The pursuit of becoming fitter, faster, and stronger can take an incredible toll on one’s body if care is not taken to protect it. Proper technique, expert coaching, and quality equipment are the keys to keeping you on track to reach your full potential!
Crossfit workouts are known for their high-intensity and incredible volume of work. In order to ensure that the safest possible conditions exist and to mitigate the potential for injury, many athletes will utilize equipment such as supports, sleeves, tapes, or braces, which can add stability, provide compression, and increase warmth around muscles and joints.
Stability has been shown to reinforce one’s mental and physical feeling of safety. Compression aims to prevent injuries by promoting active muscle memory and proprioception. Warming joints, muscles, and connective tissues supports circulation, prevents cramping, and clears inflammation.
Here are the big five when it comes to dialling up safety:
1. Shin: bruises, scrapes, and burns
If deadlifts, box-jumps, and rope-climbs are on the menu, the shins can really take a beating if not protected properly. Bruises, scrapes, and burns can give way to more serious conditions such as shin splints and fractures, not to mention the ever-popular scarring resulting from repeatedly abrading the skin. Battle-scars to some, unwanted nuisance to others!
Wearing a shin guard or calf support will protect your beloved shins from receiving these annoying injuries. Calf supports can provide relief from the agonizing pain of more advanced overuse conditions such as shin splints. In this case, compressive sleeves and increased warmth can alleviate some of the tell-tale pain along the inner edge of tibia.
Rx Shin/Calf Supports: Aside from their fashionable appearance and instant boost to your CF cred, you will be protecting yourself against cuts, scrapes, scarring, and inflammation while still enjoying all that your WODs have to offer!
Rx Shin/Calf sleeves.
2. Calf: cramps, strains, tears, and rhabdomyolysis
The calf is the power-house of the lower leg and their bulging shape comes from the gastrocnemius (a powerful two-headed muscle), and the soleus (a muscle located beneath the gastrocnemius). Both muscles meet up with the plantaris and their aponeuroses unite to form the Achilles tendon. These muscles are of vital importance in walking, running, jumping or any other fast direction-changing sports.
This muscle group is well-known for its susceptibility to cramps or sudden muscle spasms. In CrossFit, the most common causes of cramps are overuse, exhaustion, and dehydration. Other frequent injuries are muscle strains, tears and ruptures. Quite common in this area is also rhabdomyolysis (in Crossfit known as simply rhabdo), a syndrome top-level athlete Maddy Myers suffered from at the 2015 CrossFit Games.
Rx Shin/Calf support keeps your muscles warm, provides pain relief and compression to improve blood flow during strenuous workouts.
Here is Ben Smith using Rehband RX knee sleeves as calf/shin support. Looks good, but perhaps he hasn’t seen that Rehband actually offers a products specifically for that purpose?
3. Elbow: tennis elbow, epicondylitis
The front rack position is used in many CrossFit movements, including thrusters and clean and jerks. In this position, proper positioning is vital to preventing the development of epicondylitis. Ring-dips and handstand push-ups also apply stain to the elbow. If this condition develops, the pain can be quite intense and can dramatically decrease grip strength.
Tennis elbow is a common issue among CrossFit athletes and it is caused by stress at the insertion point of the forearm muscles just outside the elbow area. Even though the pain occurs in the elbow, it is caused by the overuse of the arm, forearm, hand muscles and tendons that connect them.
Rx Elbow Support is great for preventing various types of painful injuries and strains that your elbows can endure. Mild compression around the muscle insertion point can alleviate strain and reduce associated pain. Wearing elbow sleeves during your workouts provides additional stability for heavy lifting and pain relief if you are recovering from an injury.
Rich Froning wearing Rx Elbow Support.
4. Knee: inflammation, tendonitis, and tendinopathy
The knee is an incredibly complex and dynamic joint that is put to the test every time we lace up our Nanos®. Many CrossFit movements are designed around functional use of the body and test the full range of motion of the knee. Twisting and rotating makes them prone to injuries like strains, tears and inflammation.
Inflammation, tendonitis (tears in and around the tendon), and tendinopathy (both conditions at once – tears and inflammation) are the most common knee issues among Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting athletes.
Rx Knee sleeves as worn by the competitors at the Reebok CrossFit Games, allows athletes to feel more safe and confident when testing their limits. Rehband sleeves are anatomically shaped to ensure that they stay in optimal position during workouts. They also contribute to muscle coordination, stability, proprioception, warmth, and pain relief.
Sam Briggs special Rehband style – folding the knee sleeves down under her knee.
5. Shoulder: dislocation, tears, tendonitis, and impingement
The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body. As a result, shoulder injuries can be very complex and take time to heal. Sudden, uncontrolled movements can cause damage to rotator cuff - a collection of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder.
With some WODs featuring touch-and-go or high volume movements, CrossFit athletes should put a lot of effort into developing solid shoulder stability and control when holding weight overhead. Common injuries are dislocation, tears, tendonitis, impingement, and frozen shoulder syndrome (pain and stiffness due to inflammation).
Rehband’s kinesiology tape Rx Tape offers increased co-ordination, reduces fatigue and contributed to overall feeling of safety. The proprioceptive support also increases the athlete’s awareness of the range of shoulder motion.
For more products visit www.rehband.com
Injury prevention starts with your attitude: ask for help, progress slowly and leave ego out of the box!