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CrossFit safety tips to prevent gym injuries

February 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
CrossFit is a workout that combines a lot of different elements like weight-lifting, squats and gymnastics. It's been used by elite athletes and Navy SEALS. And CrossFit fever is taking America by storm. But with everyday people jumping into the workout, injuries have sky-rocketed. Here's how to avoid CrossFit injuries.

CrossFit is one of the hottest workouts around. CrossFit gyms are popping up everywhere, attracting all shapes and fitness levels, leading to some people sustaining injuries. According to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Levi Harrison, that's the challenge.

"From Achilles tendon ruptures to Achilles tendon strains," said Harrison. Also, tennis elbow, neck strain and back pain.

Dr. Harrison likes CrossFit -- he's a member -- but he says safety is a big concern. Due to CrossFit's growth spurt, he sees inconsistencies.

"You can actually become a level-one CrossFit instructor with a weekend course," said Harrison. "And I think that is not enough. There is not a dedicated time for stretching for the class before or after. Secondly, the instructors that are that are there watching the class, there aren't enough of them."

The daily workout features heavy lifting and repetitive movement at fast speed.

Dr. Harrison also worries about cardio moves too, like box jumps.

"I see a lot of injury, patella tendonitis, quadriceps tendonitis. The key here is to stop," said Harrison.

Stop and consider a safe height. Try step-ups first, then jump the lowest box. Try 10, not 50, which is tough to do since it's a competitive atmosphere in CrossFit sessions.

"I just have to focus on myself and realize it's not a competition," said CrossFit enthusiast Tarah VanHoosen.

VanHoosen just had a cortisone shot for improper kettlebell swings and has a bruised chest from an overzealous lift.

Yes, you should listen to your trainer, but more importantly you need to listen to your own body. So before you master a move, don't exceed a load you can handle.

Pay attention to any nagging pain as it may lead to bigger issues that leave you out of commission for a while.

"Often these folks are out for six to four months," said Harrison.

Watch a class, even check out a few studios before you try. And if stretching isn't offered, leave time to do it on your own.


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