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Ghost Riding and CrossFit: Why it’s a big no no


Ghost Riding and CrossFit: Why it’s a big no no

Ghosting riding. If you know what it is (dropping the barbell from overhead), you know how sketchy it can be and have probably had the “oh sh*t” look cross your face as you frantically look for a Modig coach to see if they saw it happen (they did). Why is it not cool, safe, acceptable (fill you in any description you want)? CrossFit Verve says it best in the following post written last week. Please take the time to read this folks…

What ever you do, don’t drop it like it’s hot. Please. By Courtney “this is my serious tone” Shepherd

Don’t drop it like it’s hot? I know what you are all thinking, when has Courtney ever told us not to drop it like it’s hot? And you would be right, up until this point I’m not sure it has ever been my advice to avoid the hot drop. But I’ve changed up my tune in response to an activity that happens to be making it’s away across the gym. I’ve changed my tune because this particular activity has a safety issue to it, I’m talking about dropping a barbell from overhead, also known as “ghost riding”. I’ve addressed this issue in classes, usually with a half funny, half serious tone, but this post is all serious baby. And rather than assume you’ve heard my thoughts on this matter, I want to know you’ve heard (read) my thoughts on the matter.

Let me start by first saying, there is a significant difference between bailing from a barbell and the reckless, wanton, mid air abandonment of a barbell. Bailing from a barbell is an effort to avoid injury.  When an athlete “bails” on the weight, it means he or she stalls out with the lift and lets go of the bar, getting out from underneath the load as it crashes to the floor. It’s a fundamental technique in Olympic lifting. Bailing on a weight is considered a skill in itself, athletes should be taught how to appropriately bail. Ghost riding is the act of completing a rep and then just letting the bar fall from overhead, the front, or behind without any guidance or attempt to control it. Ghost riding a bar is generally done with a willful disregard to the maintenance of the equipment and any possible injury to one’s self or others around. It’s that last part, the “others around” part that is why I have such a strong opinion on the matter. I care about Verve’s equipment but I care more about you.And I want everyone that walks into Verve to use it’s equipment, to care about every other person that walks into Verve and is working out next to them.

Dropping a bar causes it to bounce, often erratically. The higher we drop a bar from  increases the bounce and erratic nature of the bounce. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a barbell drop and bounce into someone else’s work space, coming within inches of hitting their shins. Now I get there is a component of fatigue and the overall handling of heavy weights, so I’m not demanding that any athlete keep a firm grip on the barbell from start to finish of a rep, we have bumper plates for a reason, to drop heavy bars. However, I am saying all we need to do is keep our hands near or lightly in contact with the bar as it falls and guide it to the ground. The minimum requirement is guiding it past the waist, with the stipulation that we also make sure it doesn’t take a funky bounce or roll away afterwards.

I was curious to know if others felt the same way I do, after a little bit of inter webs searching I found a lot of gyms share my thoughts on the subject:

Chalkline CrossFit, Aurora Hills, Calif.: “STAY IN CONTROL – CrossFit is intense. You will push yourself harder than you ever have before. However, you should always be in control of your movements, your weights and how you affect the members around you. DO NOT drop a loaded bar from an overhead position and let it bounce wildly into someone else’s workout space. You should be in control of the weight, not the other way around!”

CrossFit Hillsdale, Portland, Ore.: “When should you drop the bar? When not dropping it would result in injury. Why shouldn’t you drop the bar? Because it’s lazy, it puts wear on the equipment and it’s loud.”

CrossFit Roots, Boulder, CO.: “No Ghost-Riding the Barbells – Ever. Yes, we know you’re cool and we know how empowering it is to drop a barbell from overhead. You know what’s not empowering? When you barbell drops to the floor and dances into someone else’s shin injuring them for weeks.

Safety Post #2 – Do Not Be a Ghost Rider By BARx CrossFit

While we are talking about dropping bars, I will also briefly address the dropping of an empty barbell. Don’t do that. Empty barbells are not made to be dropped without bumper plates on them. It’s really bad for the bars and the bearings inside.

Now, it’s not completely in my nature to serious all the time, so even though I said this whole post would be serious, I’m going to end it with a funny video. Yes, it’s meant to be funny. Click on the link for the video.

Bad CrossFit Gym Etiquette