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Editor’s note: Cody Scharf is the owner of Thrive Spine and Sport, a chiropractic and soft tissue clinic focusing on sport and overuse injuries in Cedar Rapids. Scharf is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and certified through Integrative Diagnosis for the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries.
By Cody Scharf, community contributor
Unless you have been living under a rock the past five years, you probably have heard of CrossFit.
Known for brutal workouts and “ideal” looking athletes, CrossFit has created a fitness revolution sweeping, quite literally, the globe. CrossFit appeals to the common person to regain functional strength and get back in shape by beating previous times, reps or weight used.
As with most fitness revolutions, CrossFit has come under some recent scrutiny. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that 73.5 percent of CrossFit participants receive an injury that limits work, activity or participation. This is an alarming number, but also a number not too surprising when the average new member just came from the couch into doing Fran (Fran is the name of CrossFit’s most popular workout).
Overuse, as with any other sport, is the number one cause of injury in CrossFit. It demands that all, not just some, of your body is moving properly. If there are any restrictions in any part of your body, this will lead to injury at some point down the road. In order to make CrossFit safer we must know our body is ready.
Here are the top 5 assessments to do that:
1. Ankle dorsiflexion. Ankle dorsiflexion is vital to running, jumping and squatting. If your ankle is not working properly, neither will your knee, hip and low back. Check this by standing arm’s length away from a wall. Place a ruler against the wall and foot. Drop the knee to touch the wall without the heel coming off the ground. A healthy range of motion will be around five or six inches.
2. Knee flexion. To check knee flexion, stand supported against the wall or table. Grab the ankle and try to accommodate the back of the heel to the butt, while the quad remains in line with the opposite leg. The heel should easily be able to touch without pain.
3. Hip flexion. Lie on your back. Grab just below one knee and try to bring the knee to chest. The front of the thigh should be able to be pulled flat against the chest without difficulty or pain. A lack of hip flexion alters squat motion and can lead to low back, hip and knee pain.
4. Shoulder abduction. Proper overhead motion and strength is dependent on this motion. Stand upright with arms to the side. Bring your arms up to your ears as close as you can. This should be very easy and without pain. Normal range should find the arm no further than three inches away from the ear, ideally only one inch.
5. Wrist extension. Reduced wrist extension can make front rack position painful and hard. To test, place the forearm flat on the wall with the upper arm shoulder height. Extend the wrist by using the opposite hand to pull the fingers back. The hand and fingers should be able to break 90 degrees to the wall without pain.
To fix these assessments, start a routine of stretching, foam rolling and active mobility to improve these motions. If mobility exercises fail to produce results after a week or two, there are only two options left — avoid the problem or fix the problem.
l For more information, email Scharf at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thrivespineandsport.com