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November 13

Safety Concerns Regarding CrossFit

CrossFit is a fitness or lifestyle program that is gaining popularity in the UK. It works on the basis of setting a different fitness challenge each day to test various aspects of fitness.  As with every sport or activity, injury can happen, particularly when participants are following a program online or in a large group without the  benefit of an experienced coach to assess the participants form and fitness when undertaking a particular challenge.  It’s also very competitive, with participants encouraged to be the strongest, the fastest etc. which can naturally lead to injury.  However, research has recently been published over the safety of this particular program.

Safety Concerns with CrossFit

“The shoulders (39%), back (36%), knees (15%), elbows (12%), and wrists (11%) were the most common sites of injury.”

Intensive regular exercise can increase risk of rhabdomyolysis – from a direct or indirect muscle injury causing death of muscle fibres and release contents into blood stream which can lead to kidney failure which can be life threatening.

 What is CrossFit?

  • Fast growing in popularity high intensity functional training.
  • Getting fit, in a competitive fashion.
  • Who is fittest, fastest, strongest etc…
  • Can be any kind of exercise
  • People who take part should way the risks and benefits.

Is it for everyone?

Research over 4 years showed that approximately 30% of participants experienced an injury attributed to CrossFit so care is needed in choosing this as your new fitness program.

Everyone can try CrossFit to a certain level, however, make sure you know your own limits.  If a coach says you should do something and your body is telling you not too, make the right decision for yourself. Slowly ease into it, as well as into each exercise.

The daily challenges all have different levels for different levels of fitness so it is wise to be very honest with yourself and pick the level that you feel is attainable for you and not feel pressured into a higher level just because your mate’s doing that level or you want to look really competitive and fit. Remember, you’re going to be doing a challenge 3 to 5 days per week so you need to pace yourself and ensure that you have plenty of time to recover. Remember muscles is built when your resting and fat burning happens for many hours after exercise.

Is there an age limit?

There is no age limit, however due to the intensity of the training over 60’s and under 18’s should be careful and ensure they choose the appropriate level of challenge.

With age, people naturally lose fitness (strength, endurance, flexibility etc) therefore doing a sport like CrossFit is needs to be approached with care. There are many other sports out there!

High intensity training can potentially stunt growth in youngsters but only if done with bad form/ over training.

How to prevent getting injured

The first year is when you’re most likely to get injured (18%), so try beginners’ courses (although there aren’t many around yet…)

Make sure your coach:

  • Delivers a good warm up
  • Gives advice throughout the session
  • Keeps things fun and safe, if you have any doubts about your safety, question it, if you don’t like the answer, don’t do it!

It’s worth saying again that any sport carries the risk of injury, sometimes it’s avoidable sometimes it isn’t and sport and activity provides us with so many physical, mental and emotional benefits that it certainly shouldn’t be avoided!  However, when a program encourages you to push yourself 100% in challenges up to 5 days per week, this can lead to injury and illness which can have a very negative impact on your mental health.

CrossFit is an excellent idea and has no doubt done so much for many people, but please ease into it carefully and give yourself and your body the very best chance of achieving your fitness goals.