CrossFit is one of the most intense types of exercise that people do recreationally. It is a fun type of group exercise that seriously will build your strength and push you to your limits. Because of its intensity, CrossFitters should consider seeing a physiotherapist periodically. You might be saying to yourself, “but I’m not injured, why would I see a physiotherapist?” Even if you’re not injured, you’ll do yourself a service if you’re able to check in with a physiotherapist.
We asked physiotherapist Kelly Barrie for some specifics about how physiotherapy can benefit CrossFitters. Here’s what we learned.
Any sport can be dangerous when not performed properly
To begin with, seeing a physiotherapist can help you review your workout form. If you’re serious about CrossFit, you need to be sure you’re training with correct technique and form. You might have expected us to say that CrossFitters need physiotherapy, but the truth is that all sports can be dangerous if your form is poor. Working with a physiotherapist can help guide you to aligning your body properly as you work out. Not only will that prevent injuries from happening in the first place, but you will perform better in the sport, because your body is getting the right type of care.
CrossFitters do have a risk of injury
While knowing how to prevent injuries is important, CrossFitters still get injured regularly. Unfortunately, there is also the common mentally of “walk it off” when something hurts. Instead of addressing a pain or an obvious injury, some athletes will continue to work out, ignoring the symptoms. This can lead to much bigger problems. When you are in pain, it is important to have that pain looked at to see what can be done to solve it. In a study performed by Penn State College of Medicine, researchers found that CrossFitters are 1.3 times more likely to receive an injury than athletes of other sports. Have a physiotherapist check you over to see if they can identify a source for any discomfort and help you work through it.
There is more to working out than you might know
Another reason to see a physiotherapist is that there is more to working out than you might realize. Of course, when you lift weights, your muscles become stronger. When you run, your cardiovascular system can become stronger. But having a complete workout goes beyond that. Your physiotherapist will be able to work with you on proper stretching techniques for before and after your workout. You can also learn which muscles are compensating for weaker muscles, isolating which muscles need to be strengthened. Once you have an idea of what your body should be doing before, during, and after a workout, you will feel better and might find that you can go for longer than before. In fact, you should be able to continue to do CrossFit even as you age. If you take good care of your body, your body will allow you to do the things that you enjoy the most, including CrossFit. CrossFit is known for its need for good core strength. Your physiotherapist will be able to work on your core to identify any weak spots. This is especially important when it comes to the strength of your spine.
Your CrossFit instructor is not likely to be an expert in biomechanics
It is possible, however, that your instructor does understand biomechanics, but generally, instructors are more about the workout, less about the natural motion of your body. If you work out under the direction of an instructor who pushes you hard without focusing on your technique, risk of injury, and your movement, you definitely need to see a physiotherapist at the same time. Your instructor might be getting you into amazing shape, but you need to be in shape without hurting yourself. A physiotherapist is an expert on body movement and what you can do to prevent injuries, making him or her the perfect person to work with.
Ultimately, it is through the relationship of a physiotherapist that you might learn how your body works mechanically and what you should be doing to make yourself the best athlete possible. With the help of a physiotherapist, you can avoid injury while ensuring that you can stick with the sport as long as you want to.