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The first rule of Crossfit is that you never stop talking about Crossfit

The first rule of Crossfit is that you never stop talking about Crossfit

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI

I’ve belonged to a “Box” before.  That’s what Crossfit enthusiasts call their gym.  It’s basically a big warehouse room with large weights, big tires, bars, gymnastic rings, and other stuff to jump on and throw around.  I’ve used some of their movement techniques and principles to instruct my patients in movement and body mechanics.  I believe that their theory is sound, but with a caveat.

In a study (.pdf link) by the Ohio State University Kinesiology program, the researchers found that Crossfit works.  Their “training program can yield meaningful improvements of maximal aerobic capacity and body composition in men and women of all levels of fitness.”  Crossfit can improve your strength, burn fat, and improve your cardiovascular endurance more effectively than other types of workouts.

However, with such praise from the researchers, you’d think Crossfit would be happy.  Instead they’re suing the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), who published the study in their November issue of Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.  Why?  Because the study also mentioned their high rate of injury and dropouts from the Crossfit program.

It was just one sentence:

Of the 11 subjects who dropped out of the training program, two cited time concerns with the remaining nine subjects (16% of total recruited subjects) citing overuse or injury for failing to complete the program and finish follow up testing.

Crossfit cites false advertising and faulty research science calling the study a fabrication.

If you have a friend that Crossfits, you probably know why they’re suing the NSCA.  Usually their facebook feeds are full of their WOD (workout of the day) times and they can’t seem to stop expounding on how great their workout is.  Enthusiasts of Crossfit have been likened to cult members.  They are fervent in their belief that Crossfit produces the “fittest and strongest” people on the planet.  They even have an Olympic style competition to prove it:  The Crossfit Games.

They basically are trying to squash all bad press and research.  As a physiotherapist, I can understand kinesiology, movement, and exercise.  And I have my fair share of patients that come to see me because of some Crossfit-related injury.  Crossfitters usually try and shrug it off, but their type of high intensity workout that emphasizes speed and explosiveness does carry a risk of injury.  But I think it’s no more than any other type of sport such as Olympic lifting, power lifting, or gymnastics; and it’s less than rugby.  There’s even a study to prove it.

Crossfit has its benefits, but it also has its risks.  Don’t be blind to them.  Always do your research and listen to your body.  Crossfit teaches proper movement and skill, but you can still get injured when you start to add speed and a lot of weight.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

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