4 Problems (and solutions) to CrossFit Programming
Everyone is so quick to bash CrossFit and it’s often “random” programming. People criticize it for not really having a personal touch to it or not really progressing one’s strength. Truth is, CrossFit is for the masses. Most people want to work out to feel healthy and to improve confidence. Classes usually are comprised of average, everyday people without an advanced knowledge of programming. Having coaches that develop a program for a large population is perfect for those who want to come and enjoy a workout with their friends. Personally, I think CrossFit has saved a lot of the lesser known types of fitness such as Olympic lifting and powerlifting. It has popularized the movements and has more people interested in these types of fitness. However, with the positives come the negatives. CrossFit has a pretty high injury rate. Here are 4 injuries that can occur and how you can help to prevent them.
Lower Back issues
When an untrained individual first starts CrossFit, they are thrown into a world full of compound lifts. Without proper core training, the lower back is prone to injury. Adding weight only accelerates these injuries. By incorporating more core work we can improve this right away. Adding single leg or arm movements help to build a base to add strength to as well. Finally, a wider stance during a goblet squat will increase hip and glute strength so that the lower back isn’t relied on.
Most people are weak in the lats, rear delts, and mid back. It’s something that needs to be trained, period. Unfortunately, in CrossFit classes, more emphasis is put on vertical pulling (pull ups) than horizontal pulling (rowing). This causes an imbalance and puts the shoulders in a compromised position. A solution is more rowing. We can also use bands to help strengthen our shoulders before using actual weights. Also using dumbbells to press using a neutral grip will lessen the chances of injury.
Squat volume in CrossFit is high. You’ll most likely be doing some kind of squat pattern every workout. This causes knee issues. To combat this we need to have some kind of built-in recovery to help alleviate knee pain. Give yourself time between heavy squat sessions to not only let your knees rest but also your central nervous system. We should also alternate between hip and knee dominant movements. In English, alternate squats and deadlifts to help reduce squat volume.
Feeling burned out
CrossFit is demanding, there’s no way around it. Not only is it physically demanding it is mentally demanding as well. Pushing your body to its limit multiple days a week or even multiple workouts a day will put stress on your central nervous system. Motivation decreases, fatigue sets in, and injuries can be more frequent. Easing into it is the best way around this. Doing a couple sessions a week to start and adding more as you become fitter is a great way to avoid burning out.
Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals.
pc: Geert Pieters @shotsbywolf