What Are The Dangers of Crossfit?

What are Some of the Dangers of 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.


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.

An Ugly Kettlebell Circuit For Legs

 Ready to get ugly?

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

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

Kettle bells circuits are, in my opinion, the best type of circuit you can do. They are unforgiving. If your form starts breaking down, you will pay for it. So unlike other types of circuits,these demand your full attention.

This is an ugly, ugly circuit for those of you who want to blast your legs. I have no idea why I was so mad at my legs that day. Oh yeah, I remember…I wanted to make them bigger and stronger. And this is how you do it.

Now, if you don’t have kettle bells, you can do this circuit with dumbbells. The only exercise you will have to replace is the swings. You can substitute 5-10 burpees or maybe do some pull-ups, rows or push-ups.

What you need:


I use 35 lb and 45 lb. ( I know it is cooler to use KG’s but what can I say, I am an American,. You should use a weight that will test you. remember, this is training not show off time. Kettlebell training should be a thing of beauty. I want nice controlled, smooth movements that work to transform your body into a single unit. Don’t be jerky or spasmodic and the most important rule of all….

If you can’t keep your form intact you are using too heavy a bell.

If you feel this in your lower back you need a lighter bell or you need to work on your form.

Take breaks if you need to. I don’t want your form breaking down because you think you need to work to the bell.

Interval Timer

Here is a sample of hiit timers. Most have a free version that will work just fine.

Here is a sample of hiit timers. Most have a free version that will work just fine.







Interval timer- If you don’t have one on your phone, download one. They are free and they work great. Just go to your app store and search for HIIT (high intensity interval timer). Go to settings and you will see an area for sets, high interval and low interval. The high interval is the work period and the low interval is the rest period. The names may be different depending on what app you download but you are smart and I have full confidence you can figure it out.

Suggested interval settings

Set the sets for 9.

50 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. Advanced

45 seconds work and 15 seconds rest. Intermediate

40 seconds work and 20 seconds rest. Beginner.



1. Kettlebells Swings- nice smooth swings.

2. Deadlift- use your legs and touch the kettlebell to the floor if you can.

3. Romanian or stiff legged Deadlift holding 1 Kettlebell. Stand on your left leg and hold kettlebell in the same hand. Do this exercise slow and deliberate. You may want to use a lighter weight for the first set as this really stretches out the hamstrings.

4. Romanian deadlifts Right side.

5. Front Squat- Use one Kettlebell and clean it to your left shoulder. Rack it there and squat.

6. Front squat right side.

7. Lunges Left leg. Hold either one or two kettlebells and step into the lunge and back with your left leg.

8. Lunges Right Leg

9. Kettlebell Swings

Let me know what you think.

Contact Me

I offer in home and online personal training. This is customized training directed at achieving your goals. I offer a free 30 minute consultation and would love to talk with you. Just fill out the consult form and I will be in touch with you. I look forward to hearing from you.


Post 58: KettleBell Training Comes To M Factor Fitness

 Hello Comrades, Kettlebell training has crossed over from the Soviet Union to the shores of M Factor Fitness!

( I realize the Soviet Union is no more but since this originated in the Soviet Union, I wanted to be accurate. Plus it makes a catchy headline. )

It is about time. I have been reading about kettlebells from the mid-nineties in Muscle and Fitness and the magazine Bill Phillips used to put out. I forgot the name of it but it was a great magazine. If memory serves, the guy that really introduced kettlebells to America was Pavel Tsatsouline. A man ahead of his time. Really about 15 years ahead of his time. I hope he is making a nice living off of this because he is the true founder of this movement. But at the time it looked kind of silly to me, so I ignored it.

Anyway, kettlebell training may sound intimidating because it is. You are swinging a cannonball with a handle all around your body so you should have some concern. As always, the celebrity fitness gurus are marketing this to beginners and people who have no business starting out with kettlebells. But this will lead to another rant, so let’s move on. Suffice to say, don’t start an exercise program with them. Work into them. They are a great tool for functional fitness but you need some functional fitness before you should use them. If that makes any sense.

Why did I start training with Kettlebells? I was looking for a way to improve my squats and explosive power. The cool thing about the kettle-bell as opposed to the dumbbell is the concentration of mass. A dumbbell is balanced with weight on each side of the handle, which makes it wider and more cumbersome. The kettlebell has the weight beneath the handle so it is more compact and easier to swing.

The act of swinging a weight has an effect of tying together muscles by making every exercise a compound movement. My main purpose was to work what is called the posterior chain. These are the muscles from the calves, hamstrings, glutes, lower back , mid back and traps.
From a functional training perspective I was strong in the quads but weak in the glutes. In fact my hamstrings had started taking over a lot of the glute work, meaning they were always tight and fatigued. This really affected my ability to go heavy with back squats.
1. I felt I could never go as heavy as I wanted.
2. When I did go heavy, I always ended up getting injured, hip flexor strain, hamstring pull, lower back pain etc…

So my reason to get into kettlebell training was to coordinate and strengthen the posterior chain muscles to create more balanced power. And it has really been a blessing for me to do this. Not only do I feel stronger, I walk in a better alignment and I just feel more balanced.

So I decided to introduce basic kettlebell exercises to some of my clients this month. Remember, the people I like to train are between 35 and 60 and many of them suffer from back, knee and hip pain. So we are starting off with a 15 lb. kettle-bell and doing very basic but hard exercises; swings, deadlifts, rows and stiff legged deadlifts. The results so far have been fantastic.

I will keep you posted next month.

Visit me at Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |