Friday, January 30, 2015

Gear Tips - Equipment Maintenance

Have you noticed that there is a lot of competition in the world of CrossFit.  Of course you have.  The box density in any area is constantly increasing.  There are only so many people in a region, and each box is competing for those athletes.  And since visual impact of your gym can play a big role in potential clients signing on, keeping your equipment in great condition goes a long way.  

There are some very simple things that you can do to keep your equipment safe, performing well, and looking good.  Here are a few tips that we have come across over the years that require a small investment in time, but can reap big rewards.

Steel Products:

Kettlebells:  I know, a kettlebell is a steel ball with a handle on it.  What is there to maintain?  Well, they do experience wear and tear on the handles and the base.  Paint and powder coat have a tendency to wear off over time.  Simply take a piece of sand paper or steel wool to the worn area, then grab a can of flat or gloss spray paint (depending on the finish) and touch up the bare areas. 
Pull Up Racks and Squat Racks:  The rig is the centerpiece of the gym.  If it is well maintained, it can last virtually for ever.  But, they do experience wear, especially when you've got 100+ athletes using it everyday.  The squat stations have barbell hooks and barbells constantly moving in and about the posts.  Additionally, bands, gymnastic ring straps and athlete's hands are constantly on the pull up bars.  Just like the kettlebells,  a little steel wool and paint go a long way to keeping your pull up rack or squat rack looking like the day you bought it.

Truly any of your steel products will benefit from a fresh coat of paint.  Sleds, bumper stackers, and storage racks all take a lot of abuse and wear.  It is just the nature of the environment and the expectations of the equipment.  I have seen the difference with a sled at Victor CrossFit in Victor, NY.  Taking 15 minutes to add a fresh coat of paint, and a few new decals, brought that 4 year old sled back to new life!
There are other pieces that can use a little TLC to keep your gym looking top notch: 

Med Balls and Bumper Plates:  Like kettle bells, typically very little maintenance.  But, wiping them down periodically with soapy water will keep them looking good.  It is also an opportune time to inspect the bumpers for cracks or loose collars and the med balls for tears or ripped seams.

Plyo Boxes:  You jump on, you jump off.  That is the life of the plyo box. Most of the damage to a plyo box does not come from actual athletic use.  The damage comes from an athlete dragging the box across the floor (I know, even though you tell them not to do it under penalty of burpees).  When dragged, the edges of the plywood can splinter and fray.  If you don't catch it early, it can spread and make the boxes look worn beyond their years.  As above, a good dose of sanding on the worn areas with a hand sander or small orbital sander can make fast work of returning your plyo boxes close to new condition.

Gymnastics Rings:  First and foremost, it is important to continually inspect the straps and buckles for wear.  Frayed straps or wearing springs in the cam buckles can cause serious injury to your athletes.  If they are frayed, or the buckles are not working properly, they need to be replaced.  And although we vote for wood for gymnastics rings over plastic, heavy use can turn the wood color to dark brown/black after even a few short months.  The easy button for getting your wood rings back to like new condition is that sandpaper which once again comes to the rescue.  A couple of minutes for each ring with a coarse sand paper will bring them back to new (or close to it). 

Barbells are one of the most utilized pieces of equipment in a CrossFit box.  They are constantly picked up, put down, and have bumpers on and off them all day long.  Make sure to wipe them down periodically and check the bushing and bearing for rotation.  A little light oil in the bushings can help make the movement smooth and fast.

In Summary:  It really does not have to take a lot of time to maintain and inspect your equipment.  The more often you do it, the less time it takes.  If your equipment is not maintained, malfunctioning, or dangerous, your athletes will find another place to work out.  It's just like the maintenance on your car - you change the oil, take it out for a wash and from time to time have to get new brakes and tires.  The good news is that with periodic maintenance, your equipment will continue to perform well for you and your athletes for years.  And the more often you set aside time to maintain, the better your equipment will perform.  

There is a lot of competition out there.  Potential athletes are looking not only at where your gym is in relation to where they live, but they evaluate your training and your personality.   Making a great first impression visually also can be the difference between getting a few more clients every month or losing them to another box.  We're here to make sure that your equipment stays top notch.

So, if you are ready to expand or start a box, garage gym or simply buy some new equipment, visit Hammerhead Strength Equipment or call 585-298-1718 any time.


the Hammerhead Team