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  • Writer's pictureDr. Michael Ko

Does Crossfit cause more injuries?

If you are interested in physical therapy, go to our website at or call us at 818-240-5012. We are located at in Downtown Glendale at:

500 N. Central Ave., Suite 350, Glendale, CA 91203.

The one question I get often is, “does CrossFit cause injuries in more people than other forms of exercise.” This is a very fair question because CrossFit in the last 10 years has been one of the most popular ways of exercising to the point where CrossFit Games are being played on ESPN. Not only that, CrossFit gyms have been opening up left and right so more people are doing CrossFit. My two cents on the whole thing is it does not cause more injuries than other forms of working out. This may have been true in the past because back in the day, CrossFit philosphy tended to push workout to be harder, heavier, and as fast as you can. Then, smart gym owners started realizing this philosophy was actually causing more injuries so they started being smarter about their programming. So hopefully, if you go to any CrossFit gyms in 2019, you now you have smarter coaches doing smarter programming to be able to minimize injuries and get better results long-term. But what I'm going to argue is that CrossFit itself doesn't cause more injuries to people. In my opinion, the people who tend to get injured more often are going to be people who are starting a workout program when they were inactive or people that are trying to push themselves way too hard during their workouts. At one point I was used to treat patients out of a CrossFit gym and what I would see were people that were trying to make changes in their life, especially in January-February right after the New Year 's.They're trying to lose weight or trying to be more fit so they push themselves to the extreme, not really ever listening to their body. I'll say that if you're someone who's starting an exercise program and trying to push yourself to the extreme but you've been relatively dormant your entire life, then you've already increases your chances of injury. Another thing I would often observe in my past history with Crossfit were athletes being told by their coaches to lighten up modify their exercises but the athlete would not listen to their coach. Their coaches would advise to not go as deep into the squat or take longer rests between sets but the athlete often times wants to push himself. What ends up happening is the athlete will go ahead get to the point where they are so fatigued, then their form will suffer. Another thing that happens is athletes will work out too many times per week and not think about their recovery, which also increases your chances of injury. One thing I will say though is that most people's bodies cannot tolerate the movements required by CrossFit, especially all the Olympic weightlifting. It is very difficult to do olympic weightlifting movements, particularly if you've never done it before. The amount of flexibility and muscle memory required by the body during the overhead squat is very difficult. Therefore, I can't expect someone who can't do the overhead squat a stick to do with a bunch of weight over their head. There's a lot of people who don't know they have poor deep squatting form and then do it repeatedly. Any repetitive movement done in poor form is a great formula for injury. In regards to the shoulders, I would say that we don't spend much time with our arms over head throughout the day so now I can't expect you to do overhead squat that requires a lot of arm flexibility. Since we don’t spend a lot of time in either the Deep squat or arms over head, I can’t expect you to do that during a 1 hour workout a few times per week and not expect your body to break down. However, if you are willing to be patient, gradually improve your body’s stress tolerance, focus on flexibility in the beginning, and be willing to learn olympic weight lifting form, then you can significantly decrease your chances of having injuries from CrossFit.

If you are interested in physical therapy, go to our website at or call us at 818-240-5012. We are located at in Downtown Glendale at:

500 N. Central Ave., Suite 350, Glendale, CA 91203.

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