The real danger is to new athletes, like those who flock to the thousands of CrossFit facilities looking for a great workout. Word of mouth is powerful in the CrossFit community, and maybe the most dangerous element. While the workouts can be performed by beginners, their immature muscles can’t tell the difference between training to failure and simply getting a good workout. In fact, most beginners don’t know when “too much is too much” and don’t understand the unique demand of an exercise session, says Eric Cressey, C.S.C.S., a shoulder and injury prevention expert and owner of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Mass.
Since many explosive movements require technical skill, he says, it is not advisable for Olympic lifts be completed in a fatigued state. CrossFit, and other popular workout schemes like bootcamps, rely on training to excessive exhaustion and failure, and thereby create an artificial perception of effectiveness. “These people might be doing a crazy workout and feel great because their endorphins are flowing, but then they wake up with their shoulder pounding with pain,” Cressey says.
His biggest concern is the technique that goes along with the workout. “When you see a 20-minute circuit of really ugly cleans and ring dips, those are exercises that don’t jive well,” he says.
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