CrossFit has opened the doors for those who would have otherwise not found the sport of Weightlifting. The two communities are so close and intertwined that it has naturally developed into what is almost a symbiotic relationship. Almost.
As I’ve said time and again, the fact that so many non-conventional gyms are opening up across the United States is making the appearance of things like bumper plates, plywood platforms, and dropping weights a standard and largely accepted occurrence. With the rise of CrossFit affiliations, the number of country-wide USA Weightlifting registered clubs has followed suit — I could easily see CrossFit gyms doubling as Weightlifting training halls. But, until then, for the aspiring and/or traveling weightlifter, how do you know which club or gym is best for you?
Since I believe that language is important (not French versus English, but the actual words and the meaning behind them), there is a distinction that must be made to help those searching for a particular service to find exactly what they are looking for.
Barbell Clubs and Classes
As a general observation, barbell clubs and classes seem to be the overwhelming majority of what currently exists. Perhaps a two or three day per week hour-long class that is offered separately from the general fitness class times with a central workout or training program centered around the Olympic lifts. Let me be the first to say that this is an amazing service that gyms offer (and should offer). It serves as an alternate focus for your general membership as well as an exposure to what I consider to be an amazing sport – but of course I’d say that, right?
Personally, this is how I got involved with coaching in this sport. I started at a gym that had the capacity to offer a three-day per week class, so that’s what I did. This is a great way to generate interest and gain coaching experience. Once the classes start to become more popular, it’s easier to create something that’s more structured in terms of time blocks and days that Weightlifting takes place. But, whether or not Weightlifting is the main focus of the gym as a whole, I think that every registered USA Weightlifting Club should offer some kind of part-time, structured Weightlifting class environment or Weightlifting time block at the very least.
Weightlifting Gyms, Training Halls, and Specialty Programs
On the other side of “part-time” training programs and classes, you have the full-time offerings. Seeing a 100% Weightlifting gym is not the norm (at least here in Florida). You will often see a Weightlifting program that exists as part of a CrossFit gym — two different programs happening under one roof, so to speak. These facilities will have Weightlifting hours that are independent of the general fitness classes that are taking place on the schedule and will ideally have their own space and equipment that provides an area for this specialized type of training.
For the full-time weightlifter, finding this type of facility with a “training hall” approach is the best course of action to meet your needs as an athlete. Eventually, I think that this is the direction that any successful barbell class takes. It’s a natural evolution, more or less – offer a service that creates interest and increased demand usually follows. At CrossFit 813, we are able to offer both; a part time barbell class for crossfitters along with a full-time program for those that would like to specialize in the sport of Weightlifting. With more people being exposed to the sport and more athletes transitioning over to Weightlifting, programs like these are quickly becoming a necessity!
Going back to the ever-expanding universe of both CrossFit and Weightlifting, there are exponentially more registered USAW clubs in Florida (and the nation) than there were a few years ago. This is obviously a good thing but unfortunately, that does not mean that every club has the capacity to support a weightlifter or a group of Weightlifters. I receive calls and emails quite often from people asking if our club actually allows Weightlifters to train at our facility. Could you imagine going to a rec center with tennis courts that doesn’t allow people to play tennis?
While I understand that many places might not be able to accommodate a Weightlifter at all hours of the day (whether it’s because of space or resources, or whatever), a USAW registered club turning away USAW registered athletes is something that just doesn’t make sense to me — registered clubs should strive to be part of the infrastructure that will need to support a sport that is rapidly exploding rather than just strapping a buzz word on their websites in hopes of more traffic. Granted, it is something that will probably always exist to some degree, but I’m sure it can be both frustrating and confusing to Weightlifters that are looking for a real place to train.
So, with that being said, I’m doing my best to keep record of gyms that either myself, friends, or our lifters have had the pleasure of training at, so make sure to check out our Find A Weightlifting Gym page on this website. If you have any suggestions for gyms to add, shoot me an email and let me know — I’m sure there are MANY more out there, but this is a start for either traveling or aspiring Weightlifters to find a home away from home!
Get started today with 813 Weightlifting at www.KeepPulling.com/LIFT or contact us below!