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"Crossfit: Is the Gain Worth the Pain?"

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  • "Crossfit: Is the Gain Worth the Pain?"

    Interesting read. I don't agree with their comments about nutrition toward the end of course (too much protein causes kidney/liver damage? Realllllly?), but the author makes a good point. I've pushed myself too hard, too fast with a lot of Crossfitesque workouts, incidently allowed my form to get sloppy too many times, and have ended up with a good assortment of acute injuries. Crossfit really needs to remind people to CHECK THEIR EGO! ;-)
    On a mission to help others master movement, build unbreakable strength, & eat MORE food (can't beat that.) Weekly fitness, health & nutrition articles at

  • #2
    I agree with you about the ego check. I have been crossfitting for a number of years. Luckily I am a strength and conditioning coach that focus' on form all the time, and recognize that there can be problems with the repetitive form flaws apparent in the Crossfit world. One thing I will compliment Crossfit on is that they value Form, Consistency and then when things are done properly on a regular basis, the Intensity bit can be included. However, there are many people in the CF world who place the intensity first for a few reasons, 1) many CF coaches are people who do not have any experience in the field, and 2) clients want their money's worth and they feel like if they are not sweating they are not receiving value for their dollar.

    In my programming, I always work on body weight efficiency with the basic movements, broomsticks and med balls. Once people are doing well, then we move to external loads. Once the form is solid in the lifts, the intensity is added but with a firm grip on form.

    Having said all that, there are some fantastic coaches in the CF community who do not fit into the bad category but just like anything else, a few bad apples possibly paint a bad picture for the rest.


    • #3
      I broke myself doing Crossfit. Too much, too often, under too much life stress outside the gym.

      In restrospect, I could see the actual day I peaked physically, then went over the top and into the downward trend towards illness.

      I was doing full-out WODS about four days a week along with long-distance cycling. If I had it to do over again, and I were healthy, I would have AT MOST done one strength day and one metcon a week, no more than that. The problem with Crossfit, in my mind, is that if it is your sport, and you train several days a week, you are training like a competitive athlete BUT you have no off season. There are seasons in professional sports for a reason---athletes can't compete at peak level all year. You train to a peak, then recover. Too many people don't allow for recovery. I didn't.

      I also hurt all the time, even when I was fit. Some muscles somewhere were always sore. I don't think that's necessary for fitness and health. It's certainly not functional to hurt like that all the time.

      I still miss the hell out of my Crossfit community, though. But I wouldn't train that way again even if I could.



      • #4
        I agree with many of these posts, and as I've been crossfitting for years and if there is one thing I have learned it is the following:

        good form + constant and explosive movement = high speed and intensity

        bad form + hesitant movement and breaks = lower speed and dangerous intensity

        A good box will emphasize these things which in turn prevents acute overtraining from only 4 days a week and helps the athletes establish high levels of intensity without sacrificing their forms.

        I currently train 5 days a week (M - T - W, break, F, S, break) and if I was not a master of the forms and movements this would be absolutely destroying my body. In the past I blew my left supraspinatus rotator cuff out seriously hard and had to take 2 months of recovery. This happened because I was doing thrusters and over extending too far behind my head. Now that I know better and have learned not to do these things, my shoulder very rarely starts to act up anymore.

        Just my two cents. I know this post is pretty standard stuff, but everytime I see a "crossfit values intensity over form" I like to voice the other side.


        • #5
          I must go to a good box (Last Round Crossfit in Burleson, TX). They don't push me to do things I can't, and emphasize form. I go two days a week, usually Tuesday and Friday or Saturday, so lots of rest in between. I've not seen any signs of ego. I've been going for about 2 1/2 months and have seen some good progress. My heart rate, which was always high, is down to high 60's to mid 70's. I started with a 25lb KB, and can use a 40 lb now safely. My recovery after a session is much quicker. I used to go home and was wasted the rest of the evening. Now I can go home and am fine. I'm 50, and am the oldest one there. I recommend it.


          • #6
            Since they do certifications (a certification not needed for a Crossfit affiliate), I consider the source biased from the start. It was a lot of concern/scare stuff, with very little besides anecdote to back it up. I think even Crossfit affiliates would agree with the statement that "Crossfit is only as good as your affiliate". The nutrition stuff in there was way off base too.

            CF is working wonders for me, just like Primal has. I also know my own limits, don't have a huge ego, and listen to my body when it says "enough".
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            • #7
              The focus on form MUST be emphasized. If there are some coaches pushing intensity over form more often than not, then you should look into attending a different Box. I have pondered sometime over the dilution of quality in standards over the last few years as more and more people are getting level 1 certs and opening gyms. Having not attended a Level 1 myself, I have no room to pass judgement.
              Last edited by New Renaissance; 10-21-2010, 01:37 PM. Reason: Actually reading the article...D'oh!
              Every Day is a New Adventure


              • #8
                All this box talk is making me horny.
                I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                • #9
                  I am sure that Crossfit is a great program. I have found for myself over the years that less is much more. I used to do cardio, HIIT, weight training with high intensity, low reps, high reps, 7 days a week, 5 days a week, Stronglifts 5x5, and a lot of other combinations. Now, I do two heavy weight training sessions per week, one day of some bodyweight work for about 20 minutes, and that's it. I even gave up sprinting which was causing me pain in my hamstrings regardless of how much I stretched. Anyway, I feel like I am in the best shape I have ever been in, but I am working out less than ever. Total time per week is about 2 hours.


                  • #10
                    Good article, Jess. Like others have said, it comes down to the individual coach and client(s). There are good trainers and not-so-good ones in every gym. It doesn't matter if you're a crossfitter, a bodybuilder or a long distance runner, if you try to progress too quickly, you're going to get injured.
                    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

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                    • #11
                      I think its to easy for people to get certified as a cross fit trainer. And that is part of the problem. People push it to hard and don't worry about form. BUT good form will get you much further in your fitness goals.
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                      • #12
                        The biggest thing I have about the article (now that i've read it... D'oh!) is the omission of the mental toughness CrossFit workouts build through pushing past limits. The author is stating that taking on too much at first is unhealthy, but at the same time, so is pussing out and not doing the work. No one should jump into CrossFit workouts as prescribed without having the core movements drilled in, and a solid base to build upon. The exception would probably be gymnasts or Olympic Weightlifters who are already standing on such a base. The Dyskinesis issue he discusses is a risk mitigated by scaling the loads or substituting exercises because of deficiencies. The bravado of doing a workout as Rx'd is there, sure, but that is where the coaches need to be the voice of reason and encourage the correct scaling or substitution. It does not make the workout less effective, nor does it make it hurt less. We were always encouraged to scale the weight to a range that can give us a competitive time during metcons, and still focus on the correct form at the same time. The strength comes from Strength days.

                        And yes. The nutrition Data he spews is of course going to be wrong to him because he is a student, professor and spokesman of the governmental dietary guidelines. Can't win 'em all I guess.
                        Every Day is a New Adventure


                        • #13
                          PWG, when I got really nutso about Crossfit, I was also chronically sore. It didn't really bother me, but I knew I was going a bit extreme. Regardless... I excused myself by saying "oh I'm young, I can do it". Silly thinking....

                          John, I've decreased my metcon substantially and just really hit it hard two to three times a week with bodyweight, similiar to what you do. I've also noticed that I'm a lot more "fit" than when I was doing too much. I've also put more emphasis on mobility drills, which has made everything feel much better. :-)

                          I also think that getting certified as a Crossfit coach should be a little more in-depth than a weekend getaway, especially for that pricetag... (1000$??? Whaaaa? Why?) Although I think there are a lot of GOOD, reputable Crossfit coaches that are REALLY particular about form, there are also those that just don't fulfill all their duties.

                          Regardless, I still love me some Crossfit training. ;-) How much does it cost to join one of their gyms, anyway?
                          On a mission to help others master movement, build unbreakable strength, & eat MORE food (can't beat that.) Weekly fitness, health & nutrition articles at


                          • #14
                            Where are you in Florida?

                            It can be pricey in comparison to a globogym, but well worth every dollar spent on coaching. The gyms are not in the business of getting you to sign up and never go.
                            Every Day is a New Adventure


                            • #15
                              I like my crossfit gym. The type of training works for me and while there ARE days I wake up sore from a previous workout it certainly isn't every day or even every week. Maybe we are just lucky but our coach(s) are awesome! Big push for form and no more weight till you get the form right. Very very little ego in our group but TONS of encouragement (we have folks from 15 to 65(=?) years old too!)

                              For me the social part of it is important in getting me out of bed and headed to the gym 4 times a week. Otherwise its SO easy to give in to staying in bed! And it works for me. I have toned up and gained muscle AND its the gym wide nutrition challenge that led me into paleo/primal eating so...