Crossfit is designed for everyone and every body. That is the genius of our sport - everyone has the ability to participate in Crossfit as a method of developing a strong body which is prepared for whatever life throws its way. As good as Crossfit is and as good as our coaching is at CFS, injuries do still happen on our journey to this general physical preparedness - and that is because every body is slightly different. Every body has the potential to complete most if not all of the movements that Crossfit demands but because everyone has had different experiences on their road to Crossfit, each body may require some preparation on an individual level in order to complete Crossfit type movements properly and with minimal risk of injury.
In today's world most people's bodies spend a lot of time in two positions: sitting down, and/or bent over a device or task. As a result of these two common positions most people tend to have similar musculoskeletal impairments: rounded shoulders, stiff mid backs, tight hip flexors. These impairments can lead to injuries at these locations but can also lead to compensation by adjacent portions of the body (low back, neck, knees) and those body parts can also take the brunt of the injuries.
Aside from these commonalities with today's human bodies, each individual has a whole lifetime of movement patterns that have resulted in how he or she moves today. Perhaps you were a swimmer in high school or a weekend hockey player in adulthood, perhaps you broke your leg as a young child and you developed compensatory strength on the opposite limb, perhaps you have inherited bunions from your mother and your walking pattern has gradually changed in response to this. The point is this: having a grasp on your unique tendencies as you enter into the Crossfit world and managing these tendencies with specific stretches and exercises will likely decrease your risk of injury and make you a better Crossfitter.
One way that Crossfit Simsbury is helping people succeed with this proactive way of managing movement faults is with a physical therapy session prior to beginning Crossfit. Physical therapists are considered the movement specialists and they are trained in being able to pick out muscle weakness, muscle tightness, joint stiffness, postural habits and provide appropriate corrective exercises. Following the preparatory physical therapy session at CFS, a new athlete should have the tools to manage his or her specific needs as they begin to dive into Crossfit classes.
One example of preparing your body appropriately for the demands of Crossfit involves an athlete who was previously a distance swimmer and currently works from home while sitting on a couch on a laptop 40 hours per week. This athlete was completing Crossfit 4-5 days per week and every few weeks would develop elbow pain at both elbows. The solution to this problem wound up being the athletes thoracic spine or mid back. Due to the athlete's work and athletic history, his movement patterns were always in a rounded upper back position and with forward shoulders. With this positioning the athlete could not properly recruit his large back and shoulder musculature to support his smaller elbow and forearm musculature during movements like pull ups, cleans, and dead lifts. His small inefficient forearm muscles were doing the work that his large back and shoulder muscles should have been doing. This athlete began to complete exercises that increased the mobility at his mid back, he also started to stand for part of the day at work and place his laptop on a counter or desk so that his posture was in more of an upright position during the day. After two weeks this athlete had decreased pain at his elbows but after two weeks this athlete's journey to manage his pain was not completely over - adjusting his body's position during Crossfit lifts and movements became a long term challenge which he was motivated to overcome in order to avoid recurrent pain.
Crossfit is the gold standard for general physical preparedness but everyone must maintain responsibility of his or her own body. Treat your body with respect, know your body's nuances, complete your stretches outside of class, if something hurts rest it. We all want to be participating in Crossfit for as long as possible so let's make sure our bodies are ready for that!
This new service comes included in the Prep Course for all new athletes. It is a 15-20 minute session with Katie Lauder (Physical Therapist and longtime CFS member), and must be used during your time as a Prep Course athlete.
Current members stayed tuned as we look to expand this offering to all members in the gym!