Achilles Rupture, CrossFit, and High-Rep Box Jumps

CrossFit, Opinion — By on March 8, 2012 7:40 am

A few weeks ago, prior to the start of the 2012 CrossFit Games, I estimated that 40,000 people would register for the Open.  I was wrong.  By the beginning of the first workout, approximately 55,000 people had signed up.

Last night the third open workout was announced:  An 18 minute AMRAP of 15 box jumps, 12 push presses, and 9 toes-to-bar.  So, 55,000 people going as hard as they can, doing a ton of box jumps for 18 minutes.  The twittersphere lit up with glee as this was a “real” CrossFit workout (unlike the reaction to workouts one and two).

Achilles Rupture

Seriously?  Wasn’t ANYTHING learned from the disaster at last years 11.2 WOD where an estimated 20-25 people had an Achilles Rupture due to high-rep box jumps (source)?

Apparently not, at least in terms of programming.  This WOD is 3 minutes longer than last year, so even longer to fatigue a tendon to the breaking point.

Don’t get me wrong.  Plyometrics can be an awesome training tool, but with this number of reps, please consider STEPPING DOWN from the box.  Yes, you will go slower during the box jumps, but your risk of an Achilles Rupture will be zero.

Best of luck on WOD 12.3!

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photo credit:  Amber Karnes




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Tim Huntley , the former CEO of Ganymede Software, spends his time advising high tech start-ups, serving on the board for the Track and Field Athletes Association, and writing on his blog, An Entrepreneurial Life. Circle me on Google+.

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  • Ben

    Well, if you watched the standards video for the box jumps, they aren’t allowing the bunny rabbit on crack method of extending the hips fully in the air on the way down. This should save some Achilles.

    • Tim Huntley

      Hey Ben,

      I definitely agree that this is better (having to pause at the top); however with the drop, bounding at the bottom, and high volume of reps, there is still plenty of time to fatigue the tendon.

      • Ben

        Last year, did they allow the bunny hop?

        • Tim Huntley

          Yes, and I do believe that changing the standard by disallowing that motion will help.

  • T

    Just another reason I’m happy with my decision to no longer subject myself to CrossFit competitions. I wish I still had FB so I could “like” this.

  • Pam

    People need to listen to their bodies and not do more than what they should. If it doesn’t feel right then stop. Unless you are a competitive athlete looking to actually get to the games than just compete in this for fun and to see where you stand and what you need to work on.

  • Chef

    I agree, but lets look at the real numbers. Let’s see, 30,000 athletes registered for the open last year, many many more did the WOD. 3 times? 5 times or more did 11.2, many did the workout 3 times? Let’s pick a conservative number: that WOD was done 150,000 times? that’s easy, I think it’s more like 500k, but lets pick 150. Thats only 1 injury in 5000 exposures. That would make kids soccer more than FIVE TIMES more dangerous than 11.2, yet I dont see anyone freaking on kids soccer programs… just food for thought. And to be sure, you should see how many of those ruptures last year were in athletes that were administered Cipro downrange, which has a direct relationship to tendon separation.

  • Billy454jones

    CrossFit, ugggghhhh.

  • TC

    I’m another one who completely ruptured my achilles on 12.3 doing rebound box jumps (and ‘no’ it could never happen to me either)…. sadly it ruined my regionals chances in Asia. And 10 months on I’m still not running….. and definable not yet box jumping!


    • Tim Huntley


      I am so sorry that you had this happen. Good luck with the continuing rehab.