Posted on June 13 2017
The Top 5 Crossfit Injuries And How To Avoid Them
Crossfit is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. A big reason for this is that the workouts are not monotonous.
They are varied, fast-paced and intense. Crossfit uses a combination of callisthenics, plyometrics, Olympic lifting, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and aerobics. It is very effective for fat loss, strength gain and overall conditioning of the body. However, injuries are the major bane of Cross-fitters. They put them out of the game for weeks and sometimes, even months. Discussed below are the top 5 Crossfit injuries with proven tips on how to avoid them.
1) Shoulder: Shoulders are one of the most over-worked muscle groups in the body. They are used in almost all upper body workouts such as push ups, dips, bench press, military press, pull ups, planks, flies and many more.
Shoulders also play an integral role while performing squats, dead-lifts, clean and jerks etc. No wonder they get injured very often. The easiest way to prevent shoulder injuries is to allow for a good amount of recovery time between workouts. Ideally, you should not perform the same Crossfit workout more than once per week.
The gap in training enables the muscle fibres to recuperate and grow stronger. Nutrition also plays a vital role in recovery. Keep track of both your micro and macro-nutrients. Many people track their macros (carbs, proteins, fats) fastidiously but ignore the equally important micros (vitamins, minerals).
Lifting very heavy weights is another major cause of shoulder injuries. If you cannot lift a weight with good form, it's probably too heavy for you. Always work out using proper form. Even a single rep with bad form is enough to injure your joints and muscles.
A good rule of thumb to prevent shoulder injuries is to keep them back and down while working out. This position stabilizes them and engages the chest, back and core.
2) Knees: Like shoulders, knees too undergo considerable stress during workouts. Crossfit incorporates plyometric workouts. These exercises focus on building explosive strength – they require muscles to contract and expand in a very short time.
Examples include jump squats, clapping push ups etc. Knees take quite a beating while squatting, jumping, running and so on.
Wearing knee caps or sleeves is an easy and effective way to prevent knee injuries. These provide stability and compression along the knee joints. ActiveWrap Heated Knee Wraps can be a lifesaver in case of an injury, but it's VERY important to reiterate that if you cannot lift a weight with proper form, it is too heavy for you.
You might feel that the extra rep or weight is beneficial as you are recruiting every muscle fibre to the fullest. However, if you are losing form, it means that you have already exhausted your muscles and are exerting unnecessary strain on your joints. Muscle pain during training is good, joint pain is not. The goal of exercising is to condition and strengthen your muscles and joints through progressive overload, not to cause irreparable damage to them.
If you want to ease pressure in the knee area, concentrate on using glutes, hamstrings, quads and other muscles in the legs. Flex your glutes before you go down into the squat (every rep), this balances weight, squares your hips and prevents unnatural pressure build-up in the knees. It also prevents hip injuries.
Develop the muscles of your iliotibial tract (the band that runs along the side ofyour outer upper thighs down to your knees). They help to balance the knees laterally.
3) Wrists: The wrists are highly prone to Crossfit injuries. Lift a dumbbell that is too heavy for you and you’ll probably feel a searing jolt of pain in your wrist. Another very common and much ignored cause of wrist injuries is improper form during push ups.
The human wrist is not designed for being pressurized when it is bent backwards. Thus, wrists injuries are very common among newbies and also among experienced Cross-fitters who push themselves extra hard.(Learn how to properly wrap a wrist here)
The proper way to do a push up is on a push up bar or stand (dirt cheap). If you don’t have access to one, place a soft carpet, towel or pillows underneath your hands and perform push ups with closed fists. Wrist wraps with a thumb loop is great for preventing twists and sprains in the wrists. It is highly recommended that you use these if you lift heavy.
4) Back: Back injuries tend to occur when you try to lift too much weight without first developing a strong core. Everybody wants to jump straight to the big weights. They are over-eager to develop their show muscles, which include the abs, glutes, shoulders, triceps, biceps, pectorals etc. However, you cannot train with sufficient intensity unless you have a strong core.
Calisthenics (body weight exercises), planks and compound movements are the best way to build core strength. Isolated movements target very specific muscles are do not engage the core so much. Not warming up is also a major factor in back injuries. Most of us (even the ones that are in good shape) are not full time athletes.
We are full time office workers with sedentary jobs. Lifting weights immediately after sitting on a chair for 8 hours is not a good idea. Include a good warm up session. Learn proper form and technique before moving on to the juicy bits (heavy weights).
5) Elbows: Elbow injuries such as tennis elbow are very common among Cross-fitters. The number one reason for this is that they flare their elbows too much while pushing and pressing. Elbows should be located next to your body. You should not flare them too much. When you do this, you cause shoulders to flex awkwardly. They turn inwards and forwards. This is why you see so many ‘muscular’ people with wrecked, forward facing shoulders.
Keep your elbows close to the body – this minimizes the strain on them and also on the shoulders. Of course your elbows will move out when doing wide angled variations of certain exercises.
However, you will not injure them if you don’t try to lift more than you can and maintain proper form. Include fatty fish, green veggies tomatoes and berries in your diet. These foods fight inflammation and help with pain management.Stretching, warming up and maintaining proper form are the three pillars of Crossfit injury prevention. Nutrition is the foundation of every health and fitness regimen. Hot and cold packs provide excellent relief against sore muscles and joints.