Let’s face it; any kind of physical activity includes the risk of injury. That’s the nature of working out. But, the alternative, staying sedentary and facing the real possibility of a life sentence of obesity and preventable diseases, is by far the worse alternative.
There are important steps we can and must take to minimize the risk of injury. These are important for all of us to remember, especially those new to a high intensity fitness regimen like CrossFit. Below, we share five tips that will help you minimize the risk of injury. These are important because nothing quite stops progress in the gym like an injury.
1. Learn proper technique from a qualified instructor/coach: What separates CrossFit from your local gym or a typical Boot Camp style studio is the fact that we have qualified coaches who spend time teaching proper technique. Let’s face it, the Olympic lifts, for example, are complicated and if performed incorrectly can lead to injury. That is why it is important to have a trained coach with you every step of the way to break down techniques step by step and correct you when appropriate and necessary. The other four tips below are related to this one.
2. Don’t lift too heavy until you are ready: It is human nature to want to throw around big weights, especially when you see others doing it. Resist the urge to take unnecessary risks before you are ready. It is better to nail your technique first, before you let your vanity take control. This is related to number one because your coach is trained to work with you to help you determine the appropriate weight you should be lifting.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice: Take advantage of open gym hours to practice your technique. A good snatch when performed by an athlete on the Olympic stage is a beautiful thing to watch. They make it look so effortless. It’s hard to remember that it only looks like that because that Olympian has likely been drilling the movements since they were kids and has spent countless hours in practice failing, picking themselves up, and trying again. The more you practice, the better you will get at a movement. Your coaches are there to help you correct problems and offer tips for improvement.
4. Listen to your body: It’s easy, when we are in the so-called honeymoon phase of any new activity, to want to constantly do it without a break. Taking this attitude towards working out is inviting injury because our bodies need time to heal. It is important to rest when necessary and not to try to work through real pain. Remember, there is a difference between soreness and pain. Pain is our body’s way of telling us “time out.” Respect your body, listen to it, and rest when necessary. Just as you won’t become fit by working out once, you also will not lose your gains by missing one workout.
5. Be coachable and accept constructive criticism: Those who are coachable are humble. They know that they don’t have all the answers and they are perfectly content with that. They have a mind open to new ideas. No matter where you are on your fitness journey, always keep a “beginner’s mind.” The Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki described it like this: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Always keep that beginner’s mind point of view, open to all possibilities and ways of looking at things. In other words, stay coachable, always.
If you follow these tips you will minimize your risk of injury. If you are looking for a gym with top quality coaching, a commitment to helping you meet your goals, and that always puts your safety and well-being first CrossFit 103 is here for you.