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CrossFit Grows In Popularity And Criticism

June 9, 2014, 6:15 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

CrossFit Grows In Popularity And Criticism

CrossFit is a growing fitness craze for its hardcore workouts and quick results. But some worry the workout is too dangerous. Injuries have been reported across the country, including in Colorado, where a man severed his spine.

CrossFit is a high-intensity workout that incorporates a variety of activities. Studies have shown it allows people to burn a lot of calories in little time.

"We are specifically monitoring the amount of reps. They are doing and what they are doing," CrossFit Coach Jeremy Westerman said.

Jeremy Westerman is a CrossFit coach in Sioux Falls. The gym has around 250 members. It's a number that's grown every year over the past five years.

"People want to come back. It's almost like social hour here," Westerman said.

"There are indeed a lot of benefits. It also gets you working really hard, so it taxes your body," Sanford Sports Science Institute Dr. Michael Bergeron said.

Dr. Michael Bergeron cautions that there are risks to high-intensity workouts like CrossFit.

"Sometimes the activities are done to failure where the person can't go any further," Bergeron said.

That's why Bergeron says participants need to take some precautions.

"The worst thing people do with these kinds of programs is they try to jump into it very quickly. There's a sense of urgency. They see the commercials that say, 'I want to get fit in six weeks,'" Bergeron said.

At CrossFit, they have different versions of workouts; one for those who are more advanced and another for beginners.

"Don't try to keep up with others who are much more advanced than you, and listen to your body," Bergeron said.

Bergeron also says because the exercises are very technical, it's important to make sure they are done properly.

"As you fatigue, then your posture, your form, and your biomechanics are compromised. That puts you in an awkward position, so your risk of injury is even greater," Bergeron said.

Westerman says a coach is always available at this gym to make sure participants are doing the exercises correctly — exercises he believes can have many health benefits.

"And I think it's a lot lower risk than sitting on the coach and getting heart disease and having diabetes and all those things that come with inactivity," Westerman said.

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