CrossFit: Dangerous or Effective?
Anyone who spends time Googling CrossFit will find it described as the most effective training system available while others claim it is the most dangerous training system out there. So what gives? The reality is that just because two gyms call themselves “CrossFit” and have CrossFit Trained and Certified Coaches does NOT mean that the experience is consistent between different CrossFit locations.
There are many CrossFit locations that place a premium on client safety and carefully evaluate all clients prior to any workouts in order to understand their unique fitness level, injury potential, and movement profile in order to plug each client into programming that not only does not hurt the client but actually improves their movement skills and addresses muscle imbalances and compensations. The end result is that clients get a great workout, do not get injured, and ultimately improve more longer term.
That being said this there are also CrossFit locations with where clients are tossed into any old WOD (Workout of the Day) with little or no consideration for whether the workout is appropriate or safe for a given client.
So how do you know the difference before you join a CrossFit location? First see if they have a specific onboarding process for new clients that includes a movement analysis such as the FMS (Functional Movement Screen) conducted by coaches who are certified in FMS or other similar assessment system. Then ask how they handle different fitness levels and people with limitations, injuries, or muscle imbalances.
Well run locations will answer these questions with pride and explain how they fit different clients into a WOD by providing specific options for clients with injuries, muscle imbalances, and movement compensations to prevent injury while allowing the client to have a great workout while also not feeding into muscle imbalances and movement compensations.
Many excellent CrossFit locations will be able to show you specific programming developed for the vast majority of us who are highly likely to get injured without modifications to certain workouts and movements.
So take your time and get to know the staff at a CrossFit location before you put your hard earned money down. If you are one of the few people who have fantastic stability, mobility, strength and are naturally highly coordinated you may be able to jump right in to just about any workout, but the for the rest of us mere mortals a little due diligence upfront can save a lot of pain and downtime later.