CrossFit benefits and risks – Dr. Stuart McGill weighs in on the controversial fitness trend


CrossFit continues to gain popularity in the fitness industry – there are approximately 7,000 CrossFit-affiliated gyms around the world. The Globe and Mail covered how CrossFit came to be and sat down with some experts to ask them if the benefits of this controversial fitness trend outweighs the risks.

Dr. Stuart McGill had a mixed opinion. He says that the risk of some CrossFit moves outweigh the potential benefit. “That’s a great disc herniator,” he says, watching a video of a hip-back extension exercise on the CrossFit website. “A lot of lifts and jumps are demonstrated by people with wonderful form. But the average person could open themselves up to the risk of injury.” CrossFit’s extensive online component makes it easier to dive right in without proper guidance.

Still, Dr. McGill sees a lot of good in CrossFit, particularly in its emphasis on everyday strength and agility. “Our training culture is polluted by body building,” Dr. McGill said. “It could be a very, very good thing to shift the North American training philosophy to a much more functional one.”

Get the full story from The Globe and Mail’s CrossFit article, ‘No puke, no pain – no gain’. Do you think the consulted experts are right about CrossFit?