The Fit File: CrossFit hype

Have you heard the term CrossFit? Haven’t we all? If you know anyone who does CrossFit, you know they are very eager to share about it, for good reason. There are pros and cons to any workout module, but I am here to mediate the battle between the people who say CrossFit will injure you and the people who say they would marry CrossFit if they could. CrossFit came about in 2000, founded by Greg Glassman, who was looking for a new way to train that encompassed all aspects of fitness to create the ultimate athlete. He wanted to revolutionize the fitness industry to have people always change up their workouts. For example, one day you could be doing a strength circuit: squatting, pressing, deadlifting, snatching, and jerking. The next day you could be rowing, doing sprints, flipping tires, or even swimming at some gyms. Sounds intense right? That’s because it is. CrossFit’s idea is that the more intense your workout is, the shorter it has to be. This makes sense with our fast-paced culture today. Who could use a little bit of extra time each day? I know I could.

CrossFit gyms are popping up across the U.S. The company’s first affiliate was CrossFit North in Seattle. By 2005, there were 13 affiliates. In 2012, a mere dozen years after the company started, there were 3,400 affiliates worldwide, which is a 262% increase in stores from 2005 to 2012. So, if there is so much popularity with CrossFit gyms nationally, what’s all the fuss about injuries? Let’s dive into the facts, shall we? In a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers surveyed 132 CrossFit athletes. They found that “97 (73.5%) participants had sustained an injury that had prevented them from working, training or competing.” Of these injuries, nine required surgery. This amounts to an injury rate of 3.1 per 1,000 hours, which is similar to sports such as Olympic weightlifting, power lifting and gymnastics, but less than contact sports like rugby.

This research confirms what we expected—CrossFit is not the worst thing in the world, as some people want you to believe. But it’s not the safest thing either. If you’re simply looking to get stronger, burn fat or enhance your performance, trying to mimic elite CrossFit athletes may not be wise. However, making smart decisions with your training may help you take advantage of this community-based, high-intensity style of training.

Thanks for reading, your personal trainer, Kylie DeWees-NASM-CPT

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