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How Not to Get Injured Doing CrossFit and Other High Intensity Sports

If you’ve heard about the fitness phenomenon of CrossFit (and who hasn’t at this point) and you’re considering trying it, then you’ve probably heard one of the main knocks against the workout regimen is people get injured. Much of what gets written about CrossFit in mainstream media is people get rhabdo (look it up), overuse injuries are prevalent, and it can in fact be dangerous.

cross2All of this is true at some level, but I’m here to tell you CrossFit can be perfectly safe if approached right. From my years of training, I find it’s no more dangerous than playing other common sports, such as pickup basketball or training for a marathon, and I’ve done both.
Here are three ways to approach CrossFit and stay healthy.

1. Start slow and scale everything to your strength levels

Regular folks see ripped CrossFitters lifting huge amounts of weight and try to do it themselves. That’s a recipe for disaster. Work with your coaches to establish your strength levels and then scale the everyday workouts to appropriate percentages. Ignore what other people are doing.

Personally, I largely ignore the “Rx” version of workouts and calculate what is the safest load for the rep scheme in a workout. Sometimes I actually go over the Rx weight if it’s appropriate.
The good news is CrossFit trainers are getting advanced enough, generally speaking, that they don’t program insane loads or push people past the breaking point anymore.

2.Vary your intensity level

This one is going to rankle a lot of hardcore meatheads, but it’s okay to drop your intensity on workouts, especially if there are complicated movements or you’re not feeling 100%. Keep in mind, if you do something really fast with poor technique, you’re asking for an injury.

The other twist is I plan to only go at 75% intensity 2-3 days per week and reserve my race intensity for just 2 days a week at most. My race intensity is basically where I’m going as fast as I can, damn the torpedos.

Back in the day when I was learning the sport, I would actually plan to come in last in a workout just to slow down my intensity level and focus on good technique and quality repetitions. After I did that a couple of times I realized it’s okay to take 15’ to do a workout when most people are taking 10’…I’m still getting in a good workout!

3. Rest and mix in other types of low impact training

If you’re just getting started, rest at least 2 days per week. A better regimen is one day on, one day off or a max of 3 days of CrossFit per week for newbies. If you’re a workout freak and can’t stand to take days off, then mix in workouts on your “off” days that are low impact. I like to go on a run or bike, and sometimes I’ll go to a normal gym and just lift weights meathead style. Hell, sometimes I do yoga, which has a host of other benefits too.

So there you have it. If you’re thinking of trying CrossFit, keep safe by approaching it right you’ll be just fine.

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About Lance Lance is a tech geek by day, social artist and fitness enthusiast by night. He specializes in relationships in real life situations, such as workplace and in business, and his goal is to create high value social circles filled with opportunity. For more on his dating and relationship perspective, check out his blog honeyandlance.com

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