CrossFitters: Time to Call Ourselves Out on the Shenanigans

Patrick McCarty

CrossFit, Masters Athletes

Loveland, Ohio, United States

CrossFit, Mature Athletes


Hey CrossFitters, have you ever noticed that we rarely call “shenanigans” on ourselves? As a tribe, we love to do a lot of outrageous, experimental, and potentially dangerous things, photograph them, and then send the photos off to HQ with hopes they post it on the main site, or repost on their social media accounts.


From one-legged overhead squats on an atlas stone to someone doing a backflip over the top of a loaded bar then clean and jerking that bar (“Olynastics”), we think nothing of the tomfoolery when it’s us doing the foolery.



But so help me, when someone outside the CrossFit universe does something off-putting, we literally flip our shit.



Case in Point

Gold’s Gym recently posted a video allegedly instructing us on how to do a Turkish get up with a kettlebell. What we saw in the video was incorrect – the movement was not a Turkish get up.


In fact, the instructor had the student sort of rolling up onto her knee with the kettlebell resting at shoulder position, then pressing it up once she was standing. She then had the student “Give me a set of fifteen as quickly as possible.” There was a good deal of shock on the part of those CrossFitters who had a chance to find it and share it.


However, the video has since been removed from YouTube and from Gold’s website. I guess the collective outrage from the world at large (and probably more so the RKC community for the mislabeling of the movement) forced them to take it down.


But my question is this – when we see something ugly, dangerous, incorrect, or foolish from the outside world, we share it like a bunch of fifth graders who just found a Playboy magazine. But when it’s one of us, we leave it to Drywall to post under “CrossFitters Doin’ CrossFit.” Why?



Why Don't We Hold Ourselves Accountable?

I mean, we all remember the Jillian Michaels kettlebell video where she says, “Now DIVE through!” and literally lets the kettlebell pull her and her head all the way through her legs.



The pushback from the community was epic. Our unison voices shouting “NO! NO! NO!” with pitchforks and torches were so loud it’s tough to even find that video now. 


But we rarely share and shout down our own shenanigans. Interesting, isn’t it? It’s almost as if there is some sort of trigger. Once someone is inside the CrossFit bubble, whatever he or she does is no longer ridiculous, it's…try-able. Maybe even cool. When it’s us, it’s not shenanigans, it’s experimental. Boundary pushing. 


"My challenge to the CrossFit community at large: elevate the community. If you see something, say something."


I am sure there is a sociological explanation for why we don’t turn on each other, some tribe-mentality, self-preservation bullshit that explains why some guy curling on a rower at a Gold’s Gym is horrible, but some gal pulling the bar up and over her head on an erg in CrossFit is just fighting for every last meter.


We are much more likely to chime in with, “Ooh! Can’t wait to try this!” than we are to share a post containing some cultish, potentially dangerous movement with this statement: Do not do this, folks. We will not be doing crap like this at CrossFit Kingpin.”


Ape Must Never Kill Ape

Do we hold each other accountable? Do we, as CrossFitters and box owners, call out other CrossFitters or boxes that are posting things on their social media accounts that might be misinterpreted or might reflect poorly upon the community?




Probably less often than we should. One, we’re a highly defensive group, which often puts us in a “How ‘bout you mind your own business?” defensive stance, and two, as I said earlier, there is definitely a self-preservation mentality. To borrow a quote from 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes, “Ape must never kill ape.” We rarely turn on each other.


Don’t get me wrong, we’ll critique a shitty lift in the comment section of a post. But to share a horrible idea video on your page, or to directly contact the poster is a rarity.


Chanastics Shenanigans

Which brings me to this:


A video posted by Ryan Doyle (@doylecfr) on Sep 30, 2015 at 5:41pm PDT


Sorry, folks. There is nothing you can do to convince me that this is anything but a horrible idea. The original poster is a coach at CrossFit Redondo, and is clearly a very talented athlete. A quick scan of his Instagram page will demonstrate this. But he also appears to be attempting to brand his version of movement as “Chanastics.”


Whether the action seen on the video is in furtherance of that brand, whether it’s in preparation for a movie role, or whether it’s just two guys with nothing better to do, the fact is, CrossFit Redondo is tagged in that post. And as such, CrossFit Redondo is the unwitting recipient of perception.



When the quote is, “Showing them how we get things done at CrossFit Redondo!” it follows that anyone who happens upon this post who wonders what goes on at CF Redondo may think it’s THIS. Worse, someone else is going to try it, and they will either snap a T-spine or several ankles.


Why wasn’t this shared as vigorously as the little girl doing relatively harmless unTurkish getups? Why no outrage?


My Challenge to CrossFitters

My challenge to the CrossFit community at large: elevate the community. If you see something, say something.


We as a tribe keep doing more outrageous shit in a fleeting grab at recognition – and no one is calling anyone out. If you come across a post containing something foolish, it’s okay to be that guy.


In furtherance of excellence in the pursuit if fitness, it’s actually our duty to call out the dangerous, the ridiculous, and the ill-conceived, is it not? Olynastics? Really guys? Chanastics? The butt test, Throwing Grace, and the kettlebell pistol shooting upside-down workout? C’mon.


Let me put it another way – if you look at your own CrossFIt box as a beacon of quality programming and excellent instruction, you know what you would and would not do.


You know what constitutes foolish and potentially dangerous. So when you see something you would never ever consider allowing inside your gym, you know it. You know what’s good, bad, harmless, and potentially harmful.


Call it out. Privately at first, then if you feel the need to educate your own client base, publically. Or, look at it like this: What would I do if this video was posted by Gold’s gym? Would I share it with a bold, underlined 16pt font disclaimer?


If the answer is yes, why would it be any different if it’s coming from inside the fence?


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