CrossFit is a high-intensity workout program that utilizes exercises based on functional movements such as squatting, lifting overhead, or performing snatches. CrossFit mimics these movements with barbell lifts called cleans, overhead presses or deadlifts. (see picture to the right) Most of these movements are not foreign to us; we see many of the same movements in other sports or fitness programs such as Olympic lifting, gymnastics, or yoga. CrossFit workouts, however, implement both resistive and cardiovascular training into each workout and are geared to increase strength and improve overall conditioning. This allows athletes to integrate the gains they make into daily, functional tasks.
On the downside, as with all other sports or workout regimens, many CrossFit athletes are at risk for injury if not properly coached or supervised while performing their workouts. Most CrossFit gyms offer a fundamental course to those who are interested in joining a CrossFit gym or even starting a CrossFit regimen of their own. It is highly recommended, and in most gyms, required to attend these courses to prevent injury of the athlete or those around them.
How Crossfit Relates to Physical Therapy
Physical Therapists often see overused injuries such as patellofemoral pain syndrome, patellar or rotator cuff tendinitis, or iliotibial band syndrome. Such diagnoses often occur with repetitive movements with a muscular imbalance involved in which smaller muscles that support and stabilize joints are neglected and often weaken while bigger global muscles take over, but lack the ability to stabilize the joints themselves.
My advice as a physical therapist and avid crossfitter, is to rest between high repetitions to allow your body to perform movements with correct form and as efficiently as possible, warm up and stretch regularly, and to spend some time strengthening smaller stabilizing muscles such as mid and lower trap and deep core muscles (lumbar multifidi, transversus abdominis).
Readers can claim a complimentary consultation at OSR for treatment regularly for any CrossFit related pain! Oahu Spine and Rehab specializes in Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Rehab Therapy, Pain Management and Weight Management. Give us a call at 808-488-5555.