Many people might think the role of the strength and conditioning coach is to program workouts both in the weight room and on the field, to make athletes bigger, stronger and faster. What many people don’t realise is probably the most important role of a strength and conditioning coach: to ensure athletes can increase performance but avoid injury!!
Many legitimate/traditional or “proper” sports use strength and conditioning to build better bodies for their sport OUTSIDE of their sport. What I am getting at here is that their sport is not in the weight room. The problem in training for CrossFit is the training is essentially the competition. You perform the same movements in the gym as you do when you compete; where a footballer, as an example, uses the gym to build strength, speed and power to hit, run, cut and take hits from the opposite. CrossFitters perform a lot of reps, to, well, perform a lot of reps.
A proper, well balanced and periodised program that varies loads, exercises and reps helps mitigate the chances of injury but the fact is, it is never eliminated. A high level strength and conditioning coach would be crucified if they hurt a starting quarter back’s shoulder in the gym. Players or athletes should (touch wood they don’t) get injured in competition but the fact is that the majority of injuries in CrossFit occur in the gym whilst training.
With a background as a chiropractor and a keen interest in anatomy and physiology I have always taken a keen interest in sports injuries. Unfortunately having sustained many an injury through my own trial, error and stubbornness I often say to clients and patients “do as I say, not as I do!"
As a strength and conditioning coach I am prepared for athletes to sustain injuries and I get frustrated when an athlete sustains an injury and they throw in the towel and quit training. There is rarely a case for an athlete to fully quit training (baring a catastrophic injury) and a good trainer should have the knowledge and experience to prescribe not only some rehabilitation for that specific injury BUT also substitution exercises be that a completely different exercise of a scaled version of the original exercise.
I have included some common injuries and some ways you can get around training by essentially keeping the same exercise but using a different piece of equipment.
Squatting - Box squats, step ups, lunge variants.
That is just a few common areas of the body a CrossFitter may injure and some very easy and affordable ways athletes can train around injury.