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The Harsh Truth About CrossFit Injuries

It's a well-known fact that CrossFit is NOT a workout for the faint of heart. The highly intense workout program isn't suitable for just anyone of any age or fitness level. If you don't meet a certain standard of fitness and your body isn't capable of taking a serious pounding, CrossFit may be a bit too intense for you. (No shame, just the way life is!)

Many CrossFitters will argue and insist that CrossFit is for anyone, but the truth is that the workout can be a highly dangerous one--even for those with weightlifting/resistance training experience. The injury rates are significantly higher than with most other workout programs. How much higher?

A team of scientists sent out a questionnaire to CrossFitters around the world, distributed via CrossFit's online forums. Of the 132 people that replied, 97 of them reported injuries. That's a 73.5% injury rate! 186 total injuries were reported, with 7% of them requiring surgical intervention. The injury rate per hour was 3.1 per 1,000 hours.

What types of injuries were reported? Most of the injuries were related to the shoulders and spine, but the other injuries were similar to those suffered by Olympic weightlifters, gymnasts, and power lifters. CrossFitters sustained more serious injuries than rugby players! Think about that for a moment.

In another study, a survey was conducted around New York and Pennsylvania. Almost 500 CrossFitters completed the survey, but only 386 of them met the inclusion criteria. Of those 386, the injury rate was nearly 20%, with men getting injured far more frequently than women.

What types of injuries were the most common? Once again, shoulder and lower back injuries were prevalent, with knee injuries in a close third. The gymnastic movements caused the most shoulder injuries, while the powerlifting movements caused the most lower back injuries.

What's more, a staggering number of the participants reported that they had prior injuries, or even discomfort in the area that they subsequently injured during their CrossFit training. Only a handful of injuries (15 out of 89) were sustained prior to beginning CrossFit training.

Pretty harsh truth, right? As you can see, the rate of CrossFit injury is MUCH higher than with other types of exercise, even full contact sports like rugby. It's definitely significantly higher than with weightlifting, bodyweight training, and HIIT training.

Caveat: The study discovered that trainer involvement helped to "significantly" decrease the rate of injuries. This could indicate that most of the injuries sustained during CrossFit were the result of improper exercise technique.

If you're considering CrossFit, think carefully! As you can see above, the injury rate among CrossFitters is VERY high. It's not a decision to take lightly, so be certain you are prepared for potential shoulder, lower back, and knee injuries.

For those who are taking up CrossFit, ALWAYS work with a trainer. The study proved that trainer involvement helps to decrease the rate of injuries, so having a trainer guide you in the proper workout form is the best way to maintain the proper form and thereby reduce your risk of injuries.

[Images via TheBoxMag and CrossfitPhos]

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