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Preventing Injuries

By Coach Nathan:

Injuries are an unpleasant part of life whether we are sitting at a desk, walking down the street, playing with our children, or working out at our box. Chances are that all of us will be injured at some point in time.  Now I can’t speak to carpal tunnel but I know that paper cuts hurt like crazy…but that’s the extent of my knowledge of desk sitting injuries.  Now when it comes to what happens at the box, I have become pretty familiar with injuries.  CrossFit consists of a wide variety of gymnastics and compound movements performed at high intensity.  We routinely are lifting heavy weights at high velocity (keeping in mind that “heavy” and “high velocity” are both relative to the person performing the movement).  The point is that regardless of our individual strength and fitness levels we are all performing at high levels of intensity.  This inevitably opens each of us to the possibility for injury.  However, it does not doom us all.

There are a few things that we can do to help prevent injury,  some of which are the responsibility of the athlete, while others are the responsibility of the trainers.  Here I have compiled a sort of quick and dirty list of precautions that should be taken.

  1. Foundations When you started CrossFit at WOR you weren’t just thrown out into group classes. You were put through a series of personal training sessions where the main goal is to familiarize each new member with the basic movements frequently performed during a CrossFit WOD with emphasis placed on using correct technique.
  2. Warm Up The warm up may go unnoticed as a safety precaution but unless you’re a toddler, odds are that it takes a while to get those muscles and joints loosened up and warm muscles and joints are more resistant to strains and sprains.
  3. Technique Proper technique is absolutely, fundamentally, unequivocally, above all else (notice the emphasis) necessary in order to perform complex movements at high intensity without injury.  This is the responsibility of the athlete first.  Once you’ve been instructed on the proper technique…use it.  If for whatever reason proper technique is not being used, it is then up to the coach to step in and provide instruction on how to use proper technique or if all else fails to modify the workout to prevent injury.
  4. PreWOD Demonstration By now you’ve probably noticed that before each WOD (workout of the day) each movement is performed by the trainer leading the class and then performed by each athlete in the class.  This pre WOD demonstration does two things.  By demonstrating proper technique the trainer provides the class with a visual reminder of the proper technique and by having the class perform a few reps of each movement it allows the trainer to correct any faults before the WOD begins.
  5. Intensity The intensity that makes CrossFit so effective does not mean insanity.  Odds are none of us will ever make it to the CrossFit games but everyone should have a goal when it comes to fitness.  The first goal should be to prevent injury.  When you achieve one goal you should then set another goal and push to achieve that one too.  The steps in between those goals should be incremental.
  6. Self Awareness This isn’t as easy as it sounds.  You have to have a healthy understating of your personal capabilities and then work toward improving them.  You also have to listen to your body.  If you’re listening, your body will tell you when it is time for a break, muscle and joint soreness are both sure signs that it is probably time to take a day off.
  7. Rest Days These can be either taking days off from the box or they can be programmed into individual WODs by emphasizing not for time skill exercises or by focusing on mobility.

This list could continue on and on but doing so would cause this list to go from quick and dirty to a manifesto of sorts and you probably get enough of my stories in class as it is soooooo……I’ll see you at the box.

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