The first affiliated CrossFit (CF) gym was opened in Santa Cruz in 1995 and was founded and developed by the coach Greg Glassman. Over his years of watching the fitness industry, his idea was to create versatile athletes (gymnastics and weightlifting) through primal movements and intense training. It has since gained worldwide momentum and a huge following.
The typical workout or WOD may involve intense drills of weightlifting (squats, deadlifting and carrying odd objects or kettlebells etc) box jumps, burpees, sprinting and using gymnastic rings to name a few. Most activities are all well and good and with a structured and progressive integration into your lifestyle and using the basic premise of not walking before your can crawl and not running before you walk. This puts in place not just the neurological inputs that are needed to perform and function, but embeds some firm foundations of the chain reaction needed for movement and structural control.
I see and treat a fair amount of injuries sustained through CrossFit and whilst injury is often seen to be part of any intense exercise, I do feel some of these could be avoided.
CrossFit is massively intense and with that comes excitement and vigor and over time, a body that develops in power, coordination and agility. But I feel that with this excitement and vigor often comes lack of care for ones self and the idea that if your push yourself harder, you get faster results.
Let me use the example of running again. If we have a basic level of fitness, most of us assume we should be able to run. Running is composed of lots of hops and leaps. When treating/rehabbing athletes, I am often asked “am I ready to run yet?”…… and I ask them “can you repeatedly hop and leap?” and then depending on their answer we watch and see…… and we see if they can or if they fail. That gives us the answer and often, they cannot hop and leap! So surely, they should not run!
My point of this is much more about creating the foundations much deeper than you think you need. To enable Mo Farah’s fabulous achievements at the 2012 Olympic Games, he would have run around those tracks hundreds if not thousands of times and known that if he gets a PB, it will probably be within a certain amount of time.
So doing 25 squats with 100kgs if you have only ever twice before would be foolish. Doing 25 squats with 100kgs should ok if you are regularly doing 25 times 90kgs.
To enable good technique with power moves such as deadlifts and squats you don’t just need good technique, you really need good functional mechanics such as sufficient ankle, knee and hip movement and these need to be able to load the weight correctly. If they cannot do this, somewhere else will take the hit….and this hit maybe your lower back, shoulder or neck!
Over the next few months I will be working with Tom and Harri Bold from CrossFit Bold and other coaches from Athletic Alliance to develop some easy strategies to enhance movement and control, which we will be sharing with all the members. All with the idea injury avoidance! But in the meantime, please be careful of your form and technique and keep your ego in check and don’t find yourself where you are trying to push your body to a place where it has not been before too quickly.
Ignore the figures but, think of it like an iceberg – 70% underneath and 30% on top…..
Osteopath/Sports Injury Specialist/GIFT Fellow
If you have any questions about this or require treatment. James can be seen at Back to Back on 020 8605 2323