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Doctors Warn Extreme Workouts Have Dangerous Side Effects

Doctors Warn Extreme Workouts Have Dangerous Side Effects
Next time you're pushing for one more rep in the gym, it might be better to just stop. Doctors across the country are arguing the popular CrossFit workout could do more harm than good.

The cross-training program urges exercisers to go harder and faster, all while pushing through their limits. But going too far with these strenuous drills could cause a condition called rhabdomyolysis. (Via ABC)

"Rhabdo," for short, causes muscle cells to literally explode, flooding blood vessels with their contents and in extreme cases, causing kidney failure. One woman said it was more painful than childbirth. (Via WebMD)

"I've had two babies...and I'd have 5 more before I ever had to go through this again."

And Dr. Ron Goldin says only experienced trainers should try CrossFit.

"If you haven't worked out for a while, don't jump into it, trying to keep up with the rest of the class and don't try to do the hardest workout you've ever done." (Via WPTV)

The condition is on the rise as CrossFit grows increasingly popular, with over 6,000 affiliated gyms in the United States. That's up from only 50 in 2005. (Via The New York Times)

But the regimen has its fair share of critics. A columnist for The Huffington Post scolds the CrossFit culture as "one of pushing your body to the point of near exhaustion. It is a system of punishing exercises built on a platform of peer pressure."

Even converts admit the gym climate can be a bit much.

"Some people refer to folks doing CrossFit as crazy and some people even call it a cult." (Via WTTG)

Critics have even tried advancing their cause by creating "Uncle Rhabdo," a clown mascot suffering from the muscle disease. (Via Breaking Muscle)

But other Crossfit trainers say rhabdo is just the result of irresponsible workouts. According to one participant, the disease is "an extreme condition thwarted upon oneself... It's not the sport, the organization or even the coaches. It's your own fault."

Overall, doctors agree that the intensive workouts are healthy... in moderation. It's key to listen to your body and avoid pushing too hard.

Join the discussion

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jimmyxx67 February 28 2014 at 8:43 AM

"an extreme condition thwarted upon oneself"... I don't think that this participant has a grasp of the meaning of the words they he/she is using. It's always amusing when an partially literate individual attempts to speak above their vocabulary level.

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Keith February 28 2014 at 11:15 AM

Oh….. FTLOG……….

'Rhabdo' is NOT unique to Crossfit. IF anyone - regardless of the activity - pushes their body beyond it's limits it is unhealthy and risking the same 'Rhabdo' scenario. I participate in Crossfit at home and have visited Crossfit gyms around the country and 99% of them are monitored by knowledgable trainers that are there to make sure that you do the movements correctly and safely AND do not over do it putting yourself at risk for any adverse health scenario. An individual can over do any workout routine BUT let's face it 90% of the people in gyms don't come close to over doing anything. Seriously, look around your gym. You will see the same fat asses there every day doing the same thing and guess what…. in 6 months they are still fat asses BUT they go to the gym…. they work out!

Now, for the 1% that over do it or the trainers that over do it... They are idiots.

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libra4216202 February 28 2014 at 9:48 PM

I will stick to what is working for me... running and regular weight training.

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RosaJoe9 February 28 2014 at 11:20 AM

Common sense folks---common sense!

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Circusteam February 28 2014 at 11:21 AM

Similarly, hot yoga has become very popular and many practitioners are zealous about it but the academic and medical research (yes, it's out there... sorry you'll have to take your own time to get the citations but you'll find them) runs contrary to the benefits often touted. There are enough findings to indicate it can be dangerous in many instances. Still... moderation is everything tends to smooth out the bad in to good.

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blo2thehead February 28 2014 at 12:07 PM

I don't know about cross training being bad for you , but I do know running in the streets where automobiles operate is bad for you. People use your head.

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ceecee February 28 2014 at 12:29 PM

I think extreme anything is bad for you.

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wlh1923 February 28 2014 at 12:51 PM

OMG AOL. Anybody moderating anything here? The first three or four comments on every article are spam about somebody's aunt making $75.00 or $85.00 an hour (presumably as a craigslist prostitute). It has gotten to the point where the comments to every article are overwhelmed by spam. Can't you folks do something? Anything?

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Brian February 28 2014 at 1:41 PM

Wow. BREAKING NEWS, AOL!!!! Everyone who does Crossfit....knows what Rhabdo is, and knows the risks involved. If you do not know, then your trainer isn't doing his job. If you are your own trainer, you aren't doing your job either. Anything done in extreme can be dangerous. Crossfit responsibly, everyone. Oh, and ignore AOL - who obviously scooped this story about 15 years too late. Seriously - gimme a break!!!

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snapon70 February 28 2014 at 7:59 PM

The word "trainer" should be said with a smile! Blind faith in anyone is a joke. Your body will tell you what you need to know!

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