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Five top tips every CrossFitter needs to know!

Anybody who has been injured knows how it usually goes. First you try to ignore it / hope it’s all just a bad dream. Next you try and train through it (come on, you did, didn’t you?) and then you see a sports professional and start the road to recovery. In normal circles getting a diagnosis engenders relief but for the typical CrossFitter - obsessive, ambitious and passionate about CrossFit - this can often be the most frustrating part as we’re told to rest, rest and … guess what? REST.

And, of course, that’s often the best advice. But just because you need to give one joint / ligament / muscle or area of your body a break, it doesn’t mean you have to stop training altogether. Contrary to what you might think, putting your box membership on hold and drowning your sorrows in beer is possibly not the best option…

Luckily we tracked down Maria Turner, a CrossFit athlete and Coach, and asked her advice on the how to train around injury. After all, if anybody should know what to do, it’s Maria. She recently suffered a lisfranc injury, completely tearing a ligament and breaking a couple of metatarsals, which nearly shot her career in the foot as well as damaging the actual five-toed thing at the bottom of her leg. Here are her tips on how to stay focused, fit and forward-looking when injured.

1) Get your mind set.

“I think the hardest thing about an injury is not actually the physical issue but the mental aspect of being injured,” says Coach Maria. “Try to think of your injury not as a limitation but an opportunity to focus on a part of your training that you may have let fall to the wayside. I was awful at muscle ups. Before my injury, I could do 1 or 2 on a good day. They were inconsistent and, when they happened, hideous. Because I wasn’t good at them, I didn’t like practicing them and because I didn’t practice, they never got better. With my injury came a renewed focus on gymnastics in my training and a new drive to improve my muscle ups, not just the skill but also to develop my pulling and pressing strength. I have gone from a sporadic 1-2 kipping muscle ups, to a new PB of 7 strict muscle ups.”


2) Be Creative.

mariablogpost1“CrossFit has many different movements that can be done a myriad of ways,” says Coach Maria. “With the use of a 25 kg plate, a low box, an ab mat and a resistance band, I was able to do one-legged deadlifts, muscle cleans and even kettlebell swings. Seated good mornings and seated strict press were my new best friends (not forgetting my old buddy, bench press) and knees to elbows, ice cream makers and planche progressions (much harder than toes to bar in my humble opinion), became my new favourite way to fry my midline. Furthermore, the internet is a great resource. Odds are that someone has trained with an injury similar to yours and filmed themselves doing it. Get on forums, do some googling and find ways to adapt your movements so that your training doesn’t get boring. BUT FIRST, make sure the adapted movement is safe for you, suits your previous training background and your injury. Consult with a coach, a physiotherapist or a doctor before trying any of your new lifts.”

3) Train with friends.

With your injury, you’ll likely be doing something different to what everyone else is doing. That doesn’t mean that you should sit in the corner by yourself with your headphones in, crying yourself through your sets! Do not feel embarrassed or worried about doing something different. You’re injured; that’s explanation enough and the rest is between you and your Coach.

“Get in the middle of the room and get involved,” says Coach Maria.“Start your workout at the same time as they start theirs. Do as many of the same movements as possible. This will not only make it easier to get back in to the swing of training when you’re ready, it will also make your training more enjoyable, keeping you in a better mindset.

4) Do your rehab work!

We know…  It’s boring. But hey, a good athlete is disciplined about mobility, nutrition and all those other things that don’t always feel fun straight away.

“Your rehab will not only help you get back into the game faster, but it will also help prevent future inefficient movement, or worse, injury caused by your body compensating for the ‘not completely healed’ muscle/joint/bone which is being asked to do work that it’s not strong enough to do,” says Coach Maria, adding: “I do my rehab work because I want to get back into competing. I want to be able to do box jumps, double unders and run distance without my foot seizing up in pain. It’s often the dullest work that gets us the biggest gains, from mobility and barbell-only skills, to thera-band work and calf raises.”

5) Be realistic.

When you get back to training, temper your expectations. You are very unlikely to hit the same numbers you did pre-injury, so why frustrate yourself by comparing your post-injury training to your pre-injury stats?

Coach Maria says: “I forgot all about my previous PBs. I decided to act as if I was completely new to CrossFit and from there, started setting myself a whole host of new PBs. And then, as my recovery and training progressed, I was able to best these PBs. Am I hitting the numbers I was before my injury? No. But I ask myself a more important question… am I training? Yes. Does this make me happy? Hell yeah. And that’s all I need to know.” 

For more about CrossFit Coach and Athlete, Maria Turner, see


Tagged with: Crossfit Progenex Nutrition Health

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