Every sport is different, and with every sport comes a different set of concerns in preventing injuries. But what happens when a whole new sport emerges? Over the last few years, the expansion of CrossFit has brought up new questions about the best ways athletes can prevent sports hernias.
This latest exercise craze seems to be a combination of just about every sport imaginable: running, weightlifting, gymnastics, rowing, jumping – the list goes on and on. CrossFit is based on the principle of high-intensity interval training, meaning that athletes participate in a wide variety of activities for short bursts of time. The new “sport” encourages athletes to test their limits and take on more and more intense workouts. While this may be an excellent way to train for nearly any other sport, it also creates new worries about injury prevention.
Sports hernias are caused by sharp, twisting movements and quick changes in direction. They can also be caused by a long period of repetitive motion. Both of these are foundations to CrossFit, increasing athletes’ chances for injury. One of CrossFit’s main principles is interval training, or switching quickly between activities. While proponents claim this helps the body adapt, in reality it can cause added stress on core muscles. Without the proper monitoring and awareness, the shifting nature of CrossFit training can contribute to a sports hernia injury.
Common CrossFit exercises often involve fast, repetitive movements that stretch muscles and test athletes’ balance. Many CrossFit movements strain the abdomen’s core muscles, and having a weak core puts trainers at a much higher risk of injury. Specific exercises like repetitive squats and weightlifting movements, such as the deadlift, can place an incredible amount of stress on the lower abdomen and groin area. The more rapidly and often these exercises are done, the higher an athlete’s risk of sustaining a sports hernia.
Just like with any sport, being aware of the warning signs and causes of a sports hernia injury is essential to CrossFit. Avoiding exercises that cause extreme stress to the muscles in the lower abdomen and limiting interval speed are two ways to minimize risk. Above all, it’s critical to be aware of your own physical limitations. It’s fine to push yourself while participating in CrossFit, but know and respect your limit.