High Intensity Workouts: A no pain, no gain attitude can get you injured.

By Leslie Czarny and Carol Triest, P.T.

High Intensity Interval Training classes like CrossFit, Insanity, and P90X continue to be a favorite amongst exercisers. The draw – a quick intense workout (15-20min) in a fun and challenging setting. Pushing one’s self to extreme limits is an attraction to many who thrive in this type of environment. However, according to Bergeron, Nindl and Deuster, there seems to be a high occurrence of military personnel suffering from muscle strains and joint injuries as a result of participating in these types of workouts.1 If military personnel are getting injured, how about the rest of us?

“There are great benefits to high intensity workouts; however, I see a lot of patients who get injured from overdoing it, particularly those who participate in group classes”, says Daniel Alvarez, a Doctor of Physical Therapy at BaySport. “Poor form is one of the main culprits for injury and it’s harder for the instructor to gauge mechanics when in a large group setting.” He goes on to say, “…muscle weakness and going all out when there is poor postural alignment, history of trauma, overuse or instability of the joint promotes injury as well.” There is also the crowd mentality: Feeling like you have to push yourself because others in the class are increasing the intensity of the workout.

As with any type of fitness training, a good warm-up and cool down is necessary to limit risk of injuries. It is important to gauge how you feel: If you are suffering from soreness and fatigue, your body is telling you that you need a break. It is time to go for a walk, or perform a gentle stretching routine. No Pain, No Pain should replace the No Pain, No Gain slogan. It is a healthier and more sustainable attitude towards fitness.

Reference
1. Bergeron MF, Nindl BC, Deuster PA, . Consortium for Health and Military Performance and American College of Sports Medicine consensus paper on extreme conditioning programs in military personnel. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2011;10:383–389. Google Scholar CrossRef, Medline

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