What Are The Dangers of Crossfit?

What are Some of the Dangers of Crossfit?

Crossfit

Choose your weapon. 45, 55 or 70 pounds of pure fun!

I recently received this question and the person deserves a fair and honest answer on how dangerous Crossfit is.

Before I do that, let me make this statement.

  1. I like any discipline that uses barbells, kettlebells and other weights. That includes Crossfit.
  2. Crossfit has done a huge amount of good bringing a greater awareness about strength. Especially to women.
  3.  Crossfit isn’t any more dangerous than some personal trainer goofball showing you how to work a pec-deck at 24 hour fitness. In fact if you take the time to do it correctly, it is a great way to get strong and very fit.

But I do consider it flawed. Here is why.

 One of the selling points of Crossfit is that they want to get good at everything.

So a typical workout…well there aren’t typical workouts. Every day is different so you don’t get in a rut.

But doing the same movement over and over is the only way to get good at it. It takes thousands of reps to hone your form.

You have couch potatoes (no offense meant) stepping into a world that may throw gymnastic moves, kettlebell movements, Olympic lifts and power lifting at you in the same session.

How are they supposed to get proficient in all these exercises?

Consider this.

  1. The biggest danger with Crossfit is that they ask you to do complex, intricate movements as fast as you can. Olympic style movements like snatches and clean and jerks take years to learn properly. And they only do 1 rep.
  2. Crossfit asks you to do high volume reps with exercises that are aren’t suited for high reps. Let’s talk about deadlifts, cleans etc… Again, these are traditionally low rep movements. They take a lot of coordination, experience and strength to execute.

I have no problem with the crossfit exercises, even the kipping pull-up.

My issue is what they do with them. Very few people can do high rep movements with a challenging weight and maintain proper form.

Especially when you are doing a series of movements for time without breaks. To do that you have to already be highly conditioned.

More than that, you need to have the experience in your mental game to know how to budget your energy and strength.

The Crossfit athletes you see on tv are gifted athletes that have come from a disciplines like gymnastics or olympic lifting that translate well to the sport.

They have the flexibility and the understanding of body movement. They also know how to manage their heart rate and when to back off.

That is very different from the average person who is sedentary, lacks power and flexibility.

So how do you get that flexibility and experience?

In a perfect world that person steps into a crossfit box and the trainer puts them in a class to learn all these separate movements. When they are ready, they can participate. That may take months or years.

I am talking about just doing the lifts properly without tying them into a workout.

The problem is that the client doesn’t want that.

This is an instant gratification society.

They want to see how fast they can go.

They want a workout even though they can’t do they can’t do the exercises right.

They want to sweat and be beaten down.

Why don’t you just “fake it until you make it?”

I have been training people for over a decade, you can’t just “wing it”. Some clients pick up movements quickly. Others don’t.

If you want to get good at crossfit. And by good, I mean not being a menace to yourself, it will take time.

In addition to the workouts…

  •  Watching video time.
  • Stretching, rolloing and smashing time to gain flexibility and repair old injuries.
  • Personal one-on-one training time for the complicated movements.

No problem, they can teach me. The owner is in really good shape.

For $40 a month????

Crossfit is no different than stepping into a gym.

There are good owners who care and create a culture of learning and helping.

Then there are the owners that are just looking after the bottom line. The teaching at some of these boxes is atrocious. Just as the personal training is at a lot of gyms.

Don’t believe me? Go on a site like Flickr and look at some of the crossfit gyms posting daily pictures. You tell me how many of the clients are doing the exercises correctly.

The risk of injury doing sets is a lot lower than the risk of doing a high intensity circuit…if you don’t know what you are doing.

Even if the owners know what they are doing, do they have the time to personally coach each individual? No. Your $40/month can’t possibly cover that.

Summary

You have people doing exercises they don’t know how to do as fast as they can racing against a clock.

Where could the danger in that be?

If you would like help learning some of the exercises they do at Crossfit, find a trainer that can train you in olympic lifting, gymnastics etc…one on one.

If you would like something a bit safer but I think is just as effective, check out my online training by clicking here.