Friday 151106

Everyday Warrior Workout #1

1a. As many reps as possible in 3 minutes:
Bar-facing burpees

1b. Take 12 minutes to establish 1RM clean & jerk

Details for the workout can be seen here

Post reps and load to comments or BTWB

Erin giving us overhead squat goals!

Erin giving us overhead squat goals!

Risks of CrossFit and How to Stay Safe for Baby Boomers by Rick Krakowski

This is the 2nd part of a multi-part series on CrossFit for Baby Boomers. If you have not read Part 1 on CrossFit Benefits for Baby Boomers you can start with that by clicking here. The goal of this piece is to explore the risks of participation in CrossFit by baby boomers and how these risks can be alleviated.

A number of my baby boomer friends, some of them not having worked out for quite some time, are hesitant to try CrossFit because of concerns about the risks of injury and that the intensity of workouts will be beyond their capability. The anxiety of jumping into something new and the fear of doing more harm than good are real concerns and inhibitors to starting a program of exercise. It is important to address these concerns because research in the United States and Canada reveals boomers have more chronic disease and disability than their parents did, at the same age. In addition, baby boomers are more sedentary, more obese and more susceptible to diabetes, hypertension and illnesses related to high cholesterol. The good news is that for baby boomers regular exercise can help mentally, and also increase active life expectancy by reducing disease and conditions such as arthritis.

Aging is a result of a combination of our genetics and physical activity (4). As we age our bodies go through genetic changes that result in loss of muscle cells, loss in muscle mass, increased body fat, performance loss and reduced flexibility. We also tend to take it a bit easier and our activity level is reduced. These changes can be slowed by getting and staying fit but requires that CrossFit address any risks associated with the aging process.

Risk of preexisting conditions

Before starting any exercise program baby boomers should assess their physical condition to determine if they have any health risk factors or orthopedic conditions that would prevent them from safe participation. As a minimum, adults who are planning to start an exercise program should begin with a self-administered assessment using the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire. Results from the self-assessment will suggest whether medical clearance would be useful or necessary prior to beginning CrossFit. For baby boomers that have recently been inactive or if you are concerned about your health it is best to consult a physician before substantially increasing your physical activity.

Risk of muscle soreness

A common effect of aging is reduced flexibility (4). Older athletes not actively involved in a flexibility and mobility program will naturally have less joint, tendon and ligament movement capacity. These tissues are also at a greater risk due to lack of elasticity when performing jerking or more thrusting movements. Common complaints when engaging in an exercise program are muscle soreness and joint pain. A good CrossFit trainer can help baby boomers avoid these issues by providing greater attention to transitioning and scaling the movements and limiting higher force repetitive movement at the end of their available ranges.

Risk of injury due to overuse frequency

A critical issue for baby boomers is ensuring that you don’t overdo it and risk an overuse injury. Overtraining is the result of high-volume or high-intensity training, or both, without adequate recovery, that results in the body’s ability to compensate for training stress and adapt to it (4, p27). How much training frequency is adequate? One study found the most benefit in a program of 45 min high-intensity weight training sessions twice a week and one 45 min moderate-intensity weekly session.

Injuries in older athletes take longer to heal. Thus, physical preparation and attention to detail in sports performance skills are vital (8, p216). It is crucial to have a CrossFit trainer that can assess the needs of the baby boomer. Proper instruction, which includes learning the basics and how to properly perform exercises, will provide the confidence to take on high-intensity work and willingness to try. Don’t overdo things. Start off slowly. Most CrossFit affiliates will not allow you to participate in regular workouts without having first completed an On-ramp or Fundamentals series of classes. For example, Fundamentals at Switch CrossFit in Clinton Township, MI, is a series of five sessions that each member must complete before participating in regular workouts; they step through and drill each of the core exercises paying great attention to proper form until the member and trainer are confident in execution.

Risk of lack of rest and recovery

Recovery is vital to all athletes, but especially to older athletes. Proper rest is as important as the workout itself. As people get older muscles require longer periods of time to recover (8, p223). Without adequate rest and recovery between workouts you will not gain strength from the workout and can risk injury through overtraining. We actually get stronger not during the workout but during rest and recovery as our body adapts to the stress of exercise.

How much recovery time is required varies from person to person. Personal accounts of recovery for 7 adults from 55-78 years old doing CrossFit vary significantly with several of the people indicating that recovery for them would depend on the workout and can vary between 4 days on 1 off and 1 day on 3 days off. To insure sufficient rest between workouts you need to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs. When starting CrossFit don’t push it early on. Err on the side of more rather than less recovery between sessions.

Risk due to exercise intensity

CrossFit workouts are high-intensity but of short duration–usually 10-20 minutes. Most CrossFit workouts of the day or “WODs” are either timed performing as quickly as you can or are given an amount of time where you need to complete as many repetitions as possible. The workouts are not for the faint of heart, but each exercise is scalable for any level of fitness from the novice that has not worked out in 20 years to the professional athlete. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from doing an exercise bring it to the attention of your CrossFit trainer to find an alternative. Intensity is not as important with boomers. If you are over 50, properly prepare your body and work hard enough to challenge yourself. Listen to your body and don’t try to fight through pain and soreness.

How to Stay Safe

In summary, these guidelines will help baby boomers minimize the risks of doing CrossFit:

  • Properly assess with your physician your physical condition before you start.
  • Ensure your CrossFit trainer has knowledge of the needs of older adults.
  • Learn the basics and how to perform all skills properly.
  • Don’t overdo things. Start off slowly.
  • Listen to your body and give it the rest it needs–erring on the side of more recovery.
  • Work hard enough to challenge yourself. Don’t worry about the other guy.

CrossFit has huge benefits for baby boomers. Keep the above guidelines in mind and find an experienced trainer to be off to a great, safe start with CrossFit.


-There is no Yoga this Sunday, so get out into the great outdoors or spend 30 minutes in the gym working on mobility.


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