Is CrossFit harmful?

Before starting in this sport it is easy to think that it is very dangerous because it seems very harmful. This preconceived idea is widespread but erroneous.

It is curious how it is normalized that a soccer player has meniscus surgery or a cyclist falls in a peloton, but CrossFit injuries have a very bad reputation..

Stigmatizing CrossFit The risk of injury is not justified, since there will always be a percentage of risk of injury in any sport we practice, and the more professional we make it.

But if you give me a few minutes of reading, I will explain in detail the studies on the subject so that you are not afraid of it.

CrossFit injuries vs. other sports

Several studies confirm that CrossFit is not a sport that presents a higher risk of injury than other sports..

In 2013, it was published a study on the "nature and prevalence of injuries during CrossFit training". You can see how it concludes that the injury rate is estimated at 3.1% per 1,000 hours of training.. And only 7% of these are considered severe and need surgery.

To put us in perspective, the study places CrossFit on the same risk level as sports such as weightlifting or gymnastics.. CrossFit combines these modalities so it makes sense that the number of incidences would be similar. 

In relation to other sports mentioned in the study, the injury rate is lower than that of contact sports such as rugby, soccer or running.

crossfit injury study

We also have this latest study of 2018 in which they followed CrossFit practitioners for 4 years and the conclusions are very similar.

On the other hand, we must not forget that it is not the same thing to train to win the CrossFit Games than with the sole intention of staying in shape. A professional athlete in any sport will always have a higher probability of injury than an amateur.

Nor should we forget that a sedentary lifestyle is undoubtedly the most harmful practice in the long term..

How to avoid injuries

Studies indicate that injuries are more prevalent in those cases where there is no supervision. That is, when we are left alone is when we start to make things up and increase our chances of hurting ourselves.

  • Training in the classrooms: the coach is prepared to conduct the class in a safe manner. He teaches you how to do the movements, supervises you and guides you to adapt the intensity of the training to your level.
  • If you like to train on your own, never underestimate techniqueThe best athletes in history and after many years of experience, never stop doing technique, they have not learned everything. Therefore, you and I, all the more reason why we should want to keep learning. Without technique, we will not reach our maximum, we will not evolve until we reach our potential.

In this section of the website you have a free tutorials from weightlifting experts, gymnasticsAnd on our Youtube channel you will see a variety of masterclasses to improve your snatch and clean and jerk technique.

YouTube video
  • Don't skip the warm-upIn class, a combination of exercises to increase body temperature and other more specific ones according to that day's training session. This part is important even if you don't think so. Apart from talking to your partner, do the warm-up for the session.
  • Cycle workMore is not always better. The box programming is designed to periodize the training sessions. This alternates high intensity with unloading weeks to avoid overexertion.

Most frequent injuries

Despite everything we have said, the risk of injury is not zero, because when we are training we apply stress to our body. This must be managed by producing a positive adaptation, so if there is no initial stimulus there will be no progress.

We do not seek to avoid training, but to ensure that the load is correct..

The most frequent lesions were found in the shoulders (39%), back (36%) and knees (15%).

In this section of the website led by our physio and CrossFit coach, we analyzed the most common injuries and helps us to solve them.

crossfit injuries pdf
Photo by @fittestpics

Why do people get injured doing CrossFit?

I always say that it is not CrossFit that is harmful, but it is the people that are harmful. And I explain.

We all know that profile of a highly motivated personShe has high expectations of herself, is very demanding and has almost surrealistic goals:

  • or by the time frame in which they want to achieve it,
  • due to the high volume of work required,
  • or simply because the objective is unfounded.

With this approach to training taken to the extreme, you can easily get injured in the gym, running, yoga or any other sport..

The desire to be stronger, to be faster, to be better... makes some people do senseless things.

I have seen with my own eyes, partners complain about discomfort doing an exercise and increase the weight on the bar the next round.

But is this because of CrossFit? hmmmm... rather not, but because of the inconsistency of the decision that person makes. This behavior is not representative of the majority of people who do this sport, as you can see in the study we analyzed.


If you are a person who trains consistently and at an amateur level. you don't have to worry, as you won't get injured.

I started doing CrossFit in 2014 and have only had one back injury that I was able to correct with my osteopath. It was essential to analyze the reason for the injury, we identified a bad technique in my jerk and corrected it.

At that time I was training quite a bit. My schedule Monday through Friday included: 5 wods + 2 hours of strength.

In addition, outside the box I did a couple of days climbing and yoga. These are just assumptions, but surely if I had trained 3 days a week even if my technique had not been perfect I probably would not have been injured or would have needed to accumulate more hours of training.

By this I mean that technique is very important, but that training volume is also a decisive factor when it comes to injury risk.