- 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.
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:
- Know your limits and your fitness levels
- 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.
- 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.
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 www.totalhealthnaples.com for more information or to schedule a consultation with our Naples, FL Crossfit chiropractor.
Article courtesy of Spine Universe and Dwight Tyndall, MD, FAAOS