Preventing Injury...or Worse

Workout of the Day--October 27, 2015

Every 5 Minutes for 25 Minutes:
Row 500M or Run 400M
10 Thrusters (115/85)
10 Chest to Bar Pull-ups

 
 

CrossFit is serious business. The workouts are challenging and the intensity is high. There has been a lot of publicity around the dangers of CrossFit and injury rates are always a topic of discussion. While we spend a lot of time defending the safety and efficacy of CrossFit, there are risks and dangers. As a coaching staff, we frequently check in with each other on how individual athletes are progressing, who in our crew has aching shoulders or knees, and exchange feedback on programming and mobility work. We rely on your communication with us to help inform our coaching around loads, movements, and volume specific to you. Preventing injury is the tenet that guides all our decisions around scaling and modifying movements. The system works pretty well as we are a small gym and small coaching staff, but it is not bomb proof.

injuries happen. If you participate in any sport or athletic endeavor long enough, you will get injured. CrossFit is no exception. Sometimes injuries have a slow, insidious onset like an achey shoulder or tight hamstring. Other times they are acute like a missed box jump or tear in your hands from pull ups. Most injuries will heal themselves given time and appropriate self care. As difficult as it may be, sometimes taking a week off or modifying movements for a couple of weeks are necessary to recover from an injury. Generally, we come back stronger and more motivated to consistently do things the right way. 

One of the things that I've noticed over my years of doing and coaching CrossFit, is that injuries often coincide with inconsistent exercise programs. This is not my sneaky way of telling you all to be more consistent with your workouts, but rather an effort to heighten your awareness as the holiday and vacation seasons sneak up on us. As we build the capacity in the gym, we consistently set new benchmarks around loads or the type of band we use or the number of reps we can do. This is improved fitness and these gains are what we are all trying to attain. But then, life gets in the way. Our attendance gets spotty. We go on vacation or we only make it to the gym a couple of times between mid-November and Christmas. We come back to the gym with full fury in January and expect our bodies to be able to perform the same way they did when we were training consistently. We force ourselves to rise to the occasion and perform at our previous level, but there may be a heavy price to pay in the form of serious injury or even rhabdomyolysis. I'm working on a separate post about rhabdomyolysis, so stay tuned for more on that. According to the CrossFit Journal:

The athletes at highest risk seem to be those with a reasonable baseline level of fitness...or those who are returning to CrossFit after a layoff. These athletes have sufficient muscle mass and conditioning to go hard enough to hurt themselves but do not have the protection that develops with regular exposure to intensity.

As a coaching staff that genuinely cares about each and every one of you, we are committed to doing everything in our power to prevent that from happening. Don't be surprised if we scale your workout or reduce repetitions when we haven't seen you in the gym consistently. We are not trying to punish you, but rather protect you.  

So, what are the take aways from this blog post? First, be honest with yourself and your coaches about where you are with your health and fitness when you walk through the door. Second, always take the long view in deciding how hard to push yourself in a given workout. Third, do everything you can to minimize your risks including staying well hydrated, addressing your mobility issues, following proper warmup and cool down protocols, and knowing where your weak links are. Finally, know that bad things can still happen. Even if you have done everything right, you may still find yourself in trouble. If and when that happens, don't be embarrassed. Let us help you figure out how to come back better and stronger.