Barbell Dancing

Michelle Baumann

Coach and Editor (US)

Eugene, Oregon, United States

Natural Movement, CrossFit

Have you heard of barbell dancing? You read that right. 


Yes, that is a group of choreographed barbell dancers. The group is known as the Rush Chicks, and they performed the above routine at a recent Rush Club Nation event as entertainment that occurred in between men’s and women’s events.



Rush Club Nation is a slick and commercial functional fitness throwdown showcased on a premier stage. The event has attracted CrossFit veterans like Elizabeth Akinwale, Josh Bridges, and Annie Sakamoto who have participated in the intense, head-to-head competitions.


But even more impressive than the CrossFit heavy hitters are the adaptive athletes who grace the stage. Rush Club aims to “create and tell compelling stories of the human spirit…Stories about how people are tested, how they overcome enemies both inside and out.” The adaptive athlete division does just that.


Adaptive athletes are split into lower- or upper-adaptive categories, and do all of the same movements as the non-adaptive athletes - thrusters, muscle ups, squats, wall balls, pull ups, and presses – only they manage the added complexity of being in a wheelchair, having only one arm, or walking with a prosthetic leg. Their grit and determination comes through in spades, and their performances leave spectators feeling motivated to challenge their own physical capabilities.


Rush Club Nation strives to inspire and show that ability is not defined by perceived physical limitations. So why is their important message tainted by sexualizing the event with dancing eye candy? Aren’t the competitors' impressive demonstrations of athleticism entertainment enough?


I get it, sex sells and it’s all a part of the spectacle, but in an industry that promotes strength as beauty, are booty shorts, strappy sports bras, or sexy dance routines truly necessary? The double standard is a real problem that needs attention so that our daughters, sisters, or nieces don’t grow up thinking that they have to look or act a certain way in regards to displaying their athletic abilities.


What are the odds that we’ll see something like this at the next CrossFit Games or GRID season? In all seriousness, we’re curious what you think about the Rush Chicks. Drop us a line in the comments. 

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