If I had a dollar for how many times I have been told or have read that CrossFit is dangerous, I would be free of all my student loans. The truth of the matter is any physical activity we engage in carries an inherent risk, you just have to make as much effort as possible to mitigate that risk. At the Sweat Shop we do our best to minimize the risk of injury from doing CrossFit, and I like to think we do a great job! Still, injury occasionally happens in and outside of CrossFit. When we get injured we have a choice to face, do we want to continue, or do we need to take a step back from whatever it is we are doing? Most of the time the injuries we sustain are very minor and can be easily worked around, and those will be the ones I am referencing today. I won’t be speaking about very serious injuries that are permanently debilitating.
Like I said before, most injuries we sustain are very minor, and can be worked around when it comes to CrossFit. I know a lot of people who have been able to successfully modify their training and continue to attack their workouts at a very high level. That being said we still need to be very smart when it comes to training around an injury. I found this article that made a couple of very good points in regards to that subject.
My favorite point the article made was that when you are training through an injury, you need to adjust your goals and expectations. Lets say you have sustained a hip injury and squatting is just of out the equation for now. Instead of avoiding strength sessions involving squats, shift the focus to upper body development (Yeah I am talking about you Art!). Attack some weakness you have in the upper body and let that hip heal. You could even add in some midline development as well. Even though your lower body will be a bit weaker post injury, your overall fitness will not have suffered substantially because you developed another area of it.
Two points from the article that I think go hand in hand are doing more mobility and accessory work, and learning from your mistakes. Most of the time when we get injured its because of a mobility/flexibility/stability issue. I have written about it before but our bodies are phenomenal compensators. Our bodies will compromise safe mechanics to allow us to do certain movements. This inherently increases our risk of injury. CrossFit is an activity that calls upon the pushing muscles frequently and also demands a large range of motion from the shoulders. The combination of these two can create imbalances, and overuse in the front of the shoulder, which can lead to injury. If you are plagued by this situation, take it upon yourself to mobilize the front of the shoulder (the pecs, the triceps, the anterior deltoid) and increase your pulling strength so you have more balance in shoulder strength and mobility. Rather than coming back and doing the same things that got you injured, try to devise a plan so that it will minimize the chance of it happening again.
Another great article that I found talks about coming back from injury, which I will not dive to deep into in the interest of retaining your retention. The TL;DR version (Too Long Didn’t Read, in hip internet lingo) is that recovery is a long and slow process that cannot be rushed. As coaches we will always do our best to reduce risk of injury, but we recognize that injury does happen. We are always more than happy to help you work through an injury, come back from one, or advise you on preventative measures! Please do not ever feel like you are asking too much from us, we are here to help you!