How do you reduce your risk of injury as you begin your CrossFit journey?
CrossFit is an exercise regimen that has become increasingly popular around the world over the past 20 years. CrossFit bases their fitness program on “constantly varied functional movements performed at a high intensity.” Many people are intimidated by CrossFit and think they can’t do it or may get hurt if they try. I am going to go into detail about 5 ways to NOT hurt yourself if you are beginning or contemplating beginning your CrossFit journey! The goal is to reduce your risk of injury during CrossFit training.
Firstly, if you have any serious medical conditions or suspect that you do, I advise you to consult your doctor prior to beginning ANY new exercise program to risk of injury during CrossFit training .
1. Warm Up
Warming up before any type of exercise is important as it prepares your body for what it is about to do. It increases your heart rate and promotes blood flow to working muscles. Warming up will help prevent you from hurting yourself by jumping into a high intensity workout too quickly.
2. Stay Hydrated
I am a physical therapist for both active and sedentary individuals, and one thing I always address is HYDRATING! Water is so important in regulating necessary bodily functions and it is even more important to stay hydrated when your body is going through higher intensity levels of exercise. You are losing water as you exercise. A general recommendation is ½ of your body weight in oz/fluid per day. It is important to increase this consumption the more you sweat with exercise so that your body can recover optimally.
3. Modify Exercises
One great thing about Crossfit is the community atmosphere. Classes are groups of people that are coming together for a common purpose – getting fit and having fun while doing so! As you are beginning CrossFit, you may notice there are many new movements that you may have never tried before. Therefore, it is very important to modify activities as you’re getting started to prevent injury. You will not be able to do everything in the beginning, and that is ok!
The great thing is that there are TONS of variations of exercises. For example, a burpee is one of the many functional movements that shows up during many CrossFit workouts. If someone is unable to get on and off of the ground, a half burpee can be done. You could also modify this by bending down to a target vs. going all the way to the ground. A squat is another good example. If someone has knee or hip pain while squatting or does not have enough lower body mobility to complete a full squat efficiently, the squat can be performed to a target (such as a chair or a bench). This will ensure safety as well as decrease you risk of injury during CrossFit training.
4. Do not compare yourself!
While working out with other individuals, it is very easy to compare yourself to where others are in their journey. It is important to remember that everyone has a different skill level and some people have been doing CrossFit for many more years. With social media, it becomes even easier to compare yourself because you can see everyone else at the tip of your fingertips. Comparison takes away joy – and this is something that should BRING you joy! Comparing can also lead to a more competitive behavior which can lead to injury. My advice would be to compare yourself to yourself – and see how far you can come in a few months!
5. Listen to your body, ALWAYS!
It is important with CrossFit, as well as any form of exercise, to always listen to your body. You know your body more than anyone else! If something hurts, notify a coach to assist you in modifying the movement. If you feel that a weight is too heavy, decrease the weight. You know your body the best, and by listening to it, you can limit the possibility of hurting yourself.
Summary: Risk of Injury During CrossFit Training
With any form of exercise, there comes a risk of injuring yourself. This is no different with CrossFit. By following these simple steps, you can greatly reduce the risk of injury and continue to enjoy doing what keeps you happy and healthy!
And, if you’re in the Augusta Area and want to get started on a functional exercise program to address pain or weakness, request an appointment online!