Is Your Box Really Open to All?

Is your Box open to all?We made it to the 50 Snatches. I watched my partner complete his five lifts, throwing the weight up and over his head. Silently, I urged him on, dreading the moment when it would become my turn again.

But, it was a partner WOD and there was no turning back. We’d come through too many meters of running, burpee box jump overs and deadlifts to stop now.

What was most motivating and impressive though was my partner. I had never had the privilege of meeting him before, but I had seen him around the Box, crushing WODs and defying gravity in his lifts. There is something about a partner WOD when the two of you are working through the same pain and hurt to finish, especially when the workout is over 20 minutes long.

And before the WOD that day, I hadn’t known something else about my partner: He is deaf. My Affiliate had clued me in before we started the workout, but other than that, I wouldn’t have known.

However, the experience made me believe that what owners around the country are saying is something they really believe: That they will help anyone do CrossFit.

A few months ago I came across a video showing an awesome part of Old City CrossFit in Washington, D.C. The Box is located near Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf and hard of hearing. Old City’s Coaches have adapted to where they now know sign language and are able to communicate with their deaf members. They wanted to communicate effectively and took it upon themselves to learn how to do that. And, they didn’t let barriers stop anyone from joining their gym.

My partner yesterday was a huge push in helping me complete the WOD. He made me fight for each burpee and Snatch even when I wanted to give up. He’s an example that no one should be unable to do CrossFit because a Coach or Affiliate is too afraid of the challenges.

So, how are you making steps toward opening your gym to all walks of life? From the athlete to the person who has never done a workout to the man in the wheelchair or the woman with one arm, how are you accommodating all people?

It’s probably a scary task with a lot of unknowns; sure, it’d be probably much easier to only coach experienced CrossFitters who could do everything on their own. But, if you say anyone can do CrossFit, surely you should try your best to show the truth in those words?

When you say your Box is open to everyone, is it?

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at