Cross-Fit is fast becoming a popular sport for many athletes seeking muscle strength, agility and speed. In fact, the Official CrossFit Affiliate Map shows over 16,000 locations worldwide. This is amazing considering the sport, or way of training began in the year 2000.
Even with its popularity, there are some flaws in the high-intensity, full-body movements that could potentially cause serious injury. Here are the top 10 mistakes made by Crossfitters.
Going too big too soon
The nature of the Cross-Fit world is that you get a lot of great athletes who are passionate about what they do, and ready to show you what they’ve got. Inside any given gym, you will likely find a competitive atmosphere full of adrenaline. You may be an athlete yourself, and feel that energy, and want to go big right out of the gate by doing 20 consecutive muscle-ups, or throwing the kettle bell as hard as you can the first try.
Unfortunately, many of, if not all of the workouts require a specific number of experiences under your belt to be able to successfully complete them without getting injured.
So, just like anything, ease into it and be smart.
Giving up too soon
If there’s something that goes hand-in-hand with going too big too soon, it’s giving up too soon. There could be several reasons for this. One could be due to feeling like a failure after your first few attempts because you did things your body wasn’t ready for. Another reason could be quick burnout.
The easiest and most effective way to avoid this is to ease into it. Many Crossfit classes offer beginner level routines. Even if you are in great shape, if you are new to Crossfit, it might be wise to start out with one of these.
Not warming up properly or at all
Crossfit tends to have a “go big or go home” mentality, with many hitting the gym hard as soon as they enter. Many Crossfitters will forego a warm-up so they can have more time to hit the hard stuff.
Doing so, however, can result in injury. And rather than heading in for a workout, you’re spending your days down for the count.
Not allowing for rest days
The go big mentality also lends itself to many Crossfit athletes neglecting to take rest or recovery days. Not taking rest can wreak havoc on your autonomic nervous system, causing bodily and mental stress. This can lead to difficulty sleeping, which makes it difficult for you body to heal adequately.
There are so many issues with neglecting to have rest days. Oh, let us count the ways … or maybe it’s best you rest.
Not taking care of your hands
Due to the nature of the sport (throwing heavy kettlebells, flipping tires, muscling up on a bar, doing power cleans. etc.), you use your hands a lot. And if you don’t take care of your hands, they can take a beating in the way of torn blisters and thick calluses.
To remedy or prevent issues altogether, many crossfitters suggest shaving calluses, using hand care products, and investing in gloves.
Shooting for quantity not quality
One of the appeals of crossfit is the competition aspect. There’s of course, the Crossfit Games, but even local gyms will have their own competitions that focus a lot of reps and less on form. This causes a lot of crossfitters to worry too much about getting the high numbers rather than doing the exercise correctly.
Doing this can result in injury — even serious ones. In fact, a 2013 study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that 97/132 people surveyed reported getting hurt during CrossFit training, with most injuries involved the shoulders and spine. These subjects reported a total of 186 injuries; nine of which led to surgeries.
Another study in Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine found that shoulder and low-back injuries were most common, followed by knee injuries.
Turning everything into a competition
As mentioned above, Crossfit competitions are a regular occurrence, and quite frankly are a large appeal to many seeking that aspect of sport. However, with that competition aspect, many can take it too far, even making every workout a competition.
Doing so, can lead to mental and physical burnout and even injury.
Not keeping things balanced
Finding something you love that brings with it health benefits, the ability to set goals and better yourself, as well as good social connections is a good thing. That being said, there can be too much of a good thing if taken to an extreme, and many Crossfitters do this. If all you think about and talk about is Crossfit, then that might be a good indication that you need to back off a little bit.
Along those same lines, finding joy in other exercises like walking, going for hikes, swimming, or simply day-to-day physical activities like mowing the lawn or cleaning your house will also provide a good physical and mental balance to keep you from going overboard.
Crossfit is a lot to do with muscle and strength building — which is great! However, along with strength, muscles need to be flexible. Many Crossfitters neglect that important aspect of muscles, and it can lead to injuries later on — like back and shoulder tightness.
This is why it is so important for you to take time to stretch those muscles before and after workouts.
A popular diet that many Crossfitters follow is the Paleo diet. This is a diet consisting of meat, nuts, fruits, veggies — mostly what a caveman would eat. There’s not much inherently wrong with following a strict diet like this, but an issue with any “diet” is that you starve your body of some essential nutrients.
For instance, in the Paleo diet, you can’t eat things like grains, beans, dairy, and even candy and sugary cake! Many of these things cary essential nutrients as well as a sense of enjoyment in the process.
And if you can’t enjoy the process, then why do it at all?