23 Jul The G-Force Source: injury prevention 101
“Unsound mechanics at submaximal loads = injuries.” — Greg Glassman, CEO and founder of CrossFit
Niggles and injuries in sport are like sexually transmitted diseases in the sixties; almost everyone has them. CrossFit like all sports sees its athletes succumb to a wide range of physiological problems. Don’t blame the sport though because what people are quick to forget when comparing CrossFit to other sports is that most other sports nurse probably many more injuries than we realise. Think about the NFL, the AFL, NRL, weightlifting and football (soccer); the injuries are plentiful.
CrossFit, like any other training regime, puts its participants at risk if the sport isn’t managed correctly. Ultimately, blame for the onset of niggles and injuries in CrossFit should not be cast on the sport, the coaches or the programming (though each can potentially contribute). Predominant blame lies with you!
In this edition of our blog, we’re going to provide you some hints and tips to alleviate the onset of said niggles and injuries. We’re going to break it down into the three largest contributing factors: diet, poor body maintenance and lastly, the compromise of form under fatigue.
Are your food choices just about weight maintenance? Hell to the no! Diet is much more than merely managing your weight. CrossFit is a high intensity training regime that requires high amounts of energy expenditure from the body. Those energy levels must be replenished.
The simple idea of diet is: for weight loss, energy input (what you put into your mouth) is less than energy output (the calories you burn); for weight maintenance, energy input is equal to energy output; and for weight gain, energy input is greater than energy output.
How you manage your diet is completely up to you, but if you do CrossFit, the amount you eat can and most likely will have either a positive or negative affect on your body. Our recommendation is: eat enough foods to sustain your activity levels. If you’re not eating enough and drinking enough water, your body is not going to repair and your muscles are going to break down. That’s the path to injury.
CrossFit CEO and founder Greg Glassman provides a great and simple recommendation for diet in the famous 100 words of fitness: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”
Stretching (including mobility), sleep and a sports massage: they’re the three major activities in this category that are a must for CrossFitters.
How many of you can sincerely and solemnly swear and affirm that you stretch every day either after class or at home? I’m going to make the confident assumption that it’s going to be less than 35% of you. Stretching and mobilising are so important that they should be a part of your daily routine. Stretching your muscles will alleviate tightness and release some of the lactic build-up which in turn may prevent future injury.
How many of you can also sincerely and solemnly swear and affirm that you get a full eight hours sleep every night? Again, the assumption is going to be a poor percentage. Your body recovers and repairs whilst you sleep. A good night’s sleep is also going to help your energy levels. Poor sleep means poor body recovery and poor energy levels putting you at risk of possibly injury.
Lastly for this category, we’re going to strongly recommend seeking a sports physiotherapist who understands our sport of CrossFit and understands your body. See them at least once a month for a maintenance massage. This could potentially prevent the risk injury. We understand time and money are precious, but if you’re participating in the sport of CrossFit, you must look after your body!
FORM UNDER FATIGUE
How many times can you remember being so fatigued and out of breath during a workout? Almost every day? Most likely. During that fatigue, there is a chance that you may be compromising form and technique during your workout. This is a big no no. We want you to be aware of the compromise of form under fatigue and hope that you can identify it when it happens to you. Your coaches are partly accountable for this as their ever watchful shouldn’t let much slip. However, there are times when the focus is on one particular athlete and at moments like that where you realise you’re not moving correctly, stop, catch your coach’s attention and have your form corrected.
Many workouts we perform are for time or have a time aspect to them. CrossFit workouts are usually based on a race against the clock. Never ever allow your greed for a better time to trump the need to move correctly. It won’t be worth it when you tweak a muscle and realise that you won’t be racing against anything for the next six weeks.
Form and technique come first. The race against time comes second.
We hope you’ve taken something away from our Injury Prevention 101 edition of The G-Force Source. Simply, we want you to eat enough to sustain your exercise regime, look after your bodies and never compromise form and technique under fatigue and the race against time.