Now this is a HUGELY contentious subject and i’m sure it’s going to divide opinions which is great we love a debate, but this is where l stand on the matter.

So this title ‘Crossfit gives you injuries’ comes both from anti Crossfit trolls on the internet who feel the need to tell us on videos haha and also from my former inexperienced self! As a young coach l was always very literal and also extremely quick to make my judgement both on people and training (how we all learn and grow l guess). As iv said in previous videos l was very anti Crossfit for a long time, mainly because l didn’t understand it and the first time l tried it l couldn’t move for days and my shoulders were in bits. That’s it, hated it from that second on and l mocked every person l saw doing toes to bar or any form of kipping pull up “that’s not a pull up you idiot!” “you’re doing it wrong!” But hey most of us as humans attack the things we don’t understand because they make us feel uncomfortable or challenged.

Fast forward 5 years and here l am up to my ‘you know whats’ in Crossfit and taking on the Open with John… WTF!!!!? My whole opinion was transformed in the space of 72 hours by a group of friends and an athletes who exposed us to another side of Crossfit, the education, the reasons why differing methods and forms of movement were used and most of all the encouragement and general buzz of a workout. Thanks team AWESOME!x

Now we’re up to date let’s look at the juicy part of this blog…… my left shoulder got injured doing butterfly pull ups 1 month into joining my local box Spitfire. My initial reaction wanted to be very much like my younger uninformed self and blame that movement but what experience gives you is the ability to walk away from a situation good or bad and assess it from another angle or point of view. I gave it a few days then tried to move in the same way again…. PAIN! So that’s it now couldn’t use the butterfly, but why? I needed to know because during a volume based workout i’m now going to lose so much time and i’m bloody competitive so l can’t be having that now can l! So l brake it down looking at my movement, body position etc everything is in check, shoulders level body not twisting away to once side etc, so why was it only my left shoulder then? Is that weaker? Not that l can think of. At this point my inner geek is getting very excited as you can imagine ‘Time to investigate!!’ So l booked in with a sports therapist, got her to look at me from top to bottom and obviously my shoulder. What did she find? F**k me l was a mess hahahaha! Immobility issues, swayed hips and my shoulder alignment was all over the place. I came away convinced that a month of Crossfit couldn’t have done that, it would have to be some dark under lord of the training world to have such savage abilities!


What l discovered was it was actually my years of boxing as an orthodox fighter, which basically means left leg and shoulder forward and you naturally try to protect yourchin and close your chest off with your front shoulder as well, this had given me anteriorly rolled shoulders and slightly twisted hips, that with also never stretching at all was not great. Then moving on from boxing and essentially only bench pressing or military pressing for the next 5 years with pretty much again zero stretching and hey ho l was the proud owner of some seriously tight pec minors and a posture that would make the hunch back of notre dame look like an arrow stood next to me. But this got me thinking well maybe it was me and my past, was it boxing, football, running? Think about it from a basic anatomical point of view, both the shoulder and hip joints are ball and socket joints, basically meaning a LOT of potential movement to be had there if supported and encouraged in the right way. But what movement do we mostly perform at the shoulder and hips, flexion and extension for the most part, maybe we might go crazy and hit some abduction with the odd raise, but the point is we don’t really encourage the range of movement that the joints have to offer so things become tight, others become dominant and a lot of small assisting muscle groups become weak. “Use it it or lose it” With that being said if we suddenly throw ourselves in the deep end and try to force a range of movement that we may have not done for years or even ever, what do we expect to happen? S**ts going to get real right!

So my opinion is that Crossfit nor any other form of exercise ‘gives you injuries’ immobility and lack of understanding gives you injuries. If you have mobility issues Crossfit will sure as hell find them that’s for sure, as would gymnastics or anything else.

Do l believe that there’s and argument for certain workouts or ‘being in the moment’ causing you to lose form etc which can lead to injuries, yes for sure if not corrected over time but you will also see many people avoid injuries purely because their body is strong enough and adapted enough to get them out of potential trouble. Not ideal and contextual to all cases l know.

But my take away point is this, be more mobil!!! ahahha No just remember whatever form of exercise you choose remember to keep moving, stretching, foam rolling in as fuller range as possible and in as many directions as possible. We all become victims of our surroundings and doing either the same as others or just what we may know to be correct. How many of us see kids running and jumping around, see them sitting in a squat like it’s nothing and wish we had that range of movement right?! We all had it at one point we just got lazy and stopped moving and using the range.


So move more people and keep being awesome, Hope you enjoyed the read 🙂



Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • David donegan says:

    I am going to start crossfit soon and I am concerned about my own mobility issues and getting injured doing new exercises, but you guys and my girlfriend have inspired me. I plan on taking it slow until I get my form right. I will let you know about any injuries.

    • TheLeanMachines says:

      Hey David, Exactly that just take it slow and discover your movement ranges and then try to progress them via mobility and stretching. The workouts will ALWAYS be tailored to your needs and ability so no need to worry about that.

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • MEGUMI says:

    I started my movement as sport 7 year’s ago, my age was 50 years old! Then I believe always I have a capacity do it, if I want! In case of feel pain or some injury, I think a cause why? Most of my case was the wrong movement or wrong form. And I concentrate about my body trend also, then try to ajust by my self. But sometimes I need professionel education even I do just for my health. And I find your Viédo, Blog. For this time’s your article give me a sense of security! Thank you so much and I will enjoy my sporty life with your videos and blog! 😉 ** I think I progress !

  • Margie Bullock says:

    That was very interesting as I seem to have an upper arm muscle injury. Not helped when I do Crossfit. But I have stepped back and realise I have done too many miles and years swimming and breathing to my left therefore putting all my muscle into my right arm pull under water. Solution, Bilateral breathing and after only one swim session, it was less painful. Hopefully this will eventually let me do Crossfit without the upper arm problem. Then I just may be able to progress and add some weight to the bar.

    • TheLeanMachines says:

      It’s always a discovery when we look at our own bodies in order to discover why things like injuries happen.

  • Henriette says:

    Hey Leon, this article was really interesting to read.
    So do you think there is some kind of ultimative stretching / mobility routine that anyone who wants to improve those points could/should do? Maybe that’s an idea for an upcoming video ?
    Sending my love from Germany,


    • TheLeanMachines says:

      Hi Henriette,

      Well we have recently been using an online programme called ROM WOD which is a follow along stretching and mobility workout, it’s certainly helping.

      Thanks for your comment!

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