In your life, your everyday life you can sustain a knee injury. You can fall, twist the wrong way while your foot remains firmly planted to the ground, sustain a crossfit injury or even get hit by a car. I did and sustained a knee injury. Thankfully my only one and through skilled people I have no lasting affects from it. Were going to talk about knee injuries from the standpoint of Crossfit injuries.
Now you are doing a sport. Hockey, baseball, football etc. and your chances of a knee injury increase quite a bit in fact. Crossfit knee injuries are sport injuries and not necessarily any different from any other knee injury suffered participating in sport.
You can however, take some steps to limit your chances of an injury such as knee sleeves, and good proper training and form.
1. Get a Good Coach, Listen to Them and Practice Form
How many times have you heard people say they don’t want to do Crossfit because they don’t want to get hurt. It’s all over the web and almost has a cult following. This is not at all true of people who train properly, have good coaches to preach and continuously practice form. This is true for any sport. Form is the most important thing you can have to limit injury and every successful athlete practices form over and over until they can do it in their sleep. Only then will they limit injury and be successful at their discipline. Crossfit is the same way.
So when you first decide you want to pick up a barbell, don’t. Look at it and then find a trainer to give you coaching. Lifting a barbell can be a very complicated thing. Look at the position the man above is in. Wrists in danger, back in danger, and of course her knees are all in danger.
The squat snatch for example has a lot of ways it can hurt you including your knees. It is also one very complicated lift with many steps to get right before you can successfully and safely be in a squat with the bar above your head and then stand up.
Once you have good enough form that you won’t hurt yourself, stay at light weights and practice practice practice. When I go to open gym to focus on the clean and jerk for example, I will take an empty bar and go over and over my form with just an empty bar before putting any weight on it
2. Use Knee Sleeves
The benefit of knee sleeves comes from compression. These tight neoprene sleeves surround the knee joint and muscles with even compression that keeps your knees warm during your workout. The heat and compression help keep the joint flexible and provides stability. Simple enough.
There are studies that support the theory that compression sleeves also give small performance gains. The estimates are between 1-2 percent greater power.
So you’re form is good and you are now lifting heavy, but the heavier you lift, the more vulnerable your knees are. Your knee sleeves along with warmth and compression also add stability to your joints. Knowing your knee sleeves add stability to your knees can give you more confidence when squatting heavy weight.
Crossfit is all about time and competition. Workouts can take an athlete mentally and physically to the edge of their ability. With this comes fatigue resulting and a loss of control. Your form suffers and you may end up with a higher risk of injury. With this in mind, most athletes wear their knee sleeves for the extra support and feeling of confidence.
Traditionally, there are 3 sizes, 3mm thick, 5mm thick, and 7mm thick. The 3mm knee sleeves are worn more by long distance runners looking for extra stability and support in their run, and the 7mm knee sleeves by weightlifters looking to lift some extra kilos with the help of extra knee support. The 5mm knee sleeve can be used for all sports.
3. Proprioceptive training
Balance and proprioception are all about our ability to stay safely upright without injury. In order for us to remain upright, our brain needs constant input from our muscles and joints. This input enables the brain to monitor our position and make corrections when necessary. If the brain receives poor information, or if it receives the information too slowly, then we are prone to injury, such as spraining an ankle or repeatedly irritating the knee.
Proprioceptive training may help you save yourself from injury. Your body can be trained to act quickly and adjust it’s movement in order to prevent injury. This is precisely why we see athletes practicing balance with balance boards, Bosu balls and other balancing tools
4. Mobility – Do it and Prevent Crossfit Injuries
For a long time stretching exercises to improve your mobility have been under the microscope. Some experts say it works, some say it has no benefit, some say do it before you workout and some say after. What we know for sure is that regular causes of knee pain stem from tight muscles around the hips, thighs and lower back.
Me, I do it regularly at home, before my WOD (workout of the day) and after.
Because most of the world spends far too much time sitting (up to 8 hrs a day) our joints and muscles adapt to an inactive and sedate lifestyle. Head to the gym for a workout after sitting for a few hours and your whole body feels stiff as a board and you are asking for trouble.
Spend 15 min or a half hour loosening your muscles and joints up. There are simple stretching exercises you can do and rubber bands to aid in stretching. If you don’t know what to do, ask a trainer or coach for a warmup routing you can do before you train. Once you’re sufficiently stretched out and feeling good, go for a quick jog, row, or do a few air squats to get your heart rate going.
Once you add all of this to your regular training, your body’s ability to prevent a knee injury are greatly increased. Your longevity at the gym will be increased, and so will your overall health.
Me, I’ve been an active fittness buff for as long as I can remember and 5 years ago I put all of my efforts into the great sport of CrossFit. This sport has elevated my fitness to new levels through a lot of hard work and dedication and I want to share this with you. Fitness keeps us healthy so get out there.