What the Carolina Panthers football team needs, in terms of weightlifting equipment, is going to differ from what a CrossFit Box requires.
“Those are very different needs,” said Jason Boogerd, the vice president of sales at Intek Strength.
When Boogerd talks to an Affiliate about weightlifting equipment, he starts with a few questions to help determine the Box’s need: What is the Box’s maximum capacity of users? How many people can the Box have working out at one time in a safe manner? How much weight is going to be used by each of those users?
“That gives me a better picture of where they need to go,” said Boogerd. “I just try to break it down into a worse-case scenario, and how many people do we need to accommodate at one time.”
Most Boxes also have to decide between how to equip the regular CrossFit classes as well as a barbell club/program. For Shahin Naghavi, the Affiliate of CrossFit EaDo in Houston, Texas, Get RXd equipment is used for both classes. For the barbell club, its 20 to 25 members raised money to purchase the equipment needed. CrossFit EaDo then matched the money raised, dollar for dollar.
“It comes down to bang for buck. Buy one Eleiko or four Get RXd Texas bars. For a growing program, we went with Get RXd,” said Naghavi. “Most of our athletes aren’t full-time lifters, so the whip and bend of a bar is less important than having quality spinning bars.”
At CrossFit H-Town in Houston, Texas, Rogue barbells and Pendlay plates are used in the general CrossFit classes. Theo Tsekouras, the Box owner, explained the Pendlay plates look like Olympic lifting plates, but they are in the standard pounds and are branded with the H-Town name. For his Olympic lifting program equipment, Tsekouras bought “top of the line” Eleiko plates and bars.
Like many Affiliates, Tsekouras said he learned the hard way to not buy cheap. “Do research,” he said. “Compare different brands, warranties, even reviews. Those are always good things to look at when you’re buying equipment.”
To him, $3,000 spent on an Eleiko bar and plates is a worthwhile investment. “Spend the money now because the lifetime value or the longevity that you’ll get from that product will save you a lot of money in the long run,” he said.
Once money is spent on weightlifting equipment, it comes down to the Box’s staff and members to care for it properly. At CrossFit EaDo, athletes are taught how to correctly maintain Olympic lifting equipment. “Properly cleaning the bar of chalk and oiling as necessary shows respect for the program,” said Naghavi. “Plus, with the fundraising and matching, I feel the athletes are more invested.”
After each use, Tsekouras has his Olympic lifting members wipe down the bars with a wire brush. His regular CrossFit classes use antibacterial wipes to clean their bars. Once a year, Tsekouras will take the barbell sleeves off and re-grease them, a skill he picked up from watching a YouTube video.
To determine his equipment needs, Tsekouras uses a quarterly member survey. He said members are the best ones who can tell the Box if a piece of equipment is going bad.
Ultimately, Naghavi said a Box’s equipment needs are dependent on the program. “Have a good Coach who can take ownership of the program,” he said. “Their passion will transfer over to the growth. Growth brings demand. Demand brings more equipment.”