One of the biggest things I get told when I talk about CrossFit is “It’s too dangerous, I know someone who did that and got hurt, you will hurt yourself sooner or later” and then they go on about sprains, pulled muscles, even torn ligaments.
I never surprised. Why? For a couple reasons.
The safety of the CrossFit workouts depends a lot on the coaches. If a newbie is going to perform a compound lift like a deadlift or squat, or an advanced Olympic lift like the snatch, he had better know exactly what he’s doing. If the coach hasn’t for one learned from the best or spent time getting his own form and techniques correct, then what makes him think he can teach a complete new comer to the gym the safe way of doing these movements. Thus, the likelihood of injury goes way up.
Unfortunately, however, a good coach can only do so much, or can they? See coaching goes far beyond just teaching and showing how to perform movements. Coaching also goes into teaching members the type of stimulus you want to attain for each workout, how to breath, how to learn from what your body is saying and what it feels like when you are performing a movement wrong thus allowing you to slowdown and re-evaluate your technique. If your coach is more interested in how fast you finish a work out or how heavy you lift then I suggest you lift you gym bag up and find a new gym fast!
Research has shown that as fatigue sets in, form invariably gets worse. Interestingly enough, our perception of range of motion even changes with fatigue–what feels like the bottom of the squat actually isn’t. It is is up to the coach to properly fix these things and even slow you down so you can get back to proper form and safely get a good workout in. My very own coach had instilled the mental awareness that slow is fast and fast is slow, meaning move at a speed that keeps you moving safely and giving you the ability to perform the movements properly and you will see that you will still have a great time on the whiteboard.
Don’t believe me? Give it a try.
Surprisingly, the guys I know that have been doing CrossFit for any meaningful period of time without getting injured are experienced enough to understand that form comes first, then strength, and then speed will follow, the key world is experienced . This goes the same with coaches, the certificates on the wall mean nothing if there is a lack in experience of coaching all type of people from new comers to even fixing experienced athletes.
There is no guarantee you won’t get hurt doing CrossFit, but there is none for running, playing weekend sports, or even doing a mud run. But with proper training and coaching the odds are highly unlikely. Remember you are in the gym to get healthy not go to the Olympics, so have fun and enjoy yourself while you do it!