CrossFit, the strength and conditioning workout that’s ultra effective (and ultra addictive) has cultivated a community of HIIT evangelists across the country.
If you don’t already do CrossFit, you’ve probably had a friend try to convert you.
Combining explosive plyometrics, weightlifting, body weight exercises, and speed training, the workouts are short but by no means sweet. Some say the combination of heavy weights and fast reps lead to increased injury.
Whether you’re a Crossfitter, or a Crosskeptic, we all want to know: is crossfit dangerous?
Does CrossFit really cause more injuries? We looked to the research to find out:
The Research on Crossfit Dangers
In a recent study published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry found that 19.4 percent of the 386 CrossFit participants surveyed had sustained an injury, with shoulder and lower back injuries being the most frequently reported injuries.
Males reported higher rates of injuries than females. However, the injury rates across both genders decreased significantly with personal trainer involvement.
A similar study of 132 athletes, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, measured the dangers of CrossFit training, and found that 73.5 percent of participants sustained an injury that prevented them from carrying out everyday activities.
This amounted to an injury rate of 3.1 per 1,000 hours, which is comparable to that of sports such as gymnastics, power lifting, and Olympic weightlifting, but less than that of contact sports such as hockey and rugby.
What’s more, the study found that the injury rate for CrossFit matched that of general fitness workouts.
The injury rates of general gym training were generally very similar to those of CrossFit, although the type and severity of injuries varied.
It’s impossible to determine whether CrossFit is dangerous and actually causes more injuries because, as the researchers themselves admit, few studies have examined the injury rates among CrossFit participants.
What’s needed is a study that tracks the incidence of injuries sustained by CrossFit participants of all ages and backgrounds over at least six months. Only then will it be possible to reach confident conclusions about injury rates among the CrossFit population.
You don’t have to destroy yourself every time you go to the gym. Any serious athlete knows that rest, recovery, and periodization are crucial to optimal performance (aka kicking ass).
–Jonathan Angelilli on TrainDeep
While we wait for such a study, it’s important to maintain perspective.
Like all forms of exercise, CrossFit will strain your body and could lead to injuries if you push yourself too hard or overlook proper form, but from current evidence, it doesn’t seem to cause any more injuries than other forms of exercise.
If you’re looking to reap the benefits of CrossFit, you’ll need to exercise caution to keep injuries at bay.
Remember to recover properly.
While this workout has the potential to optimize your health, you’ll need to resist the temptation to overdo it or you may end up injured and out of action.
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Injury Rate and Patterns Among CrossFit Athletes
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CrossFit’s Injury Rates Revealed
How safe is CrossFit, really?