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When You Drop It Like It’s Hot

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It’s one-rep max day for clean & jerk. Everyone’s amped up, excited to go for a new PR. The box fairly vibrates with energy as athletes build up in weight. With a minute to go, you make your final attempt…and make the lift! A new PR!!!

You let go of the bar, turn away, and start doing your happy PR dance. But wait!!! You forgot something. Your barbell drops, unchaperoned, all. the. way. to. the. ground.


We’ve all been there. And fortunately, at CrossFit Dark Horse, we’ve not had a serious injury occur from a poorly controlled barbell. So I say let’s keep it that way! In fact, we can all work together to be a little bit better about our barbell etiquette.

Here’s a little reminder of the dos and don’ts we try to follow when working with a barbell:

1)  Never Drop An Empty Barbell
Dropping an empty bar, or even a bar with 2.5, 5 or 10 pound weights is really, really bad for the equipment. Really bad.  As in it ruins the bar.  Barbells with heavier, rubber plates are designed to be dropped. Empty bars are not. So take extra care if you are working with lighter weights.  (Note, a regular barbell that is only loaded with 10lb rubber plates should also not be dropped, as it bends the plates causing excess wear and premature breaking.  Instead of using a 35lb bar with two 10lb plates, get a 15lb training bar and load it with  10lb  and 15lb rubber plates and drop the bar to you hearts content.)

2)  Control Your Bar
If you are dropping your bar, do it in a safe and controlled manner. Bumper plates bounce, and can bounce into another athlete’s space if you’re not careful. In a crowded class, this becomes extremely important. Our WODs can get very intense. We’d hate to see your sloppy actions hurt a fellow athlete.

3)  Practice Bailing And Dropping Safely
Bailing is different than dropping. Bailing is a technique used to get out from under a heavy bar safely when you fail a lift. Dropping is a strategy we use to manage lifting. When dropping, the key is to keep your hands loosely on the bar at least until it passes your chest and continue to follow it with your focus until it is safely on the ground. If you don’t know how to properly bail from a heavy lift, or drop a barbell, ask a coach to show you how!

4)  Be Aware Of Other Athletes
Sometimes, when class is extremely full, it feels like we’re all working out on top of each other. This is a time when keeping control of your barbell becomes critical for everyone’s safety. We all like to go hard, but if we go hard at the expense of others around us, everyone loses. In the end, your place on the leaderboard doesn’t mean anything if you cracked someone’s shins open to get there.

Now stay safe, and have fun out there!

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