Jan 172013
 

Justin Lin headshotBy Dr. Justin Lin, DPT, MS, CSCS
Contributing Writer

Today I was prompted by a student who reported that he got in a heated argument with a trainer, who trains using workouts from a certain kettle bell website, P90X. The trainer promotes Insanity workouts that instruct you to do as many three to four intense exercise types with volatile and explosive form in a determined period of time. While other programs keep you constantly on the move for as long as possible (of course you’re going to lose weight), Crossfit and others like it have been the recent craze for fun and innovative ways to perform exercises and build lean muscle. Meanwhile, poor guys like me continue to preach the boring stability and postural exercises that I do.

I want to tell you all that programs like these KEEP ME IN BUSINESS AS A PHYSICAL THERAPIST.

While many of you don’t question this latest craze, I will. Although I am not an opponent to doing fun, innovative exercises with jumps and twists, I realize there is a time and a place for those tasks.

Why are these exercise styles so successful? Well, the premise is to get you active and tire you out after 20-30 minutes of circuit type training, which makes the average person feel like they have performed a great workout. Anytime you move for that much at that rate you will burn calories and lose weight.

What is circuit training? It’s a type of training that works on expending energy quickly with different exercises and little rest. It’s meant to increase endurance and work on decreasing fatigue over time, as well as build lean muscle mass.
Sounds pretty good right? Like I said, there is a time and a place for these exercises.

What’s the downside? Fatigue usually yields poor stabilization to moving joints. Poor stabilization usually yields injury. Also, being sore for 2-3 days isn’t a good thing. Please refer to The Sore Truth in the previous issue.

If I want to build muscle and strength quickly, will this circuit training help? Of course, if you pass the initial risk of injury and get through with decent form, you’ll gain lean muscle mass. How long will this last? Heed my warning, muscle strength and mass adapt and change more quickly than your tendons. Give your tendons time to grow.

What can happen if you build muscle too quickly? Well, the end result is muscle failure, where the stress is much more than tendons can handle. Tendonitis and even worse, a muscle or tendon tear can result. Remember good things in life take time and building a solid foundation will prevent these bad things from happening.

Now I am going to assume that many of you haven’t trained correctly to get yourself ready for these intense exercise regiments. What’s that mean for you? INJURY can result and then you would have to continue doing those exercises I have always recommended that you start with, for a much longer period of time. You will also be sidelined and out of fun life activities because of these seemingly fun, new, innovative, short workouts.

Don’t be fooled by these insane and inane programs. They may only work for a short time but the price you pay later may be high. I’m going to leave these workouts for the athletes who are already training in this explosive manner and the military personnel (which many of these programs are adapted from).

Important Disclaimer: Although this column was written by a health professional, patients should still seek appropriate and personal advice. Medical conditions can be due to many causes that create similar symptoms and may vary from patient to patient.

Dr. Justin C. Lin, DPT, MS, CSCS is a Licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is rated #1 in Yelp Physical Therapy for Orange County and specializes in Chronic Pain and Sports Medicine. Dr. Lin may be contacted at rehabandrevivept@gmail.com. Find out more at www.rehabandrevive.com.

Dr. Justin Lin

Dr. Justin C. Lin, DPT, MS, CSCS is a Licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is rated #1 in Yelp Physical Therapy for Orange County and specializes in Chronic Pain and Sports Medicine. Dr. Lin may be contacted at rehabandrevivept@gmail.com. His professional website is http://www.rehabandrevive.com. IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Although this column is written by a health professional, patients should still seek appropriate and personal advice. Medical conditions can be due to many causes that create similar symptoms and may vary from patient to patient.
See more from Dr. Justin Lin.
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  10 Responses to “Don’t Be Fooled by Crossfit, Insanity, or P90x”

  1. Sounds to me like you failed at the workouts you’re criticising – bitter. Just saying…

  2. “Today, I got into an argument with some Athletic Trainer, Justin Lin.”

    Tell me Dr. Lin…if that were the first sentence someone wrote in an article, specifically pointing you out, would you not roll your eyes and think “Oh boy, this person is clearly clueless when it comes to health and fitness,”

    “Today I was prompted by a student who reported that he got in a heated argument with a trainer, who trains using workouts from a certain kettle bell website, P90X.”

    The fact you would write this (as well as several other statements where you group P90X with Crossfit, and other dangerous workouts), immediately shows you have never even seen, much less tried a full P90X workout.

    Your article, for the most part, is spot on. However, know a little bit about the programs you are generalizing and grouping together, before you specifically point them out.

  3. [...] and Revive Physical Therapy has caused quite the media frenzy!  The January 17 article “Don’t Be Fooled by Crossfit, Insanity, or P90x” was picked up by the producers at the National Public Radio syndicated show On Point with [...]

  4. Hi there…I’ve been doing CrossFit for 4.5 years now and feel I have a pretty well rounded perspective on the topic. Like all things, there is good in bad in this new craze of short high-intensity workouts. The difference I believe is in your trainers.

    Many new CrossFit gyms are run by people whom have little to no background in fitness, and basically just paid $1,000 to get certified over a weekend and then took a loan out to open a gym. From my experience this is where you’ll often find clients being pushed beyond their physical limits and suffering injury.

    That’s the “Bad” in the CrossFit craze…

    On the other hand, there are also gyms run by highly trained fitness professionals that take client safety very seriously, and encourage if not force clients to scale movements to their fitness level. In this case what I’ve seen is some people get disappointed and quit because they aren’t doing all the movements exactly as prescribed (because they’re not ready yet) and feel down on themselves while other clients persist on and increase their fitness level at a gradual pace, injury free.

    This would be the “Good” in CrossFit which I’ll admit, is less common than the “Bad”.

    I like the article, and hope my perspective adds to the discussion.

    Cheers,
    Ben

  5. Has Dr. Lin watched the Insanity videos all the way through?

  6. [...] In case you missed it, our own columnist Dr. Justin Lin of Rehab and Revive Physical Therapy was invited to appear on National Public Radio this morning on On Point with Tom Ashbrook.  The topic of the episode was high-intensity workouts, such as Crossfit, Insanity, and P90X.  Dr. Lin was invited to share his expertise on the matter after writing his January 17 article “Don’t Be Fooled by Crossfit, Insanity, or P90X.” [...]

  7. I agree with most of the assertions in this article. However, those of us who have legitimate gripes with the improper implementation of this kind of training instantly lose credibility when we say uninformed things like “…workouts from a certain kettle bell website, P90X.” There are no kettlebells in P90X; P90X is not a website, it’s a DVD program by Beachbody. Yes, it’s inconsequential to the point, but die-hards will seize that as reason to refute all valid arguments that follow.

  8. [...] Justin Lin, physical therapist who wrote about avoiding injury during high-intensity workouts in “Don’t Be Fooled By Crossfit, Insanity Or P90X” [...]

  9. I am a patient of Dr. Lin`s and went through these exercises that he described in his article.
    I am 74 and in pretty good shape for my age. After about my third workout with my trainer, I was so sore I discontinued my workouts. He said that because of my stamina and endurance he gave me the routine of a much younger person.
    Please listen to Dr. Lin`s advice and heed his information.
    I wish I had read this article before I started those kettle bell workouts.
    Respectfully,
    John T. Carr

  10. [...] Our own Dr. Justin Lin of Rehab and Revive Physical Therapy will be on the National Public Radio show On Point with Tom Ashbrook this Thursday morning discussing an his January 17 article “Don’t Be Fooled by Crossfit, Insanity, or P90x.” [...]

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