By Amy Hansen
CrossFit may need its own form of driver’s education.
“I can sit here and tell you ‘this is how you drive a car,'” fitness educator Fabio Comana said. “The question is, you get in the car and start experiencing different situations, like ‘What do i do if a guy is cutting me off?’ Unless you’ve covered all the basics, you can expect someone to have some problems in a car when they’re driving for the first time. The same thing is true for CrossFit.”
Boston ranks in the top five per capita U.S. cities for gym memberships– yet according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly a quarter of the city’s adults are considered overweight or obese.
The extreme timed workout that is CrossFit is gaining popularity for people looking for something more interactive than a standard treadmill session. For many members, utilizing this sense of community could be the ticket to not only fighting obesity and getting fit, but gaining friends. But much of the community mentality could be weakened if participants don’t understand proper weightlifting form and end up injured.
A central part of the sport is learning how to successfully complete complex weight lifting moves in order to participate in a class. Many gyms–or “boxes” as the sport refers to them–offer on-boarding classes to teach beginners the basics before attending more advanced classes. A certified coach leads the participants through the roughly hour long classes. For Comana, an exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, the certification program that those coaches complete still needs a little work.
“Their mentality is that some degree of compromise is necessary in order to improve your technique,” he explained. “Well, therein lies the caveat. You’ve got to have the appropriate feedback to make that correction and that’s where CrossFit really lacks. Their Level One certification, which is accredited, really is mediocre when it comes to biomechanics. Their Level Two coaching creational is fantastic, but the problem is the majority of their CrossFit instructors are not Level Two, they’re Level One.”
The sport is also linked with injuries. CrossFit on the Hill owner Javy Caraballo thinks that this is a common misconception, but minor injuries do come with the territory for some athletes.
“Whenever you take a higher risk on your performance or your fitness there’s always going to be injury with that,” Caraballo said. “Some rate or percentage of injury. There’s always going to be something when you push your body past the comfort zone.”
For both CrossFit supporters and critics, both seem to come together when it comes to the importance of one thing–education about proper form. “You can’t rush through technique,” Comana said.