Get the Skinny on Crossfit: Is it right for you?
The New Year is upon us and many of us have resolved to get into shape. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Crossfit and similar workouts in relation to strength building, and more importantly, avoiding injury!
Crossfit is a high impact workout with high repetitions and an emphasis on community support to achieve peak fitness. People love the culture, the exercises and the results. If you love these kind of workouts, or would like to try them to see if they are a fit for you, here are my recommendations on doing it safely.
1. Prepare. I strongly recommend a functional movement screening before beginning the Crossfit regimen. These screens test the body’s ability to perform movements associated with Crossfit and maintaining all of these functional movement patterns is essential for safe workouts and injury prevention.
2. Educate. If the exercises are new to you, educate yourself on proper form and weight load to ensure you are performing the exercises correctly.
3. Avoid Peer Pressure. The culture and passion of Crossfitters is widely known and the teamwork and peer environment can sometimes create pressure to perform and resist resting an injury. Find the right level of participation for you that helps you achieve your fitness goals safely and without injury.
4. Pay Particular Attention to Your Shoulders. Due to the high amount of overhead motions involved with Crossfit, shoulder injuries can be prevalent so please take care to do these correctly and mindfully. Low back pain, wrist pain, knee pain, foot and ankle stress fractures can also occur when proper form is not followed, and please make sure you have appropriate footwear and braces for support.
5. Recognize the Importance of Rest. Resting is a critical part of your exercise regimen and allows your body to absorb the benefits of your workouts, as well as heal and repair. Crossfit recommends 3 days on and then a 1 day rest period.
As with any workout, listen to your body to know if it’s the right workout for you! If you are feeling the onset of an injury, consult with a professional immediately. And with the right precautions and mindset, you should be able to workout safely and avoid injury.
Yours in good health,
Dr. Robert Koch