Are Group Fitness Classes Harmful?

The popularity of CrossFit, P90X and bootcamps has had both a positive and negative impact on the fitness profession. It has been positive because these classes have motivated people to move. However, because these classes are group oriented, they are not individualized.

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Generally, class-goers don't receive an assessment prior to participating in the class. When this is the case, individuals do exercises that might harm their body. They jump into an exercise routine that is too advanced for their skill level.  

BodyProFTL's rehab expert, Dan Hellman, has personally rehabilitated many individuals who have been hurt during CrossFit, P90X and bootcamp type classes.

The last client to consult with Hellman had participated in a CrossFit class. He came in with a severe low back injury that occurred while doing an exercise called a snatch. A snatch is the most demanding of all Olympic lifts. Only highly conditioned and skilled athletes should perform this move. The injury resulted in drop foot, also known as foot drop. Drop foot is a neurological and muscular problem that results in difficulty lifting the front part of your foot. Sometimes drop foot is temporary, sometimes permanent and may require you to wear a brace on you ankle or foot.

More: How to Relieve Your Back Issues

The client went into surgery to repair the nerve damage. This injury could have been prevented if an assessment had been done and the exercise program tailored to the individual's needs.  

The following are the top five injuries from these types classes:  

  1. Back injury
  2. Shoulder injury
  3. Faulty movement patterns/forms—may lead to surgery
  4. Adrenal overload and fatigue
  5. Hormonal issues/hypothyroid

More: 4 Steps to Recover the Right Way

Exercising too much when the body is already overstressed from daily stress will release more stress hormones and fatigue the adrenals. The immune system may become suppressed, which may cause difficulty to heal from a disease.

When exercises are performed correctly, and the body is given time to rest, the body gains strength and repairs tissue. It's important to get an assessment to understand your body and your skill level. Once you understand your limits, you'll know how to perform moves in CrossFit, bootcamps or P90X type classes.

More: Quiz: Do You Know Your Muscles? 

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