CrossFit is one of the biggest workout sensations of recent times. It can be a great way to get intense workouts, to gain motivation to exercise, and to find an exercise community. But it’s not without risks–there are a number of people who report experiencing injuries during CrossFit workouts. A number of these injuries are due to mistakes that people make during their training. Here are some of the most important CrossFit mistakes to make sure you avoid.
Mistake #1: Using Improper Form
What exercise is the most likely to hurt you? The one you do improperly. A number of CrossFit’s movements can do great things for your fitness and strength, if you do them right. Do them wrong, and you’re asking for injury.
When you’re first learning an exercise, make sure you learn correct form by working with a trainer or knowledgable friend. When you do your daily workout, make sure that you keep that correct form. Don’t allow the rush of competition or peer pressure make you go faster or further than you can with good form.
Mistake #2: Picking the Wrong Box
If you want to avoid CrossFit Mistakes, where you do your workouts is important. Every box is going to have a different emphasis and culture. If you’re just beginning, make sure you find a box that’s well-suited to helping beginners. You want one that will really help you to master the movements before setting you loose. You also want to make sure that the box’s culture is one that will support you in your goals, not push you to abuse your body. If there are a number of boxes in your area, shop around a bit to find one that really seems like a good fit before committing.
Mistake #3: Not Taking Rest Days
Make sure you take two rest days each week—if you feel up to working out every day, you’re not giving enough intensity to your CrossFit workout. You probably also want to take a rest week every three or four months.
Rest days are what allow your body to recover, to heal, to keep itself strong enough to work out. Sometimes there’s a temptation to work through our rest days, because we feel we’re going the extra mile and doing something extra good for ourselves. Ignore this temptation: if you start skipping rest days, your chances of getting injured go up significantly.
Mistake #4: Neglecting Your Health
It may sound strange to list neglecting one’s health in an article about CrossFit mistakes. Isn’t CrossFit all about getting your body healthy? Yes, but sometimes when people start an intense workout regimen, they forget about the other ways they need to care for their bodies. Other than skipping rest days, good examples of this include neglecting sleep and nutrition. Good nutrition and enough good sleep are critical to your body’s upkeep. Without them, your strength will slowly erode, and it’s only a matter of time until you get injured.
Mistake #5: Not Listening to Your Body
One of the difficulties involved with intense exercise like a CrossFit workout is that it sometimes leads us to ignore our bodies. We’re so focused on feeling the burn, winning the competition, or hitting the next plateau that we ignore the signals our bodies are giving us. There’s a time for pushing through and finishing, but when we ignore significant feelings of pain or fatigue, we may be asking for trouble. If you notice symptoms of overtraining, something is awry. Your body either needs more sleep, better nutrition, a different mix of exercises, or just a break.
Listening to your body also applies to scaling. Sometimes you’re just not up to the prescribed workout of the day. In these cases, try as much as possible to avoid having something to prove, either to yourself or to other people in your box. Scale the workout down. This will help you avoid workout injury, and it will help your body get the intended benefits of the exercise.
Mistake #6: Skipping Stretches
If you don’t have the necessary amount of flexibility, you’re likely to find yourself doing the movements incorrectly, despite your best efforts.
Take stock of your own mobility challenges, and spend time improving your flexibility before you start putting load onto your movements. Whether you have tightness through your neck, your shoulders, your back, or your hamstrings, take time to address these areas, instead of diving right into the exercises. Take some time to stretch every day, and also consider using a foam roller, self-massage, or visits to a massage therapist to help keep your body limber. You’ll find that a minimum of effort put into keeping yourself healthy will pay huge dividends in the long run.