Updated August 11, 2023
You’re going about your workout, feeling motivated and seeing great results. Things couldn’t be better.
Then it happens.
Fear sets in.
You realize you’ve just been injured.
Injuries can set an athlete back anywhere from 2 weeks to a year! These kinds of setbacks are extremely difficult on the mindset of any athlete.
While they seem like common sense, in the heat of a WOD you can quickly let your ego or competitive nature get the best of you… Follow these 5 guidelines to avoid injury and keep your results moving forward.
1.) Know your limits!
This is very important in CrossFit, where the mentality to never stop pushing is ever-present. Know when you need to stop and/or scale back. I’m not talking about wanting to take more rest; rather, the moment before you tear a muscle in your shoulder from over-doing butterfly pull ups or tear your Achilles from bounding during box jumps. If you feel a sharp or unusual pain, STOP performing the movement and assess the situation. Push as hard as necessary to get your best results, but always play within your limits.
2.) Say good-bye to ego!
Ego can be a dangerous thing in CrossFit! Ego makes you more concerned with beating out the next guy than performing the workouts themselves. Don’t forget that the whole point is to get in to better shape. It’s a good idea to “leave your ego at the door”; a common philosophy intended to keep the atmosphere fun, welcoming and safe! Using bad form just so you can lift more weight or complete the WOD faster will get you nowhere fast. Perform at your best without letting your ego get in the way!
3.) Technique, technique, technique!
Going for an AMRAP? Rounds for time? Nearly all “race” situations will have technique fall apart very quickly after fatigue begins to set in. Even the best technique can be lost in the final moments of an AMRAP! Technique exists and is emphasized by the best coaches because it primarily offsets the likelihood of an injury. It also helps with getting the best possible workout by increasing your efficiency. Proper technique will allow you to make the largest gains in the safest and shortest time possible. Never throw technique to the wind just to get a high score. Pay your dues, perform impeccable sets, and improve slowly and steadily!
4.) Embrace progressions and scales!
Those with an improper mindset will do ANYTHING to perform WODS at RX even if it means sacrificing form and technique. The purpose of each WOD is to provide you with a high intensity functional workout. The two key words there are intensity and functional. The high intensity level for someone just starting CrossFit will be achieved via lighter weight and/or reps than someone who has been Crossfitting for many months or years. Likewise your WOD will hardly be considered functional if you get through it by executing bad form or even injuring yourself. This goes back to the point about ego and how it can actually impede your progress. The prescribed workout is for those who are in ideal shape, without injury, and who have some experience under their belt (this will differ by individual). Appreciate and embrace the significance of the scale! This leads us to the final point…
5.) Start with a strong foundation
Take your time to perfect movements, teaching your muscles and central nervous system what you’ll be excelling at later on. Rather than rushing into it, be sure that you understand the foundation of all movements. Work on all the foundational CrossFit movements. Perfect your pull ups and ring dips before jumping onto the rings for a muscle up, etc. In the later months, you’ll find it next to impossible to rework bad form. At heavy loads, bad form is a perfect storm for injury!
Enjoy your WODs and follow these top 5 rules to avoid injury!