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Recently, I had a conversation at a 5k/10k race we were sponsoring with a passerby who commented on our sign. The sign stated a few of the conditions we treat and treatments we offer and one of the items was “CrossFit Care.” Their comment was something along the lines of how dangerous CrossFit is that it needs its own care and treatment style. He stuck around as I explained what I thought about CrossFit and how I actually didn’t think it was dangerous.
I have found that if you have a weakness or imbalance – there are few better ways to find it than to attend CrossFit classes. It may not be the first day or the first week even, but at some point there will be a lift or movement that you struggle with. Optimally, it would be best to break that difficult movement down and find the limiting factor for you. Instead, people often find a shortcut to complete the movement in a less than optimal manor.
One example would be when you don’t have enough ankle range of motion, so you point your feet out allowing your ankles to roll in so you can get to the bottom of a squat. Another is hyper-extending your spine to lift a bar over your head when you do not have full shoulder overhead flexion. This weakness, imbalance, or lack of motor control is what can eventually create injury if not fixed.
The reason CrossFit and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) get blamed for injuries is due to the amount of different movements they put you through in comparison to most gym routines and exercise protocols. One of the reasons CrossFit caught on so quickly and largely expanded was the “Universally Scalable” principle they have. Everyone from grandmas to the competitive athletes are doing similar workouts that can be scaled to their level. However when exercises are performed to fatigue, compensation will take over as form breaks down.
As stated in our previous blog, there is a need to perform preventative or CORRECTIVE EXERCISES to minimize these compensations and decrease the risk for injury. Resting every few days for proper recovery can help minimize any overtraining or overuse injuries that may occur as well. This is important for all types of exercise and is not just limited to HIIT.
Our goal is to allow our patients to continue to exercise and train as much as possible. We do this by suggesting scaled versions of certain exercises and modifications if there is an injury. As treatment progresses we then continue with the exercise progressions and modifications until you can complete the movement and your lifts with pain are minimized. With smart exercise programming, good coaches, and proper recovery CrossFit can be as safe as and safer than many sports.
Written by Dr. Chandler Turnipseed – Johns Creek Chiropractor