The Benefits and Risks of CrossFit: A Systematic Review

Workplace Health Saf. 2017 Dec;65(12):612-618. doi: 10.1177/2165079916685568. Epub 2017 Mar 31.


With the increase in popularity of the CrossFit exercise program, occupational health nurses may be asked questions about the appropriateness of CrossFit training for workers. This systematic literature review was conducted to analyze the current research on CrossFit, and assess the benefits and risks of this exercise strategy. Thirteen studies ( N = 2,326 participants) examined the use of CrossFit training among adults; CrossFit is comparable to other exercise programs with similar injury rates and health outcomes. Occupational health nurses should assess previous injuries prior to recommending this form of exercise. Ideal candidates for CrossFit are adults who seek high-intensity exercise with a wide variety of exercise components.

Keywords: best practices; disease prevention; health promotion; high-intensity interval training; occupational injuries; safety.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Education, Continuing
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology