As a CrossFitter, one of the most important things you can do to decrease your risk of injury is focus more on your recovery.
It doesn’t matter if you train once a week, four times a week or 14 times per week. Training is stressful on the body. If you’re not recovering from the stress you’re putting on your body, eventually, it’s going to start breaking down.
With Crossfit, many injuries are due to overuse or improper technique.
You do a bunch of squats, your knee starts to hurt. Overuse.
You do a heavy squat clean, your shoulder starts to hurt. Improper technique.
Now, many of these injuries may start out as a niggle. A fleeting pain here or there. You’re able to cope day-to-day because you eat well and sleep enough-ish. But, if you don’t look to other methods of recovery, eventually that niggle might turn into something worse.
That niggle is now more intense, more constant and making certain exercises more difficult. You may have to scale some of the exercises and even avoid some altogether. Now it’s a real pain in the ass.
What can you do to prevent this process from occurring? What can you do to decrease your risk of injury? Focus more on recovery.
When I say recovery I don’t mean eating and sleeping well. I’m going to assume that you’ve got those covered. If not, get on it.
No, when I’m talking about recovery, I mean things like release work and corrective exercise.
Think of recovery as time spent working on your body to make it move better and feel stronger.
The stronger you are, the more you’re able to cope with the stress placed on your body from training. Since training is stress, the stronger you are, the harder you’ll be able to train with less chance of injury.
The better you move, the more you’ll be able to cope. Moving with ease means that you move efficiently and that it takes less energy for you to get things done. Less energy expenditure means you don’t fatigue as easily. Less chance of injury.
What recovery things can you do to get stronger, move better and ultimately decrease your risk of injury?
Release Work. We all know that tight muscles can wreak havoc on your mobility. Tight calf muscles can lead to knee pain when squatting. Tight hips can lead to back pain when deadlifting. Tight shoulders can lead to wrist pain with front squats.
Release work addresses tight muscles or areas that are making you move less efficiently. Like I said above, the easier it is for you to move, the less energy it takes for you to get through the training session.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Using a foam roller, massage ball or any other tool is a great way to manage tight and cranky muscles. Regular release work is necessary in order to get ahead of the areas that are holding you back. It’s also the best way to prevent muscles from getting tight in the future.
Simply put, release work is great for getting you feeling ready for the training session but also negate some of the overuse related injuries or issues that come from training.
Corrective Exercise. You’ve heard this before “you’re only as strong as your weakest link”. When it comes to movement, that’s especially true. I don’t mean that you’re a weak squatter, deadlifter, etc. I mean that certain muscles are weaker than others, or they’re not strong enough to keep you moving safely.
Corrective exercises are used to specifically strengthen your areas of weakness by addressing imbalances and compensations. Unfortunately, working on strength imbalances and compensations isn’t possible during the WOD. When you’re training, you’re either focused on counting your reps or trying not to die. It’s unlikely that you’re focusing on how to strengthen your left glute, right lat and not butt wink during wall balls. That’s okay!
That’s why corrective exercise is so important. Why strength is so important. Like I said above, the stronger you are, the more you’re able to cope with the stress of training.
If you spend time making sure that your body is primed and ready for the WOD, not only will you start to perform better, but you’ll walk away with a sense of accomplishment, not a cranky shoulder or [insert body part here].
If you have any questions on which exercises you need to do to increase your performance and decrease your risk of injury, send me a message. I’d love to take you through a movement assessment that highlights areas that you can work on to address imbalances and compensations.