Most of us by this point in time in our CrossFit journey have come across the term “rhabdo” at some point or another. The conversation was most likely started by a coach and went something like “make sure you’re hydrating…you don’t want to get ‘rhabdo’” or something along those lines.
But what exactly is this “rhabdo” and how does it fit into the context of CrossFit?
Rhabdomyolysis , according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, occurs when muscle fibers breakdown and are released into the bloodstream. These particles can be harmful to the kidney and often result in kidney damage.
There are numerous risk factors but the most prominent that would factor into our CrossFit workouts are:
- Heat intolerance
- Heat stroke
- Severe exertion such as marathon running or calisthenics
The symptoms of Rhabdo include:
- Abnormal urine color (usually a dark cola color)
- Muscle stiffness or aching
- Muscle tenderness
- Abnormal muscle swelling
The good news, Rhabdo can be prevented. Not to beat a dead horse, but preparing for a workout is crucial. Being properly hydrated well before the workout and hydrating at appropriate intervals during a WOD are critical for avoiding this type dangerous condition. In CrossFit we constantly push our physical limits (what’s up severe exertion?) but we also need to understand our bodies – and that means knowing when we’re pushing too hard. Don’t think that as summer ends so do the dangers of rhabdo –the risk factors can occur in any environment so long as we’re not properly prepared. So again, train hard, but train smart. In order to mitigate the risk factors for rhabdomyolysis, we must constantly fuel our bodies correctly pre and post workout and understand our physical limits as well. Coming from someone who nearly lost their life to the effects of a severe heat stroke and rhabdomyolysis almost a year ago to the day, I cannot reiterate the importance of taking these steps enough.
Check out to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine website for more information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001505/
Sumo Dead Lift High Pull (75/55)
Push Jerk (75/55)
Level 2 (65/45)
Level 1 (55/35)