Lately I seem to be getting a lot of “CrossFit” patients, i.e, people who have sustained injuries while doing CrossFit workouts. I have never done one of these workouts myself, so my opinion is based solely on my patients’ complaints and things I have read. From what I have learned, this program consists of short, intense workouts that focus more on speed and weight than form and technique. For an athlete who already has good core strength and knows correct technique, I can see how the program can deliver quick and impressive gains in strength and endurance. However, many “weekend warriors” who spend most of their time sitting at a desk see this program as a quick way to get back in shape. This is a recipe for disaster. Without proper lifting technique and adequate abdominal strength, you can easily end up with a lower back strain or even a lumbar disc herniation, which can lead to weeks of severe pain and possible surgery. If your legs are not used to doing much more than walking from your car to your cubicle and suddenly you are doing sprints and other quick stop-and-go exercises, you may find yourself with a torn ACL or meniscus in your knee. And if you spend 40 hours per week sitting at a desk in a slumped posture with your head jutting out in front, I can almost guarantee you will develop shoulder impringement or rotator cuff tendinitis if you start lifting heavy weights over your head.
Really, I shouldn’t single out CrossFit. I get just as many patients from people doing P90X or kettlebells at home with a DVD, or even training at one of those chain-store gyms with some meathead trainer who got certified after taking an online course.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain about these extreme workouts. After all, they are a huge source of business for King Chiropractic! However, if you are trying to get in shape and would prefer not to end up on a chiropractic table (or worse, an operating table!) , I suggest that you:
1. Start slow and build up gradually in order to allow your muscles to adapt.
2. Make sure that you stabilize your spine and shoulders before trying any heavy weights or intense workouts.
3. Find a reputable personal trainer who can teach you the basics and monitor your form so you don’t hurt yourself. Personally, I recommend the folks at Skill of Strength in North Chelmsford.
4. If you have a trainer who doesn’t listen to you or pushes you to the point that you are in pain (not just muscle soreness), find a new trainer.