Q.After a Big Break…


How do you return to CrossFit after an absence?

Many of us take breaks from time to time, whether to recover from an injury or enjoy some family time. Most of us are kind of dumb when we get back though and think, since I’ve had this awesome break I should be good to go! 100% back in the game! Like I said, dumb!

After a break it’s not just your muscles or conditioning that is de-conditioned. Your connective tissues and ligaments aren’t used to the stress either. This can lead to overuse or acute injury soon after returning to training.

When you return to training create a return to training plan. The first week you should cut your total volume in half. And then add volume each week. Creating a plan for your return will keep you from increasing too fast when you feel good and creating stress on your muscles and ligaments. With respect to the weights use 85% of the recommended load as a rule for the first week. Focus on refining the movements and practicing rather than working on maximizing the weights.
Pretend like it’s the first time you fell in love with lifting during this rebuilding period. Just like you did then, take every measure to eliminate distractions and do all the mundane tasks needed to improve. Eat more frequently and eat better. Focus on picking the quality whole foods you know you need to recover and grow. Do everything you can to get enough sleep. Consistently getting eight hours of sleep will help you build back muscle and strength more than almost anything else.
Take some extra TLC during the first couple of weeks back. Block out some time later in the day after your training session for some SMR and mobility. Your body will get stiff and sore pretty fast and if you haven’t lost much strength you’ll be producing forces with tissues that aren’t very pliable anymore. You need to address this as soon as possible to make sure you don’t injure yourself or throw your mechanics off.
Pick a problem area, some particular area of soft tissue or capsular restriction, and address it every day with some form of SMR. Schedule it into your day like it was your second training session.

Just as when you begin training, training needs to be focused on building general strength safely during the acclimation period after time off. If you ignore this and jump back into highly specific training, you may be able to reach your former working weights sooner but it will probably be at a cost. Even if it takes longer, build the base wider again so that you can build yourself up again higher than before.


For more information on getting back into the game check out the link below…


Q.So what about injuries?


So everyone wants to know whether they will get hurt doing CrossFit.  It’s a hard question to answer since as an athlete you are responsible for making wise choices.  Within every CrossFit workout there will be options to scale either the weight or the movement.  Each athlete needs to take responsibility for choosing the appropriate progression and weight.  The instructor is there to encourage you to challenge yourself but they can’t possibly know how you feel on a given day.  Be your own advocate, determining which movements need to be scaled depending on your own physiology and fitness level.

Having said that, the data is in on CrossFit injury levels.  See the below table which compares CrossFit injury levels to other sports injury levels.  As you can see with any sport you run the risk of injury and the rate of injury with CrossFit is less than many of the other sports.

Table 1. Estimated Injury Rates for Selected Sports*

Basketball 1.94-5.7 (per 1000 hrs)
Tennis 2.0-20.0 (per 1000 hrs)
Soccer 5.0-12.0 (per 1000 athlete-exposures)
Football (practice) 4-10 (per 1000 athlete-exposure)
Football (games) 36 (per 1000 athlete-exposure)

Powerlifting 1.0-4.4 (per 1000 hrs)
Running 2.5-5.8 (per 1000 hrs)
Olympic weightlifting 3.3 (per 1000 hrs)
Gymnastics 5.4-7.96 (per 1000 hrs)

CrossFit 3.1 (per 1000 hrs)

*Dr. Robert Oh

While you run the risk of injury with sport and fitness the risk of injury and death with a sedentary lifestyle far outweighs the risk of injury.  Worldwide, it is estimated that a sedentary lifestyle is responsible for 6% of coronary heart disease cases, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer and 10% of colon cancer cases. In fact, it was recently reported that inactivity is responsible for more annual deaths than smoking.



Comparing CrossFit to a basic gym membership is like comparing a pig to bacon.  While they are essentially the same thing one gets results much more quickly than the other.  If I want a BLT for lunch I’ll be much happier with the bacon.  If I want a six pack this summer I’m signing up for CrossFit.

When you sign up at a basic gym you get use of their equipment and classes.  There may even be a range of classes available.  Over the year the equipment and classes will remain the same.  It is up to you to motivate yourself to figure out how to get results from what they offer.  If you have the skills and knowledge to break it down, a basic gym membership could work out fine, but for most of us we stare at that pig and wonder what to do next.  We try a bit of this and a bit of that and eventually either plateau or get bored.  The result tends to be the same… frustration.

At CrossFit the workouts are different everyday… the programmer is working every week to ensure that they are getting a good variety of short, medium and long workouts to work on your intensity and endurance.  The programmer works to make sure that there are gymnastic movements to work on your strength to weight ratio.  They build in different strength exercises that work your from your core to extremities and help build strength evenly and safely throughout your body.  Each week this programmer puts in hours of work to ensure that the correct workout is programmed for you.

Once we have the right combination of exercises for the week the CrossFit instructor works out the best mobility and warmup exercises to get your body ready.  Then they take the class through the movements to ensure that each CrossFitter has gained a level of proficiency in the movements.  The instructors don’t work out with the class they stay involved with each and every CrossFitter to ensure they are motivated and doing the movements correctly.  In short, they ensure that you reach your goals in the shortest time possible.  And if you don’t want to waste your time and effort… join CrossFit today.

Understanding the cost of CrossFit makes more sense when you compare it to personal training.  Personal training can cost between $30-$80/hour.  CrossFit is between $5-$10/hour.  A couple of additional benefits that CrossFit offers over personal training is the camaraderie of the group to help push you beyond your expectations and make sure that you have a good time doing it!