What Makes a CrossFit Box Great?

June 25, 2015 2 Comments

The other week I was scrolling through my newsfeed when I stumbled on an article by Breaking Muscle. This particle article was written from the perspective of a coach who was introduced to a new client who after 6 months of CrossFit, still couldn't complete a proper push up. 

Within the first 5 lines of this article, it had me thinking about what made a CrossFit box great too.

You see, whether it's a box or a gym, when we pass through those doors for the first time, we have certain expectations. We expect that the coaches and trainers on staff will be there to provide us with guidance, assistance and correction,  not only to avoid injury, but to improve performance overall.

Unfortunately, it seems like a large portion of the facilities out there have dropped the ball. Form isn't being corrected, assistance isn't provided and more and more clients are injuring themselves in the process.

I want to be clear on one point here though - I fully recognize that some people, even with plenty of coaching, still refuse to perform the movement properly and can therefore injure themselves. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

My argument here, is not regarding these individuals, rather the facilities who fail to fully invest in their clients success and ultimately do them a disservice.

So, what does make a CrossFit box (or any gym for that matter) great? Here are 3 of my favorite points (there are 11 in total) made from the BreakingMuscle article, which you can read here.

Movement Quality

An excellent point was made here. Coaches should be assessing your general movement for flexibility and general motor control. This provides them with a good indication of where you're at physically and what you should be focusing on first. 

For example, some people have little to no hip and ankle mobility, which will make back squatting very difficult. By assessing your movement and assigning you a few mobility exercises, you will be able to safely progress to the back squat without fear of injury.

Check out some of our mobility exercises here!

Structured and Varied Programming

Another excellent point - there should be a clear objective for the way WODs and strength programs are created. They should also be complimentary to one another so you aren't over training a particular muscle and doing more damage than good. 

As for varied, well variety is the spice of life so we're in agreement there too!

System for Dealing with Injury

Rounding out my top 3 is their acknowledgement that injuries will and do happen, even with great coaching. The difference is, great facilities align with health professionals so you can feel confident that your best interests are at stake. 

We may be trainers with a background in physiology, but that doesn't make us professionals. Acknowledging our limitations is critical to maintaining safety.

"Work through the pain" is not a suggestion of the intelligent either, it's a sign to run for the hills. 

I could create a list of credentials that I would want my ideal box to have - great coaching, varied programming, high quality equipment, etc - but what I really want to know is this; What makes a CrossFit box great for YOU? 

Share in the comment sections below and be sure to let us know what you think of the other 8 points made in the BreakingMuscle article.





2 Responses

Candra Martus
Candra Martus

June 26, 2015

So what makes my box great, and probably every other box in the world….are the people! It’s not the coaches, not the equipment, not the amount you dole out every month to be brutally punished by burpess (buck furpees!!!)..but hands down, the other athletes that are putting in the blood, sweat, and tears with you. The people that are working out beside you, pushing you to be better than you think you are. The other athletes that’s telling you what a great job you just did because those are the people that notice everything, not the coaches. It’s the people in the class with you that see where you started and how far you have come. I would rather rely on the fellow athlete to tell me they’re proud of the work and effort I put in than a coach. Not saying that our coaches aren’t awesome and I’ve learned soooo much from them and have come such a long way, but it’s the sense of loyalty I have to my fellow athlete.

I love my box but I love the people inside my box even more

Bruce Derouen
Bruce Derouen

June 26, 2015

I’ve just moved to Maryland and just joined CrossFit Critical Mass. I can’t say yet whether or not this one is ‘great’ but so far, I really like what see. I feel off the wagon BIG time…head first…gained a bunch of weight, so I’m just starting over again, and the head coach there has been really helpful so far!

However I moved from Houston Texas and I was a member at P3 CrossFit in Houston (Bellaire) Texas and I say, without a doubt, it was great! My reasons for saying so are:

1. The coaches were phenomenal! John McPhearson, the owner and head coach, set up a system to where all the members were assigned to one of the staff coaches and they followed our progress. Ever so often, John would check up on you himself and also with “your” coach to check progress, any issues, etc. He truly cared about us as individuals as well. I was out for about 6 months due to a surgery and John kept in touch, making sure I was doing ok, and making sure I kept MOVING!  Also for those of us that needed to lose weight, he came up with some type of additional motivation that was personalized to us.

2. The coaching style had been labeled as “aggressive”…and that fits. They made sure we were moving accurately and safely. If someone came into the gym and refused to move safely, he’d throw them out! That’s how much he cared about our safety and how we progressed! I’ve seen too many gyms that once the coach started the WOD, they’d be on their phone, chatting with someone or otherwise just preoccupied. That didn’t happen here. Every coach was attentive, constantly monitoring us or at least giving the occasional “COME ON…KEEP MOVING!!” (grin)

3. Kind of related to the above, The classes were very, very structured. You arrived a few minutes early, if possible. He allowed 5 minutes after the hour for traffic, people running late, etc, then he started the class. First, was a coach-led stretching session that was related to what the work was going to be today, followed by a coach-led warm up. Then the group moved to a skill or strength practice, then followed by the WOD. Almost always included some mobility work or at least he’d emphasize the need for us to do it before we left.

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