One of the most common attacks on CrossFit is the rate of injury. While most of this is blown way out of proportion by the media, yes it’s true, you are probably less likely to get injured while sitting on your couch eating a bag of doritos than you are heavy doing heavy snatch. Just like any other form of physical activity, injuries are unfortunately something with have to deal with in CrossFit. But if we are smart about it as coaches and as athletes, the risk can be drastically reduced. As coaches, we pride ourselves in coaching proper technique and programming to keep our athletes healthy. Here are some tips for you, as an athlete, to increase your odds of staying healthy as you continue crossfitting in the new year…

1. Proper warmup. Each warmup is designed specifically to prepare your body for the physical demands of the lift and workout of the day. Make sure you get to the workouts on time and do the warmups in their entirety to maximize your odds of staying healthy.

2. Let coaches know of existing pain/soreness prior to your workout. Often, we should be able to help you by modifying your training. And in cases when we can’t help you ourselves, we will point you in the right direction to getting the help you need.

3. Form over flurry. Training is supposed to look different than competition. If you treat every day as a competition your body will eventually break down. Use your day-to-day WODs as practice. Don’t be in a rush to RX a WOD until you have mastered your form at lower loads. And learn to listen to your body. In the words of Rich Froning: “In training, I listen to my body. In competition, I tell my body to shut the fuck up.”

4. Go back to basics once in a while. Are you breathing properly? Is your midline stable? Are you torquing the bar in your setup? As coaches, we obviously look for these signs, but as an athlete you certainly play a role. Check out our foundations manual for the cues on the basic lifts. Even elite crossfitters take time to improve their air squat. You can always move better. The better you move, the less chance you have of injury.

5. Mobility work. We make a point to include a mobility component to every workout. But for most athletes, more work is necessary to keep tissues healthy and mobile. We are now offering mobility classes three times per week, so please take advantage of that.

6. Use the right rehab tool. Mobility work certainly has it’s place for rehab. However, weakness of a muscle in its range of motion usually indicates an injury or strain not tightness. So rehab appropriately so you don’t set yourselves back further as athletes. Don’t be too stubborn to rest an injury if it means that ultimately you will be able to get back to your training sooner.

7. Keep your volume in check. More is not always better. Yes, there are elite crossfitters that are doing 2-3 WODs per day, but most athletes cannot handle that much volume without getting injured, especially if they are new to the sport. Take time to rest and recover properly before jumping into your next workout. This will look a little different for everyone. If you are not sure how often you should be training, ask us.

8. Eat real food. Do your best to stick with unprocessed meat, veggies, nuts, seeds, and fruit. These are the most nutrient dense foods, which will help your body heal and stay healthy. And get your fish oils to reduce inflammation.

Follow these steps and keep training with us regularly. Let’s make 2014 your healthiest and fittest year yet!