Designed to test your mind, push your limits and challenge your body, CrossFit isn’t just exercise. As a performance-based, endurance-testing training method, it’s a way of life that not only forms your body but can completely change your mindset.
The constant variations and different styles of workouts mean CrossFit always keeps you on your toes. However, as with any sport, there is a potential risk when you don’t listen to your body or remain focused on each movement.
There are things you can do from the get-go to help prevent and minimise the risk of injury. Here are five steps to help you reduce your chances of a CrossFit-related injury:
1. Warm up
A good warm up should raise the body temperature, prepare and activate the right muscles and joints, prepare the nervous system and get you into the right psychological state to work out.
Launching straight into an intense workout without warming up your muscles and joints is an easy way to get injured. It might seem like a simple step, but it’s important to remember to ease into your Workout of the Day (WOD).. If you have preexisting injuries, do your prehab before the session and rehab after class.
Remember different people will need a different amount of time to warm up. For instance a 40 year old who sits at his desk all day will need longer than a 20 year old manual worker. If time is limited hit the ground running in class and put as much effort into the warm up as the WOD. The warm up isn’t meant to be easy it’s meant to get you ready.
2. Find your support system
CrossFit is coached. The trainer is there for guidance and at a very minimum to check you are moving safely ., having someone there to help you stay in top form will also help you to avoid injury. Employing a buddy system, when working out alone or in a group, to assist you on those heavier moves, is best practice and ensures you stay safe.
3. Practice good form
One of the keys to injury prevention in CrossFit is practising good form. If you get your technique down and move well, your risk of picking up potentially damaging habits reduces. It can also be easy to get caught up in competitiveness, but instead remain focused on your form. Health and Fitness is a long term game and nothing impedes it like injury and illness. If your form is bad reduce the weight…..simple!
4. Maintain body awareness
Yes, CrossFit is about pushing yourself to the limit. But listening to your body’s limits is also key to preventing injury. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses and learning when to push yourself or pullback will help you scale your WOD to best fit your needs. Somedays its ok to be tired or rundown and reduce the intensity. A good philosophy is to go flat out 1-2 times a week and use the other sessions to really dial in quality and technique
5. Post workout recovery
Movement is a big part of ensuring your body can recover. Take the time to ease out of your workout by gradually cooling down. Always take a minimum of 10 minutes to cool down and stretch out after you’ve finished a workout. Exercise is only one pillar of fitness remember that Nutrition , Hydration and most importantly Sleep play vital roles in your recovery, health and happiness. Neglect them at your peril.
If you do sustain an injury or feel one coming on, here are a few tips to follow.
Having worked in the health and fitness field for year people tend tp rush back from minor injuries. Whilst taking 1-2 days off is enough to recover from sore or tired muscles even a minor muscle more ligament sprain will take 3-6 weeks to fully heal and a severe one up to 12 weeks. Whilst you can train around thee injuries you can’t defy physiology and accelerate healing times.
Early diagnosis and treatment
Whether you’ve sustained an injury or feel a potential one coming on, seeking professional medical assistance is the best thing you can do for your future training. Ignoring your body and trying to push past pain indicators will only slow your recovery down. Detecting any issues early and getting treatment for them is the fastest way to getting back into it.
Ease back into your training
Before you even considering getting back into your CrossFit training, always get the okay from your medical professionals and your trainers. CrossFit is an intense and strenuous workout, so you need to listen to your body, especially after an injury. Taking some time to rest and set realistic expectations for your return is also key to making a comeback. When you do feel ready and have been given the all clear, talk with your coaches at the gym about your injuries and the best way to manage them.
CrossFit is all about pushing and challenging yourself but being in tune with your body and its limits are also key to progressing in your training. Injury prevention is easier to manage than recovering from an injury so use the tips outlined here to help you train safer and smarter.
To find a program that helps you manage any potential injuries or deal with existing ones, chat with a CrossFit trainer today.