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Don’t Be Fooled by Crossfit, Insanity, or P90x

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.

About the Author
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.

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