Over the past few years a fourth element has been added to the "do not discuss" list in certain circles. There's politics, religion, money and now CrossFit. With it's cult-like following, CrossFit has permeated every inch of the training world and unfortunately, all that good comes with some very bad. Try to talk to a devotee about proper strength and conditioning principles and program periodization...and be ready if the conversation escalates to try and outrun someone who most likely can catch up to you. While running backwards. And swinging a kettle bell overhead simultaneously.
While that, in and of itself, is nothing bad. This is. And so is this. And this. And well...just Google "CrossFit injury" and over 3 million results pop up. Let me be clear: Any type of intense training can produce injuries. Those warnings on training programs that say you should consult your physician before undertaking any new exercise programs is there for a reason. BUT (and this is a Sir Mix-a-Lot sized but) the main reason that so many injuries pop up in CrossFit is that the participants are often unprepared (despite any on-ramp course members are forced to go through before being able to join the WOD's) and frankly, the trainers are even less prepared to train these highly technical, complex Olympic style movements to relative beginners. Simply put, do some research before walking into the nearest Box to your house because of proximity.
This month the Journal of Strength and Conditioning published a study confirming what many people familiar with CrossFit already knew: you'll build muscle, lose body fat and you have about a 1-in-5 chance of overtraining and/or getting injured. In the study, 54 participants began the program but only 43 finished. the other 11 dropping out for the aforementioned reasons. My biggest problem with CrossFit is that it wants to be recognized as a sport, going so far as marketing it as "The Sport of Fitness", yet it vehemently resists the type of performance training that is the status quo in every other sport. Olympic sprinters don't just go out to a track and run a lot to get better. They have coaches that help them pinpoint any and every small detail in technique that will make them faster. For years, ice hockey was plagued by this mentality (and still is to some extent) of "play more, play better" combined with some outdated training methods. But today, hundreds of professional hockey players enlist personal (and dedicated) strength and conditioning specialists to help improve their game. It wouldn't surprise me if Rich Froning and other high-profile CrossFitters employed this as well, but it has yet to trickle its way down to the Paleo obsessed, CrossFit is the cure of all things mentality that is rampant in nearly every Box I've ever stepped foot into. They're slowly getting it, with the help of guys like Dr. Kelly Starrett bringing mobility and injury prevention methods to the CrossFit consciousness, but there's a still a long way to go.
- Will increase VO₂Max
- Will lower body fat %
- Will build muscle
- Will make training fun again (unless/until you get injured)
- You will be a marginally better athlete (you will run faster, jump higher) but you will be a better CrossFitter
- Dr. Kelly Starrett and MobilityWOD.com
- Due to explosive expansion, many Box's and/or trainers are not properly prepared to teach such technical lifts...
- but instead focus on the intensity and competitive atmosphere created by the WOD-style training method. Better put, some trainers are better equipped to push and motivate than teach proper technique and recognize when an athlete places themselves in an injurious position.
- Plus, with the WOD-style sessions, no one would want to hear what you said anyway, lest you worsen their latest attempt at a sub-3:00 Fran time
- MEANING, it's very easy to ignore proper and safe technique as well as your own limitations, simply in pursuit of better scores/times.
- No proper strength and conditioning principles in place for a group of people that likens themselves to athletes.
- It works. Yes, this is a CON because people are willing to ignore all of the above warning signs simply because they have finally found a training program that works. Go into any commercial gym and you'll see gym rats spending countless hours at machines and doing curls, only to see results at a snail's pace.
Like I said...buyer beware. All good things come with a price.