Ever wondered why no CrossFit gyms have mirrors? There’s a simple reason why.
CrossFit is a methodology that aims to create a more rounded, fitter human being by training across 10 different domains of fitness. Due to this process, the outward appearance is not of significance whilst exercising. Furthermore, a coach or coaches are always guiding a class, correcting movements and supervising. Thus, mirrors are simply not needed to check or correct your form and serve only as a distraction.
Are mirrors in any CrossFit gyms?
Yes, some gyms do have mirrors in certain places.
However, they are not cited in a place of significance.
If they are used, they are normally placed in areas dedicated to weightlifting, such as Powerlifting or Olympic lifting, so likely near to lifting platforms if your gym has them.
Some gyms have mirrors that are movable. These allow members to utilise them whilst lifting.
Many members feel that mirrors are off-putting and in fact much prefer having no mirrors in the building at all.
This is because they’ve trained so much without them that having them there creates an unnecessary distraction.
CrossFit gyms are also known as ‘Boxes’. This is because of the simple nature of the earliest ones containing hardly any equipment.
Some free weights, a few dumbbells and kettlebells, a rig, and small ancillary equipment such as skipping ropes, rings and assisted bands are the bread and butter.
Many CrossFit gyms around the world are ‘spit and sawdust‘ so to speak.
You’ll find them in old army barracks, underground car parks, bunkers, old wooden buildings, or in old car garages – generally not the prettiest of buildings. This all adds to the grit of the sport.
However, there are still many middle range and premium ‘boxes’ – which have the best of the best brands – still with the same equipment. However, no mirrors on the walls.
We can conclude from our survey, then, that CrossFitters may be less superficial than say bodybuilders.Best Gym Hacks – Survey Results
The Survey Says
A survey we carried out in our 2 affiliates showed that looking better was not about middle in terms of importance.
More important was learning new skills, making friends, getting stronger or having fun.
See below for the results of this survey.
What do the stats say?
Looking better was really important (5) for 20.7%. It didn’t matter for 4.9% of people.
For 28%, it was in the middle around 34%.
Contrast those results to Learning New Skills and Fitness, it is evident this bears more weight in terms of importance than Looking Better.
We can conclude from our survey, then, that CrossFitters may be less superficial than say bodybuilders.
It is clear that gaining strength is also very important to our members.
A massive 47% found it extremely important, whilst a tiny 1.2% felt indifferent about getting stronger.
How should I use mirrors for lifting at Open Gym?
If you insist on using a mobile mirror at Open Gym there is a certain way it should be done.
Having the mirror appropriately placed next to, say, an Olympic lifting platform whilst working out on your own can be beneficial.
If the mirror is not permanently fixed, the mobile mirror should be used correctly.
Follow these steps:
- Ensure that the mirror is head-on.
- Do not put to one side. Ensure it’s central to your body.
- Place flat, not at an angle. You want to get the mirror as flat as possible as if it was fixed permanently on the wall.
- You can use spare bumper plates to prop a mirror up appropriately.
- Set up for the lift and check form whilst engaging all points of the lift simultaneously. (i.e. for the Snatch: hand placement, grip, lower back/glutes/hamstrings engaged, shoulder blades pulled back, head up).
- Once correctly set up, completely ignore the mirror and lift the weight as if the mirror is no longer there.
All the above carries risk of breakage. Don’t be that guy or girl….
The key is not being reliant on the mirror for the lift. Use muscle memory and correct technique training – ingrained in your mind – to execute the lift.
The only thing the mirror should be used for is setting up of the lift, and possibly reviewing the catch before you stand up.
Mirrors are easier to use in certain activities
Powerlifting is a little bit less intrusive with mirrors.
For Back Squats or Deadlifts, it’s far less distracting to do them whilst reviewing your form in the mirror.
With Benchpress, you’re looking at the ceiling, and thus the mirror isn’t relevant in this situation…unless your gym has mirrored ceilings! That would be weird.
Overall though, you should remove any reliance on having a mirror to assist your Powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting at CrossFit Open Gym.
Use your phone instead of a mirror.
A better solution to the above is throw the mirror in the skip. Use your phone instead.
You can position your phone at various angles to check your form in various places.
In fact, watching the lift back helps aid visual learning. It is so much better, safer and far more effective than a mirror.
You can use a cheap tripod from Amazon, or go with something a little more versatile such as a DJI OSMO.
I’ve been through a few. We use them at the gyms for social media, competition verification and form analysis.
You can find a few reviews of some tried and tested tripods below that you should read before you buy, should you need a suitable tripod.
The Best Camera and Phone Tripods For The Gym
1. DJI OM5 – Gimbal, Stabilizer and Tripod
Starting with the best out there, this is a bit of an investment but well worth the price. The previous iterations are now discontinued (OM1 – 4). You can still buy what stock remains in the world of 3’s and 4’s, but it’s not advised as the OM5 is not that much more, yet it has better features.
When you purchase the kit, it comes with a really sturdy fold out tripod. The treaded nut allows it to attach to the main gimbal mount in just a few turns. The feet are solid.
The OM5 is a stabiliser. This means your phone can be held nice and stable when filming a lifter whilst on the move.
It also features a SPORTS function that tracks the subject you select.
All you do it tap who/what you want the gimbal to track an the built in AI automatically follows the subject (weightlifter), should you be panning. Really cool stuff.
The phone mount easily takes my iPhone 12 Max which is on of the biggest phones out there, so abundant in space.
Suitable for iOS and Android: Yes
Best Gym Hacks Rating: 9/10
2. Everesta – Bluetooth 360 Tripod
This neat little mount won’t break the bank yet it will get the job done.
It all collapses down, with the telescopic legs sliding neatly inside itself. The phone mount is spring-loaded.
All you do is open the attachment jaw, insert your phone and then let go. It then safely clamps your phone in place.
It has a built-in spirit level, which is a bit gimmicky if being honest, but can be useful if you’re setting up on uneven ground (unlikely in a gym).
The ball joint allows for spherical rotation, meaning you can get some useful angles, should you need that.
A in-built handle is useful for adjusting camera angles. It saves you having to move the phone via the jaw clamp, which could disturb the phone and cause it to inadvertently pop out.
It comes complete with a very useful Bluetooth fob. This allows you to hit record before your lift, and not worry about running back and forth to stab the screen with your chalky sweaty hands. It comes in black or silver.
A cheap and effective solution. Well worth the price.
Suitable for iOS and Android: Yes
Best Gym Hacks Rating: 8.5/10
Everesta Bluetooth 360
3. Everesta 57in Tripod for Camera & Phone Tripod – Compatible with Nikon / Canon DSLR
This is the bigger brother of #2, the Everesta 57inch.
If you have a DSLR camera, GoPro, this mount gives you the added benefit of being able to mount one of those.
It also collapses down, with the telescopic legs sliding neatly inside itself.
The phone mount is spring-loaded. The DSLR attaches the same as any camera would to a tripod.
It comes with a threaded quick release plate which is used for attaching your camera.
The in-built hook is useful for hanging your camera bag, which also acts as a counterweight.
Also included is the Bluetooth fob and quick release mount.
If you’re likely to use a DSLR, this might be a better option for you.
However, if you’re only going to use you phone and / or GoPro, the cheaper younger brother would more than suffice.
You would have to buy a GoPro attachment to fit, which can be bought here.
Suitable for iOS and Android: Yes
Best Gym Hacks Rating: 8/10
Everesta 57 inch Camera & Phone Tripod
4. Atumek – Flexible Mini Tripod for Phones with Bluetooth Control
A smaller version of the many tripods out there. Cheaper again than the Everesta – but with that comes some small gripes.
The legs can be used to hook onto something suitable (such as the rig) However, it does not have the strongest grip.
As a consequence, the tripod can be liable to slip. I watched mine sometime slide down or droop like an aged daffodil.
The best way to use it is to have all 4 legs fully extended, sat on a nice level wooden box or bumper plates, at the desired height.
It’s not the most sturdy feeling item, but certainly still does the job.
Also included is the Bluetooth fob, GoPro and camera attachment.
A suitable cheap solution, if you don’t want to spend too much more than a tenner.
Suitable for iOS and Android: Yes
Best Gym Hacks Rating: 7/10 (mainly based on price)
Atumek – FlexiLeg Phone Tripod – CHECK PRICE NOW
5. Lamicall Flexible Holder – Gooseneck Rotational Phone Holder
Slightly left field, but still a great choice, this gooseneck phone attachment is still well worth looking at.
It is predominantly meant for use on a desk or in bed, however I found it really useful clipping to the rig to film lifts.
The clamp is sturdy which clips onto the rig perfectly (needs to be the correct orientation) and the phone holder is also nice and sturdy.
You just need to make sure the camera is not blocked by the gooseneck.
Manipulation of the gooseneck is easy and stays firmly in place when put there.
One gripe I did find is that the thread to do up the clamp needs to be fully straight in order for it to not rub.
This is only a small group and it’s definitely a good product as a phone mount solution.
No Bluetooth fob or GoPro attachment, but still completely functional without.
You’d be able to sit a GoPro in the phone cradle without a property attachment anyway.
A little bit ‘outside the box’ but not overly expensive and therefore a great solution.
Even better that it works well in bed, on the sofa, or just on your desk watching Netflix, YouTube or reading Best Gym Hacks!
You can easily take away on holiday too, as it’s light and flexible.
Suitable for iOS and Android: Yes
Best Gym Hacks Rating: 8/10 (high score as you can also use outside the gym)
Lamicall Flexible Holder
Round up of the Top 5 Tripods
|DJI OM5||£109||High quality solution. Tonnes of features. Storyboard software great. All folds down nicely into a bag and can go away on holiday with you.||Fairly heavy weight given the small size. Maybe too many features just for a tripod-seeker. Need to learn how to use it.|
|Eversta 360||£16.99||Great for quick easy setup. Intuitive and simple. Folds down and easy to take away, especially with carry bag.||Could be a built a bit sturdier. The angle clamps need tightenign up really well, especially with heavier phones.|
|Everesta 57inch||£32.71||Bit beefier than the 360. Collapse and carry back useful on the fly.||Useful if you want to put your DSLR on there too.|
|Atumek FlexiLeg||£13.99||Good cheap option, especially with the Bluetooth fob. Easy to use||Legs a little flimsy. Angle clamp nut needs a good tightening each use.|
|Lamicall Gooseneck||£15.99||Great solution in and out the gym. Nice and versatile at home, holiday or for Olympic your lifts. I love mine!||No attachment capability for GoPro. Base of neck needs to be straight in order to tighten.|
Apps to use with your tripod.
The simple camera function on any smartphone is entirely suitable. You don’t need fancy stuff.
However, a really good App suggestion is Iron Path.
Built-in artificial intelligence tracks the path of the bar as you lift. It enables you to refine your technique, carefully analyse your mistakes and track progress.
It’s extremely easy to use. And it’s free for up to 3 videos. A paid version is available for more than 3. But you can delete ones you’re done with if you’re feeling tight like me.
Below is the example how the free version tracks the bar path in lifts.
Obviously the App helped me correct the bar catch by keeping my elbows higher upon receipt in the left shot!
Best Gym Hack: To review the Snatch or Clean & Jerk, it is better to set your tripod up on your left or right. You will be able to review how well you keep the bar close to your body.
If there are mirrors in my CrossFit gym, should I use them?
Ideally, as we noted, you don’t need mirrors.
The point of your coaches is to correct form and create a safe working environment. That includes ensuring all members are lifting and working out in the correct manner.
Supervision of technique from coaches correcting your form mitigates any need for mirrors.
Members should not be looking in the mirror whilst working out, as they will be concentrating on the movements they’re doing.
CrossFit workouts are high intensity and often fast in speed. Having a wall of mirrors only but serves as a distraction. This creates a risk of danger and injury.
As a result, mirrors should not be used whilst working out doing CrossFit.
Are mirrors still OK to use to check my physique if I do CrossFit?
Just because there are no mirrors on the gym floor at CrossFit gyms does not mean you cannot use mirrors to review review your progress i.e. fat loss, or weight muscle gain.
You can use mirrors to see how your progress is coming along from a physical point of view.
All of us doing exercise or working out monitor our weight, calories, diet, size, muscle mass etc, and mirrors at home are useful in keeping an eye on these things.
So there is nothing inherently wrong with using mirrors, just they are there is no fundamental need for them in a CrossFit gym.
Should I join a CrossFit gym that does have a wall of mirrors?
As detailed, mirrors are not a prerequisite for a gym.
If you walk in and see a wall of mirrors, my view is that you should try and find another one down the road which doesn’t.
The coaching and/or membership may not be is CrossFit-esque as it could be due to having mirrors on the wall.
Necessity or not?
That may sound slightly over the top but with good coaching mirrors just aren’t necessary.
CrossFit is an inclusive sport not based on how many and you have, how big your biceps are, or how hench your quads are.
If you want to work out and constantly stare at yourself this is okay but probably a standard gym is for you.
That said in the 70+ CrossFit locations I’ve been to I can only recall seeing one in South Africa that had a long wall of mirrors.
Mirrors can create bad mental health habits.
Bodybuilding is something that fully relies on mirrors.
As a consequence of this and other type of normal weight training in gym is full of mirrors a phenomena that can occur in someone’s mind where they believe they look different from how they actually look.
This mental issue is known as body dysmorphia.
You can read more about this topic in this best gym hacks article here.
Body Dysmorphia (AKA Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is triggered by repetitive looking at oneself in the mirrors, and becoming overtly obsessed with how you look.
This can have unfortunate consequences, some of which severity is known to be suicide.
It’s most common in teenagers and young adults and affects both males and females.
Summary on mirrors at CrossFit gyms
So to that end, having no mirrors in a CrossFit gym overall garners a positive impact within the facility.
CrossFit gyms are full of all walks of life, varying in shape, size, creed, colour and worldviews.
The community philosophy is very much along the lines of leave your ego at the door.
And an extension of this is that it simply does not matter how you look, as we’re all working out together, eradicating any need for looking at ourselves in the mirror.