CrossFit: Concerns continued...
If you are interested in CrossFit but are new to weight lifting or exercise in general, you should visit a CrossFit affiliate to receive the necessary personalized attention before attempting a WOD on your own.
If you take that route, however, be aware that the CrossFit coach may not have an appropriate educational background in sports conditioning. Strength and conditioning specialists spend years learning proper technique of explosive exercises and some have degrees in exercise science, biomechanics, or kinesiology.
Make sure you ask about credentials and references for any coach or personal trainer who is responsible for teaching you proper lifting technique. Be sure to let them know if any exercise makes you feel uncomfortable or causes pain.
It's best to have a sufficient strength base before starting a high-intensity, power-based training plan. If you are not strong enough to perform a certain exercise by itself, let the coach know so he/she can modify the regimen accordingly.
CrossFit is mostly suited for healthy people who enjoy vigorous exercise. People with injuries, health conditions, or other special needs should follow the specific guidelines for physical activity recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
CrossFit claims that the system is “empirically driven and clinically tested” which insinuates that the methods are scientifically supported. A review of the current scientific literature, however, shows no published studies about CrossFit in top-rated peer-reviewed strength and conditioning or exercise physiology research journals.
CrossFit: Bottom Line
Like most other exercise routines, CrossFit has advantages and concerns. The workouts are fast-paced, challenging, and constantly varied.
If you are healthy and can endure grueling workouts, then give it a try. You will probably enjoy it, just like most “Crossfitters.”
If you are out of shape or just beginning an exercise program, be sure to join a CrossFit affiliate to receive the appropriate personalized attention. Check with your health care provider before starting any new fitness program, especially if you are not active now.
Michael R. Esco, PhD, CSCS, HFS, is an assistant professor in the department of physical education and exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery in Montgomery, Ala. His opinions and conclusions are his own.