Crossfit masters athletes are a growing part of crossfit communities, crossfit boxes and client bases. Many Masters Athletes have felt ignored or that our unique experiences, injuries and needs are misunderstood by crossfit trainers who have had little knowledge about working with our age group. Accordingly many are seeking community, support and advice from their peers on Crossfit Masters webpages and facebook groups. The Crossfit Masters group CFMasters now has over 7,000 members from around the world. Other groups,that support primarily Crossfit Masters women or masters within a specific age class are also popping up. Many group members have questions that are masters specific:
- How long does it take masters to recover from _______ (add type of injury here)?
- How are other masters dealing with insomnia, or muscle soreness, or flexibility problems?
- Do masters athletes have specific nutritional needs?
- What can I do to get faster, stronger, leaner etc.?
- How are hormonal shifts impacting my performance?
Masters crossfit athletes, masters athletes in general and the need for more research
The explosion of interest in participation in Masters Sports and Athletics is quite recent. The pace of research to address masters athletes needs is just warming up. Or possibly still parked in the driveway. Most of the research available to us has focused on health and functionality among the elderly. While it is useful to look at these studies, studies about us masters would be greatly appreciated. (Will be writing more on what we have so far soon. Take a look at our archives for now.)
For Crossfit Trainers working with Masters Athletes: what you should know
- We want to be treated like athletes, but there are somethings that make us different than other athletes.
- Understand that we will modify as we physically need to; we are not slackers. We are seasoned enough to distinguish muscle pain from joint distress and will protect ourselves from injury — Leanne Cantrell of CrossFit Mandeville
- That our joints don’t work the way they used to. Find ways to help us get under the bar more efficiently, to get our elbows up into position, to engage our shoulders — addition from CFMasters athlete
- “the first thing that came to my mind wasn’t on the list. Specifically that we need substantially more warm up, warm down, and stretching time. Oh, and aligned with some of the other thought already written – that coaches should ask us about our physical state, fitness and health history, any injuries we might have and our goals.”
- Understand that our eyes are changing and that we don’t have the depth perception we used to. This makes box jumps harder. Its also harder for us to shift between near and far vision. That also makes it harder for us to do box jumps and slows us down.
- Vision issues can also make it harder for us to be as agile.
- Our vision might improve with better nutrition. Read up on Luteine by visiting the link.
- Our strength can improve with balance and agility training. You can help with this.
- Many masters men will be concerned about testosterone. Testosterone can be boosted by working out in a supportive (and co-ed) environment. Crossfit is perfect for that. As far as we know working out in a gung-ho co-ed group doesn’t increase cancer risk.
- Masters athletes need more protein than younger athletes, because we don’t synthesize our own proteins as efficiently.
- We are more likely to rupture a tendon or kill our shins and shoulders. Have an emergency plan for first aid and for serious injuries.
- ” New masters athletes appreciate mentoring by experienced masters athletes. Coaches can ask the experienced ones for this support.”
- “Masters athletes may need to vary our level of intensity, weights or volume from WOD to WOD due to joint stress or other flare ups, I so appreciate when our coaches work on technique instead of going for better times or heavier weights that day.”
- “That we have learned to finish what we start. Sometimes you just have to let us go to a corner and finish the WOD. We may not be the fastest. But we are persistent.” CFMaster
- Cheer us on too. We appreciate it.
Here are a few articles that are specific to masters athletes. We’ll be summarizing these soon. Keep in touch.
Sillanpää E, Häkkinen A, Laaksonen DE, Karavirta L, Kraemer WJ, & Häkkinen K (2010). Serum basal hormone concentrations, nutrition and physical fitness during strength and/or endurance training in 39-64-year-old women. International journal of sports medicine, 31 (2), 110-7 PMID: 20222003
Sallinen J, Pakarinen A, Fogelholm M, Alen M, Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, & Häkkinen K (2007). Dietary intake, serum hormones, muscle mass and strength during strength training in 49 – 73-year-old men. International journal of sports medicine, 28 (12), 1070-6 PMID: 17497592 Another article of interest is: Position Statement (2010). Selected Issues for the Master Athlete and the Team Physician Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 42 (4), 820-833 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181d19a0b