Injuries. Love them or hate them, they are part and parcel of every sport.
CrossFit, whether you like to acknowledge it or not, is treated like a sport for a large portion of people who do it. Therefore, more than likely, injuries will be experienced from time to time.
In my view, it is not the sport or training methodology of CrossFit that causes injuries.
I believe it comes down to three things:
- The Program
- The Coach
- The individual or the EGO
It all starts first and foremost with the program. Given that the coach does a good job at delivering the program, and the individual pays attention and understands the coaches delivery of the program, then a well designed program will significantly reduce the liklihood of injury.
It is my strong view that programming in CrossFit has come a long way, and that most boxes invest knowledge, experience, time and energy into ensuring they have a well structured and quality strength and conditioning program that is designed to get people strong and fit, and not injured.
Properly on boarding clients into the program, ensuring there is the right mix of accessories and compound movements, incorporating unilateral and bilateral movements into the program, ensuring there is room for progression, structuring progress into the program, and making sure there is care given to the warm up, cool down, mobility and recovery elements are amongst a list of factors that make up a quality strength and conditioning program.
Although on the outside looking in, coaching a CrossFit class may seem like an easy job, it is not an easy job at all- TO DO WELL.
Quality coaching requires:
– A depth of knowledge of the human body and human movement
– A sound understanding of strength and conditioning principles
– Exemplary communication skills to deliver the program to the class
– The ability to communicate on different levels for the various needs and personalities in the community
– Superior organisational skills to organise the class and make changes on the go depending on the exercise or workout
– The ability to regress and progress movements for people with different abilities or injuries
– Awareness and empathy to support and encourage people through the session
– Positivity and a genuine smile which is not always the easiest thing to do
(Oh and did I mention you have to repeat yourself about 1000 times a day, haha)
In the midst of all of these things a coach must do, he or she must always make sure that they are not putting the clients at unnecessary risk of hurting themselves. Emphasis should always be on MECHANICS, then CONSISTENCY, then INTENSITY.
This may mean telling people to take the weight off the bar, cue them to maintain high quality of movement, regress people to less difficult variations of a specific movement, completely change a movement or workout for some people, move people and equipment to avoid hazards. It is not an easy thing to do, and is the reason why a CrossFit Box’s coaching team is the most influential part of the business.
The individual also needs to take responsibility here. Looking after ones self and putting the necessary time and effort into hydration, nutrition, mobility and recovery is extremely important. Then comes the individuals ability to be coached, listen and pay attention to their coach during training, be patient in their training, and their willingness to work on their weaknesses around the class program- they all have a role to play here. Not only that, realistic expectation and knowledge of ability needs to be at the forefront of all decisions. For these reasons, many CrossFit gyms will make the following message clear on entry “LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR”.
Injuries- they are part and parcel of every game, every sport. However, with a well designed program, a good coach, and a good attitude to your training, there is no reason why you should get injured doing CrossFit.