The Importance of Keeping Members Injury-Free

injury-free

When we tell people about CrossFit, we’ve all been frustrated by the common question, “Doesn’t that cause a lot of injuries?” Regardless of the facts, there is a common perception that “CrossFit causes injuries,” and that perception is a killer. So, we owe it to our Box’s members to provide the tools for them to be healthy and injury-free in order for us to successfully combat that perception.

Creating an injury-free environment means having happier athletes that are able to train more effectively, recover better and, therefore, get the results and meet their goals. These athletes will continue to train with you for longer and will probably be more likely to refer people to your Box.

There are many factors to reducing injuries in your athlete population. Good programming is definitely one of the pillars, and so are great trainers and Coaches. The best will always be proactively watching your athletes and correcting form. They will also know when to reduce load and intensity as well as how to scale appropriately for an athlete’s ability level. These day-to-day operations should not be overlooked. Additionally, you can provide mobility and recovery tools, as well as programs for your athletes to use.

Often, there are a bunch of people scattered around a Box using bands, rollers, balls, barbells, kettlebells and anything else they can get their hands on to loosen or mobilize painful tissue. A quick Google or YouTube search will yield hundreds of hits on self-myofascial release, stretching, mobilizing, books and programs. There are hundreds of products on the market, each claiming to be the best. It’s confusing enough for us, so imagine how overwhelming it is to your average athlete who has minimal health literacy? All you have to do is watch someone grind on a foam roller for 30 minutes or use a band to stretch the wrong way to know that there is a big potential for doing things better.

It’s helpful to find a set of products like bands, balls, rollers, supports and tape that you like and can offer to your athletes. Sure, they can jump online and find cheaper copies of everything, but your recommendations are important to your members. Plus, if they trust you, they will be happy to save time and effort by having an easy choice in buying products directly from you that you stock or that you can point them to buy online. It’s also a nice secondary stream of income.

Just as important as offering these tools to your members is also showing your athletes how to use them correctly. Talk to a trainer or Coach who wants to develop and lead a mobility class in your Box, or partner with a knowledgeable healthcare provider who can do it. Keep the classes short and basic and begin with teaching your members what to do (and what not to do) with the mobility implements you’ve made available. Then have classes on how to use those tools area by area to help prevent the common injuries seen in CrossFit. Prevention is key.

Keep your recommendations to two or three things that athletes can do, and have a handout or video on your website for reference. Make this a program that can be offered as a complete cycle at least four times each year. Then, you will be arming your athletes with the tools they need and the knowledge to use them properly. From this, you’ll see injuries and recovery time improving. Happy, healthy members are your best asset.

By Steve Agocs, RockTape Instructor. You can contact Steve at steve.agocs@gmail.com