The Biomechanics of Running and its Transfer to the Performance of CrossFit Exercises

The Biomechanics of Running and its Transfer to the Performance of CrossFit Exercises

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Perhaps the biggest criticism of CrossFit, whether merited or not, is that CrossFit training is dangerous, and high-risk. I regularly hear things like “it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but rather of ‘when’ you will be injured.”

Before starting myself, I may have believed these types of comments. In fact, recently there was a “study” done by NSCA about the efficacy of CrossFit training. The study demonstrated that CrossFit training increase fitness throughout many domains, but also mentioned that a significant number of participants failed to complete the study because of injury; which was later discovered not to be the case. (You can read about it by following this link:

The more I have become involved, the more I realize how over-blown these statements are, and in addition, I believe that many “CrossFit injuries” can be traced to other factors outside of CrossFit’s training methodology. One specific and major factor that I believe plays a role is the movement biomechanics of running and if/how running gait affects the occurrence or risk of injury.

Good CrossFit programs and coaches spend a lot of time training beginners on the skills that CrossFit training demands. Countless hours are spent on form of Olympic lifts, gymnastics movements, double-(and now triple)unders, rowing and many others. All of these skills are important and time should be spent on perfecting them.

We regularly see ‘running’ in CrossFit workouts in varying distances from 10 meters to a mile or more, but with very little, if any, time being spent on the skill. Don’t get me wrong, the information is out there. There is a lot of great information on the subject including the POSE method followed and taught by Brian MacKenzie and a lot of other associated information . The Lord of the Supple Leopard Legion Kelly Starrett, along with MacKenzie, recently talked at length with Dean Karnazes, (Ultra-marathon Man) about running form and function on their pioneering series “Genetic Potential.” ( There is a great article from the CrossFit Journal from 2008 titled “Form for Runners, from Head to Toe ( We are seeing many in the CrossFit community embrace running as a skill and while we have a lot of great information on the subject both within and outside the CrossFit community, little time and effort is spent by coaches and members alike on perfecting a skill that I believe will translate performance in many, if not all, other CrossFit skills.

Click the link below to read the rest of this informative article and learn about proper running technique…


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