It’s a new year, a new month, a barbell fiesta Friday WOD is on tap, and we have a handful of new members looking to learn the lifts… what better time for a re-post of an old favorite…

Every few months (without fail) someone sends me this video, usually when they've first discovered its existence on the internet:

Turn up the sound for full cringeworthy effect

I think people just like the thought of me cringing, or get a kick out of imagining my head about to explode.  If you think I'm bad, you should see Coach Hillary when she sees/hears someone drop an un-loaded barbell - I usually leave the room because I fear for my life at that point.

On rare occasions someone who thinks dropping an un-loaded bar is the norm asks me "hey, what's the big deal anyway?!"  Maybe they did it at their old gym.  Maybe they've seen a video or been around a situation like the one above and just feel like they should be able to drop the un-loaded barbell too - I'm here to tell you to CUT THAT SH*T OUT ASAP.  It breaks the barbell, and sadly I need to inform you that you're not competing at the World Championships of Olympic Weightlifting.  The day you can snatch three times your bodyweight you have my permission to drop every single bar at the gym and I'll pick them all up for you while apologizing that we have so many.    

Roger Federer uses a brand new, freshly strung tennis racket for about 12 minutes and then never touches it again - he's welcome to smash that racket afterwards, break it in half, or donate it to a kid (that's probably what actually he does).  People at a public park or private tennis club would either think you were careless or an asshole if they saw you dropping your racket, bashing it against the floor, or tossing it around like you were never going to use it again.  In most cases they would be right - so pretty please STOP THE BARBELL DROPPING.  

Here's a nice little video courtesy of (who else) Coach Hillary on how to unload a barbell properly without dropping it:

She literally gave HERSELF burpees the other day when she accidentally dropped the barbell when un-loading it

And while we're already on the topic, why not include our original post on Barbell Etiquette in general.  This may be helpful for new folks, as well as the old vets who still don't abide by the code that the rest of us try to uphold...

Barbell Etiquette

Here are a few friendly reminders regarding barbell use and etiquette in the gym.  A few items can go a long way for helping to keep the barbells spinning well (and lasting a long time), and you and your fellow athletes safe.  We're fortunate at Arena Ready to have mindful and courteous athletes/members, but a little reminding never hurts anyone.

First, regarding the barbells and bumper plates themselves:

  1. Please do not drop an empty (unloaded) bar, or allow a loaded bar to skip into the wall or pull-up rig.  Yes, I know they drop empty bars in the training room at the World Championships (see video above), but like many things you've seen on Youtube that you shouldn't do yourself, this move is not OK.  When we coach at Nationals or Americans some of the lifters do it there too, and they all look like assholes.  Dropping the empty bar breaks the bushing/bearing thereby rendering it unable to spin during the lifts (snatches, cleans, etc), and that can present some major safety issues for athletes.  What's the big deal about the bars spinning you may ask?  Try snatching or cleaning with a cheap bar from a commercial gym and let me know how that goes for you (kidding, don't actually do that).

  2. Wipe off any blood, skin, excessive sweat, etc with a disinfectant wipe immediately after barbell use.  And if you notice you're bleeding during a workout please tend to it immediately (i.e. before continuing the WOD) - there is Bactine spray, bandages, and athletic tape in the first aid cart at the gym.  Just let a coach know you need them and we're happy to help.  Contrary to what you might see on social media, bleeding all over the place during a workout is not badass, it's just gross... and unsafe.

  3. Put the collars (AKA "clips") on for all your lifts, and load the heaviest plates on the inside. 

  4. Use as few plates as possible.  I know it's fun to load seven 10s on each side, but it makes you look like a noob - so please roll out the bigger plates when you take your jumps in weight.  This is where it helps to lift with a buddy and share the task of loading and unloading plates. 

  5. Dropping a bar from overhead loaded with just a pair of 10s will eventually bend and break the 10s, so please refrain from doing so.  If you have a bar loaded with just a pair of 10s then lower it to thigh-level under control and then drop it.  Too tired to do so?  Then it's too heavy for you.

  6. The Olympic-style weightlifting kilo plates (think rainbow colors) and accessory equipment near said plates (e.g. jerk tables, pulling straps, pulling blocks) should be used for only that - Olympic weightlifting.

  7. There is an Eleiko competition bar and Rogue competition bar on the floor behind the GHD, as well as other assorted weightlifting-specific barbells.  If you have competed in a national-level Olympic weightlifting meet, have posted a competition total high enough to do so, or you won one of the barbells as a prize by being crowned CrossFit Liftoff Champion (we have two of those people at our gym, believe it or not) then feel free to use one for your lifts.  If not, please leave them alone (yes, they’re supposed to be stored lying flat on the floor like that).  If I see one leaning against a wall, racked in a squat rack, stored in the vertical racks with the CrossFit/Rogue bars, or being used in a CrossFit WOD my head may actually explode and the gym will be closed indefinitely.   

Second, regarding lifting the barbells in class with your fellow athletes:

  1. Don't ghost ride the bar We drop (loaded) barbells like ladies and gentlemen at Arena Ready.  Control it down or follow it with open hands and settle it on the first bounce.  People who ghost ride bars in CrossFit are like people who drive big ass trucks in order to compensate for lacking in other areas.  They should wear T-shirts that say "My ghost riding barbell expresses what my lifts cannot."

  2. During a lifting session or barbell-focused class try to avoid walking directly in front of (or standing directly in front of) someone taking a lift.  It's distracting and shows poor form.  Safety-wise please also avoid walking next to, or directly behind, someone taking a big lift.  In CrossFit WODs the etiquette is a bit different, since we're on the clock and often have to quickly transition between different movements - in this case we simply ask that you be a good neighbor and look out for one another.

  3. High five or fist bump your fellow athletes when they hit a PR.  Or clap.  Or cheer and shout.  Then tell them to hit the PR Gong.  After all this is supposed to be fun, and we're lucky enough to have a bunch of cool and interesting people to train with and become better.

  4. Anytime someone hits the PR Gong (and you hear that unmistakable sound) you MUST immediately stop what you're doing and respectfully bow, with hands pressed together.  Bow to respect the PR.  Bow to respect the hard work it took for your fellow athlete to achieve the PR.  Bow because dammit it's funny as hell when a room full of people in a noisy ass gym stops everything and bows at the same time.  Coaches reserve the right to issue burpee penalties to non-bowing athletes.   

Any questions?  Feel free to ask away or pick our brains at the gym.  We are always happy to help and I'd rather you ask us than wonder if something is acceptable or not.

Happy lifting!

WOD For 02-01-19:

Every 2 Minutes For 10 Rounds (20 Minutes):

Squat Clean + Front Squat + Push Jerk + Squat Clean + Split Jerk

*This is performed as a complex but does NOT need to be touch-and-go

*Start at approximately 70% of your 1RM and climb as your technique allows (climbing every round is NOT required)