“You’ll hurt your back!”, “You’ll bust your knee!”, “You’ll dislocate your shoulder!” Utter the word CrossFit, and you’ll be hit with a series of misleading statements. An injury can be extremely devastating, emotionally and physically. In fact, it’s the fastest way to halt progress. That being said, it is avoidable and can be prevented. At the risk of sounding philosophical, it can happen anywhere, be it a gym, the play ground or even walking down a road. Agreed, a coach will guide you through the detailed movements and maintain good form. However, keeping an injury at bay is your responsibility. So here are some measures you can take to keep yourself injury free.

1. Remember you don’t have to prove a point to anyone. There’s absolutely no reason to go unnecessarily heavy, just because you see your fellow mates. Leave your ego outside the box. Every individuals fitness levels and limitations differ. Go at your own pace, you’re competing against yourself, not others.

As long as your sticking to the right weight, you should be good.

2. Never neglect technique. You just can not question the importance of form. The timer may be ticking and you may think you can get in those extra few reps. If you can do that with good form, great. However, if you do so at the risk of compromised form, you’re heading down a dangerous road.

3. If you’ve been injured before, you’re at a greater risk. Training without complete recovery can be dangerous. Inform your coach about past and persistent injuries and he’ll guide you as to which movements to and not to perform.

4. Rest: It’s not for the week. Some people train five to six times a week, some even twice a day. Remember overtraining does more harm than good. Of course, initially you will be sore, but that’s just your body adapting to a new environment. However, once you’ve gotten the hang of it, make it mandatory to take a rest day if not two. Stressing a strained muscle, will only result in injury. Remember that your time outside the gym is just as important as your time in there.

5. Mobilize & Warm Up: Flexibility refers to the lengthening of a muscle, while mobility aims to improve output by working out the kinks in joints. All in all it works towards better form and stability. Warming up is essential. If you suddenly load your recently inactive muscles with heavy weight, that’s going to be a recipe for disaster.

6. Foam Roll: This will drastically reduce muscle tension and will alleviate potential soreness. Sometimes, you may not realize a muscle is tight until a few days after. Foam rolling will serve as a preventive measure in such cases.

7. Get plenty of sleep: This goes without saying. Your body indulges in healing while you’re asleep. It will in turn result in you coming back stronger and recovered to train at your best.

8. Look at the programming of a box: It differs from place to place. See if you’d enjoy the kind of training and how it fits with your lifestyle. The WOD’s should be intense not insane. For example, if a box stresses on shoulder movements 4 out of 5 times a week, you’ve got to question how it’s going to settle with you.

9. Stay Hydrated: You’re going to be sweating. A LOT. You don’t want unnecessary cramps arising in the middle of your workout. Not only do they hinder performance but can be pretty painful.

10. Physical Therapy: If you’ve had a couple of injuries or have persisting pain, you’d better check with a professional. A stitch in time saves nine.

11. Eat Right: What you eat is more important than what you lift. Yes, nutrition has it’s way of reducing injuries as well as speeding up recovery. Eat fewer pro-inflammatory foods like the highly processed ones and more anti-inflammatory foods like Avocados, Nuts and Olive Oil. Fresh fruits and veggies, big yes. Even supplementing yourself correctly, will take you a long way. For example Vitamin C for the immune system, Zinc to enhance healing, BCAA’s to enhance recovery, protein to reduce muscle damage amongst others.

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