Background: CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that has gained widespread recognition, with 11,000 affiliated gyms worldwide. The incidence of injuries during CrossFit training is poorly analyzed.
Purpose: To investigate the incidence of injuries for persons participating in CrossFit. Risk factors for injury and injury mechanisms were also explored through athlete demographics and characteristics.
Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study.
Methods: A questionnaire that focused on injury incidence in CrossFit in the past year and included data on athlete demographics and characteristics was distributed to all 130 CrossFit gyms in the Netherlands and was also available online in active Facebook groups. Data were collected from July 2015 to January 2016. Inclusion criteria consisted of age ≥18 years and training at a registered CrossFit gym in the Netherlands. A total of 553 participants completed the survey. Univariable and multivariable generalized linear mixed models were used to identify potential risk factors for injury.
Results: A total of 449 participants met the inclusion criteria. Of all respondents, 252 athletes (56.1%) sustained an injury in the preceding 12 months. The most injured body parts were the shoulder (n = 87, 28.7%), lower back (n = 48, 15.8%), and knee (n = 25, 8.3%). The duration of participation in CrossFit significantly affected the injury incidence rates (<6 months vs ≥24 months; odds ratio, 3.687 [95% CI, 2.091-6.502]; P < .001). The majority of injuries were caused by overuse (n = 148, 58.7%).
Conclusion: The injury incidence for athletes participating in CrossFit was 56.1%. The most frequent injury locations were the shoulder, lower back, and knee. A short duration of participation (<6 months) was significantly associated with an increased risk for injury.
Keywords: CrossFit; competitive exercise; fitness; injury rate; weightlifting.