While the safety of CrossFit workouts depend on the person doing them and the instructor, speed and intensity tend to be prioritized over technique in many CrossFit workouts. The socially supportive atmosphere can be motivating, but it can also make participants feel pressured into lifting more or doing more repetitions than they should.
In addition, the workout tends to be a one-size-fits-all approach, and certain exercises can be dangerous for older people or for those new to working out. In one study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, nine of the 54 participants recruited – or 16 percent – dropped out due to “overuse or injury.”
Critics of CrossFit have even linked it to rhabdomyolysis, a serious condition that results from the breakdown of muscle cells.
Bottom line: If you want the full body workout benefits of CrossFit without the high risk, be sure to do your research. Aim for a class with smaller teacher-to-student ratios and look for an instructor that cares about technique, respects limits and has more training than just CrossFit certification.