There are more than 3,000 CrossFit affiliated gyms worldwide, with 332 in California alone.
So why is this new workout system so popular? In the simplest of terms, CrossFit can be defined as a strength and conditioning system that is designed to promote both broad and targeted physical fitness. And it does yield results.
Results are good. We can agree on that. But what if the results come at a cost?
The emphasis of the CrossFit training system is on speed and total weight being lifted – the emphasis is not on technique. Most of the workouts are time-based, meaning you don’t stop until the clock hits zero. Even as your muscles fail and your mind weakens, coaches and fellow gym goers push each other to completion. It is meant to be brutal and demanding.
Despite the results that many have seen, there are still many exercise experts that are troubled by many “fad” aspects within the system – particularly the lack of guidance for beginners.
It’s extremely easy for an individual new to exercise to dive headlong into stressful workouts, and the results can be harmful. Any individual involved in medicine and exercise knows that an unskilled person cannot participate in this system without injuring themselves.
Experts believe there is a clear lack of direction, training and understand for new athletes or others who are new to the CrossFit system. With the CrossFit system, Information is lacking, which only makes it easier for new members to perform inappropriate exercises. But even fit people who work out regularly can be at risk. Anyone who exercises strenuously at too rapid of a pace risks temporary or even permanent injury.
The risk is clear. Exercises of this intensity without form have a much higher potential for injury.
Besides the obvious risks to the joints and the back, there are other serious risks involved with this kind of intense workout. Rhabdomyolysis is a kidney condition most commonly induced by excessive exercise. The potentially life-threatening state occurs when muscles break down and myoglobin, the biproduct of muscle fibers, is released into the blood stream, essentially clogging up the kidneys and poisoning them.
While all exercise can create injury, there are more injuries with CrossFit because of the high-speed, high-impact approach. Certain exercises implemented by CrossFit are meant to be done in moderation. But CrossFit preaches pushing to the edge of every set, every rep, until there’s nothing left in the tank. Although Crossfit has become so popular for a reason, results, one thing is certain: Regularly pushing your body to failure can lead to serious health risks, like Rhabdomyolysis.
So make sure you weigh the risks. Pushing your body to become healthy is great! But push too hard and you may just break instead. Make sure to find a program that is right for you and your skill level. Be safe and exercise smart!