Crossfit: A Good Idea or an Accident Waiting to Happen?

CrossFit: Is It A Great Workout Or Potentially Dangerous?

Curiously to some, I’ve never until now written an essay, or even a blog post about CrossFit. There really was no specific reason for that, other than as an Austin personal trainer for 22 years, as well as a being a gym owner for a long time as well, I have no use for such a program. Additionally, I have done a lot of restorative therapy work on many people who have done CrossFit and found it to be much to their detriment, so I don’t deem it to be the safest of fitness pursuits in general, to say the least. For some folks, it’s fine and they will surely benefit from it, but not everyone…

Enough people have asked me over the last few years where I stand on CrossFit, so I decided I would finally just write about it. Let’s look at the big picture first, however. Fitness has been around for centuries. Look back at the first Olympic games, for example. It’s been a while since then, and people have actually been working out either for competition, sport, or just plain for survival even before then. Many different philosophies have come down the pike in all that time since then to now, and there have been many different methodologies as well. We’ve had the powerlifters, the bodybuilders, the yoga influx, the aerobic classes of the 80’s with Jane Fonda, Thighmaster with Suzanne Sommers, Yoga’s influx, Pilates, pole dancing workouts… and CrossFit.

Personally, I have nothing bad to say about any form of exercise you want to do, so long as it’s not injurious. CrossFit, however, has been rife with injuries, but why is that? Several reasons. I looked it up and you truly can become a CrossFit trainer over the course of 2 days by paying a lot of money for a 2 day seminar and then taking a test. In that seminar, you will learn to manage a class, manage time, as well as learn body movement, and proper form. Therein lies one major problem I have with it. No matter how smart you may be, and what your background is, unless you’re a doctor, elite personal trainer, or physical therapist, it takes much more than a weekend to truly learn that kind of thing on any meaningful level. Furthermore, it takes years of in the field working to be able to apply the book smarts you’ve acquired to actual people in front of you, because every body is different and carries different imbalances, genetics, medical histories, and so on. Being able to read a person’s imbalances takes even longer. Therefor, if the CrossFit trainer just had their weekend education, and you stroll in for their class with the mildest of strains in your vastus medialis, your knee will be shot within the hour.

This leads me to the second major problem with CrossFit. They have everybody doing these movements that a great many of them should never be attempting because of their personal imbalances. This is where a real, and qualified personal trainer would step in and direct the client towards a different, and appropriate direction so the problems are remedied, as opposed to worsened by an unqualified person leading a group class who has very little in the way of education about how the body truly works, as well as the anatomy of movement. If, for example, you have a person doing pull ups,or the Butterfly pull ups, as they’re known in CrossFit, and that person has an impingement of their supraspinatus, it is a sure fire, almost guaranteed thing, that person is going to be getting well acquainted with an orthopedic surgeon in the not too distant future. A group class led by 1 person is a bad idea when some of the movements are such that not very many people should be attempting them, and the instructor doesn’t have either the background, or the experience, to filter those folks out so they could do alternative exercises instead.

Speaking of those so called pull ups, they aren’t pull ups at all, but shoulder busters in reality. That brings me to another sticking point I have with the whole CrossFit program. Swinging around by using momentum, all the while trying to stick your chin at a certain height, is ludicrous for a great many people to even contemplate doing. Proper form is vital, but what is proper form for you as an individual? It’s bound to be at least a little different than what is appropriate for your friend, or the person across the room. That’s the whole point of having a personal trainer, as opposed to what I refer to as an impersonal trainer. If we go back to the aforementioned scenario of the CrossFit patron with an imbalanced rotator cuff assembly, that’s one end of the equation, but torn biceps muscles, which is quite common in men over 35, especially those who go from sedentary, or office lifestyles, to active ones quickly, is another major concern, and one I have personally addressed in CrossFit patrons many times.

Virtually anytime you want to challenge yourself mentally, physically, or otherwise, it’s an exciting idea and could be a major ground breaking event in your life, at least it usually is, and that can be a great thing. There’s also not a thing bad in the world about wanting to start a healthy and active lifestyle when you are truly ready to embrace the sacrifices involved with the undertaking. The problem with CrossFit, however, lies in the fact that you have a lot of under educated trainers, having people doing movements that they have no business in the world doing. They may be CrossFit certified as trainers, but that’s not real world certified. Couple that with the fact that they often go at a frenetic pace in these classes, and you can see why CrossFit has been good for some people, but likewise a pretty regrettable circumstance for others.

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My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.
Crossfit: A Good Idea or an Accident Waiting to Happen?
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Crossfit: A Good Idea or an Accident Waiting to Happen?
Longtime Austin personal trainer Andy Bruchey weighs in on CrossFit and if it's a safe workout for the masses.
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270