The following is a post from CrossFit Ozone in Vancouver but it applies here so read on:
The time has come to address an important issue of gym etiquette: Dropping weights.
In CrossFit, being able to drop weights is a safety issue. We fully understand that someone can really get hurt if they’re attempting a lift and worrying about not being allowed to drop the weight if they fail. The danger is that they may hold onto a heavy weight too long, or perhaps try to catch it and brace the fall on their legs. Hyperextension of the shoulders, joints and back are also common injury points when heavy weights are not dumped at appropriate times. In any event, the dropping of weights is often necessary. However, let’s talk about the idea of a “necessary” dump, versus an “unnecessary” one.
Believe it or not, dumping the weights is part of the technique for Olympic Lifts. You can’t go to failure or a 1 rep max safely if you are trained NOT to drop when necessary. Don’t feel badly if sometimes a ditch is just what happens when you push yourself to complete failure. Hence, this kind of a drop is necessary. However, that doesn’t mean you need to drop the weights on every set, or purposely do it with force to create a satisfying bounce. This is UNNECESSARY. Not only is it unnecessary, it’s also harmful to our equipment and creates dangerous surroundings in the gym. You may not be aware that in certain exercises, dropping the weight rather than holding onto it in the descent can actually take extra time. It isn’t always the faster option, making it unnecessary.
One last point on unnecessary dumping and violent tossing of weights: Please remember that at CrossFit you need to check your ego at the door. Ask yourself why you’re unnecessarily tossing the weights, and remember that everyone in the gym does not need to know how much weight you just lifted. If you think you might be inadvertently alerting people of your strength by crashing weights to the floor, this is not an appropriate way to gain attention. You’ll impress everyone more with your respectful and considerate behaviour!
The bottom line is this:
PLEASE RESPECT OUR EQUIPMENT WHEN DROPPING WEIGHTS. If you really must drop, consider the following…
1. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS -Communicate with those around you. If you think you need a spotter for safety purposes, let people know and discuss how it’ll work. If you think you might have to dump the bar, let people know. If you don’t want them in your line of sight then let them know. Make friends. Talk to people.
2. DO NOT DROP JUST THE BAR – Never drop an empty bar! Also, try not to drop a bar with only the metal 2.5lb, 5lb, or 10lb plates on it. But if you have to, then that’s ok! We’d rather dent a plate or a bar than dent your skull. Barbells with rubber bumper plates are designed to be dropped. Empty barbells are not, especially the lighter ones. This also applies to the kettlebells. Please be respectful of the equipment.
3. CONTROL YOUR BOUNCES – If you have to drop your bar, do it in a safe and controlled manner. Bumper plates bounce, usually sideways, especially the lighter ones. Never, ever drop your bar and walk away! We would hate to see your bar smash the shins of your fellow athlete beside you, or get underfoot of someone else mid-WOD. This can easily happen, especially in a crowded gym. You MUST keep your hands in contact with the bar as you drop and control where it goes.
4. PRACTICE SAFE AND PROPER DUMPING – When dropping the bar, the athlete should keep his/her hands on the barbell or dumbbell until it has passed the chest. There should be no dumping or “tossing” the bar from overhead intentionally. Take time to practice safe dump technique beforehand with a light weight. This sounds a bit silly, but it is a necessary part of your lifting experience, and can save you from serious injury. Do it.
Every time the coaches hear the clang of a mishandled barbell, or the thud of an unnecessarily and violently tossed dumbbell, you will find yourself with a 25 burpee penalty. We’re doing this because we care! Inappropriate handling of the weights weakens the integrity of our equipment, creating safety issues for our clients and causing costly damage. In addition, we can only guarantee the safety of our clients to a certain point if all you Zoners aren’t helping to keep our classes safe by using the equipment respectfully and watching your surroundings carefully.
Let’s take care!