by Coach Shawn
You’re right in that CrossFit (like anything) has the potential to be dangerous.
What increases the potential to make CrossFit dangerous?
- Not warming up, not performing specific movement progressions/ramp ups.
- Poor form. Poor form at high intensity. Poor movement patterns repeatedly over time.
- Lack of Coaching/Guidance/Feedback. -or- lack of listening or applying feedback/coaching.
- Continuously bypassing your body’s limits of its range of motion.
(ie: Can’t touch the floor yet lift heavy or high reps often from it…hmm)
- Excessive training volume (you going to the CrossFit Games bro?)
- Poor programming (excessive high skill, redundant movement patterns day to day, no de-load weeks, too much volume too soon.)
- Poor recovery outside gym (poor eating, poor sleeping, poor management of stress, no rest days.)
What helps decrease the potential of CrossFit being dangerous?
- Always warm your body up. Ramp up movements in a progression style, escalating.
- Move well. Always. Goal #1 be the absolute best mover you can each and every day.
Regardless of intensity level.
- Commitment to quality of movement as a priority (remove the ego or comparison.)
- Be coachable. Seek feedback openly. Apply feedback. (Coaching is in place not only for progress but for safety.)
- Always learn and improve your own relationship in understanding your body. Your bodies movement patterns, it’s capabilities, weaknesses, faults, or even days you need to back off.
- Listen to what your body is communicating.
- Openly communicate with your Coaches.
- Focus on proper recovery management of the other 23 others of your day. (eat well most of the time, get good sleep, stress management, take days off, recharge!)
However, even with those at play, there is still always a risk.
- Previous life or history experience.
(Ie: “I fell when I was kid skiing and my knee was never right.”
It wasn’t “just” those back squats last week that have you feeling a sort of way, we have to factor lifestyle accumulation.)
- Previous Injury experience.
(ie: “I broke my wrist 4 years ago and everytime we do power cleans it hurts but I just “suck it up” and don’t say anything cause I don’t want to adjust to dumbbells.”)
- Excessive daily sitting.
(Excessive sitting shortens our hip flexors (pitching us forward – overworking the back muscles!) It mutes our glutes (the powerhouse of the lower body) and puts excessive strain on our lower back while decreasing our overall full range of motion.)
(Simply put, shit happens. I was Coaching a class once and everyone was on the rig and i ran up the front to grab the remote and rolled my ankle over a PVC pipe. I finished out the class and couldn’t walk the next day.)
- Our bodies’ unique makeup…
(Arthritis in the back (Jeff), Frozen shoulder (Duncan), Herniated disc (Tracy), Arthritis of Right shoulder and bony growth off shoulder bone (Myself), Nerve and neck pain (Amy) Endometriosis (Abby) Knee replacement (Colleen)
the list could on…
These are things we have. We must respect them. They don’t have to stop us, however we must respect and adjust where we need to.)
- Lifestyle choices
(Smoking, drinking, partying, poor diet, poor stress management, exercise addiction etc. It all adds up.)
- Bypassing Your Own Capacity
Imagine an empty glass cup. This cup is your capacity.
Add all the above into that imaginary empty glass cup as “water.”
Let’s say the cup is about ¾ full.
This cup represents our capacity ¾ at threshold. Not our fitness threshold. What our bodies can actually tolerate before breaking down.
When we add extra training on top of training, poor recovery patterns, poor decisions, poor sleep, no rest days etc in a ¾ cup full capacity we dramatically increase the risk of a tweak or setback.
What’s Actually More Dangerous…
None of this to scare anyone, but to educate.
Because we must acknowledge…
- From early death,
- increasing disease risk,
- weight gain,
- low morale,
- low energy,
- low libido,
- Loss of muscle mass,
- Loss of function/capability.
- Increase of poor eating or poor decisions and poor habits.
- Sleep inconsistencies.
- Increasing Health concerns like high blood pressure or fatty tissue around our organs.
- Or a body that is no longer fit, strong and capable to do ordinary tasks.
If you regularly train at Railroad, you are different.
You are among the 1% club.
The 1% who choose to accept the small inherent risks that come with moving and challenging our bodies to combat what inactivity promotes and unlock the best and healthiest possible life we can.
You are a 1 percenter.
Others may not understand.
Your loved ones, friends, massage therapists, chiropractors or people you go to see.
“CrossFit? Isn’t that dangerous?”
Those looking outward in, our friends, people who see your videos of you doing a tough workout or a near maximal lift jump right to the “dangerous” aspect.
It’s simply a misunderstanding.
People don’t know what they don’t know.
And some will try to minimize anyone who voluntarily chooses to better themselves because they in fact may not be. Or think their method is “better.”
The truth is you accept the small inherent risks that come with training your body and you choose to challenge that body. To better it. To prioritize it. To build resilience within it.
And that can’t always be easy. Or always be “absolutely” safe.
We all accept that a “painted” yellow line that has us inches away from one another, moving at speeds in our cars that could kill us is inherently safe.
Just like driving, train responsibly.
Knowing the other option (inactive, out of shape, weak, deconditioned, doing absolutely nothing) is actually much more dangerous than CrossFit.