CrossFit controversy: Is it safe for a summer workout?

By Kelly McCarthy

June 4, 2014 Updated Jun 4, 2014 at 6:20 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Looking for a new summer workout routine? The CrossFit craze is booming in the Greater Binghamton area with five new training locations, but some say the workout is too dangerous.

"CrossFit's gotten really popular I think for good reasons," said head coach of Southern Tier CrossFit Leslie Heywood, "Because it is so much fun, because people love the group atmosphere."

It's a new type of fitness routine focusing on high-intensity workouts with fewer repetitions. Coaches said anyone can benefit from giving it a try.

"I've coached anywhere from two-year olds to 80-year olds," Heywood said.

CrossFit does carry a reputation for injury. A Physical Therapist at Oakdale Physical Therapy said the most common injuries are back pain, knee pain and shoulder pain.

"Most people think you have to be strong to do a lot of these moves," Dr. John Koniuto said, "When the reality is they need to be flexible, mobile, and have good coordination."

It's a lifestyle he doesn't recommend anyone to just jump into.

"The foundation program should be done slowly and it should be done correctly," Dr. Koniuto said, "And you should not be pushed faster than your body could take."

"You know if you modify things correctly and you really work with people where they're at everybody can go so much further," Haywood said, "Everybody can do this, everybody can do some aspect of this, and that to me is the most rewarding thing."

If it's variety someone is looking for, "the box" has it all.

But maybe it should come with a warning.

"CrossFit in general does carry more risk to get injured than conventional ways of exercising," said Dr. Koniuto.

The Northeast Regional CrossFit competition took place this past weekend in Massachusetts, Dr. Koniuto was part of the medical team during the competitions.