I had an interesting conversation with a parent this morning. This parent told me that a couple parents were going to keep their kids from attending the scheduled dryland training with us because in their opinion, “CrossFit is dangerous”.

It’s unfortunate that people have this opinion, largely because of false information from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). It makes me wonder how many adults also stay away from CrossFit programs due to misinformation or lack of understanding.

If you know me, I can have a strong opinion, and this discussion got me a little fired up! There are a couple reasons for that.

Our Dryland Training is Not CrossFit

Our youth athletic training is not CrossFit. Our training is designed improve overall athleticism and is more than just a workout.

In the case of the dryland training mentioned at the beginning of this article, the training is part of a 12-week program. It is designed as a progressive program created by a professional youth sports training programmer that goes from Simple to Complex. Concepts are introduced in week one and will be built upon in subsequent weeks.

Let’s take a look at one example from our programming:

  • Depth Jump (focus on landing mechanics)
  • Depth Jump to Broad Jump (with good landing mechanics, adding a powerful jumping movement)
  • Single Leg Depth Jump (again focusing on landing mechanics, but with a single leg)
  • Single Leg Bounding
  • Bounding Broad Jump
  • Bounding Lateral Plyo

As you can see, this progression starts with a more basic movement and progresses the athlete to more complex movements.

In addition to being progressive, our dryland programming is designed to focus on improving general athletic fitness in the areas of: Strength, Power, Balance, Coordination, Agility, Flexibility and Stamina. The program is less focused on intensity and more focused on improving overall athleticism that will carry over onto the ice.

The Misconception that CrossFit is Dangerous.

Every sport and fitness activity has a certain level of risk. For example, a lot of people looking to get into shape take up running. Did you know that between 37-56% of runners are injured annually?

With increasing sports specialization at younger ages, injury rates are increasing for our youth. I know of several young athletes that have been forced to give up their sport for extended periods of time (or permanently) due to injuries suffered in their sport (multiple concussions, torn ACLs, and bone fractures).  While my son focused on a single sport (Taekwondo), he suffered multiple concussions, pulled muscles and fractured bones while growing up. After we introduced cross-training into his program, he didn’t suffer any significant injuries and he began to medal at higher and higher levels (US Open, Nationals, Collegiates, and Canadian Open).

 

Like all sports and fitness activities, CrossFit is not without risks, but I think it’s important to understand how we minimize these risks and include an emphasis on safety. As a new member, you fill out a health questionnaire for us to gain a better understanding of your health and any previous injuries. From there, you start with four personal training sessions to learn the foundational movements and experience short workouts. Classes are programmed with warm-ups to prepare you for the work to come. All classes are led by competent instructors who provide movement cueing and correction along with scaling recommendations and options for any limitations.

 

Not Understanding What We Do

Each CrossFit is independently owned and licensed to use the CrossFit name. Because each gym is independently owned, and not a franchise, each gym is free to develop their own programming, equipment and business operational model.

The definition of CrossFit is Constantly Varied Functional Movements Performed at High Intensity. As the industry has evolved, so has the programming in CrossFit gyms. What we are doing isn’t CrossFit in its purest definition. We do focus on functional movements, however our programming is designed so that we also perform accessory movements (to strengthen supporting musculature). Our programming is varied (but not randomly). Our programming is periodized and progressive, designed to get people stronger in a structured way and to develop broad aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. During the workout portion of our classes, many of the exercises are performed at high intensity. However, you’ll also see lower intensity exercises (carries, planks, holds, step ups) incorporated into our workouts.

Our philosophy is Mechanics before Consistency before Intensity. We must first learn to perform a movement well before introducing intensity.

 

Until next time,

 

In Health

 

~Alan