Last week, we talked about one of the most prevalent myths surrounding CrossFit: that it’s an exercise program just for super fit people. If you missed it, check it out here! Spoiler alert: we busted that myth!
CrossFit Myth Busting #2: “CrossFit is too dangerous! You’re just going to get hurt!”
by Coach Chris
This week, we’re tackling another common misconception about CrossFit. Many people unfamiliar with this workout methodology have heard through the grapevine that CrossFit is super dangerous, and everyone gets hurt all the time.
My mom is in her 60s, and has been doing CrossFit for about 4 years now. Many of her friends & coworkers around her age think she’s “crazy” for doing CrossFit. What if she gets hurt?!
Many of these same friends and coworkers struggle to walk around the block, or up a flight of stairs. They’re on a multitude of medications for preventable diseases. They’re getting full joint replacements. They’re spending most of their time, money, and energy just to feel “less bad.”
Meanwhile, my mom is talking about doing her first Olympic weightlifting competition. She’s teaching her grandson how to do squats. She’s transformed her eating habits. She’s part of a community of people at the gym that cares about her and helps her succeed. She’s spending her time, money, and energy becoming the best version of herself. CrossFit has given her the direction she needed to make it possible.
Which of those lifestyles sounds like the more dangerous one?
Yes, this is just anecdotal, but it illustrates how misunderstood CrossFit is!
Reality vs. The word on the street
What does the research show us — is CrossFit dangerous? No more dangerous than any other type of sport or training. According to the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, studies have shown that CrossFit has comparable or lower injury rates than other recreational sports, like Olympic weightlifting, distance running, track & field, soccer, or gymnastics.
How did CrossFit get this reputation for danger? At least in part, it was due to a smear campaign by the competition.
When CrossFit first started making waves in the fitness world and the media, it posed a serious threat to the conventional gyms and methods of training. So much so, that the National Strength and Conditioning Association published a fraudulent study in 2013 that included falsified and misleading data to intentionally frame CrossFit as unsafe. Unfortunately, the damage caused by this now-retracted study was already done: due to this literally made-up data, the word “CrossFit” had become associated in the mainstream media with injuries and safety concerns.
After a multi-year legal battle, the court found that “the NSCA fabricated the injury data and published them in [the Journal of Strength and Conditioning]…with the intention of protecting its market share in the fitness industry and diminishing the burgeoning popularity of the CrossFit program.”
There are likely other reasons for why people think CrossFit is dangerous, but by our estimation, the majority of those reasons stem from lack of understanding or context. If you came to observe any class at our gym on any given day, watching everyday people performing our workouts, working closely with our expert coaches, we guarantee you would not come away with the impression of danger or recklessness. Remember folks — what you see on TV or Youtube isn’t always accurate.
How we avoid injuries
To be clear: Just like any other physical activity or sport, it is possible to get injured doing CrossFit. You’re working hard, learning new things, and pushing yourself in new ways. Accidents do happen.
We take great care with how we onboard our new members, to reduce any injury risks as much as possible. All our members begin their CrossFit journey with one-on-one coaching. This ensures they develop good movement patterns from day 1. We don’t push anyone into workouts or movements they are not physically ready to perform safely. We also utilize a style of workout programming that prioritizes quality over quantity, and leaves plenty of time to learn and practice new skills before trying them in a fast-paced workout.
Most new members come to us with at least one pre-existing injury or troublesome joint. More often than not, with consistent effort and smart training, their symptoms improve significantly over time. It’s amazing what some basic strength and mobility exercises can do for cranky knees and shoulders! In our experience, our workouts alleviate a lot more chronic joint pain than they cause.
What happens if I do get injured?
We work with people wherever they’re at. If someone does sprain an ankle, for example, we can tailor all of their workouts to be done from a seated position until the are cleared by their doctor to bear weight on it again. We have a network of healthcare professionals — chiropractors, physical therapists, registered dieticians, etc. — that we can refer people to whenever the need arises.
We think the risk of injury is directly proportional to the level of care & attention an athlete receives by their coaches. So, we care. A lot. Quality coaching and relationships are the cornerstone of everything we do at Ripple Effect. By knowing our people well, and programming smart workouts with manageable volume, we allow our members to push themselves and grow, while still being safe.
Want to come see for yourself? Sign up for a Free Intro Session! Or, you can come observe a regular class to see what a day looks like at Ripple Effect. We’d love to meet you!