If you're relatively new to a CrossFit style gym odds are you're nervous. You're about to attend your first class and your one goal is to not embarrass yourself (and to not die). There are several things to know before jumping into a class for the first time; what to wear, when to arrive, and how to behave in a gym environment where the equipment is not bolted to the floor (a non globo gym). In this blog we are going to discuss gym etiquette that we practice at Optimus Strength. Likely, these rules are also practiced at most other CrossFit type facilities and can help you get through a class without accidentally offending anyone.
1. Do NOT drop an empty barbell!
This rule is first because it is by far one of the most important. If you're just starting your fitness journey you are more than likely going to be training with an empty barbell for a bit; ie. a barbell with no weight on it. You're also going to see the entire class dropping their barbell in the middle of the WOD.
Do NOT drop your empty barbell.
Why? Well for one, the sound is horrendous. Like nails on chalk board horrendous. And two, dropping an empty barbell can easily damage it. The barbell spins on bearings on each end, dropping the bar can break these bearings and the bar will no longer spin. This means the bar will not be able to be used anymore.
Why can a weighted bar be dropped? The weight plates (assuming they are rubber) act as a shock absorber.
2.Wipe down your equipment after each use.
This one is easy and probably sounds like common sense. If you use something you should probably wipe it down before you put it up. Find out where your gym keeps their disinfecting wipes and use them.
You should aim to leave behind as little sweat, blood, and chalk as possible. And if you did bleed on something, let the coach know so that they can further disinfect it.
3. Put equipment back EXACTLY how you found it.
This one might seem easy, but over time we've noticed that people are REALLY unobservant when it comes to pulling out equipment and then putting it back. Gym equipment is usually stored a certain way in order to keep it in good working condition. For examples, when rowers are stored, the screen should be folded down and the chain handle should be released.
The simple point here is, when you get a piece of equipment out to use it take a second to notice the position it's in and try to place it back exactly like that when you put it up.
4. Don't clean up your equipment before everyone is finished with the metcon.
If you happen to finish the metcon piece before others in the class don't clean up your equipment until the last person is finished. This may sound counter intuitive because you may feel like you need to clean up quickly once you are done. But actually, you don't want to make the others, who are still working, feel as if they are taking too long.
Instead, cheer them on until they finish! This is what community is all about. This shows that their workout is just as important as yours and your cheers may help them finish faster.
5. Help the last person putting up their equipment - don't just watch them and wait.
This tip is kind of partnered with #4. Once the Metcon is over you will probably want to lie on the ground. This is acceptable, however, you will need to get up and clean up your equipment. Some people will have more equipment than others depending on the weight they used or the modifications they used. This may cause them to have more to clean up than everyone else.
I have seen it to often where the last person is cleaning up and the rest of the class is just standing around chatting and watching them. Why do we do this!? If you think about it, its kind of rude. Instead, we should be helping them. Help from the rest of the class will get the equipment put away faster!
6. Don't walk in front of someone who is about to lift.
We saved this one for last, but it is equally important and #1 on this list. During the strength portion of your class each lifter will probably be moving at a different pace. You want to be mindful of when someone is performing their set.
Out of respect and safety of the person lifting, you do not want to cross in front of them during a lift (or set of lifts). Crossing into their view could distract them enough that they cannot complete the lift successfully. It's just courteous to wait until they are finished, or find an alternate path if you must walk around them.
Just Be Respectful
At the end of that day it all comes down to respecting others and respecting the gym equipment. If you wouldn't do it to something you own, you probably shouldn't do it to the equipment either. The best way to learn is by listening to your coach and watching others in the gym. Watch how the coach handles equipment and try to copy them.
If you aren't sure how to use something, ask the coach to show you. They have been trained to handle the equipment properly in order to ensure safety. If you weren't aware of these "rules" before, don't beat yourself up if you've broken a few. Now you know and now you can practice proper gym etiquette.