As a CrossFit coach, I am constantly reminding our athletes about two things: Proper form and proper range of motion. Proper range of motion is important when trying to adhere to standards and helps to achieve a good overall workout. Proper form goes much further. Proper range of motion can be achieved with bad form. So, proper standards can be adhered to with bad form. But, over time, bad form will lead to injury. Injury will lead to a short career with CrossFit. Bad form is one of, if not the, leading cause of injury in CrossFit and what leads to all of the negative publicity and opinions about what we do. Maintaining proper form takes Effort.
When asking someone about his/her CrossFit benchmarks, some questions that may come to mind are: What’s your Fran time? What’s your Murph time? How much can you deadlift? What’s your 1RM clean and Jerk? Each of these are of great importance to dedicated CrossFitters, but at what cost? Is having a good Fran time with bad form worth slowly working your way towards a torn rotator cuff? Is having a 500 pound 1 RM deadlift more important than knowing that each and every time you lift the weight with a rounded back you are at risk for a severe injury? Yes, I know that there’s nothing more exciting than knowing that you just PR’d your deadlift or completed Murph faster than ever before, but one question still remains: Would you be as excited if you severely injured yourself while doing so? Probably not!
Something that is often overlooked when you are in the heat of the moment before attempting a PR is why you chose to become a CrossFitter. Many of our athletes chose to become CrossFitters because they wanted to make a commitment towards becoming a healthier more functional individual. In my opinion having a torn ACL does not make you very functional. If you feel that your form is questionable and needs improvement don’t be afraid to ask a coach for help. If a coach is telling you to be more mindful of your form, pay attention. Even if this means dropping the weight on whatever lift you’re attempting, slowing down your pushups, grabbing a pullup band, dropping to the next scale level, etc. My biggest advice to all of our athletes is what I learned the first day I walked into a CrossFit Box: Leave your ego at the door! If you can back squat 1000 pounds with bad form well good for you. But you’re prohibiting yourself from receiving the benefits offered by CrossFit long term. By practicing good form you will not only help yourself, but help silence those who continuously outline the dangers of our sport.
– Tony “ToneWod” DiDomenico