I have had my fair share of injuries, niggles and set backs with training. I know this is something many fitness enthusiasts can relate to.
The inspiration for this post came from Lewis Howes podcast where he interviewed Greg Glassman. Glassman is the founder of CrossFit.
A quick google search of Glassman will get you up to speed with what how he has transformed the fitness industry globally.
His missions is to reduce chronic disease that the global population is going to die from.
“70% of the [US] population is going to die from chronic disease, and so if our population is like any others’ it means that 2.8 million people are going to die from that growing list of cancers that come from metabolic syndrome..
This is why he wants CrossFit to continue to spread around the world. It is also one of the reasons why I am a proud CrossFit affiliate owner. The positive benefit that a CrossFit gym can have on the local community is truly incredible.
Then Lewis asks Greg about injuries..
We know that injuries are a hot topic for the media. They love to tell us when something is ‘bad’ and ‘dangerous’ because it’s click bait.
CrossFit has copped a fair share of blame from the media for injuries even though the research shows that injuries sustained from CrossFit are consistent with every other sport.
Glassman has a different perspective on injuries, that they might be worth the gain.
When he is asked about injury (referring to the injury rate in the Police force), what he says is surprising.
“You need to get more people hurt.”
He thinks the injury rate is too low.
He is not talking about getting people hurt for the sake of doing dangerous or risky stuff. What he is saying is, you need to make them fitter. If your goal is to bring the injury rate down to zero, you will lose many benefits.
Make it too safe and therefore end up literally with..
No pain and no gain.
Are we so used to comfort that we can’t stand a little discomfort?
Should we be wearing our strains and tears like a badge of honour?
Is there some sort of happy middle ground?
At CrossFit Volume, we think there is.
We agree with Glassman on many fronts. That no risk equals no reward. If we bubble wrap our people, they won’t get stronger.
This is what we believe is happening in commercial gyms.
Weight machines were invented for convenience. Pin loaded weight machines make it very easy for people to feel as though they are doing resistance training, and they are able to do so unsupervised. The machine forces them into a predetermined position where they can lie down between some padding and complete some muscle contractions.
Is this how we react to our environment in the real world?
If we need to spontaneously run for the bus which requires us to produce a sudden contraction in the hamstring to propel forward.. Are we well prepared for this because we have been using the hamstring curl machine regularly?
I don’t think so.
What has happened is.. Many people are kept in an all comfort low risk scenario in the gym and therefore are exposed to huge risk when out in the real world responding to real life scenarios.
So we do want our people exposing themselves to risk during training, but at the same time we want a heavy focus on injury prevention.
We cannot simply take Glassman’s words literally when he talks about injuries in populations.
Yes it seems that ACL tears, sprains and strains certainly feel like the lesser of two evils when compared on paper to chronic disease. But when you personally go through a series of sprains, strains or tears its starts to affect you quite significantly.
I know from personal experience.. Injuries can really get you down. I experienced this during my football career. After several shoulder dislocations, I ended up with labral tears in both shoulders and ended my football career. This didn’t set me up for the best start during CrossFit either because I was in pain and my mobility was severely limited.
This time last year I couldn’t even hold an empty barbell overhead. I was extremely depressed because I couldn’t train to my full potential and I was missing out on enjoying times like the CrossFit open.
If we want to save people from metabolic disease, than we can’t have them quitting the gym due to constant injuries.
Going through this tough time, helped me to deeply understand my clients. I am able to understand why they worry about getting injured and also that they consider leaving the gym if they do get injured.
So where does this leave us?
We want to do high risk exercise, so that we can reap the rewards of doing so.
We want to learn cool new skills which keep us stimulated and challenged for the long term.
We also want to reduce the risk of injury at the same time.
Can we do it all?
We are delivering a system of training to our clients right now, that ticks those boxes.
It’s 2017 and an injury prevention mindset is still not mainstream in our industry. I speak to at least 3 people each week who have been injured exercising where it could have been TOTALLY prevented!!
Educate yourself and make informed decisions about how to get the most out of CrossFit safely and reduce your risk of injury.
Book in a consultation below and I will take you through everything you need to know to train hard, smart and avoid injury.