I'm an amateur bodybuilder and I workout alone. Over the years I have contemplated joining Crossfit (mostly for the comradery aspect), but the insane level of cult mentality has made me shy away from it every time. Articles like this just drive home the point.
My friend Jane, who is a physical therapist, specializes in exercise injuries. She once confided in me that local Crossfitters form by far the largest percentage of her repeat customer-base. She said she finds the level of irrationality unbelievable, in that the same people will come to her in a lot of pain and brag about their injury on the one hand, and beg her to fix them up quickly so they can go back to Crossfit ASAP. Then they will come back in a few months with a different injury but the exact same mindset.
SLAP tears from excessive kipping pull-ups is another common crossfitter injury.
I think they do a lot of exercises that are very dangerous to the shoulder / rotator cuff in general. Back injuries are pretty common too, since proper spinal posture is one of the first things to go out the window when you get fatigued.
Now, it's possible injuries are more common in Crossfit than in other sports, but that's a question for the data.
That's a good reason to shun a particular location or instructor, but I and a lot of other people have had completely opposite experiences. If the workouts interest you, I encourage you to give it a try and see what the instructors are like. Maybe ask Jane where her patients work out and go someplace else.
I think calling crossfit a cult is a bit extreme, but isn't this what people in a cult would say anyway? Normal people who join cults don't think they are crazy or it's a bad environment or that they are being unfairly pressured into doing things (generally).
I'm sure you could post a critique of Scientology and have a member come along and say "we'll I've had a very different experience with Scientology" and they'd be 100% correct (they would have indeed had a different experience). I have no doubt people have positive experiences from crossfit, else it wouldn't be so popular, but that doesn't change the issue of whether that environment promotes risky or harmful behavior.
Before I posted that, I knew that a Crossfitter would respond and defend Crossfit. That is the level of cult-like irrationality I am talking about: looking at statistics (such as the ones about much higher incidence of Rhambo in Crossfitters) and responding with anecdotal evidence like, "well, my experiences are very different!"
You sound hopelessly confused. We are not discussing anecdotes. We are discussing actual statistics provided in the original article that clearly showed Crossfit to have much higher rates of injuries and potentially-fatal medical conditions.
When you put the burden on new people to figure out whether their affiliates are high quality, you are blaming the victim. Most beginners are not capable of accurately assessing whether the types of workouts done in Crossfit and the manner in which they are done are healthy or not. What they do is read reviews of the gym on the Internet and see all the five-star raves, then visit the gym and see everyone cheering each other on and having a good time, and think, "hey this is cool, I want to be a part of it too!" Are they supposed to know about normally ultra-rare conditions like rhabdo? Or should Crossfit do its fucking job and keep its affiliates in check?
Look dude, the problem is not that they don't talk about it. The problem is that they make people do complex exercises in a manner that significantly increases risk of rhabdo and a ton of other injuries despite knowing about those risks. This is irresponsible at best and grossly negligent at worst.
There is a way to lift weights in a safe and responsible manner. Crossfit not only refuses to teach its clients that, but also builds and encourages a culture where injuries become badges of honor. That is what makes it a cult.
I am in no way saying that the bad behaviors described above, and you can absolutely get a cult like mindset focused around entirely the wrong thing. I would also say that I think some of the nature of the workout strategies in general may attract these kind of behaviors.
This is equivalent to saying that surfers are more likely to get be the victims of shark attacks. No duh. It's a trivially obvious conclusion, but still really unlikely. CrossFit has done its job in educating people about the seriousness of rhabdo. There's absolutely no way they can ensure that none of their affiliates go off the deep end with craziness. That's a fundamental fact of scaling a business.
You're only looking at the negative side of this issue. But the reality is that from the high level of systems analysis, it's a tradeoff. For every person that has gotten rhabdo from CrossFit there are thousands of others that have had their lives significantly improved. In my case I got stronger and more fit. My body fat, cholesterol, and blood pressure decreased and I have actual data to prove it. I also noticed increased quickness, agility, and reaction time in everyday life.
> Most beginners are not capable of accurately assessing whether the types of workouts done in CrossFit and the manner in which they are done are healthy or not.
This is the case with a number of disciplines from fitness to martial arts to dance, so there's no substitute for educating yourself and making an informed assessment of the risks and rewards.
I know several people who started doing Crossfit and they became fucking lunatics about it. It's got that bad smell of crazy on it, like Scientology and pyramid-scheme scam companies.
If this is true -- and it is -- then "well, my experiences with it have been totally different" is also true, and has nothing to do with being cult-like.
That's not a very pleasant way to discuss things online. You should read http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html