Increasing the popularity of Strength sports
First of all, I am a fan of all types of strength and conditioning modalities. If you are getting stronger, fitter, or faster than thats great. Thats the whole point of working out. But why are some genres of working out more popular than others? CrossFit has had an overwhelming amount of growth in the past 5-10 years. Yes, weightlifting and Powerlifting have been growing in popularity in the US as well, but I think most people that wont lie to themselves would agree its because the sports are riding the coat tales of CrossFit. Why? Why isnt it the other way around? The strength only sports could be getting more attention then they are and that would mean more money for small gyms to grow, more media of high level competitions, and more opportunities for coaches to get better. We think there are some reasons and possibly some answers to help the strength sports grow at a more rapid rate.
Ofcourse everything described above cant be changed on an individual level. I think it all depends on the community level and CrossFit for all its major faults has definitely gotten that one right. Almost everytime you walk into a crossfit gym it is, "Welcome to the community", or "This is our fit fam" or you see folks hooking up left and right or making new friends like they are on a mission. Obviously that mentality brought the "cult" persona down on a lot of CrossFit gyms but that never hurts the "Community". Yeah sometimes that gets a little old, but a community is welcoming and thats how new people join. So typically why isnt that community as strong in most weightlifting gyms or powerlifting gyms? Well, most weightlifting clubs are alpha females and males and using the word community all the time can feel a little dorky. Alot of lifting clubs are primarily made of prior athletes, or people who want to be big and strong. Thats not a welcoming picture to someone who has never been athletic before in their lives or have even been in a gym. Thats what CrossFit thrives on- The avg joe and welcoming them with open arms. If weighlifting clubs adopt that mentality then I foresee people being much more comfortable in attempting a new fitness genre that they havent done before such as something like power lifting or strongman. If you are in a primarily weightlifting gym, then market and share the hell out of the idea that- Yes, we are a community of strength athletes and you can be part of it too! Share and talk about newbies coming in and finding passion, talk about people changing their lives and learning new skill. You dont always have to concentrate on that guy in your gym snatching 150 kilos, because the normal person cant see themselves doin that.
Typically the coaching structure and certification process for most CrossFit coaches is laughable to someone who is a student of coaching Strength and conditioning, rehab, and personal programming. But again, it plays to the masses. All of the CrossFit certifications(and there are a ton of them) lasts a weekend and anyone can do it(if your willing to shell out the money). People look at these certifications as they are trophies, thinking that they know so much because they spent $8k on 8 different crossfit certifications. They are in deep now. They are invested in the sport and they want to keep it up, and if they dont they know they have wasted alot of money. So the coach part time at their gym for a free membership and they continue to keep bringing new people in for that gym. So why arent there more specialty courses/certifications in weightlifting and powerlifting? Mobility for weightlifting, movement specific courses, multiple levels other than just basic and advanced, etc. can help. I agree that I think any good coach isnt going to learn much new info from any of the crossfit certs, and getting one definitely wont make you a good coach but theres really nothing different from the weightlifting coaching certifications.. So why arent their more of them?
Online presence Of the lifting sports needs to do better. High ranking athletes do an amazing job of being sponsors and keeping people up to date on their training and big lifts. What we dont do well at is keep the social media game strong as weightlifting club owners. Again, I hate to do it, but look at every crossfit gym in america. They are biting at the chomps to take advantage of every opportunity to put something on social media to present their box to the audience. I know most weightlifters and powerlifters arent quite as touchy feely as it comes to sharing things. We need to change that about our sports though. Get people interested by doing awesome things. I know for me, watching someone hit a big lift on social media is a hell of alot more exciting then watching someone do 50 pullups...
The last thing I think we can get better at to grow the sport is making competition simpler and more available to the masses. Luckily, that is what BTB does ;) The biggest hurtle for this is that meets are hard.. It takes a lot of planning and finesse to do it right. A functional fitness competition, needs nowhere near the amount of planning and timing, and skilled judges and table workers. I think thats why alot of gyms may not be taking advantage of local meets. Thats what we do for you though! Our software will take care of running, judging, marketing meets for you- all with a great online presence to get the sport(and your gym) to the masses. Also, CrossFit is notorious for online competition. It make it easy for everyone- the host and the athletes. Until now weightlifting meets where too complicated to facilitate this. BTB has done it. We are working on using this idea to grow the sport. Look for our app soon!