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Crossfit and the Active Release Technique Connection

pointing at spine model

On Thursday February 27th, the first Crossfit Games Open Workout 14.1 was announced. It is expected that over 150,000 people will be competing this year. It is as follows:

Workout 14.1

MEN – includes Masters Men up to 54 years old
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 double-unders
75-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

WOMEN – includes Masters Women up to 54 years old
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 double-unders
55-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

MASTERS MEN – includes Masters Men 55+
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 double-unders
65-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

MASTERS WOMEN – includes Masters Women 55+
30 double-unders
45-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

How does your average Crossfit maniac keep from injuring themselves and breaking down while preparing for such an extreme workout?

I see a lot of patients with overuse or repetitive strain injuries (RSI) in my office. This type of injury can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue within soft tissue structures. As scar tissue builds up, the length tension relationship between soft tissue structures becomes altered. Think of your arm flexing with an injured bicep muscle. The body tells an injured muscle to stop working in order to protect it from further injury. The injured bicep becomes tight and shorter than it should be while it’s opposing muscle the triceps becomes weak and lengthened. Muscles when injured can become shorter or inhibited, while the opposite muscles (antagonists) become weak or facilitated. This altered relationship ultimately places these structures in harm’s way. Your body is a very smart organism and will ask adjacent/secondary muscles to intervene. This will help for only so long. Soon there will be fatigue and tissue breakdown. Tension on tendons can cause tendonitis and nerves can become trapped. This causes reduced range of motion, loss of strength and pain. If a nerve is trapped, you may also feel tingling, numbness and weakness.

Active Release Technique (ART) is a patented, soft tissue movement and stretching technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves.

As any serious athlete will tell you, the last thing they want to do is stop training. Through a process of examination, palpation, muscle testing, and deduction, an ART practitioner has the ability to recognize these faulty movement patterns and correct the imbalance. Correcting or lengthening the tight muscles and strengthening the weak muscles are the key to effectively treating an injury and getting back to optimal performance. A body in balance is a strong, efficient machine able to withstand the insane demands of any Crossfit workout.

With any repetitive high intensity workout the potential for injury rises as fatigue sets in and form is sacrificed. The most common Crossfit injuries I see are:

  1. Neck and Low back pain
  2. Shoulder and elbow injuries
  3. Hip and knee injuries

A practitioner who is well versed in soft tissue analysis and treatment is the key to keeping you strong and healthy. Active Release Technique is a great tool for the Crossfit athlete and will keep their Workout of the Day (WOD) fun and pain free.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.