There are many functional training programs that have emerged over the last decade. Aside from sport, historically gymnasiums with all sorts of weird and wacky machines, chrome barbells and cast iron dumbbells and plates along with lines of treadmills have been the go-to for fitness. Les mills emerged in the 80’s as one of the forerunners of a different style of working out. Incorporating higher intensity training in a class setting.
Years later a range of other high intensity circuit type training programs emerged. CrossFit has been one of the more successful franchises in this style of training. CrossFit is based off providing a well-rounded and functional style of training with gymnastics, Olympic and power lifting and cardiovascular conditioning merged into short and intense classes. The goal – Constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity. This helps to achieve a well-rounded level of fitness.
If you read one of our previous blogs on exercising for well-rounded fitness and injury prevention, then CrossFit stands out as it incorporates the three key categories of fitness effectively. CrossFit, when done properly is an amazing tool to help build health and fitness. The caveat being, if done properly!
CrossFit has had a bad rap over the last decade from other fitness programs and even health professionals as being a recipe for disaster and an injury waiting to happen. As a Chiropractor and someone who has done CrossFit myself, I do not believe this assessment is fair. Any exercise or fitness program, even Pilates and yoga or sport has potential for injury if done incorrectly.
The following are some key points to remember if you are a beginner or even a seasoned veteran in CrossFit.
Scaling appropriately – If it is too heavy, do not do it!
Scaling is an important concept in training. We are all at different levels of fitness. Not everyone has the skill or strength to perform all movements that may be required in a workout. This is ok. Rome was not built in a day. We all live in a culture of instant gratification. It will take time to develop the strength and skills. Be patient and diligent. There are very few new athletes who could walk into the gym and do every movement at Rx level.
In your training and development do not bite off more than you can chew. Sacrificing form to do those few extra reps is not going to be good for you in terms of injury prevention. Pick a weight, or a movement that you can sustain for the entirety of the workout maintaining a good pace. The moment form starts to be affected. Scale.
Listen to your body – When a pain is more than just DOMS
We have all done a workout at times and felt that little tweak, or little niggle. (Usually deep in a workout when you’re fatigued and when our form has started to drop.) Images of that boot camp instructor telling you to keep going, and pain is your friend, or pain is weakness leaving the body come to mind. Only the right type of pain. The cardiovascular fatigue or burn in a muscle that has a build up of lactic acid are the types of pain that may be challenged. Not an injury. If you feel this, stop immediately. The long-term effects of pushing through an injury may leave you unable to do certain movements all together or put your training back by months.
Remember as well that seeing a professional for assessment is also a good idea. Just waiting for an injury to miraculously get better is certainly not going to be good long term compared to a proper assessment by a chiropractor or physiotherapist to get things working well again. I have seen so many injuries from athletes who have ignored the pain and thought they could just push through or manage something themselves. Get is checked!
Technique is everything!
As mentioned before, we have all noticed that as we fatigue form is sacrificed. There have been a few scary memes going around the internet of CrossFitter’s technique when they need a few more reps of a movement and technique has totally gone out the window! This is the recipe for disaster. Remember CrossFit as a training tool is good, only when done with correct technique.
Having a coach who is good at watching you and identifying technique issues is also paramount. We should never just be left to our own devices and learn movements ourselves. Ask if you need help because not doing movements correctly will end in injury. Having a coach look at your technique and movements and do them correctly will avoid this. A few one on one PT sessions with a good coach to clean up errors may be needed on top of your normal workouts. If you cannot do a movement properly, scale it, drop the reps or the weight. Do what you need to do to learn and maintain correct technique.
Accessory work – Work on those weaknesses, do your prehab before you need rehab!
Lastly, accessory work will help bullet proof your body. Any areas of your spine or extremities that cannot move correctly, or function properly will open you up for injury. The stretching and foam roller/ball work is so important to keeping the body flexible and supple. There are great online programs and apps that will help to do this specifically for CrossFit. One of our recommended app’s is GoWod. The program is tailored to an individual to make sure they maintain the flexibility needed to do specific movements. Do not neglect this area.
In conclusion, CrossFit is a great tool to developing a well-rounded level of fitness. Cardiovascular conditioning will help your heart and lungs efficiently transport oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues. Resistance training will build muscle tissue to hold the body and spine strong and allow us to do all our daily activities. Core strength and flexibility will be needed to do a lot of the movements so utilising some accessory programming to achieve this will help round things out. Crossfit has been given a bad rap because of gyms and individuals who do not value the above key points. To help avoid having a blowout. Apply the above.
For any specific assessments contact us for an appointment and we can help assess if your body is functioning properly. Call us at Perth Allied Health Clinic on 0476252599 or book online!