CrossFit, the functional fitness movement has been blowing up like crazy, and it doesn’t appear to be losing steam any time soon. The CrossFit Games, which began in 2007, grabbed about 150 spectators, however, in 2013 that number exploded to over 20,000. The earning potential for winning athletes has also increased, skyrocketing from $500 to over $250,000. And it hasn’t stopped with social media either. CrossFit’s Facebook fan page has grown from 530,000 in 2011, to over 1.9 Million in 2015.
With all this added hype, you get a plethora of new athletes entering the realm, and with new athletes you get inexperience and increased likelihood of injury. To help those considering exploring the world of CrossFit, put together a short list of some of the top mistakes CrossFit athletes make when they begin a new journey.
- Going Too Hard, Too Fast
CrossFit is competitive in nature—major lifts and workouts for time would get anyone’s adrenaline pumping—but that doesn’t come without a risk. Many new athletes in the sport tend to get wrapped up in focusing too much on competing with others rather than learning to pace and challenge themselves first. It is vitally important to take things slowly over the first few weeks to the first few months, and let your body acclimate to the intensity of the workouts. Learn how to perform the movement properly and put your ego to the side, it’s not worth the potential for an injury.
- Focusing Too Much on Long-Term Goals vs. Short-Term Objectives
CrossFit is the same as any other discipline—in order to become faster and stronger, you’ve got to put in the time and sacrifice. Many athletes get overwhelmingly caught up in the excitement and their end goal that they lose sight of the shorter objectives that need to get done first and foremost. To get really focused and succeed in the world of CrossFit, you need to take each rep, each step, each jump and each meal in to consideration, and not dwell or worry about what you may be doing later that day. Missed concentration, or taking my mind off the immediate task at hand can lead to injury.
- Neglecting Warm Ups and Stretching
Warm-ups and stretching might not be the most exciting part of a workout, or even exciting at all, but without them you’re flirting with the danger of injury. There’s no reason at all for an athlete of ANY level, not to warm up with a light jog and dynamic stretching (which are nothing more than stretches that mimic the actual workout). Its just asking for an injury.
- Not Strength Training Soon Enough
CrossFit is well-known for the insane metabolic conditioning and “intensity” that’s shown in videos and on television. Do 20 pullups, swing this kettle bell this high for this long, or run this far… Physical strength is needed for all these activities and movement. It is far too often athletes fail at a workout due to lack of strength, and not due to a lack of endurance. Strength training is 100% the difference between a beginner, an intermediate, and an elite athlete so learn the exercises, so you can do them properly.
Considering the intensity level of CrossFit, and as with any training or activity, the body needs sufficient rest to recovery and rebuild. Over training a muscle, or the body, can be extremely dangerous and detrimental to continued success, with any sport, let along CrossFit. The recommended schedule for a CrossFit athlete is 3 days ON, and 1 day OFF. This will help to ensure an athlete is getting enough rest, and enough time for the body to recover from the rigorous workouts CrossFit athletes endure. Overtraining can cause premature muscle failure, and over stressed joints and ligaments. Failure to heed your body’s warning signs, or getting enough rest, can cause many problems.
- Not Staying Regular
Progressing in CrossFit, as with any sport, requires that athletes dedicate themselves and commit. Any sport or activity for that matter requires practice. There is no way you will be able to achieve those results of the CrossFit athletes you see on TV, or in your gym, without dedicating sufficient time and practice to each movement. I would start with trying to commit 3 to 4 days a week, for 90 to 120 days, or 3 to 4 months. If you can make it through this time period, while being committed to 3-4 days a week, you can succeed at CrossFit.