The Slippery Slope of Novelty WODs in CrossFit
By: Lauren Jenai
CrossFitters are always looking for new ways to get stronger, faster and fitter. One of the most popular methods is using novelty wod routines. These are usually done at the beginning of a training session or even during it. They’re not just fun, they actually do work!
But what if these wods were dangerous? What if someone got hurt doing them?
Well, that’s exactly what happened recently when one such routine went wrong and injured two women.
In late June 2013, Lauren Glassman was working out with her friend Jessica Nelson at the CrossFit Games in San Diego. A routine called “The Slippery Slope” was being performed. According to the description, participants would perform three sets of 10 reps each of a series of exercises. After completing all the exercises, participants would repeat the sequence but begin with a different exercise until they completed five rounds.
According to Nelson, Glassman and several other female members began performing this routine while she was still warming up. Unfamiliar with the routine, she “chose to limit the risk of injury and sat on the side.” Eventually, Nelson joined her on the sidelines and began chatting with another female member while Glassman continued to perform the routine.
About halfway through the routine, while performing a handstand push-up, Glassman dropped down but lost her footing when she planted her right foot. She fell to her left and hit her head on the floor. She then blacked out for a few moments. According to Nelson, many people had their attention drawn to the routine and no one was really paying attention to Glassman’s fall.
After regaining consciousness, she sat up and spoke with Nelson. She then stood up and walked unassisted to a chair where she sat down. Several minutes later, she began sweating profusely and started having a seizure. She then lost consciousness again and an ambulance was called. After being transported to a local hospital, she was diagnosed with a concussion.
In CrossFit, the coaches are responsible for the safety of their athletes. In this situation, it is unknown if the coaches were present during the routine or not. There is also no indication that anyone knew the routine was dangerous before Glassman injured herself. Unfortunately, this type of situation can occur in any sport.
CrossFit has a history of being extremely dangerous. When it first began, many people were concerned about its safety record and how it was an extreme measure that could easily cause injury and even death. While most people would agree that CrossFit has become safer (especially after the addition of more coaches), there have been several cases of injury and at least two deaths blamed on CrossFit. This story is just another in the long line of problems that the fitness program has experienced.
Fortunately, Glassman was completely recovered after a few weeks. There have been no reports that she plans on quitting CrossFit.
Sources & references used in this article:
Selling pain to the saturated self by R Scott, J Cayla, B Cova – Journal of Consumer Research, 2017 – academic.oup.com
Kinaesthetic cities: Studying the worlds of amateur sports and fitness in contemporary urban environments by A Latham, J Layton – Progress in Human Geography, 2020 – journals.sagepub.com
Excursions into Otherness: Performative Cosmopolitanism and Movement Culture by S Godin – 2008 – Penguin
Where We Belong: Mapping American Religious Innovation by AM Griffith – 2014 – yorkspace.library.yorku.ca