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CrossFit Blamed for Causing Injuries

“CrossFit fever is taking America by storm. But with everyday people jumping into the workout, injuries have skyrocketed.”

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Levin Harrison

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Levin Harrison

KABC-TV 7 in Los Angeles, California just published an article and video about CrossFit.

The piece titled, “CrossFit safety tips to prevent gym injuries,” details several issues they believe are being caused by the sport.

As they state, “CrossFit fever is taking America by storm. But with everyday people jumping into the workout, injuries have skyrocketed.”

They attend what appears to be a CrossFit affiliate and speak to several members who all detail a variety of injuries they have. One of the interviews is with an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Levin Harrison who notes he is a CrossFit member.

Dr. Harrison discusses several issues he thinks are causing injuries.

“You can actually become a level-one CrossFit instructor with a weekend course. And I think that is not enough. There is not a dedicated time for stretching for the class before or after. Secondly, the instructors that are that are there watching the class, there aren’t enough of them,” said Dr. Harrison.

Dr. Harrison goes on to state, “I see a lot of injury, patella tendonitis, quadriceps tendonitis. The key here is to stop.”

They then interview a woman who received a cortisone shot due to improper kettlebell swings and who also suffered a bruised chest for what they state was “an overzealous lift.”

You can check out the video for yourself below. Although we would love to hear what you think about this piece. Do you believe the issues raised are valid? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

[wp_video id=”43″]

  • James Colley

    I dont know about America – But you most definitely cant become a personal trainer with just CF L1 cert. Not one with insurance anyway.
    – I find that CrossFit tends to bring out alot of preexisting injuries. They were already there, you just didnt know about them until you actually got up and tried to do something active.

    • James Colley

      (a personal trainer in Australia i mean)

  • OMG…where to start!

    First, there is no evidence that stretching prevents injuries!

    Second, I don’t think a weekend course is enough either…but hopefully most trainers will have a background in some form of personal training or exercise at least…

    Thirdly, the athletes themselves are responsible for their own bodies – I have never seen a coach push someone past a dangerous point…I have seen far more people ignore a coach telling them to fix something or scale the WOD.

    If have written 2 blog posts about preventing injuries…they are here…


    Hope that helps 🙂

  • Overall, the piece is simply saying one needs to be careful. No problem there. But Dr. Harrison’s comments either reflect ignorance (seriously, does anyone know of a box where they don’t do a warm-up that includes stretching before a WOD?) or poor editing by the TV station. That said, I think “Dr. Levi, Your Fitness Doctor” is just trying to generate a little publicity for his book, DVD, and talk-radio show:

  • Responsible CrossFit affiliates are everywhere. No box wants to see injuries, that’s why so much time is spent scaling workouts. I have been crossfitting for 9 months and I have had my share of issues, sore this, sore that, but when you work parts that havent’t been worked in a long time, if ever, that is the natural result. You work through it and get stronger. Any stimulus strong enough to stimulate muscle growth is going to be painful, that is life.
    I have trained at affiliates in two different states so far and I have never, ever, seen an affiliate let client/athletes begin a workout without stretching and warm up exercises. Also, to address the lifting issues, over and over again trainers are constantly cueing clients on their lifting form, proper technique is what drives better performance. If you look at the CrossFit website they spell it out for you there, you cannot begin to excel at Olympic lifting without developing proper technique and muscle memory, they define muscle memory as beginning at 3,000 to 5,000 repetitions of the same movement. It is hardly fair to cast a judgement on this program by pointing only at a few extremely poor examples.

  • I’m not worried about injuries from CrossFit, but I am worried about the Quality of Training getting dilluted. At my box we have eight trainers each with either 4+ years of CrossFit or another fitness/sport coaching background. 12 months ago, my box has 4 trainers, and 2 years ago my box had 2. Also, class size has doubled. Even good coaches will not be able to increase their athlete’s performance if they have to coach 20 people on very technical lifts (i.e. Snatch, Muscle Up)

  • Susan

    I am in my second semester of studying to be a personal trainer which means when I am qualified I will have studied for a year. I did some work experience at a crossfit gym this week. The two people that own this gym are fully qualified PTs who also studied for one year to attain their qualifications. I noticed that they were very very careful about form and technique of each movement. They run “foundation” classes for new people to teach them exactly how movements should be done. They also have additional staff, also fully qualified, to run classes. It is quite possible that the gyms that claim to be crossfit are not fully licensed crossfit but general gyms with components of crossfit thown in. A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon of CrossFit without being “fully” qualified. In Aus you are not permitted to teach crossfit unless you already have your Cert IV 🙂

  • spokenoise

    Go to a football training session and ask about their injuries… I suppose you could just stay safely on the couch and not get off… naaaah!

  • Mark

    I’ve had callous’s ripped off, knots on my shins from 30″ box jumps, rolled my shoulder when learning muscle ups, rope burns on the insides of my legs, racing stripes on my shins from deadlifting and I am leaner, faster and stronger at 46 than I was in my 20’s. I’d rather get hurt doing what I love than being home safe on the couch.

  • I think CF needs to make their certification a lot more demanding. however, is a big money income for them so I get it. Still not right to just certify people after a weekend.

  • in other news, professional football blamed for causing suicide and long term brain injury, paralysis, and crippling joint problems. bodybuilding blamed for rampant steroid abuse and permanent injury from steroid abuse. and weekend pick-up basketball games blamed for thousands of sprained ankles across the country. give me a f’kng break with the ‘crossfit hurting people’ b.s. when you give 100%, sh*t happens sometimes. you heal, and you move on.

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  • Fitness buff

    I’ve been a life long workout finatic. Did crossfit for 18 months and loved it. But I injured myself seriously twice. This last time – MRI confirmed tears in both elbow common extensor tendons, I’m now looking at surgery on both arms. I can’t see going back to crossfit, not worth the pain I have been in.

  • Steve

    @c1b638e2962c25521ef651bc4e2712b5:disqus Football is a collision sport where you try to hit someone as hard as you can… Crossfit is exercise… Ask those football players how many of them have injuries from the weight lifting and conditioning they do. The answer is almost none, because they have strength coaches with college educations in kinesiology and real certifications with an actual scientific background that take more than a weekend to attain. The idea that you could literally work out for 1 month of your life, suddenly have this epiphany that you want to be a “coach”, and then actually be teaching other people how to do olympic lifts a week later is asinine and ignorant. It has completely lowered the standard of the industry which should be regulated more (as it sounds like it is in Australia from @885148c700f1d0d1d2d904f7e3d13ab6:disqus). And @a433510ee5908345321ffa4d6f0e9288:disqus, you don’t have injuries, you have scrapes and scratches. If someone wants to accomplish the same results you get from crossfit without the risk of getting injured search for a Certified Strength and Conditioning coach in your area, they will know how to get you the same results without the risk, and in the end isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

  • Ben Daulton

    How do they justify kipping pull ups? Anyone can see you are cheating and it looks damaging.

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