Why Recovery is so Important for Crossfit Training

It is better to perform at 100% of your ability 4 times a week, than show up every day and perform at 80%. Recover properly and train with intelligence in order to avoid injury.

Most of us have had those moments when you just can’t stop talking about crossfit. This habit extends to friends, family, and work colleagues, anyone that asks about your evening or weekend really. My twin sister banned me from bringing Crossfit and Crossfit recovery into our conversations, needless to say it’s proving very hard not to.

Crossfit recovery: bar muscle ups
Crossfit recovery: Knowing when to go full out, and when to hold back is a difficult skill to master

THE GOOD KIND OF PAIN

Most of these conversations, particularly for the first time, always lead to the other party explaining how Crossfit may not be good for you, in terms of injuries. Having been Crossfitting for 7 months, I have been proud to respond to such allegations by explaining that I have never had an injury due to a Crossfit workout of the day (WOD).

‘There is always the pain from the WOD after discovering/engaging/activating muscles that I never knew existed, which I refer to as “the good pain”’

But Crossfit recovery was never an issue.

…AND THE BAD KIND

I am also someone who is prone to lower back muscle spasms, slipped discs from innocent acts such as sneezing or standing up from a chair and I suffer from runner’s knees – so this says much. Well that was until recently…

I was warming up for my back squat with an empty bar and squatted too quickly causing my left knee to make a loud click sound followed by a sharp pain.  My training partner at the time, Megan, asked if I was ok and I just brushed it off. We continued working on 10 reps of back squats. I got to 45kg and called it quits. The knee didn’t feel so good. I then did the WOD that included running, jumping Pull-Ups, Burpees and Deadlifts. I left the box limping.

Crossfit recovery: Handstand walk
Injuries are always unwelcome, but you can protect yourself against them

In hindsight, it was rather stupid of me. Would I blame crossfit for it? – Most certainly not. I failed to listen to my body and scale back the WOD or even to notify the coach. More so, I have failed to inform you that I am one not to take a rest day. My philosophy is ‘keep training until you can’t train anymore’. At this point I was doing 12 sessions a week (7 Crossfit, 3 weightlifting, 1 gymnastics, 1 metcon), so the compound of it all meant, I should have stopped.

This all happened a week and a half before the announcement of Crossfit Open 16…. my first Open.

CROSSFIT RECOVERY

I took a day off, which was a rather long restless evening. I also went to see a physiotherapist who confirmed it was an inflammation and I had to continue icing it and rest. For the classes I turned up to, Coach Ryan and Coach Scott made sure I scaled back. It was a tough pill to swallow, having to scale back WODs that on a good day, you could perform. Needless to say, it helped. I was able to perform the Open 16.1 without any issue. I got 180reps on the scaled for woman.

LEARNING FROM A MISTAKE

That was only a small injury that could have become something worse, all because I was too proud to scale back. It has made me realise that I should listen to my body all the time. I have now scheduled one complete rest day per week and an active rest day. On the latter I work on:

  • Mobility
  • Empty bar work
  •  Gymnastics progressions

‘Coach Ryan said it is better to perform at 100% of your ability 4 times a week than show up every day and perform at 80%.’

I am yet to find something to do to fulfil my time on rest days and constantly fight the urge to train. However don’t be afraid to take a step back. Crossfit recovery is vital so don’t burn out and let one unfortunate movement lead to injury and ruin weeks of your hard work whilst you are forced to rest.


All photographs © Polona Fonda

Josh Bridges Instagram © Josh Bridges

 

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About The Author

I have been doing crossfit for 7 months and have enjoyed discovering a stronger me. I have amazed myself at what I have achieved and very excited to see what more I can achieve. It's truly an intriguingly beautiful journey.

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