Abstract Title

Level of Coaching Certification as a Determinant of Self-Reported Injury in CrossFit Athletes

Presenter Name

Adam Schulte, DO

Abstract

Introduction:

CrossFit is a high-intensity functional fitness program that has experienced exponential growth since the introduction of its affiliate gym program in 2005. As part of the affiliation credentialing process, CrossFit coaches and trainers must complete a minimum two-day, hands-on CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification course. Given the rapid surge in participant numbers and the intense nature of the workouts, concerns have been raised within the exercise and fitness communities about the safety of CrossFit exercise programming1,2, and whether the Level 1 certification course provides sufficient training for coaches to appropriately manage and oversee their respective membership populations3,4. The purpose of this study was to determine if level of certification is associated with risk of injury.

Methods:

Data were collected using the 2013 CrossFit Participant Composite Survey (Ohio Health IRB 13-0023) to examine multiple aspects of an athlete’s background. A multiple regression analysis was performed on 569 CrossFit affiliate members to determine if the certification level of coaching staff is associated with self-reported injury as a direct result of CrossFit participation. Members of coaches with only CrossFit-level certification were compared to members of coaches with CrossFit-level certification plus additional coaching/personal training certification. Analyses controlled for time in CrossFit, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and if the participant had experienced a sports related injury in high school or college.

Results:

There was no significant association between the level of certification and self-reported injury (OR: 0.866; 95% CI: 0.595 – 1.260). Compared to members with 0-3 months cumulative CrossFit experience, there is an increasing trend in reported injury complaint as cumulative time in CrossFit participation increases. Participants with 25+ months of experience had a 10.7 times increased odds of self-reported injury (OR: 10.703; 95% CI: 5.140 – 22.289). Age, gender, ethnicity, and history of a high school or collegiate sports-related injury were not associated with self-reported injury related to CrossFit.

Conclusions:

This is the first reported evidence examining the influence of CrossFit coach certification on member self-reported injury. While it appears that having other training certification in addition to CrossFit-level certification does not significantly reduce likelihood of injury, further focused investigation into the training environment, programming, and individual athlete characteristics and backgrounds within the CrossFit community will be needed to solidify such findings.

1) Williams, Doug. “CrossFit debate not going away.” http://espn.go.com/sports/endurance/story/_/id/10408256/endurance-sports-does-recent-tragedy-mean-crossfit-unsafe (14 Feb 2014).

2) Copperman, Stephanie. “Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You.” http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/fashion/thursdaystyles/22Fitness.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (22 Dec 2005).

3) McCarty, Patrick. “The CrossFit L1 Cert Does Not Make You A Coach.”http://breakingmuscle.com/functional-fitness/the-crossfit-l1-cert-doesnt-make-you-a-coach (Aug 2013).

4) Krahn, Bryan. “Crossed Up by CrossFit.” https://www.t-nation.com/training/crossed-up-by-crossfit (21 Apr 2009).

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Level of Coaching Certification as a Determinant of Self-Reported Injury in CrossFit Athletes

Introduction:

CrossFit is a high-intensity functional fitness program that has experienced exponential growth since the introduction of its affiliate gym program in 2005. As part of the affiliation credentialing process, CrossFit coaches and trainers must complete a minimum two-day, hands-on CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification course. Given the rapid surge in participant numbers and the intense nature of the workouts, concerns have been raised within the exercise and fitness communities about the safety of CrossFit exercise programming1,2, and whether the Level 1 certification course provides sufficient training for coaches to appropriately manage and oversee their respective membership populations3,4. The purpose of this study was to determine if level of certification is associated with risk of injury.

Methods:

Data were collected using the 2013 CrossFit Participant Composite Survey (Ohio Health IRB 13-0023) to examine multiple aspects of an athlete’s background. A multiple regression analysis was performed on 569 CrossFit affiliate members to determine if the certification level of coaching staff is associated with self-reported injury as a direct result of CrossFit participation. Members of coaches with only CrossFit-level certification were compared to members of coaches with CrossFit-level certification plus additional coaching/personal training certification. Analyses controlled for time in CrossFit, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and if the participant had experienced a sports related injury in high school or college.

Results:

There was no significant association between the level of certification and self-reported injury (OR: 0.866; 95% CI: 0.595 – 1.260). Compared to members with 0-3 months cumulative CrossFit experience, there is an increasing trend in reported injury complaint as cumulative time in CrossFit participation increases. Participants with 25+ months of experience had a 10.7 times increased odds of self-reported injury (OR: 10.703; 95% CI: 5.140 – 22.289). Age, gender, ethnicity, and history of a high school or collegiate sports-related injury were not associated with self-reported injury related to CrossFit.

Conclusions:

This is the first reported evidence examining the influence of CrossFit coach certification on member self-reported injury. While it appears that having other training certification in addition to CrossFit-level certification does not significantly reduce likelihood of injury, further focused investigation into the training environment, programming, and individual athlete characteristics and backgrounds within the CrossFit community will be needed to solidify such findings.

1) Williams, Doug. “CrossFit debate not going away.” http://espn.go.com/sports/endurance/story/_/id/10408256/endurance-sports-does-recent-tragedy-mean-crossfit-unsafe (14 Feb 2014).

2) Copperman, Stephanie. “Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You.” http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/fashion/thursdaystyles/22Fitness.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (22 Dec 2005).

3) McCarty, Patrick. “The CrossFit L1 Cert Does Not Make You A Coach.”http://breakingmuscle.com/functional-fitness/the-crossfit-l1-cert-doesnt-make-you-a-coach (Aug 2013).

4) Krahn, Bryan. “Crossed Up by CrossFit.” https://www.t-nation.com/training/crossed-up-by-crossfit (21 Apr 2009).