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CrossFit Injury Got You Down? Don’t Skip the Gym!

Crossfit recovery

As a chiropractor who sees many athletes come through my door, I understand the frustration and fear that sets in after an injury, especially for dedicated CrossFitters. But here’s the good news: in most cases, you don’t have to abandon your CrossFit routine completely!

Why CrossFit Can Still Be Part of Your Recovery

  • Maintain Strength and Fitness: CrossFit, at its core, promotes functional movement and overall fitness. Even with modifications, you can continue to challenge yourself and maintain a base level of strength and conditioning that will aid in healing and a faster return to full activity.
  • Improved Mobility and Flexibility: Chiropractic care combined with scaled CrossFit workouts can enhance your mobility and flexibility, both crucial aspects of injury recovery.
  • Mental and Emotional Well-being: Being sidelined can be tough. The supportive environment and sense of community at your CrossFit gym can provide a much-needed emotional boost during this challenging time.

The Key to Safe CrossFit During Recovery: Communication and Scaling

1. Talk to Your Doctor:

  • Get Clearance: Always consult your doctor before returning to any physical activity after an injury. They’ll determine the severity and provide specific limitations or exercises to avoid.
  • Chiropractic Care for Optimal Healing: A chiropractor can assess your spine and joints, ensuring proper alignment and function to support the healing process. Chiropractic adjustments can also help manage pain and improve mobility, allowing you to participate in modified workouts more effectively.

2. Partner with Your CrossFit Coach:

  • Scaling is Your Friend: Experienced CrossFit coaches are trained in scaling workouts. Communicate your injury and limitations openly with your coach so they can adjust exercises, weight, intensity, and repetitions to keep you safe and challenged.
  • Focus on Technique: While pushing yourself is admirable, prioritize proper form over heavy weights or intense movements during recovery. This can help prevent further injury and ensure your body heals correctly.

3. Scaling Examples:

Here are some examples of scaling for back pain in CrossFit, focusing on different movements commonly found in CrossFit workouts:


  • Air Squats: This removes the weight load and allows you to focus on proper form and core engagement.
  • Box Squats: Sitting on a box at the bottom of the squat reduces stress on the lower back. Adjust the box height to ensure full hip extension without compromising form.
  • Goblet Squats: Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at chest level shifts the weight load and reduces strain on the spine.
  • Wall Squats: Performing squats with your back pressed against a wall helps maintain proper spinal alignment.


  • Sumo Deadlifts: This variation widens the stance, reducing stress on the lower back and engaging different muscle groups.
  • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts: Using dumbbells allows for a more neutral spine position compared to a barbell deadlift.
  • Banded Deadlifts: Adding resistance bands with a PVC pipe instead of a barbell provides a lighter load while maintaining the deadlift movement pattern.


  • Seated Cable Rows: This seated exercise isolates the back muscles while minimizing stress on the spine.
  • Inverted Rows: Performed on rings or a bar, this variation strengthens the back and core without putting pressure on the lower back.
  • Machine Rows: Using a chest-supported row machine allows for controlled movement and reduces the risk of improper form.

Overhead Movements:

  • Push-ups: These can be modified on knees or with hand placement elevated on a box or bench to reduce stress on the shoulders and back.
  • PVC Pipe Shoulder Press: Substituting a PVC pipe for a barbell allows for proper shoulder movement practice without adding weight.
  • Med Ball Shoulder Press: A lighter medicine ball can be used for overhead pressing while maintaining proper form.
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: Lighter dumbbells put more focus on the small muscles of the shoulders to add stability without using heavier weights. Also allows ease of positioning of the shoulders due to each arm working independent of each other.


  • Stationary Bike or Ski Erg: These cardio alternatives minimize impact on the lower back while getting your heart rate up.
  • Box Jumps (modified): Step-ups onto a lower box or jumping onto a soft landing pad can maintain some jumping practice while reducing impact.

Additional Tips:

  • Always prioritize proper form over heavy weight.
  • Communicate limitations with your coach and adjust exercises as needed.
  • Listen to your body. Pain is a signal to stop or modify the movement.
  • Consider incorporating core strengthening exercises like planks and dead bugs into your routine to support your spine.


  • Pain is Your Guide: Listen to your body! If you experience pain during a modified workout, stop and adjust the exercise or consult your coach.
  • Patience is Key: Recovery takes time. Don’t rush the process or try to return to pre-injury intensity too quickly. Be patient and celebrate your progress, big or small.

Keeping You in the Game: Dr. Rob’s Advantage

As a chiropractor and a passionate CrossFitter himself, Dr. Rob understands the dedication and drive that athletes bring to the gym. As a previous box owner and Level 2 coach he has a firsthand perspective on the demands of the sport and the potential for injuries.

This unique blend of experience allows Dr. Rob to go beyond simply treating pain. He can assess your movement patterns, identify any underlying issues that could contribute to injuries, and collaborate with your CrossFit coach to create a safe and effective recovery plan.

Don’t let back pain sideline your CrossFit journey! At Simpsonville Chiropractic Solutions, Dr. Rob is dedicated to helping athletes like you stay active, manage pain, and prevent future injuries. Schedule an appointment today and see how chiropractic care can keep you crushing workouts and achieving your fitness goals!

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