To CrossFit or not to CrossFit?

That is the question that regularly pops up during our Physiotherapy sessions from clients.

CrossFit (CF) is a workout methodology created by former gymnast Greg Glassman in 2001. It consists of a variety of exercises such as Olympic-like lifts, cardio training and multi-joint movements (like box jumps, pull-ups and jumping rope). This method of training and community has exploded worldwide over the last ten years and definitely in the last 5 in Singapore. This can be reflected by the amounts of CF ‘boxes’ which have propped up in Singapore and a number of people we encounter in the clinic who are now doing CF.

CF can be classified as being part of the functional training family of exercise. This means that you are choosing to train your body to function rather than form. The training program is thus broad and includes all forms of natural movement. Running, jumping, lifting, agility and mental fortitude are all fundamental pieces of a CF training program. Almost all of the CF “moves” require the entire body to become involved. There is a nearly equal blend of callisthenics and weight-bearing exercises within each workout creating all over fitness.

Since most CF exercises require the whole body to be challenged, it is imperative that there are no imbalances or issues with each individual. A weak and unstable ankle from a sprained ankle 10 years ago which hasn’t been rehabilitated properly will cause problems with box jumps. A deskbound person with poor posture will lack the flexibility in their shoulder(s) and hip(s) to be able to effectively perform a Clean and Jerk. These are just 2 examples of potential causes of injury at CF.

Most people that start CF will be new to some of the exercises thus it’s imperative that they are taught these exercises safely and perfectly. This is particularly important when one gets fatigued and is trying to challenge oneself. It is also important to try to work within one’s limits and not to push oneself too quickly.

CF is a good form of exercise and has a wide appeal but each individual needs to make sure that he/she has the necessary stability, flexibility, strength, coordination and proprioception globally and at the joint level to ensure that they can cope with the challenges ahead.

If you are looking at taking up CF or are already doing it but keep getting injured or stagnant in your progress, then you should make an appointment to get assessed and rehabilitated thoroughly. We are all familiar with CF and are experts at recognising any potential issues and how to find solutions for them. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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