I have always said that the future of CrossFit is not in the warehouse, but in the strip mall.
We know that CrossFit is one of the most revolutionary fitness models because we see the results. I am not talking just about before and after pictures, but the unquestionable fact that people who do CrossFit stay at it far longer and more consistently when compared to globo-gyms. And as the saying goes, 80% of success is showing up.
For people to show up, we have to meet their number one criteria in picking a gym…Convenience. For CrossFit to reach the millions of people still struggling to find their fitness, we have to go to them. This means that your typical 2008 warehouse CrossFit gym just may not be the solution. We have to go to suburbia, and to go to suburbia we have to be ready to compete with other micro gyms such as Orange Theory and Soul Cycle. Guess where they are? That’s right, the strip mall.
Strip malls pose a challenge to “traditional” CrossFit mindsets. Smaller venues that must be ultra-efficient in their space, have programming that ensures maximum efficiency, and most importantly-good relationships with your neighbors. This brings me to the very sensitive subject of dropping weights.
In most strip malls you share a foundation with one or more neighbors and when you drop 135 pounds from overhead, that foundation is going to shake. That can lead to cracks, not only in the foundation but in the relationships with your neighbors. Can we be effective with CrossFit without dropping weights? The clear answer is: YES! For the past 7 months, CrossFit Grail has employed a no-drop weight policy. We have built the gym to over 80 members and the results are pretty incredible. We have dozens of personal records (PRs) in the gym on every functional movement and MetCon imaginable. From CrossFit baseline workouts to Olympic weight lifting movements such as snatch, squats, cleans, and deadlifts.
How are we able to do this? Controlling weights to the ground requires growth in the muscles the same as lifting. If done properly, you get more work with the same movements than you do by dropping the weight. Additionally, controlling weights to the ground under normal circumstances is safer for you and for the athlete next to you. Let me be clear here – we are not talking about maxes. We are talking about 95% of the lifts that you need to do to get to a new max. I read an article by Jim Schmitz, the former U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team Coach and he states. “I have trained many of the strongest men and women over the years and I’ve taught them how to lower weights as well as lift them. Lowering weights properly won’t weaken you.” I invite you to read his entire article at: http://www.ironmind.com/articles/jim-schmitz-on-the-lifts/Dropping-Weights/.
At CrossFit Grail, we make time for athletes to get heavy lifts as well by working with our neighbors, But the reality is that by controlling the weight, we are bringing fitness to people who never would have traveled the time it takes to find a warehouse gym. I love dropping heavy weights as much as anyone, but the real joy I get is helping people Find their Fitness. I hope you are as excited as we are to be your new neighbor.
Eric Keely, Owner