Our team of 17 physical therapists at Alpine Physical Therapy stepped up its understanding of all that is CrossFit last month at an inservice co-hosted with Five Valleys CrossFit in Missoula. Some may wonder what a bunch of PTs would do in a CrossFit gym. We answered that question, and it wasn’t simply about who could complete the Work Out of the Day (WOD) the fastest.
Rather, it was about gaining an understanding of some of the common injuries facing CrossFitters and the movement challenges imposed on the body during key lifts and moves commonly required of this athletic population. When you step back and think about how these athletes push their bodies hard, it makes sense that physical therapists would be involved.
Ian Marshall who owns Five Valleys CrossFit co-lectured with Alpine’s sports physical therapist, Colter Brown, PT, DPT, SCS. Ian expressed the philosophy of CrossFit and outlined the training approach used by the CrossFit coaches at Five Valleys. He gave demonstrations with a break down of fundamental elements of many CrossFit lifts and moves.
Ian’s instruction blended nicely with the assessment information Colter shared that will enable our PTs to improve their efficacy in working with the CrossFit population. Colter recently completed a course designed for physical therapists who work with CrossFit athletes and has already been able to take his treatment of the CrossFit population to a new level.
Colter weaved lecture with slow motion videos of athletes performing common Olympic lifts, along with instruction of how each component is influenced by proper flexibility, strength, and motor control through proper training.
Another highlight of our time at Ian’s state of the art gym was that we all had the opportunity to go through a CrossFit warm up (top image). Then we practiced various drills to improve our form with several key lifts, including the power clean and the shoulder press.
Knowing and experiencing first-hand some of the requirements of their sport and the nature of injuries gave each of us a better understanding of where undo stress or strain could be occurring. We are able to combine our improved knowledge of CrossFit demands and precision of movement with our already honed assessment skills to help our therapists serve the growing CrossFit population with an improved level of expertise.
Without question, we all gained enlightenment and appreciation for the level of training these athletes undergo and the types of challenges they experience from this potent form of fitness.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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