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Are Extreme Conditioning Programs Safe?

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Michael Bergeron, Ph.D., FACSM, is the executive director of the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute and a professor of pediatrics at the Sanford School of Medicine at The University of South Dakota. Bergeron is part of a team of doctors who published a paper citing the dangers of extreme conditioning programs, or ECPs, in civilian and military use.

Programs like P90x and CrossFit are marketed as get-fit-fast programs for unfit 30 and 40 somethings. The military has embraced the ECP trend and routinely uses the programs to condition soldiers. As a result, the military is now seeing many injuries that result in lost duty time, an increase in medical treatment, and compromised operational readiness. Although Bergeron doesn’t suggest ditching the programs, he recommends proceeding with caution.