Thinking of getting involved in CrossFit? What’s your perception? There are a lot of misconceptions out there surrounding it. Hopefully this post will clear up some of these and who knows it may even convince you to take your first steps inside a box.
CrossFit trolls generally say the following;
1 – it’s Dangerous – that people get injured all the time and no-one cares about form/technique. I will come to this…
2 – People that do it, talk about it ALLL the time. Guilty as charged! A good friend of mine told me the other day – when you are passionate about something be enthusiastic, share it, embrace it, being lukewarm is no good (Roald Dahl quote). I love it and have seen the positive influence it can have on people so why not share it with everyone!
3 – ‘Gonna kill your gainz doing CrossFit bruh!’ In English, Crossfitters are not big and muscular and you will get smaller doing it. Firstly, look at this picture below of the guys at the CrossFit games and tell me they are not in ridiculous shape. So that’s point 3 dealt with!
Back to point 1, yes injuries occur, but just like any sport. In fact research suggests there are no more injuries in CrossFit than any other sport. Statistically there are 3.1 injuries per 1000 hours, which is similar to the rate of injury occurrence in powerlifting and gymnastics. Some sports have a much higher incidence of injury for every 1000 hours (some as much as 127 injuries per 1000 hours).
Even though I am a massive advocate for CrossFit there is something you should be wary of. Sometimes CrossFit boxes program Olympic Lifts to be performed repetitively. Olympic lifts such as the snatch require excellent technique, timing, strength, and mobility and can be used to great effect to develop power. However, they are supposed to be performed with minimal repetition due to their nature and complexity. When performing a WOD (workout) for time, or an AMRAP (As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible) naturally competition and intensity increases. Some peoples quests to smash their own PR’s, beat everyone else, be ‘RX’ in these WOD’s can lead to poor technique and this is where injuries might occur. Bad programming in general can be a leading cause of injury. In short, be aware if you go to a box and they are pushing you to chuck heavy weights around without having ensured you have sound technique. Or if consecutive sessions smash the same muscle group!
First watch this – Rich Froning performing Fran at the Crossfit Games
I can imagine you watched the video and thought what is he doing?!? I have read comments on youtube under videos of people performing ‘kipping’ pull ups saying they ‘look like fish flopping about’, ‘he can’t even do a proper pull up’.
1) These are butterfly kipping pull ups. Try doing them. It isn’t as easy as it looks.
2) He is trying to complete this WOD as quickly as possible (for time) and it is not for developing strength. This is the most efficient movement to achieve that objective.
3) He can perform this movement strict and with ease.
If you have a good coach or go to a good box you will not be doing kipping movements until you can do them strict with good form and technique for a high number reps.
If you have never attempted Fran, give it a go and let me know how you got on. It’s a great test of muscular endurance.
As I have already made clear, I LOVE CrossFit. I get muscle soreness (DOMS), and at times I get tight BUT the longest I have had to rest is a week and my worst injury in the last 9 months was a pulled hamstring…from playing football!
The reason I have stayed injury free (touch wood!) is because I have had good coaches that ensure I move well before I move more! When I first started learning Olympic lifts I used a PVC pipe and for a long time I was using incredibly light weight. I truly believe that the risks and negatives associated with crossfit are not present at a good box with good coaches. Most boxes I have been to include good mobility work before and more importantly after workouts (ROMWODs). Some might not, but most box coaches understand that to make progress and see results you need to stay injury free, focus on moving well and developing mobility. Once the technique is solid then you can get to throwing the big weights around!
There are so many positives related to being involved with a CrossFit box (‘Why Crossfit’ and ‘Why Crossfit 2’ ) but…
- Make sure you pick a good box with good coaches – most places offer a free taster session, so what have you got to lose…
- Be patient and embrace the pvc pipe! – focus on technique to start
- Get flexy – work on your mobility! It will help you stay injury free and help your technique.
- Make your own decision
Lastly, If you live in, or you’re visiting Bangkok, check out the box where I train – The Training Ground. There are some cool people and awesome coaches not to mention it is one of the largest in Asia!