CrossFit is Dangerous, Right?


Eva T. performing a front squat. Check out the full range of motion.

From time to time we've heard people say that CrossFit is dangerous. We've also heard rumor of people who have been hurt doing CrossFit. The story will often go that someone looked up the WOD on the main site and figured they'd give it a shot. The WOD typically involved something like a deadlift, squat, snatch, clean, box jumps, etc. They threw on the weight as prescribed and went to work. They then ended up with a hurt back/hamstring/quad/glute. And it was CrossFit that hurt them, or so the story goes. When more questions are asked, some things come to light: the injured party doesn't regularly do CrossFit, has minimal experience in olympic lifts, has not been coached in technique or range of motion, and had poor technique during the best of circumstances. So, was it CrossFit that hurt them?

Major David Blackmon who trains athletes at Black and Gold CrossFit at West Point, wrote an article in the February CrossFit Journal titled "Warning Signs". In this article, he talks about a boot-camp style workout he attended when he was new to CrossFit. They were typically chippers lasting over 30 minutes with lots of different exercised. The problem with some of these classes are they have a ton of movements (which to some defines CrossFit), but lack functionality:

CrossFit is not dangerous, but a half-assed version of something you think is CrossFit, devoid of common sense and appropriate scaling, could be incapacitating.

That's not to say that people won't get injured doing CrossFit. As with any exercise program or sport, you're pushing yourself to new limits. But that risk can be greatly minimized with appropriate coaching. Learn the movements the right way with the full range of motion. Once the moves can be expertly performed, then add weight and later intensity.

Major Blackman offers a list regarding responsibility. Here are just a few:

You are responsible for your own safety, and you are responsible for how you train your body.

Do not misinterpret the goals and methods of the CrossFit program.

Familiarize yourself with CrossFit movement standards. They exist for your safety and will also help you achieve your best results.

Do not attempt WODs you are unprepared for. Ask you trainer about scaling for maximum results.

Educate yourself by visiting and reading the CrossFit Journal.

Pursue virtuosity in every movement.

Good advice. If you've been doing WODs on your own or thought about trying out CrossFit, come check us out and see how we can help!

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