Staying injury free in 14.3

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Crossfit Clinic: Series of short articles, tips and tricks to keep you WODing without falling apart!

High volume deadlifts?? Would bet my life on the fact that someone at the box is going to injure their lower back whilst doing this one! Given most of you guys have desk jobs, short hip flexors and poor lumbar stabilisation this arguably is the exercise with the highest injury risk – from a ligament strain up to a herniated disc, not nice!

Soooo to make sure its not you then follow these simple tips:

14.3 injury prevention tips

  • Warm up properly – Ok, the main areas to focus on here are getting physically warm and getting that heart rate up. As they said, 8 mins isn’t a sprint but its not a marathon either – you’re going to be working at lactic threshold on those box jumps and a thorough warmup, and getting a sweat on will ensure you don’t just hit the wall, get drowned in lactic and lose form.
  • Mobilise – This is key!!! To keep the lower back strong mobilise out those hips! Really spend a lot of time opening out the glutes, hip flexors, groin, hamstrings and quads. As those legs fatigue if you lose range in your hips you are literally asking to start rounding that back.
  • Taping – Some zinc oxide around the wrist or some wraps will help a little with grip strength and fatigue; especially if you are looking to get into the 3rd round onwards. Also Rocktape, perfect example of where taping can help performance and minimise fatigue in that lower back. If you want tips drop us an email or I’ll be down at the box Sat morning to tape anyone who wants it. 

During the WOD

  • Mixed grip – I’d suggest mixed grip immediately. Not only does this save on grip strength, preventing any injuries from not controlling the bar, but the underhand grip externally rotates the arm, making it MUCH easier to keep upright and retracted. Let those shoulders roll forward and you’ll be straight into dropping the chest and rounding the back.
  • Dropping the bar – in the same vein as above, as soon as you need to break the deadlifts start dropping the bar. The eccentric (lowering) part of the deadlift actually causes more muscle damage; so if you’re thinking of repeating this WOD and want minimal DOMS, drop the bar ASAP
  • Consider stepping down off the box – unless you’re very good at box jumps, strongly consider stepping down off the box. Most people don’t have the requisite strength in the calves to cope with rebound box jumps, and actually lose no time on stepping down. Time yourself during the warmup and see what works best. You’re going to completely smoke your posterior chain with the high volume deadlifts, which also is going to affect your co-ordination. Unless you’re aiming for regionals, theres no need to rebound these. Save energy for deadlift form.
  • Look up – basic coaching point but focus on a spot just above the horizon. Anything to stop that back from rounding . Really really important to reset every single time. Can’t emphasise enough how easy it is to break yourself with deadlifts!


Firstly if you’re at all concerned about any back pain drop us a line or seek medical attention.

Follow our traffic light system for staying pain free when training.

But for self-management:

  1. Pain free movement – as much pain free movement as possible; a lot of the healing systems are designed to work with movement, as long as its pain free do it
  2. Heat – its likely with this type of workout you’ll be getting some form of muscle spasm or hypertone. Gently heat the area using a hot water bottle, warm bath, wheatbag or through gentle exercise to help increase circulation and reduce muscle tone
  3. Foetal position – Theres a reason why when your back hurts you often want to lie on the floor and bring your knees to your chest. It helps relax psoas (a hip flexor) and takes strain off your lumbar spine. If stretching or standing is uncomfortable try hugging the knees to your chest for 2mins before attempting any stretching
  4. Glute exercises – Attempting some simple glute exercises such as contractions, glute bridges, good mornings, barbell bridges, even the plank, will help to activate the glutes and start supporting your back. You want enough load/reps to feel some effort but not enough to fatigue; you’re after muscle activation

And if you still need some help come see us by booking here!

Good luck and good form!

Follow Vicki:

Sports Massage Therapist

Vicki Marsh MSc BA (hons) studied at Oxford University before training as a Sports Massage Therapist. With over 12 years experience she specialises in chronic pain & complex cases as well as coaching Crossfit & Weightlifters. She runs specialist workshops, creates online courses and has spoken at events such as COPA on how to grow a successful business.

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