Oh wow, I said it. CrossFit and injury. I feel like that statement is up there with asking someone how much money they make, who they are voting for, and what their religious beliefs are.

Sound familiar? How about "meow"?

Sound familiar? How about “meow”?

Why is there such a misconception about CrossFit and injuries?

Here's the deal.

Watch a college football game, a basketball game, a gymnastics meet. Is anyone getting injured? Yes. It’s part of being an athlete.

So if you (or someone in your gym) are injured, congratulations, you are officially an athlete.

Does it mean you should stop? Absolutely not. Injuries don’t stop professional athletes, why should they stop us normal folks.

Hi, My Name is (Insert Your Name), I am a CrossFit-aholic

The first step on the road to recovery is admitting that there may in fact be a problem. Maybe, JUST MAYBE, you came into CrossFit with a little baggage: Tight hammies, a bad back, tight calves, or zero shoulder mobility.

Is it possible, that we did not enter into CrossFit as perfect athletes?

OK, ok, ok. So there it is. We have admitted that there may be a problem. So what’s next?

Time to Warm-up and Mobilize Properly

Article done. Right. We just have to do it.

If only it was that easy.

Take a minute and go look for a proper warm-up. No wait, don’t. I can tell you what you will find:

Executive Warm-up Summary (Skip directly to this section, this is all you need to know)

Warm-up and mobility are very straight forward. You just want to mobilize before your warm-up to increase range of motion. I mean wait, no no. Mobilize only to open new ranges to optimize your lifting mechanics. It’s OK to PNF some things before a WOD

to open new ranges, but just not your groin.

Got it. But just don’t smash before the WOD. No, no. Smashing is after the WOD. Well, you can do the MWOD before or after your WOD, just whatever works for you.

AHHHHHHHH. There is some great information out there, but it can definitely get confusing.

What the Experts Say

The CrossFit Warm-up

CrossFit says that an effective warm-up should achieve these goals:

  • Elevates body temperature + +
  • Elevates cardio-respiratory rate + +
  • Incorporates stretching + –
  • Develops critical functions/movements + –
  • Works whole body + –
  • Prepares for rigorous athletic movements + –

The CrossFit warm-up definitely achieves these goals. You could just stick with this warm-up, but it may get a little boring after a while. What are some other options?

Warm-up with Matt Chan

The long lunge, the lateral lunge, and the push up to the hamstring stretch; definitely seems to follow the CrossFit warm-up guidelines.

The Josh Everett Warm-up

  1. General Monostructural warm-up
  2. General joint/muscle mobility
  3. Specific joint/muscle mobility
  4. Specific movement prep

Seems to be somewhat of a hybrid of the CrossFit warm-up while incorporating mobility.

To see full video of the Everett warm-up – click Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Warm-up with Kelly Starett

Pigs on ice skates. Cossack squats. Spider Lunges. Mountain climbers. Knee hugs. More squats. Kelly says in a warm-up, you should get “hot and sweaty”. I would definitely be hot and sweaty after this one.

What do they all have in common?

They all seem to follow the basic structure outlined by CrossFit headquarters. Which is a good thing since these videos come from CrossFit headquarters.

I did NOT see any banded hip openers or static stretching. Everything was dynamic. Even in Kelly’s video, he opened up the hips with dynamic movements. Not to say that you cannot use bands in your warm-up, but in the examples here, there is no banded mobility or PNFing pre-WOD.

Step 2: Mobility

Where to begin. Kelly Starett changed CrossFit forever when he started his blog, the MWOD. You can’t walk into a box without finding a copy of The Supple Leopard somewhere.

There seems to be an unlimited number of mobility pieces we could be adding in after every WOD.

Sometimes over analysis puts us into "do nothing" mode.

Sometimes over analysis puts us into “do nothing” mode.

We have the blueprint, so why aren't we executing

Information overload and analysis paralysis.

There is so much information out there, that it is hard to put it all together on your way home from work as you are stopping at your box to hit your WOD and then trying to get home to eat dinner.

Then there is the CrossFit coach/box owner who is coaching 5 classes a day, dealing with billing, talking to new customers, and a whole slew of other daily tasks.

It’s no wonder why our warm-up and mobility are sometimes neglected.

The simple fact is there is not enough time in the day to come up with an effective warm-up, every single day.

Most of the programs posted online are also posted without a warm-up:

crossfit.com, Invictus, CrossFit New England, etc. So it’s just human nature to neglect our warm-up at times.

Here is how we reduce injuries in CrossFit

A better warm-up and mobility. We all know it. We all have the tools. So how do we execute?

  • Come up with canned warm-ups. It’s not ideal, but using a canned warm-up like the CrossFit warm-up will serve us much better than no warm-up. Then just pick 3-4 mobility pieces to work on each week.
  • Preplan warm-ups for certain movements. Have a preplanned warm-up for certain movements. K-Stars hip opener video would be great for many squatting movements. You could find some similar plans for pushing and pulling. Then just use those when the movements come up. It’s kind of like the 80/20. Then find areas you need to mobilize and add those at the end of each WOD.
  • Use a [highlight]warm-up and mobility generator[/highlight] to quickly generate a customized warm-up and mobility for your WOD.
Now go be great!


Brad_Chase_HeadshotAuthor Bio: A little bit about Brad Chase

“I am a catholic, a husband, a dad, and a CrossFit athlete. Thanks for reading my article. I have been doing CrossFit since 2007 and I have a Level 1 certificate which makes me clearly qualified to talk about CrossFit. I have competed at regionals on a team in the Northwest and in Canada West. I also created a warm-up and mobility generator called WarmobilitY.”


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