It’s an ‘Open’ forum

Our two cents on CrossFit injury prevention

 

It’s that time of year again. No, not Easter when we can all pig out on sugar filled egg shaped treats with no lasting guilt. It’s Open season. Hong Kong is CrossFit crazy right now with 10 boxes not only growing in popularity, but also in their prominence for producing competitive athletes within Asia.
‘The Open’ brings inherent risks due to the unknown exercises you face and the risks of competition. With significant highs and frustrating lows, whether it be a failed rep, a missed opportunity to beat a fellow competitor, or the worst, sustaining an injury, the Open does come with a risk we hope to reduce.
 

So what is our role as health professionals?

 
First and foremost, we are not here to tell you not to CrossFit. As a sport, CrossFit has gained mixed publicity due to many focusing on the negatives of the format by which it follows with high load, high volume, and high intensity training. However, just like any sport, it requires a significant level of investment, passion and sacrifice from your mind, body and time. Like any other sport you choose to involve yourself in, the goal is to keep doing what you love to the highest level you can achieve. Our role as health professionals is to keep you doing what you love. In this sense, we focus on injury prevention (or prehab).
 
Safe to say, if you’re complaining of pain, stiffness or discomfort during a specific movement; that specific movement must be analysed. The presence of pain 9 times out of 10 is a sign that your body is moving inefficiently to achieve your target movement. Therefore, the movement needs to be broken down to assess what is happening.
 
With high complexity movements like the ‘oly’ lifts, correct neuromuscular patterns and biomechanics is crucial to reduce your risk of injury, whether it be an acute muscle tear or a repetitive strain injury. The latter has appeared to be the more common sustained injury type due to the nature of CrossFit, and when the technicalities of oly lifts still elude even the most experienced athletes, the high volume, rep focused nature of CrossFit is what will succumb many to injury. The issue is the fatigued induced state you are required to train in, which for anyone, professional or amateur, this state of training environment is what increases your risk exposure to injury.
 

So, what can you do about it?

 
The key points to take away from this are:
 
1. Train intelligently, go beyond just functional movement

2, Focus warm ups on 3D movement and neuromuscular pathway stimulation

3. Give mobility and stability the same respect as you do with your strength and power gains

4. Ensure you listen to your body when you’re feeling tired or not able to move as smoothly as normal, because you most likely need to ‘deload’ your muscular and nervous system
 
Remember, CrossFit is designed to push you beyond what you thought was possible with your body, however the safety and longevity of your body is what we as healthcare professionals strive for.

 

We will delve deeper into injury prevention in future write-ups. However, if you want to learn more sooner or have yourself assessed, contact us and come meet our team of clinicians, as we will work closely with your coach to ensure your training is as productive and injury free as possible.