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ABC News Asks “Is CrossFit Dangerous?”

ABC News ran a segment that aired yesterday, which discussed the issue of rhabdomyolysis, or what many know colloquially as “rhabdo.” The piece has been getting quite a bit of attention on social media over the last 24-hours. 

It’s a curious report, as anyone that has been involved in CrossFit or the methodology, knows first hand they have been one of industry leaders in education and awareness on the matter for several years now.

In fact, anyone sitting their CrossFit Level One will not only be given a specific lecture on the topic and have readings on the issue, but they will also have examinable questions on the matter.

So it is rather strange to see “critics” point the figure at CrossFit, when they are one of the few in the fitness industry providing their trainers with preventative steps and eduction.   

You can check that video out below, but we would like to hear your thoughts. Tell us what you think in the comments section below. 

  • Their “expert” looked like he could use some crossfit…

    • Amber Lil-Engine Galloway

      That first “expert” was ridiculous. I’m really glad Russell chimed in on the interview. And the second expert was basically saying that due to being in a group setting you feel pressure to perform and don’t quit when your body tells you to, be it by peer or coach, which leaves only the person working out to blame or an inattentive coach. I’ve been told to keep pushing, and I’ve been told to put it down and take a few deep breaths, chalk up again, and get back at it. I’ve been doing CrossFit for 5 years and Coaching for 3 and have never seen a case of Rhabdo.

      • K9

        Please explain to me the physical prowess of Greg Glassman again…..
        Oh, I’m sorry, is that personal attack not fair when the shoe is on the other foot?

        The two interviewed were medical experts, period. The only way that’s debatable, is if you don’t believe in medicine or science, and subscribe to faith healing and witchcraft.

        NONE of that means you have to agree with their opinions. Debate, discuss, dissent, whatever. But don’t turn an effective fitness routine into Scientology.

        • Agreed, but most crossfitters would agree that it is a sport and one that many are deeply involved in. Many sports are physically extreme, but when should the fear of possible injury outweigh the ability or courage to take action and get your health under control? Stories and articles like this are basically fear mongering. I love crossfit, but I know other people have their own ideas and preferences when it comes to fitness. Just sayin…dont shoot one thing down because you prefer something else. On the issue of being cult-like, name a sport that doesnt have super fanatics. Well, you could probably name one or two, but you get my point.

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  • Kristy

    There’s probably more severe long term injuries in sports like football where you get dropped on your HEAD, but you don’t see them talking about that! Lets stop golfers because of golfers elbow then, and don’t go for a run just incase you get hit by a car… gees would people get off Crossfits back! Just because they aren’t motivated to do it doesn’t mean they should be putting it down as unsafe. Crossfit isn’t dangerous, bad coaching is dangerous (like in any sport), poor movement/technique is dangerous (like in any sport) and ego is dangerous (like in any sport)!

  • Pablo
  • Bob

    If getting in the best shape of your life is dangerous then yes… Crossfit is very dangerous. And I agree that the “expert” could use some Crossfit. And way to bring up the one case out of hundreds of thousands of people who do Crossfit! C’mon

  • nelly

    the person that is criticising the sport doesn’t look like they have had much of an athlete life, people like to comment on things without understanding..
    to be honest i’d rather have these people not try it and go try something else

    • K9

      The two “criticizing” are both medical experts, and that is not even debatable. But if simply being out of shape automatically renders the PhD, MD or Therapist discredited, then what do you say about Glassman? He’s fat and out of shape. He doesn’t follow the diet or exercise routine (by choice), and he is not an expert in any applicable field.

      In short: Why do we always hear this hypocrisy? Attack Glassman for being fat, and you’re a hater. Attack a Medical Doctor or Medical Expert for being fat and that point is somehow valid.

      The problem with CF is the blind and rabid defense of ANY discussion that doesn’t end in calling Glassman Jesus, and CF the Holy Gospel. There’s been maybe one real Study on CF through Ohio State and another professional opinion rendered via the Military Health Consortium. Both of these papers largely praised CF, or didn’t actually slam it. Yet, because they mentioned due care and diligence due to increased potential to injury, the community flips.

      There is no perfect system. If there were, you wouldn’t have all the different affiliates ALL doing whatever they want, whenever they want. You wouldn’t have specialty programs like CFE, which actually defies the whole non-specialist theory of CF, but I digress.

      In closing, do what any real program or business that wants long term success does. Use what works, ditch what doesn’t. Correct problems as they arise. Don’t blindly take a swing at anyone who so much as raises their hand and asks a question.

      Dismiss blind accusations made by haters and those who only wish to tear someone down. However, when medical experts want to have a rational discussion, don’t put on ear muffs and pretend that these people are all witch doctors who got their degree out of a Cracker Jack box. Each has likely forgotten more in a day than most will ever know about the human body.

    • Pooria Koleyni

      You dont need to be athlete to comment or criticize, it is science

  • Daniel Davis

    “No pain, no gain” to me has more to do with the emotional and psychological pressure of going through a tough workout and pushing yourself mentally, rather than to the physical breaking point, you need to mentally strong enough to keep going and keep focusing on good form and technique even when you are tired. If you arent listening to your body, giving yourself the adequate rest and recovery that it needs through sleep and nutrition, them something bad is going to happen.
    The only reason this condition has come to light so quickly within the crossfit community is because people jump into it head first and overextend themselves without having the proper knowledge on how to recover (you do need to do your own research, not just show up to a session and expect a coach to do everything for you). Also because a lot of people are also trying to find the negatives on crossfit and trying to tear it down because its not what they do, that they will barrage anyone that will listen with all the negative aspects of crossfit, no matter how minute in comparison to the positives and say “See, see, look how bad crossfit is! Thats why I dont do it, and you shouldnt either!”

  • Kaja

    The expert is simply an idiot, and these people in the news room also.

  • Rich Meesters

    The problem with this whole thing starts with the article the author entitles “Crossfit’s Dirty Little Secret”. The issue is real, but the spin placed on it by not only the title, but also the content in this article is where things get off the rails. It’s the implications. The author has some valid points, but is misguided and perhaps intentionally attacks Crossfit without cause. Can Crossfit cause Rhabdo, yes. But the implication that a cartoon means we trivialize it is just plain wrong, and the conclusion that because a coach knows about it it’s trivialized is also wrong. The coach knows about it because he’s been taught to recognize it and the risks so he can pass on the knowledge. It was nice to see that aspect covered within the piece.

    Overall, I thought the medical expert on the TV did an good job of talking about it – never talked about a Crossfit case, and talked about he other causes and how to avoid it. The only problem was the big “Is Crossfit Dangerous” banner across the bottom.

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  • Loraine Lorindia Irving

    First of all, the “expert” looks hypertensive and not very healthy. Secondly, rhabdomylisis can happen to anyone who doesn’t understand intensity and threshold. I unfortunately had this happen with one of my clients. He was alright but we both learned to pay extra attention…”just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Lastly, most “experts” you see in the media are opponents of nutrition, fitness, and anything else that sets you apart from the average “cubicle monkey.”

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