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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 03-18-2009, 05:03 AM   #1
Brian Sharp
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Location: London  UK
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Any tips on running classes with limited equipment?

How do you (or did you when you started up) organise a class to account for having less equipment than people?

Imagine you have a class of 10 people, but only 4 bars or the number of people who could use the pullup bar at one time was limited.

- Would you stagger the start, then feed people in in groups of 3 or 4 at a time every couple of minutes? Or for shorter WODs split the class into two and have one half do the WOD and one half something else (mabye a skill practice like the Burgner Warm up?) then swap?

- If you had a cindy type triplet would you start one group on the pullups, one on the pressups and one on the squats?

- What do you do if you have people waiting for a piece of equipment to free up? Do you have them doing something else while they wait? Either way, their WOD time will be effected.

- Would you change the WOD to account for the equipment limitations? If so, how?

Thanks for the benefit of your experience.

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Old 03-18-2009, 05:48 AM   #2
Sara Fleming
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Location: Raleigh  NC
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Re: Any tips on running classes with limited equipment?

During the weekdays, we have less of a problem with this, but on Saturdays, we have a lot of people show up between 10 and 12:30 (anywhere between 15-35) so we just stagger our classes on the weekends.

The WOD's usually take no more than 20 minutes to complete, most of them 10-15 minutes or less. So, during the class times, its more like an ongoing circuit. Our clients show up, we ask them to warm up and when we have a group ready to start, we have them begin. If its a timed, rotation type wod like fight gone bad, then we can fit more people in, but usually people are content to wait a few minutes. In one hour, we can still get about 10-15people through the circuit if we have to. Since we don't have a set start time, they just show up when they can during the session times.

For something like Cindy, I would just wait for someone to finish. If you have someone who is faster, you'll screw up someone else's repetitions. And there's no sense in making someone wait on someone else, its frustrating and messes with the "teamwork" atmosphere. We have a good semi-competetive, but very supportive atmosphere in our gym where we're eager to see what everyone's times are, but also eager to support one another and cheer each other on. Getting in each other's way would not be good for that.

It works better for our trainers as well. One of us is demonstrating the WOD and taking them through the warmup while one or two of us is coaching the the ones actually doing the WOD.

Last edited by Sara Fleming; 03-18-2009 at 05:51 AM..
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:22 AM   #3
Sam Ser
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Location: Jerusalem  Israel
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Re: Any tips on running classes with limited equipment?

i ran into this problem with my "boot camp"-style class the other day. we usually train outside (no overhead!) but when it rained, i invited my athletes over to my apartment. it's a really small space, and my son's toys are obstacles. we only had three athletes that day, though, so it wasn't a big deal.

anyway, i had them do three tabata intervals, one of squats, another of push-ups and a third of jumping pull-ups. each athlete was at a "station" for the duration of the interval. then they switched. and then they switched again, so all three athletes did all three intervals. under 20 minutes, including rest.

you can do the same thing with whatever equipment you have. if you have dumbbells or kettlebells, you're fine. together with your pull-up bars and some bodyweight exercises, you're awesome, even.

you could split your 10 people into pairs across 5 stations: pull-ups, push-ups, squats, db/kb swings, db hang squat cleans. switch stations after X seconds. for Y rounds.

just an example.

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Old 03-19-2009, 11:13 AM   #4
Andrew Bolliger
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Location: Salem  OR
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Re: Any tips on running classes with limited equipment?

I have this issue come up all the time, basically I just form a circuit and slighty change the WOD if I get a lot of people that show up unexpectedly. You can do partner WOD's where they switch equipment back a forth and this way get twice as much out of it. If I have 9, 12, or 15 I do three person teams and they rotate between stations. Some WOD's you must have equipment for each person and your stuck there... I don't like people waiting for anything so I decide the WOD after the people show up... that is the best way for me because I never know how many to expect.
Owner, CrossFit Salem (est. 2008)
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:13 PM   #5
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Any tips on running classes with limited equipment?

Team workouts helps solve this. Or due it in two flights or adjust the WOD for the affiliate. It will be hard to have rowing or GHsitups if you have only 1 or 2 of each. I've seen affiliates either sub it or just use those only two for warmups and finishes then.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
John McPherson
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Re: Any tips on running classes with limited equipment?

Add in a run distance. Start half inside with the equipment, half on the run. The risk of backing up on available of equipment seriously goes down. If still in fear of doubling up on equipment, make it a task list. They must complete A,B,C exercises before moving on to the next round. Include a movement(s) that doesn't require equipment, pushups, situps, burpees, lunge walks, squats, jumping lunges, jumping squats...etc... Boxes can be used by two people, you jump, they jump... Limited space on the pullup bar would be one for you to specifically manage and keep the 'flow' of people coming on and off constant.

To keep people moving and not standing around waiting you will have to give in to modifying the WODs in some way shape or form so that you can facilitate everybody at least until you get more equipment space or the worse less clients.
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Old 03-22-2009, 03:43 AM   #7
Tish Traster
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Re: Any tips on running classes with limited equipment?

Obstacle course, teams & staggered starts works for me.

Spread it out so that there is a short run between stations. Here's one I use a lot:

200m row (put rowers (I have 2, I run 8-10 on this course easily, outside back of building if possible, short run inside to next station)

(working way through gym to front door two circuits set up in straight line)

Pull-Ups x 5/10 (low to keep it going)
Jump Box 20" x (1)
Plyo-Bench Jumps x 10
Jump Box 15" x (1)
Wall Balls x 10

Out front door 100m run around to back of building

Team Tire Flip x 5

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." ~Albert Einstein
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Old 03-22-2009, 05:08 AM   #8
John Frazer
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Re: Any tips on running classes with limited equipment?

Team or partner workouts, or FGB-style time intervals for max reps, all work well. You can also combine the concepts. For example, at CrossFit DC recently we did this:

With a partner and an appropriately loaded bar, do ten rounds of power clean + push press. Maximum reps in intervals of one minute work/one minute rest, so one athlete works while the other rests, keeps score, and shouts encouragingly.

With three athletes on each bar, you could make it a 30-minute effort with one minute PC + PP, one minute pushups (or whatever), one minute rest.

Check out the CrossFit DC blog at -- Tom Brose is incredibly inventive in dealing with fairly big classes (15-20 people most Sundays) with only 1/3 as many barbells and pullup bars as we have students.
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