CrossFit bashing even happens from people that compete in CrossFit. This article from Patrick McCarty, a Masters Athlete, is entitled, Crossfit Regional Workouts 2015: The Good, The Bad, and the Shoulders.
McCarty goes to great lengths to criticize this year’s regional workouts saying that they are going destroy people’s shoulders and that the volume of shoulder work is too much and that asking people to perform heavy weight, high skill movements under fatigue is dangerous.
Here is the fundamental problem with McCarty’s argument: this is a competition. Sporting competition is not about safety: it’s about winning! You simply do not see articles about how bad soccer and skiing are for the knees and that we should stop programming downhill slalom and World Cup tournaments. You do not see articles pointing out how dangerous the NFL is with regard to head and spine injuries and that they should change the rules to avoid contact. When we engage in sporting competition it is to find out who is the best and part of being the best is enduring the physical demands and pushing past injury and doing whatever it takes to win. If you are concerned about your safety, then you should not engage in competitive sports.
While I might agree that the programming of the Regionals events is extremely taxing on the shoulders and may lead to more injuries than say another less shoulder-intensive competition, it doesn’t strike me that you will see more shoulder related injuries from this year’s regionals than you would see injuries related to running in the countless marathons taking place every weekend across the country. It’s not the job of the programmers to come up with the safest test of fitness. It’s to come up with the best test. Certainly McCarty can argue that this year’s events do not test certain exercises or time domains or certain skill sets and argue that it is not a balanced test. However, requiring the safest test of fitness is ludicrous.
We don’t watch the X-Games to see the safest motocross jumps and skateboard tricks. We want to people push the edge of their physical limits. That’s what makes sport so exciting.
If you want to perform CrossFit safely (and you should!), then eat right, sleep a lot and go to the gym for an hour a day. Crush the WOD and do your skill practice and work on your weaknesses and most importantly keep your form good. CrossFit is a great prescription for health and fitness. If you want to compete you have understand that you are making a choice to do something that doesn’t necessarily align with health. You have to compromise your safety and wellbeing in order to win.