Are CrossFitters Prone To Injury? | The Answer May Surprise You

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Alyssa Bialowas

CrossFit emphasizes strength and conditioning that involves progressions in load as well as minor modifications to movements that require increased skill as you progress. This model in exercise regimens is called scalability. CrossFit is ideal for scaling as beginners and experts can participate in the same exercise; however perform their movements to a greater or lesser degree. CrossFit is performed at relatively high intensity for the duration of the workout, and combines weightlifting, powerlifting – see Increase Strength, Increase Lifespan – Powerlifting Could Change Your Life, gymnastics and cardiovascular exercises for maximal gain. CrossFit can also be achieved using workout gear such as TRX Suspension Systems or Hyperwear’s Vest and Sandbell Weights.

Numerous health and fitness professions have warned against CrossFit due to safety-related concerns around exercise execution incompetence and rapid jerk movements on your joints. These safety concerns have mounted to very little evidence in either direction, and research out of Florida International University sought to shed more light on the perceived dangers of participating in CrossFit. 

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Related Article: CrossFit For All Ages

The Study

The participants in this study were all members of a CrossFit gym, and 191 participants were included in the study. 94 males, and 97 females participated in the study, and were asked to answer a questionnaire. The researchers aimed to investigate location, number of injuries, severity, as well as potential risk factors for injury in participants. All participants in the study completed the survey.

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The Results

For the 191 CrossFit athletes who participated in the study, researchers observed an overall incidence of injury at 2.3/1000 training hours, with 26% of athletes reporting injury over the preceding six-month period. The most frequently injured areas were the shoulder, knee, and lower back. In regard for potential risk factors in participating in CrossFit, greater exposure was related to greater chance of injury. The more an athlete participated in CrossFit, the greater likelihood they experienced an injury of the shoulder, knee, or lower back. Due to exercising with increased loads, heavier athletes were more likely to be injured within the six-month period.

Forever Fit Science Tip: consider using braces and supports to help prevent injury while crossfitting.

Related Article: Predict Overuse Injuries In CrossFit Athletes

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The rate of injury in CrossFit relates to the frequency of athlete exposure to the exercise, as there are more chances for injury to occur. However, this rate of injury is similar to the rate of injury incidence in related sports such as powerlifting, weightlifting, and gymnastics. And certain techniques, such as using Ice packs, can help alleviate aches. CrossFit as a form of high intensity training benefits an individual’s overall strength and cardiovascular fitness. Make sure to take the time to learn how to perform the exercises safely, and progress at a rate that works for you to avoid injury. 

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Epnere, K., Li, T., Montalvo, A., Myer, G., Rodriguez, B., & Shaefer, H. (2017).

“Retrospective Injury Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Injury in CrossFit.”

Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 16, 53-59. 

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