Working Out In The Birdcage
With each day we find ourselves in new territory, not entirely sure what progress, challenges and setbacks we’ll encounter. We see this in our own personal dealings with the pandemic and how it’s being handled throughout the world. On the positive side, the pandemic has inspired creativity and innovation. New problems have inspired new ways to address them.
In the CrossFit world, we’ve seen online classes, daily programming to work out on our own and outdoor classes. One approach that I’ve yet to see elsewhere is from my home gym, Blackbird CrossFit. They’ve not just brought classes outdoors, they’ve moved everything needed for their classes outside.
Conditions were very well aligned to favor this setup, which otherwise may not have been possible. The landlord where Blackbird is located has a fenced area in the rear parking lot. In mid-May Matt and Rebekah Titus, owners of Blackbird CrossFit, struck a deal with the landlord to move items they had stored in the fenced area inside Blackbird so they could move the rig outside. To date, they’ve elected to keep classes outside to reduce opportunities to spread infection.
The setup is impressive. The “birdcage” as they call it, has a tent over the entire rig. They secured the rig to the ground and brought out mats from inside. There’s spaces marked for social distancing to accommodate 8 people under the tent and another 4 within the enclosure.
Inside the birdcage there’s two sink cabinets connected with a hose. People wash their hands both before and after workouts. After each workout, the athletes wipe down their equipment and spots on the rig. I’ve seen everyone doing this. No exceptions. The coaches cover their faces for the entire class and spray down the mats with a cleaning solution after each class.
Matt Titus also got creative with transporting barbells and plates. He built several carts that can accommodate two barbells, plates of all sizes and collars. It even wheels out on a pair of 45 lb. plates that can be removed for workouts. Very practical and useful. The carts are wheeled back in at the end of each day and, although the fence is locked when the area is not in use, no equipment is left outside.
The birdcage has worked very well since it’s been set up. There’s still space inside if it rains. A dozen people can workout inside with sufficient social distancing, if necessary. They’re very good about following state guidelines. You work out in a designated space. While in that space you don’t need to wear a mask but outside of it you do. You also enter by one door and exit by another if the workout is inside.
Everyone is doing their best to stay safe. Owners have to balance creating the best workout environment while keeping risk at an absolute minimum. Blackbird CrossFit has done a great job of seizing an opportunity. It’s understood that many affiliates don’t have these conditions available to them. Most don’t have a fenced-in area or the ability to move their rig. I applaud Blackbird for their creativity as well as all other affiliates who are doing their best to help their members stay safe and healthy in the midst of the challenges we’re facing today.
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