights, longer distances, etc. Build your confidence over time and avoid injury. The last thing you want to do is jump-in head first, and not be able to workout a week later because of an overuse or traumatic injury. You don’t have to sign-up for that first competition. You don’t have to hit your max weight or reps tomorrow. You will build up your strength, endurance, and abilities with time.
8. Know your trainers Having trust and confidence in your trainers is key to your success. Do some research on the trainers that are at your gym. Do they hold any certifications? Are they qualified to be coaching you? Most gyms require their trainers to get specific CrossFit certifications prior to training other members. Do some research on your trainers prior to starting with them to ensure you trust their suggestions and workout. Additionally, let your trainers know about any injuries or conditions you have. They should be able to either modify exercises or provide you with a different exercise that is more appropriate for you.
Whether you are looking to get started in CrossFit, have been going for years, or are looking to try out a new box, we highly recommend Eric and the CrossFit Reform team.
Not sure what to look for in a CrossFit gym? Stay tuned! Another blog is coming soon.
National Center for Biotechnology Information, "A 4-Year Analysis of the Incidence of Injuries Among CrossFit-Trained Participants," October, 24, 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6201188/