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Terrifying CrossFit Horror Stories

Updated September 23, 2021 2.2k votes 999 voters 288.6k views11 items

List RulesVote for the most horrifying CrossFit stories

Either you're a CrossFit convert or a hater. What is it about this workout trend that seems to spark a heated debate in even your most sloth-y of pals? Is it the high amount of injury or the huge egos that come with knowing the difference between "WOD" and "RX"?

What is CrossFit? Since it's inception in 2000, CrossFit, Inc. has been promoted as an exercise philosophy and also a competitive fitness sport. A typical WOD (Workout of the Day) combines high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and powerlifting. Over 10,000 people across the nation hit their local box (CrossFit gym) for a workout they can't get anywhere else. But is CrossFit bad for you?

Fans of CrossFit rave about the changes they've seen not only in their body, but also in their minds and way of life. CrossFit critics fear that the program is too intense, and that the benefits do not outweigh the risks: extreme soreness, serious injury, and potential loss of limbs. The worst CrossFit injuries can even lead to death.

Throw on your CrossFit gear, and check out our list of CrossFit training horror stories. Then let us know which one is the most horrifying. Is it the weird, cult-like people who attend CrossFit? Or the muscle-melting risk of Rhabdomyolysis? You decide.
  • CrossFit competitor Kevin Ogar was participating in a CrossFit competition when he sustained a massive injury brought on by the ridiculously challenging routine. According to reports, "on Event #8, he was snatching 235 lbs for the touch and go triple snatch.  On the first rep he caught the weight with a bent elbow and tried to lock it out while standing up.  It started to fail, and falling backwards, he tried to dump the bar.  Unfortunately, there was a stack of weights behind him so Kevin and the bar both bounced off the plates which struck him in the back."

    Ogar severed his spinal cord and was unable to move his legs after the competition. With no health insurance and a gruesome injury, his road to recovery is a long one. Even though it was a freak accident, it was made worse by the fact that there was no ambulance on standby during the dangerous event, and by poor safety planning regarding the placement of the stack of weights near the lifting area.

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  • After an intense CrossFit workout in which she pushed herself to the limit, one physical therapist couldn't reach her mouth with her arms to brush her teeth. Average soreness? No. Twenty-four hours later, she sought medical attention and was diagnosed with acute rhabdomyolysis, which is when your muscle cells explode and your muscles basically melt inside your body. This can cause death.

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  • 3. Novice & Idiot Instructors

    CrossFit coaches are able get their certification in a weekend, which means it doesn't take a lot of education to be a coach. Your fitness leader may look buff, but have no idea how to instruct proper form or determine what amount of weight might be too much for someone. CrossFit is already a strenuous and high intensity program. This just sets you up for more injury because your newly "trained" coach might not know to keep you safe. 

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  • 4. Ruptured Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids are often caused by straining. You know what causes straining? Lifting lots of weights during CrossFit workouts. Hemorrhoids are painful at the best of times – so imagine what happens when they burst.

    That was the nightmare faced by Andy Petranek in 2010. His over-the-top training regimen for the CrossFit Games left him with a ruptured hemorrhoid. As he put it, "CrossFit had become my life's obsession. But it wasn't making my life better."

    Is this terrifying?