With over 13,000 CrossFit boxes around the world today, it can be a difficult task identifying quality and what separates a standout box from the rest. The folks at CrossFit Times lay out 6 sure signs that make up every top quality CrossFit box.
After your initial enquiry, there should be an opportunity for you to discuss your goals with a member of the coaching team. Before you do any training, the trainer should ask you some questions. Why are you here? What do you want to achieve? How will you know when you have achieved it? The trainer should be attentive and listen to what you have to say. Any concerns or worries should be addressed at this stage.
How is your movement? The trainer should assess your movement for any flexibility or motor control issues. You should be asked about any pain you experience. Progressions and scaling options for different movements should be covered, as well as the next steps to achieve the full movement. Are you given mobility exercises to do to assist in achieving quality movement?
Gone are the days when beginners were thrown into a regular class. Not only was that dangerous, but it demonstrated a lack of care for new client safety and for the quality of service to existing clientele.
A beginners program should provide an opportunity to assess your ability and address any limitations you may have. It bridges the knowledge gap for the newbie and shows your instructors care about your experience. Any new experience can be daunting and a beginners program shows the gym recognizes this and wants you to succeed on your journey.
Injuries happen. What separates the good from the ugly is how injuries are dealt with. Every gym should operate within a network of other health professionals. This shows confidence in both what your coaches do know and what they don’t know. No CrossFit gym should be a jack-of-all-trades. Professionalism is demonstrated when they can refer you to a qualified health professional for treatment of injuries.
It should go without saying that if you are told to work through pain, then you should leave immediately. Pain is an indicator that something is not right and that you need to be assessed by a qualified professional.
The coaching team should be in regular contact with you. A quality CrossFit gym doesn’t operate a revolving-door business model with long-term contracts and quick turnarounds like conventional globo-gyms. CrossFit is about building relationships with its athletes and checking in with them regularly.
Does your trainer remember what you talked about last session? Does he or she care about you and want to see you succeed, or are the gym’s trainers just going through the motions?
This can mean different things to different people, but the number-one priority of a CrossFit gym should be to keep the clients safe. That means not getting an elderly man to do a max-height box jump or teaching kipping handstand push ups to someone who can barely hold him- or herself inverted.
Each trainer needs to have good communication skills and a range of coaching cues to suit the clients. The coaching should be clear, concise, and use a varied tone to suit the activity. e.g. a max-effort back squat requires aggression and the coaching should reflect that. In contrast, a 5k row requires the athlete to remain calm and focused, which would be helped by coaching cues that support this.
Chris Spealler is not only a CrossFit legend, but he's arguably the best bodyweight specialist to ever compete at the CrossFit Games. Watching him fly through muscle ups or handstand walk his way past the competition was truly amazing and inspiring to watch.
With over a decade of CrossFit experience as both a coach and athlete, and with 6 Games appearances, Chris Spealler has racked up a wealth of knowledge on proper movement and technique.