Addressing CF Injuries
Given the way general discourse is headed around here, namely the CF bashing and (more importantly) injury discussion, what would you recommend generally to existing CrossFit affiliates to head off these more common injuries. SLAP tears seems to be the injury du jour, but it seems like some folks here scour the CF boards more than I do and may be aware of other common injuries.
I've been running a CrossFit affiliate for about 4 years. We have about 200 members. I've seen one SLAP tear in my time, which is one too many.
Keeping in mind the things below, what would the PTs/internet gurus propose change or initiate, specifically, to movement selection, screening procedures, and overall programming?
1) CrossFit won't disappear overnight, no matter how badly some people would like it to.
2) If it does, there will still be people doing the same things - trust me, I've see much worse stuff going on in many other gyms, conventional or non conventional.
3) Any changes made to curriculum would have to apply more or less to everyone at the gym. The group class structure is central to the business model of most affiliates.
4) Suggestions have to be practical.
We've been going through asking ourselves the same questions, and making corrections since we've been around. I've seen most of what this message board has had to offer, and certainly picked up good information, but I thought it would be appropriate to ask the question more directly.
This board was at one time a wealth of knowledge, and a place where many CrossFit folk would come to learn something. I see Cathletics as having a huge role in addressing strength issues in CF affiliate programming, leading to more structured, informed methods, and I see you guys as having the ability to continue that role. No one owes any information to myself or any other affiliate owner, but there seems to be some real and general concern for the rhabdos and torn labrums of the world.
In no particular order:
1. Implement a screening or initial evaluation process each new member has to go through. Something is better than nothing. Gray Cook's FMS is getting a lot of press lately, and is easy to learn and implement.
1a. Alternative WODs for those with orthopedic issues, or with problems that the screen shows, or whom may be in special populations.
2. An intensive period of instruction on the basic "slow" lifts for strength AND other movements frequently used. I like Rippetoe's movements from SS, except I would sub the high bar squat for the low bar squat for assorted reasons I am not going to get into. The NorCal S&C "On Ramp" concept is going in the correct direction.
3. Eliminate all variants of cleans and snatches from all metcons. Implement an "Olympic Lifting Basics" class for those interested in it for the sake of training variety or competition.
4. Require a certain number of dead hang pull-ups to be a requirement for kipping pull-ups for non-Crossfit games participants. For Games competitors, proper instruction and programming for the kip and butterfly kip is essential.
5. Implement a standard warm-up and cool-down.
6. Eliminate the GHD sit-up.
7. Implement site-specific programming based on the needs of your client population. Despite protestations to the contrary, the WOD has been pretty much random since WOD #1. These were appropriate for the original group of Crossfitters, maybe, but not for your clientele.
8. Require professionalism from your trainers.
Sensible scaling. In particular, almost everything on this list needs to be removed:
So using the chart:
Note that this is addressing injuries in the context of Crossfit.
If the goal is a good fitness program aimed at "ordinary folks" who want to get "fit" (feel stronger, better looking, better CV for health and performance), you'd want to change a lot more. (It would probably look like: weight training program with decent programming + programmed finisher + good mobility work).
Steven addressed a lot of good points.
I coached at an affiliate for over a year and have rehabbed a few CF injuries in my current practice. I only have my weightlifters perform Olympic lifts now and that cured a lot of problems almost immediately. Instead, we utilize sandbag cleans, heavy kb swings, and tire flips for weighted hip extension.
My suggestions would be:
1. Plan out your programs such that the same exercises are consistently addressed at a variety of intensities to enhance both strength and muscular endurance. Pick a core of 3-6 exercises that you address EVERY week for at least a 2-3 month period.
2. Undulate intensity and volume on a weekly basis, incorporate low intensity workouts for your regulars at least one a week.
3. Be sure that your programming appropriately addresses all planes of movement, pushing/pulling, extension/flexion, anterior/posterior chain, and upper/lower body. This is harder to do than one might think. Especially when using weights that aren't heavy enough to require that one appropriately recruit the proper muscles. The posterior chain, in my experience, gets left out in the cold a lot as a lot of folks compensate with the quads.
4. Have an alternative "basics" workout available for every workout you program and do not bombard beginners with too many random exercises. It takes a while to develop proper recruitment patterns and coordination, especially in your average beginner.
5. Smart scaling: Scaling power cleans with a barbell to power cleans with PVC pipe is not an appropriate way to scale. Think about what the workout is supposed to challenge: Is it hip opening? Is it shoulder stability? Etc. There are many exercises that can accomplish the same goal while satisfying the need to be less complex.
6. Don't run the timer. People are naturally competitive. Challenges are fun to run every once in a while, but have your daily training lead up to a biweekly or monthly challenge. Sacrificing form for reps on a daily basis is the largest contributing factor to injuries, plateaus, and imbalances.
As a trainer/coach, it is most important that you keep your people injury free and able to function in a better capacity in their daily lives. Its easy to keep it fun and motivating, but also safe. Most folks just want to get better at something and have some sense of autonomy in what they are doing. Make the goal something other than time and you can accomplish that.
Ban Underarmour shirts and Faux Hawks. These are grave safety concerns.
An excellent list. I've seen the FMS, but that's a good reminder. I see there's one of their seminars within driving distance soon, I'll make sure to get to it.
Thanks. Good programming suggestions.
The most important thing is always always always always emphasize technique over time in any activity
I'd personally chop some of the movements out altogehter like SDHPs and stuff
edit: I knwo you're supposed to go for form over speed.... but there always seems to be some slop. The slop is what will get you injuerd....
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