The CrossFit organization is suing the publisher of a study that found that the intense workout regimen could produce “meaningful improvements of maximal aerobic capacity and body composition in men and women of all levels of fitness.” The problem? It also said that 9 of 54 study participants had dropped out due to injury, and CrossFit’s leadership organization—which is self-conscious about the perception that its workouts can be harmful—doesn’t believe that to be true. The study appeared in a journal put out by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, which certifies personal trainers, and CrossFit’s suit alleges that its publication was thus “intended to scare participants away from CrossFit.” (The NSCA denies this.)
The public spokesperson for the study is one of its authors, an Ohio State professor named Steven Devor. (The other researchers appear to have been affiliated with Ohio State as well.) You can read a long exchange between Devor and CrossFit national rep Russell Berger here about the issue at the heart of the matter: whether those nine particpants actually dropped out due to injury. CrossFit has said that it contacted some of them and they denied that injuries were a problem, while the researchers stand by their claim. (During the exchange Devor summarizes the study by calling CrossFit “a great way to train” and says its conclusions are “very positive” for CrossFit.)
The researchers are also being sued individually by the owner of the gym where the study was conducted.
Correction, July 14, 2014: This post originally misspelled the name of the National Strength and Conditioning Association.