We know, we’re walking on eggshells with this one. If there’s one generalization to be made about CrossFitters, is that they (can we say “they”?) are very sensitive about being…generalized. But still, with the popularity of Greg Glassman’s fitness revolution at an all time high we’d be remiss to not suggest that physiotherapy can be a positive influence on the health and wellness of its members. If you’re among them, please keep reading.
3 Reasons Why CrossFit Members Benefit from Regular Physiotherapy
1. That Study About CrossFitters Being More Prone to Injury (is Beside the Point)
OK, we have to say hello to the elephant in the room, one that stumbled into the news in the spring of 2019. A recent investigation performed at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine found that Crossfit members may be more prone to injury.
Prior to this investigation, critical studies stating the same were shot down due to the fact that Crossfit injuries were not fairly compared to the injuries sustained by those participating in similar activities. But the Penn State study took a different approach, and compared injury rates of CrossFit members and typical weight trainers performing similar exercises within the same geographic region and within the same time frame. Results stated that CrossFit participants were 1.3 times more likely to be injured and 1.86 times more likely to get medical attention than their counterparts. The most common injuries were to the shoulders, lower back, and hips. The study pointed to the intensity of CrossFit workouts as the precursor to somewhat greater instances of injury, versus the exercises themselves.
Of course, this study didn’t fly with CrossFit higher-ups, and in May (2019) a letter was sent to Penn State demanding a retraction:
“…it requires immediate retraction because it is beset with scientific error, cites retracted studies that contained fabricated data and inaccurately cites other studies concerning our CrossFit® brand.” (Marshall S. Brenner, General Counsel CrossFit, Inc.)
There’s two sides to the coin here, and it’s not our job to draw a definitive conclusion as to whether or not CrossFit’s combination of speed and weight training increases the risk of injury. But we can state that CrossFitters most certainly could benefit from making physiotherapy a part of their lives. There’s no denying that CrossFit workouts push people beyond fatigue to their physical limits, which can be awesome, but that doesn’t change the fact that when you push those limits, exercise form and technique can be compromised, especially for the less experienced. When this happens, injury can ensue. There’s nothing controversial about this statement, as it’s as true of anyone participating in any high intensity physical activity. And like anyone participating in a high intensity activity on a regular basis, it’s critical to have a physiotherapist on standby to address impending injuries.
2. CrossFit Instructors Are Not Experts in Physical Function, Movement, and Mobility
Another finding in the Penn State study pointed to the fact that injury was more likely to occur when members performed exercises while unsupervised by a CrossFit instructor, trainer, or coach. They are indeed instrumental in maintaining proper form and technique. That said, no matter the certifications they are not experts in physical function, movement, and mobility – physiotherapists are. Physiotherapists are unequivocal authorities on how your body moves and what prevents it from moving. If you’re serious about remaining injury free, and want to have the best possible shot at recovering from injuries should they occur, you will need to work with a physiotherapist. Again, this is true of anyone participating in any high intensity physical activity. Your coach (or instructor/trainer) is your coach, but there is no substitute for a physiotherapist to be found inside of your local CrossFit gym.
3. Physiotherapy Can Keep You in CrossFit Longer
One key to success in CrossFit or any fitness program for that matter, is consistency. If you sustain an acute or overuse injury, you will have to skip workouts. Not only will you miss out on the fitness benefits (assuming proper form and technique), but the camaraderie that the community is so well known for. Regular physiotherapy can help keep this from happening because again, consistent physio is instrumental in injury prevention and repair.
If you want to get the most out of your CrossFit experience, it’s important to make physiotherapy a part of your health and wellness regime. If you live in the Greater Vancouver area, schedule a consultation with our Burnaby physiotherapy clinic today.