In an age of the increasing popularity of yoga and other low-impact forms of exercise, we've begun to hear a lot about the alleged dangers of high intensity workouts such as what programs like CrossFit have to offer. However, CrossFit's negative reputation is largely based on a lack of understanding. The truth is that CrossFit carries with it only about the same risk as powerlifting and competitive weightlifting – which, contrary to what many believe, are, along with CrossFit, among the safest sports around. In fact, there are a number of ways in which CrossFit is, in fact, helpful in the process of rehab:
1. CrossFit is an excellent way to get – and keep – patients moving. While it is true that part of rehab involves identifying which muscles to rest – and to what extent – it is only through strengthening supportive tissue through exercise that a person will ever fully recover from an injury. And CrossFit is all about movement.
2. Crossfit exercises put the emphasis on an incredible range of motion. Therefore, using the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) or Functional Movement Screen (FMS) with CrossFit is a great ways to identify exactly where the problems lie – whether the mobility problem is with shoulder pain, thoracic extension, scapular stability, ankle mobility, or hip and core stability. There's just no way to overlook any muscle group when CrossFit is involved.
3. The high intensity nature of CrossFit exercises are not only great for the cardiovascular system, but they also help warm up the body to prevent further injury during all types of exercises, including those used in a rehabilitative setting.
4. Integrating CrossFit techniques into individualized sessions also provides a great opportunity to educate patients on how to improve their exercise techniques overall. Once patients are doing these addictive high energy movements (which involve so many muscles doing such a wide variety of things), it is only natural that they become more curious and receptive to understanding the biomechanics of exactly what's going on with their bodies and why. Thus, their chances of re-injury go down.
5. A strong and healthy body is less susceptible to re-injury, too – and CrossFit helps make just such a body possible. It's an unfortunate misconception that CrossFit fans, who do in fact love an intense and challenging workout, must, therefore, all be body-building maniacs with outrageous (or even dangerous) fitness goals. The truth, in fact, is that there are many who do CrossFit with the simple goal of being able to play with their children and keeping their bodies strong and healthy. A strong and healthy body is one that's better protected against sprains and other injuries.
Overall, it's really a shame that such a huge misunderstanding of CrossFit exists. It's a reputation that not even a sport as high-impact as recreational running has, despite the fact that running carries ten times the risk of injury compared to CrossFit! However, perhaps all of that will begin to change as more and more professionals begin to see the benefits that CrossFit can offer when it comes to physical rehabilitation.
Adam & Amanda
We have spent most of our adult lives training and guiding thousands of people toward better health & fitness. We have created this A4 Blog in order to better educate our friends & members. We will answer any of your health / fitness / nutrition questions as well as keeping you posted on what's new at A4.