I first heard about rhabdomyolysis in an article about the dangers of CrossFit workouts. Exertional Rhabdomyolysis— “sometimes called exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis — is the breakdown of muscle from extreme physical exertion. It is one of many types of rhabdomyolysis that can occur and because of this, the exact prevalence and incidence are unclear” RE: en.wikipedia.org ·
With the breakdown of muscle from extreme exercise exertion, the contents of the muscle cells (the myoglobin) gets into the bloodstream and can lead to kidney failure and possibly death. It is often associated with dehydration, overheating of the body such as exercising in high temperatures, and heatstroke
Exertional Rhabdomyolysis can occur with any kind of extreme conditioning program such as CrossFit , boot camp classes, military or football training, etc Program examples could include, As Many Reps As Possible AMRAP -high reps of one single muscle group in a short period of time, high reps that focus on the eccentric part of the exercise, and prolonged exercise without recovery.
Some Common Symptoms include:
- Extreme muscle pain
- swelling of the muscle
- extreme weakness
- dark colored urine
“Generally, this syndrome is brought on by the performance of unaccustomed, excessive, repetitive exercises such as push-ups and squat-jumps. Rhabdomyolysis can also occur after strenuous recreational activities such as marathon running, hiking, or performance of excessive strenuous exercise during the first days of a new training program. Mild cases of rhabdomyolysis do not require hospitalization, and individuals recover within one week. However, in certain individuals, rhabdomyolysis can be severe. The combination of heat stress and rhabdomyolysis can produce acute renal failure, which, in rare instances, can result in death. The few individuals who have developed severe rhabdomyolysis generally have never shown any prior symptoms. These individuals may have a latent, sub-clinical muscle disorder that predisposes them to the most negative consequences of rhabdomyolysis. For strenuous exercise in the heat, precautions such as adequate fluid intake and acclimatization are critical. All exercise training programs should start with mild to moderately intense exercise and should progress gradually. These safeguards will not only prevent subsequent muscle pain and optimize performance, but they may also save lives.”
Evaluate your exercise program and the instructor prior to participation in any exercise program. Make sure your instructor is certified, understands program design that includes the entire body rather than one specific muscle group. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise. Always use common sense when performing intense exercise programs and allow for appropriate recovery. And above all- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!