It goes without saying, but gyms can be dangerous. CrossFit gyms in general have this stigma of being overly dangerous. But the fact of the matter is, it’s usually dangerous because of the situations we create. I’m usually pretty careful about most things I do in the gym. But a recent small lapse in judgment has sidelined me for awhile with a bad ankle sprain. So with all of that mind, I thought I’d share a few ways to stay safe while working out.
#1: Don’t walk behind someone back squatting
While you’d think this is something that impacts the person who isn’t squatting, I find that this particular rule impacts both parties. The person squatting needs to know that they have a clear area around them to bail backwards. As squatters, we know if there’s someone in the vicinity. For me personally, I won’t start until everyone’s out of the way. And of course, if the idea of a barbell loaded with a ton of weight falling on you without you knowing scares you, don’t walk behind someone who’s back is to you.
#2: Let it go!
When 17.3 brought on the snatch ladder, there of course came the CrossFit interwebz trolls with their GIFs and fail videos. Each video or clip I saw on Instagram or Facebook were people trying to hold on to the barbell for dear life to save the lift. Some people had the barbell fall directly on them (OUCH), others had to play obstacle course after trying to save the lift by avoiding things in front of them (people included), and others nearly dislocated their shoulders when the bar flew in the opposite direction they were moving. The fact of the matter is, prior to anyone doing these lifts, you should know how to bail safely. There’s no shame in letting it go.
#3: SCALE BRO
Hypothetical scenario: You’re in class and trying to decide what weight to use during the workout. The proscribed weight is pretty close to your 1 rep max. But at the same time, the super fit people in class are loading the bar like it’s a no-brainer. You opt in for the proscribed weight for the workout. Midway through, you have to quit because your CNS blew up and you literally can’t even. Scaling is something I still do and appreciate. We’ve all started out where proscribed weights are too much! Scale as appropriate to your current fitness level for your sake and your coach’s sake.
#4: Keep your area clear
And enter the latest reminder. My accident happened because I had forgotten I had stepped onto a plate before getting onto the high rings. In coming down from them, my ankle rolled off the plate and I was left with a bum wheel. Please check your area before starting something. Whether it’s a plate, another bar, or another person, keep your area clear. By doing so, you’ll help the equipment last longer, keep your friends longer, and keep your gym owners happy.