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The CrossFit Conundrum

May 29, 2013

First I want to say that this is not a post bashing or endorsing CrossFit. My goal with this post is to give people information so that they can make an informed decision on it and if they decide to do it some tips to get started. According to the CrossFit website ( http://www.crossfit.com) their aim is “to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness. We have sought to build a program that will best prepare trainees for any physical contingency — not only for the unknown, but for the unknowable”. To accomplish their mission, they have a “WOD” or workout of the day where you are timed or have a certain number of reps/sets of different exercises from Olympic style lifts to kettlebells. After looking at just how many exercises are in their library I can truly say that I am impressed. The sheer amount of exercises guarantees that you wont run out of things to do. 

I have decided that CrossFit is not the route I need to take not because it does not work but because I believe it would put unnecessary stress on my body. I am quite positive that if you did CrossFit 5 days a week you could drop weight, get stronger, and gain lean muscle in a short amount of time but at what cost. To me it just makes sense that all those repetitions would not be good for the joints especially the knees and shoulders. The majority of people I know that have done it or something similar have hurt themselves in some way shape or form. Hard data on CrossFit injuries are hard to come by because of there have been so few studies done. This year the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in Columbus, OH found a 16% dropout rate due to overuse injuries from CrossFit.

Here are some tips to help you get the most of the fitness benefits and avoid the  injuries associated with CrossFit:

1. If you are an exercise beginner do a general weightlifting program (8-12 exercises/ 2-3 sets of 10-15) for 4-6 weeks to get your joints, muscles, and ligaments used to the load that will be placed on them before you begin CrossFit

2. Instead of doing it 5 days a week shoot for 1-2 days spread out in the week so that your body sufficiently recovers

3. Mix in other types of workouts during the week 

4. Listen to your body. If you are extremely tired or sore take a break. The more tired you are the bigger your chance of injury due to poor form

5. If the weight is too heavy swallow your pride and drop the weight. Form will always be more important than how much weight is lifted

Following these tips along with using sound judgement will help  avoid injury doing not only CrossFit but any type of workout that you choose. 

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