The CrossFit Games and Preventing Injury
Whether you are a CrossFit fan or foe, there’s no denying that the CrossFit Games have gained huge popularity over the years. It’s now a heavily sponsored event that brings in nearly superhuman athletes to compete.
You’ve got to give them credit: They actually elevated working out to a sport!
As the CrossFit Games events grow and challenges vary, there are staples in most competitions: running, lifting heavy things (frequently overhead), carrying heavy things, climbing and even swimming. These all require very fundamental and functional movements, like lift, run, jump, carry and throw.
The only thing missing is fighting, and then you’d have yourself a complete set of events that Georges Hébert, creator of The Natural Method, might even enjoy.
Hébert was a profound influence in the ProBar founder’s approach to training and curriculum. He placed a huge emphasis on educational and fundamental exercises, which allowed the individual to master a skill or movement before loading it. He believed that a loaded pattern with less than optimal movement quality would only engrain a bad pattern and cause injury.
CrossFit is notably unpopular amongst some crowds because of its rate of injury, but we are not here to speculate, attack or condone the sport. Instead, we thought the upcoming Games provided a good opportunity to discuss how to reduce and possibly prevent injury while you train.
CrossFit features a lot of overhead-loaded patterns, like overhead squats, snatches and push-presses. During these movements, the spine is loaded, the legs are supporting and the arms are locked and in line with the center of mass. Any deficiency in the shoulder girdle or a lack of mobility will trickle undue stress onto the rest of the body, and possibly lead to injury.
But training these movements unloaded first, as a warm up, can make all the difference in preventing undue stress and injury.
Here’s a great series of exercises using the ProBar that will help you warm up for your CrossFit WOD or functional fitness workout.
Lat Press: Get the lats active, chest open and press overhead. Then pull back down using the ProBar in long form, extended (distracted), loaded or not.
Overhead Squat: A progression from the previous exercise, adding the squat will quickly expose the body’s alignment. Any deviation of the arms from a vertical line would lead to pitching the weight forward, causing it to fall (that’s just one issue).
Slashes: Reconfiguring the ProBar into its dual-weighted mode, a few vertical slashes (a movement inspired by Indian Clubs and their restorative practice for shoulder mobility) helps open up and work the shoulder joint in both flexion and extension, through a dynamic stretch.
Single Leg Squat or Pistol Squat: Finish up with the same dual-weighted ProBar, ½ staves, by performing single leg squats or pistols. Use the counterbalance of the inner weights of the ProBar distally from the hand.
An incidental benefit with these final two exercises is the challenge it places on the grip. Grip strength is key and often the limiting factor for carries, deadlifts or any hanging/climbing events.
Whether you compete in the Crossfit games or train at home, this simple routine addresses a lot of functional patterns and can be used to warm up or to work out. You can purchase the premium bar based mobility system ProBar here, and get moving better.
This blog was written by ProBar founder Philippe Til.