Friday, January 2, 2015

CrossFit Training and the Spine in Naples, FL

Founded in 2000, CrossFit is one of the newest strength and conditioning exercise movements that has been gaining intense popularity in recent years. The goals of CrossFit are simple—increase strength and aerobic conditioning—and are met by performing various exercises in a structured hour-long program with a focus on high intensity movement and aerobic conditioning combined with Olympic type weightlifting, gymnastic's calisthenics, and other forms of strength training. Another unique aspect to CrossFit is that the exercises are varied so the same exercise is not repeated over a 30-day period. A typical one-hour session includes a warm-up, skill development period, the exercise/workout of the day (WOD), and a period of stretching.
  • CrossFit tends to focus on performing high intensity exercises in a limited time period and has been proven to be very effective in increasing aerobic conditioning and calorie expenditure.
  • Another benefit is the sense of camaraderie, which participants often list as a top motivator in helping them accomplish their fitness goals.
CrossFit Pros and Cons
As CrossFit has grown immensely in recent years (there are now more than 9,000 CrossFit-affiliated gyms in the United States), there has been increased awareness of both the pros and cons of the training regimen. On the positive side, it seems clear that the program is successful at getting people in improved physical shape. On the negative side, there are increasing questions of some of the exercises and the increased risk of injuries, most notably rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown from prolonged, excessive muscle strain).
The most notable injury that has resulted from CrossFit is that of Kevin Ogar, who was paralyzed from the waist down while trying to lift 200 pounds during a competition. Although this was a freak accident, and could have occurred with any other type of weight lifting exercise, it has become a lightning rod for those reporting on the negative effects of CrossFit.
Recommended CrossFit Precautions
Discounting the Ogar injury, and from a spine perspective, I would recommend the following precautions for people participating in CrossFit:
  1. Know your limits and your fitness levels
  2. Progress at a pace that you are comfortable with; although it is often said, “there is no gain without pain,” too much pain during a workout can be counter-productive and might even signify a serious injury, such as rhabdomyolysis.
  3. Progress slowly with any weight training that involves axial (top) loading of the spine (eg, back or neck). This includes: dead lift, snatch or lunges with shoulder weights. It is best to increase leg and torso strength before advancing to these exercises.
It seems that despite the recent negative press surrounding CrossFit, and excluding any marketing hype around the exercise philosophy, CrossFit is sound if the principles are applied with common sense and with the understanding that getting and staying in shape is a long-term proposition.

Total Health of Naples and Dr. Michael Paralovos are the leading facility in Naples, FL for Crossfit injury rehab.  Dr. Paralovos is a Level 1 Crossfit Trainer and Crossfit Mobility Trainer.  Call us at 239-260-1426 or go to for more information or to schedule a consultation with our Naples, FL Crossfit chiropractor.

Article courtesy of Spine Universe and Dwight Tyndall, MD, FAAOS


  1. This is like a training that is given to the special services groups in army and they are given the real experience of pain but when it comes to civilians, a very low level can amount to heavy pain and that can be treated from Chiropractor North Ryde for better health.