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Top Ten Crossfit Mistakes
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Crossfit is popular, and can be lifechanging. There are those that may be wary, fearing injury. It is true that I have seen an influx of healthy people coming in with injuries due to Crossfit, but I see far more people injured by obesity and diseases of a sedentary lifestyle. I would rather rehab your shoulder than deal with diabetes. Not only does Crossfit provide short, intense, effective exercise, but it also provides a stong community and moral support. I feel very comfortable giving it my endorsement as a physician. However, I would like anyone thinking of joining your local "box", and many of those already fully vested in the community, to avoid these top ten mistakes that I have observed in my patients involved in Crossfit:
Not warming up properly. The higher the anticipated intensity, the longer you should warm-up.
Sacrificing technique for intensity. It is ok to fail a lift! Learn to bail gracefully, drop the weight, take a breath, then finish your set.
Being too strict with Paleo. The Paleo diet is great and very popular within many Crossfit communities. Just be careful about being too strict, I have seen cases of high-level athletes injuring their liver by requiring it to process more fat for energy. High level athletes need a lot more than 10% of their calories to come from carbs. Just choose smart carbs (veggies) when needed, but don't carb load until you have reached your ideal weight.
Too much volume without intent. Stay focused on the system you are working and adjust intensity and focus on technique to reduce volume. Most injury comes from repetition, not a single event.
Jumping programs. Each program is usually designed with progression in mind. Stick to one program until you have met those goals.
Skipping before and after nutrition. If you want to progress, you need to fuel your workout. You also need to prevent muscle wasting and restore vital nutrients within 90 minutes of working out. A carb to protein ratio of 2:1 to 4:1 is ideal. Eat clean and you should set a PR nearly every day for you first 2 years of regular cross-fit activity. Success is found in the kitchen!
Skipping rest days. More is not better, you need to let your body recover and build, then push it again. Progression is cyclic, not linear. If you look for linear growth you will very likely fail or get injured. Make every 4th week and "easy" week and work on mobility and technique with lighter weights.
Progressing too quickly. Don't try advanced exercises (butterfly kip) before mastering basic exercises (body weight bench press).
Ignoring those dumbbells. Dumbbells can be your best friend, don't forget they are there! Focus on weak spots with specific dumbbell exercises prescribed by your coach or doctor.
Forgetting the grip. The grip is the weak link in most advanced exercises and losing your grip can lead to injury, work those Farmer's Carries hard!
Bonus Tip: For men, shoulder and hip mobility will limit your Olympic lifts. For women, it’s weakness in the mid-back (i.e., getting pulled forward during front squats). Work on those issues first so you don't develop bad habits.