The Crossfit fitness program has developed a devoted following since it came on the scene 20 years ago. With its unique community-focused approach to fitness and impressive weight loss and strength training results, it’s easy to see why Crossfit has so many fans. But we see injuries from participants pushing too hard or doing exercises incorrectly. Patients want to know: is Crossfit safe for everyone– and can I start or return to Crossfit after an injury?
What Is Crossfit?
Crossfit’s claim to fame (and the reason some folks have concerns) is the high-intensity workouts. It’s a unique program that includes weight lifting and resistance training. It focuses on functional movements that you use in everyday life and emphasizes constant variation. Most Crossfit workouts include a warm-up, resistance training, cardio elements and mobility exercises.
What Are The Benefits of Crossfit?
Crossfit has gained a devoted following over the last two decades, offering a new way to exercise outside the traditional gym setting. Using the same exercise equipment day after day can get boring. Crossfit participants get hooked on the high-energy excitement and constant variation of workouts. Another selling point is the sense of community and the social and emotional benefits of exercising in a group. Crossfit’s motivational certified coaches are another big draw. But at the end of the day, most Crossfit enthusiasts show up for the physical benefits, including:
- Strength training
- Cardio fitness
- Improved balance and flexibility
- Weight loss
- Increased stamina and endurance
What Are Concerns About Crossfit?
Because of the high-intensity nature of Crossfit workouts, injuries do occur, usually when participants push too hard too fast or complete exercises incorrectly. Crossfit can be particularly tough on the back and knees if you’re not careful. Reported injuries include:
- Back pain
- Knee injuries
- Rotator cuff problems
- Achilles tendonitis
- Tennis elbow
Is Crossfit Safe for My Muscles and Joints?
At most Crossfit facilities, coaches are trained in adapting workouts for all ages and fitness levels. When someone gets hurt, it’s usually because they are ramping up their activities too fast or using improper techniques. Keeping the correct spinal and abdominal posture is essential to protecting the rest of your body, including your back, knee, and ankle joints. A good coach will emphasize this aspect from day one. Adequate warm-up and cool-down are also vital after exercise. Work with your coach to master the basic movements before attempting more challenging activities. Talk with your coach about previous injuries and other health concerns to find a workout that’s right for you. It’s important to know what’s right for you and not be focused on keeping up with someone else in your group. Healthy competition is great, but not at the expense of your health. If you have a past injury or are over 65, it’s also best to talk with your primary care doctor or orthopaedist before starting a Crossfit program. Remember that inactivity, a sedentary lifestyle, and excess weight can also strain your joints. So finding an activity or workout program you love is integral to maintaining joint, muscle, and bone health.
Can I Start or Return to Crossfit After an Injury?
If you have a joint or muscle injury, physical therapy is one of the best ways to get back to the activities you love. Working with a trained physical therapist can help you rebuild strength and mobility–including the core strength that’s a vital part of Crossfit. PT can also help you develop strategies and adaptations for avoiding re-injury. At Countryside Orthopaedics, our team of doctors, physician assistants, and physical therapists work hard to help you maintain activities to get and stay healthy. Whether your passion is Crossfit or another sport, we can work together to help you work out safely and recover if an injury occurs.