Which Comes First: The Athlete or Equipment?


In terms of CrossFit competitions, which comes first: the athlete or the equipment?

To Ben Benson, the co-owner of CrossFit Terminus in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s the athlete. “Without having athletes, you’re not going to have any equipment. And just from my coaching upbringing and my thinking with coaching, I don’t think specialty equipment is really required,” said Benson.

In fact, he said while CrossFit competitions can affect what equipment is purchased, CrossFit Terminus’ programing is the driving force.

Dusty Hyland, the co-owner of DogTown CrossFit in Culver City, California, agreed. He believes the equipment does not affect the athlete, and a competitive athlete should not affect the equipment buying process at a CrossFit gym.

Training a competitive athlete takes a lot of time, a feat Jason Jared, co-owner and main trainer at CrossFit Folsom Lake in Folsom, California, knows too well. He has coached seven competitive teens and adults. And he believes if an Affiliate does not have the time or equipment to coach a competitive athlete, they simply should not. “If equipment is really a financial burden on you because you have a competitive athlete, then you shouldn’t have a competitive athlete at your gym,” he said.

Equipment2Every year, Jared said he emails CrossFit HQ asking for an equipment list for the Open to ensure his Box is properly equipped. “I got a very polite and positive response that basically said no, because it would give people an unfair advantage. Which, as an owner, doesn’t make sense to me,” said Jared. “We all do CrossFit. We all know what the movements are.”

That’s not to say Benson never splurged on equipment. After the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games, he bought The Worm for CrossFit Terminus’ team. “That’s probably one of the few, ‘Do we really need this? Hell, we don’t really need it,’” explained Benson. “I tried it one time in the general class as warm-up … I think it really made people kind of appreciate what they do out on the field at the Games.”

Ultimately, all three Affiliates agreed specialty equipment does not make the athlete or the Box.

Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.