First-time visitors to our Industrial Park Gym (Catalyst Athletic and Crossfit) are sometimes taken aback. There are few machines. The plates are multi-coloured, huge, and have rubber edges. There's a twelve-foot-tall set of monkey bars. There's a giant tire, a shiny keg, some thick ropes, and rock music.
In the middle of it all, though, is shiny wood: 3 platforms, 10 feet long, of heavily-polished cherry. And they're not there for decoration.
These are Olympic platforms, made specifically for the OLY lifts: Cleans. Jerks. Snatches. Stand on wood, drop on rubber. Drop from overhead, drop loudly, drop often; doesn't matter.
The OLY lifts are unmatched for developing explosive, ground-force power. Done correctly, they'll improve speed and explosiveness like no other lifts. But if a weight won't go up, it's gotta go down – and it's coming down fast and hard.
Unlike other lifts, OLY lifts require a high rate of speed. They're also impossible to spot. You can't jump in and catch a jerk gone wrong; you can't help a lifter who's going to drop a clean. And when a snatch doesn't make lockout…well, it's coming down hard. As it should. Dropping a weight you can't lock out is the safest thing you can do!
And it's all okay! It's fine! You SHOULD expect to drop weights if you're working hard! Occasionally, during Crossfit workouts, you'll want to move quickly between exercises, and delicacy will not be top of mind. In the most advanced training facilities in the world, PEOPLE DROP WEIGHTS! Regularly, loudly, repeatedly…and safely.
Wood is nicer underfoot – it gives a satisfying 'squeek!' when your feet jump into a split jerk. There's a nice 'clap!' when you drop into a snatch. And sometimes, when you sit down faster than you'd intended, it's nice to have a bit of slide under your butt.
Yes, we're the only facility in Northern Ontario that uses OLY Platforms. That's a little disorienting for some folks, but they'll sure be grateful when they make the NCAA or NHL or the Crossfit Games and they see what's in store!
Below: Arkansas State, Phoenix Coyotes, New Mexico State, Oregon State, San Diego, and West Texas. Notice: Platforms galore. Space. Power Racks. Bumper Plates. Few machines. Success. These are folks who know what they're doing, can afford the best available, and use the best science out there.
These are what GYMS look like. These are where CHAMPIONS train. These are where athletes become BETTER athletes. This is where you need to be if your goal is to be among these elites. Can you do cleans at your gym, or do you get into trouble? Can you deadlift, or are you risking your membership? Can you drop a weight from overhead – or do people scream? Can you even chalk up?