Mythbuster: You’ll Get Hurt Doing CrossFit
I have no research numbers to report on this but I do have anecdotal reporting. I hear that there are quite a few injuries in CrossFit. Maybe that’s true. But I can talk your ear off about all the injuries I’ve had running, and two weeks ago I took a dandy of a spill off my mountain bike, one that covered my face with blood (I thought it was sweat until I looked into a mirror and saw The Living Dead staring back at me). I know my experience has been that if you’re working with CrossFit coaches that are paying close attention to your movement and technique, you’re in good hands. But ultimately if an exercise is just too much for your ability at the moment, it’s time to can the ego (as mentioned before) and just tell the coaches you have to scale down. As one CrossFitter mentioned to me when we talked about this subject, CrossFit boxes generally go to great lengths to make sure no one gets hurt—injuries are not good for business.
Be patient. Know that your body is going to gradually make certain adaptations and depending on age and other factors, progress won’t come overnight but it will definitely come. This was one of the surprises. The first time I did front squats I noticed that my wrists hurt a lot. They were sore as hell. I thought it just might be part of the deal. But within a month my wrists apparently adapted, became more flexible, and now I don’t even notice. The same process happened with my elbows, and now I’m going through something similar with my shoulders. I’ve noticed that I get a lot more out of my workouts and perform at a higher level as long as I pay attention to my recovery diet (and diet overall) and routinely do mobility and restoration work. It makes a huge difference for me and I’m utterly scared to screw up on the diet and mobility work. And now I’m looking for areas where my range of motion is compromised because, as Kelly Starrett would say, these “holes” are opportunities to uncover better performance.
Those are a few of my first thoughts on getting into CrossFit. I suppose the most valuable thing I have to say about it is that it’s allowed me to feel like an athlete again. It’s also opened my mind up to the possibility of running Masters track races in the middle distance range—800 meters and the mile. Let me tell you: a year ago if you’d asked me if I would ever run on the track again I’d try and wake you up from your dream. But I’m feeling the restoration of the sort of power and mobility I know I need to run fast. That this has become an actual possibility is why I have no problem getting my butt to the CrossFit gym four or five days a week.