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Help Us, Help You


Help Us, Help You

The conversation is all too familiar to the coaching staff. An athlete returns to the shop after a period away, say 1-2 weeks, and a coach asks them, “where have you been?”
The athlete replies that they haven’t been in because they suffered a tweak – inside or outside the shop – and they didn’t want to be a burden by coming to class. We’ve heard a lot of variations to the athlete’s why I didn’t come to class statement – not knowing how to modify for injury, not wanting to take a disproportionate amount of the coach’s time, not wanting to scale or modify around the injury, or not wanting to stand out to the rest of the class, to name a few.
We wanted to take this opportunity to set a few things straight.
First of all, it’s 100% encouraged for you to come to class when you have a limitation or something you need to work around. Not only is it encouraged, but the coaches actually expect you to continue coming to class.
Fitness is gained, in part, through consistency. Breaks away from the gym to allow one area of the body to heal, while the rest of your body is completely capable of fitness, is not a recipe for long term consistency. Not to mention, many have found that exercising the parts of the body that are 100% helps the problem area to recover faster.
In addition, we firmly believe that modifying a workout to get IN a workout, is far more beneficial than simply not working out. For many, a tweak can be a show stopper to fantastic momentum. A week spent skipping workouts and all of the sudden it’s hard to get back into that great routine you had just a mere 7 days prior.
Come to class, keep the routine, and heal up. There are literally hundreds of CrossFit movements and variations that could be used to work around your limitation. The coaches are very good and well versed at scaling and modifying movements and workouts based on athlete injuries or limitations.
We’ve scaled and modified for (to name a few):

  • A cracked rib from mountain biking
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Rotator cuff surgery repairs
  • Sprained, strained, twisted, torqued, tweaked, etc. of nearly every joint
  • A strained or tight low back
  • A neck that was slept on in a funny way
  • Ankle, neck, back, knee, shoulder, and wrist surgeries
  • An pulled hamstring from an overzealous stretch from first base during intramural softball

So, how do you put this into practice?
The next time you pull, tweak, strain, or run into something that causes you to question whether or not you should come to class, start by signing up for class. Then, email the coach for that class and give them a heads up of what’s going on. When you arrive to the shop, check-in with the coach so they can ask you any needed questions and start to make a plan for the workout modifications for that day. Then, continue to communicate with us as you heal up AND keep getting fit.
Have you ever skipped a class because you didn’t want to be a burden to the coaches? Or have you come to class and experienced workout modifications around your injury? Post to comments. 

6 Responses

  1. A thousand likes for this one, and long before my recent shoulder surgery. I tweaked/strained my back badly a couple years ago — right before the 2015 Open was due to start. So I emailed the coaches with these exact questions. I thought there was no way I could or should show up for a wod with my back spasming every time I pivoted past vertical, but I still remember Nicole saying “come in; we’ll figure it out”. And so I did. Two days later I still remember deadlifting 35# (yes 35#) for that movement in the wod that day, per Ali’s instruction. And two weeks later, I PR’ed my clean and jerk in the first Open wod that year. You will sometimes hear me say “I’m just here for the movement today”, and this is what I’m talking about. I think moving will always trump couchtime, especially when we have so many options and variations in CrossFit in general, and great Roots coaches who are highly skilled at scaling in particular. I am starting to head back to Roots myself, and it’s literally what the doctor ordered. =)

  2. Linda Gill

    WOW!!! Did I need to read this. I always fall into the “don’t want to be a bother” category. Thank you!

  3. Molly Ware

    Many thanks to all the coaches for their time, expertise and patience! Honestly, you guys are amazing.

  4. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this! I used to avoid every WOD with wall balls (or suffer through them and pay the price) thanks to a neck injury 22 years ago that just doesn’t allow me to look up like that and throw heavy things in the air. Once I finally got over myself and shared that with the coaches it was a game changer – it was like my dirty little secret was out in the open and it was OK that I can’t do wall balls. What a relief! Thankfully there’s a hundred other challenging movements I can do instead of wall balls – so no more excuses when they show up in WOD. Bottom line: Thanks to the entire Roots coaching staff for making it possible to work out 100% when not all 100% of you works.

  5. Jessica Helson

    The coaching you guys have provided me various times in the last 7 years, whether post-pregnancy or post-surgery, has been so above and beyond, tailored to my recovery, and thoughtful – it is just one more testament to all of you, how seriously you take your jobs, and how lucky we all are to be a part of this community.

  6. CJfour

    Well this is pretty much me, bad mountain bike wreck, Rotator Cuff surgery in a few week. Coaches have been great, supportive and willing to tailor the WOD for me. Thanks Roots.