Dropping Weights: When it’s ok and why
In CrossFit, being able to drop weights is helpful and can be fun but it is a true safety issue. We understand that someone can get hurt if they’re attempting a lift and are not able to drop the weight if they fail. The dropping of weights is then sometimes necessary. However, there is a big difference between a “necessary” drop, versus an “unnecessary” one.
First, dumbbells and kettlebells should never be dropped. Dumbbells bounce and can easily hurt people. This also counts for kettlebells, and these will easily be damaged when you drop them. Do not be surprised, if after being reminded of this and continuing to drop them, the coach swaps your weights for lighter ones. Barbells can and are meant to be dropped but should only happen when necessary.
That doesn’t mean you get to drop a barbell on every rep, or purposely do it to create a satisfying bounce or bang. This is unnecessary, damages our equipment and creates dangerous surroundings in the gym. If the speed of your workout is on your mind, you should know it isn’t always the faster option. Dropping and resetting is often slower than holding on to the bar making it even more unnecessary to drop. Inappropriate handling of the barbells weakens the integrity of our equipment, creating safety issues for you, our members, and can cause costly damage.
The reason to drop weights is for safety, not for fun, convenience or out of laziness (“I’m tired”). One should drop a weight rather than risk an injury but the dropping of weights is not for dropping every rep of a workout. We know you’re tired, but if you don’t have enough energy to safely lower a kettlebell, dumbbell or barbell, under control, then you likely should be using a lighter weight. Part of getting stronger is developing the strength to lower your weights, not just to lift them.
There are times when it is appropriate to drop your weight, but they all revolve around safety and not to allow you to add 10kg to your clean and jerks in a workout, because you can still get it up overhead. If you can not control your weights down, especially at the start of workout, the weight should be lighter. Ask yourself why you’re unnecessarily dropping the weight. If your reason is not directly related to your own safety, ie. because it let’s you lift a little more weight, then it’s not a valid reason. All that being said, when necessary, there are three main positions for dropping weights. These all apply to Barbells as Kettlebells and Dumbbells should not be dropped, period.
1) Dropping from overhead: This should never occur unless it’s because you failed a lift or have lost balance or control of the bar. It should not happen for regular reps in any workout.
2) Dropping from shoulder height: This can be expected later in a workout (not in the beginning) when fatigue is setting in and it’s become difficult to maintain a tight midsection. It is then safer to drop the bar, however, your hands should always be on or over the bar to stop any bounce from taking place.
3) Dropping from waist height: generally this is okay once your core and body is fatigued but hands should again always be over the bar to prevent it from bouncing or rolling.
In short, barbells and dumbbells will bounce in odd directions and kettlebells will damage the flooring and will be damaged easily when you drop them. ALWAYS select weight you can keep under control. NEVER drop an empty barbell or walk away before it’s stopped moving. NEVER drop a kettlebell or dumbbell. We ask that you respect our equipment as dropping takes it’s toll and speeds the need for purchasing new equipment. Most importantly though, respect your safety and that of those around you as well.