The next step to preventing injury when CrossFit training involves understanding how your body works, and how to avoid injury by getting a ‘feel’ for what’s going on.

So, for our second installment of the 3 steps to prevent injury while training get in touch with your body! Massage therapy is a big part of injury prevention, but few people practice it as a crucial part of their fitness regimen.

When an injury occurs, many people believe that everything in their body was great until they “all of a sudden” get injured. From my experience this just isn’t so. An injury may be in the works for weeks—maybe months—before you become aware of the actual pain signals that are repeatedly sent to your brain begging for a stop to the movements associated with that pain.

This is crucial: if you are in touch with your body, you can save yourself weeks and months of time and frustration having to recover from injuries.

Let’s use a common shoulder injury for our example—a bicep tendon attachment. When the bicep tendon is injured, you will typically feel pain in the front of your shoulder, though sometimes it radiates to the back or side of the shoulder and sometimes all of those areas will feel pain.

The bicep tendon can become injured from overuse or sudden explosive movement of the body when it isn’t fully warmed up. You will be more susceptible to injury if this tendon has already been overworked, or if there are muscle imbalances in the shoulder that cause the tendon not to function properly and adds more stress.

So, you may ask, how does this information help me? Well, let’s say you were in the habit of checking in with your body regularly. A couple weeks before an injury was to occur, you either had a massage therapist push on the attachment of your bicep tendon, or you were trained in how to check this yourself and found that it was extremely tender. On a scale from 1-10 the pain may be somewhere in the 7-9 range. If that’s the case, congratulations! You just discovered a potential injury, and now you can slow down to recover or repair those muscles, saving you a lot of grief and down time.

The proper protocol in this case is massage, rest, and take it down a notch for a week or two, then go back to your basic foundational movements.

The more bodywork a person gets (whether on your own or with the help of a professional) the more awareness you will have with the workings of your own body. Eventually you will be able to feel, intuitively, that something is going on without actually having to specifically explore the potential injury site. This is the goal.

Visit our blog again soon for the third and final installment of this injury-prevention series!