There are a lot of folks out there who are what we call CrossFit haters. Some of these folks may have tried CF and had a bad experience, others are just judging off of what they hear and see. These haters often use the excuse that CF is just to dangerous and results in injuries. Below is a great piece written by Connex athlete Jacob S. discussing CFm the risk of injury, and what CF is truly about.
Once again, CrossFit is under scrutiny following the recent injury of Kevin Ogar. There is another call for revision of the sport, with the case that brutal, relentless programming has made it impossible for athletes to safely perform workouts.
This claim just doesn’t recognize the specifics of the accident. The injury occurred as a result of a dropped barbell bouncing off of plates that were placed behind the lifting platform. A freak accident. Anyone who has watched the olympics knows that lifters drop heavy loads all the time. Even in the olympics, horrifying injuries can occur (see Sa Jae-hyouk at the London games). But olympic weightlifting has been well-established for decades, so these sorts of accidents never raise torches and pitchforks.
However, I think these accusations are happening for a reason. A few years ago, CrossFit was not a sport, simply a training program. The name now extends far beyond a training regimen: we have the CrossFit Games, “CrossFitters”, even a CrossFit brand of Reebok fitness gear. CrossFit is no longer just a program; it is a lifestyle brand. Current scrutiny reflects a loathing for lululemon weightlifters and paleo bloggers. It isn’t rooted in safety.
Take, for example, a recent Guardian article, citing a study that found a 73.5% injury rate among CrossFit athletes. If you actually read the study, you would find a more significant statistic: 3.1 injuries per 1000 hours trained. In a rec soccer league, the rate was 7.6 injuries per 1000 practice hours. For distance runners, it can get as high as 38 injuries per 1000 hours. The Guardian article dismisses the fact that athletics, in general, cause injuries, and not caveman dieters.
There will always be accidents in athletics. The questions we should be asking are: what sort of supervision is there? How is event safety managed? Are athletes trained to fail lifts safely?
There is an additional distinction to be made. This accident happened in a CrossFit competition. These events give CrossFit most of its publicity these days, but they are far, far away from the origin of CrossFit. They do not represent what the brand is about. We would not have these events without the core of CrossFit–the gym.
I currently belong to CrossFit Connex in Fitchburg, WI. One of our coaches, Kief, gave us a chewing out a few days ago, the first I’d ever heard from him. It was not about effort or strength. It was about support. We got a talking-to because we did not yell and cheer, because we did not pull our teammates through a physically demanding workout.
This is among the most important things that CrossFit teaches. I have seen people gain immense confidence in just a matter of weeks through CrossFit. While the physical gains in this time frame are often small, they feel enormous with the backing of an intense, supportive, and loud group of peers.
I fear that CrossFit is going to leave this behind. Instead of asking questions about “the evolution of the sport”, we need to make sure that CrossFit avoids becoming just a sport. Watching Rich Froning do Isabel at 225 is pretty cool, but it doesn’t benefit 99.9% of people who do CrossFit.
The daily benefit comes from a passionate coach teaching you to pick each other up. At CrossFit, every person in the box wants every other person to get stronger, unconditionally. This is a rare thing in life, but I can get it every day by going to my gym. That is why I CrossFit.
You can find more by Jacob at http://jsachs.svbtle.com
3:00 run a 200 (rest remaining time)
1:00 AMRAP HSPU
REST 1 min between rounds
2:00 row 300 (rest remaining time)
1:00 AMRAP Pistols or Jumping air squats
rest 1 min between rounds