For those who have been paying attention, there is a change happening in the fitness industry, and for those CrossFit box owners paying attention, there is an opportunity to capitalize. Guys, the industry is changing again, and now is the time to move on it. I'm going to show you how.

A few years ago, thanks to CrossFit, USA Weightlifting exploded in popularity. As a weightlifting coach and the admin of the USAW coaches forum on Facebook, both others and I are well aware that the sport of weightlifting grew so popular because of a mix of CrossFit and social media. As weightlifting grew in popularity, the CrossFit gyms that added weightlifting-specific programs began to see their memberships grow—and their revenue. As the memberships grew, these gyms (the smart ones with good coaches and weightlifting programs) began to win meets, their lifters began to grow in popularity, and the prestige and reputations of these gyms grew as places where winners trained. Many gyms now have dedicated USAW certified coaches. Those who didn't create weightlifting programs missed the bus. They missed out on income and missed out on greater success.

RECENT: Coaching Your First Powerlifting Meet

As both a weightlifting and a powerlifting coach, I've had my feet in both of these worlds while watching changes happen within all of the CrossFit gyms through which I provide strength training and competitive CrossFit programming via the American Strength Club. A lot of money is available for these gyms IF you know how to reach them before your competition does. Fair warning, chances are that your competition is already making the move.


Powerlifting is growing at an incredible rate at the grassroots level. For gym owners, powerlifting is the new Bitcoin of membership growth. If you have a solid strength program, you can market it and increase your revenue and member count right now. There are a couple ways to do this.

First off, your current members already need this new strength program. Unless you've been lying to yourself, you know that CrossFit favors the strong. Even the CrossFit Games site directly points out this important aspect: “Games athletes are also stronger in the power lifts, and the differences nearly reach statistical significance. This all suggests that strength, especially the ability to apply that strength dynamically, is the biggest difference between a Games athlete and a regional athlete.” Not offering a true strength-based program is not only a disservice to your competitive athletes but also it guarantees that they will never reach the top.

Starting a powerlifting-based strength program has more benefits than just the awesome aspect of making your athletes stronger. It provides them with many more competitive opportunities as well. This is true not just for the best of the best but rather for every one of your members.

A powerlifting meet provides an opportunity to get on the platform, to do your best, and hopefully, to break a few records while you're at it. A lot of options exist for you when you go to compete. Athletes can choose to compete in the open category, which means no restraints in age or ability exist, or they can compete in age- and experience-based categories. That 40-year-old soccer mom at the gym who would never consider competing in a CrossFit competition is a lot more likely to compete in a powerlifting meet against women who are her age, her weight, and have the same experience as she does. That's something she can get excited about. So, not only can you take your top athletes to sharpen their skills but also you can take the average member and help him or her to feel like a rockstar.

For example, I have a 71-year-old man who was inactive for 30 years before joining my gym. In the powerlifting program, when he started, he couldn't bench press a barbell. As his strength went up, he got more and more excited about the workouts, and he now has the national bench press record for his age group. At 71 years old, he gets excited about competing! When he gets to the meet, he competes against other guys his age, and they all have a fantastic time together. We get to take this man who will never do a pull-up or compete in a CrossFit event and give him a reason to celebrate himself through strength training. It's a fantastic feeling not just for him but also for you as a coach. Keep in mind that guys like him are the ones who are telling all their buddies how amazing the workouts are and how much fun it is to be at my gym. And that leads to referrals.

Another way to use this to grow your gym is that you now have a way to market to people who already know you are there but until now haven't been interested in what you offer. Think about this: That globo gym up the road has plenty of members and keeps growing. If you go inside of it, what you're going to find is a lot of people lifting weights. Many of these people have no technique and don't know what they are doing, but they are lifting because that is what they enjoy doing. They know that if they go to your CrossFit gym, they will be asked to run, to do those weird kipping pull-up things, and to do cardio, and they don't want to do this. You do not offer something that appeals to them, so they give their money to another place that does. They want to lift, to become stronger, and to become healthier without having to figure out how to do a double under. These guys already know that fitness is important, and they know that strength is important, but they are giving their money to somebody else at a cheap-ass globo gym up the road that doesn't even teach them how to perform the lifts correctly. This almost feels sinful, doesn't it? The way you reach these people is by having a program that appeals to them, and that's exactly what you're going to do. Now, you create your Barbell Club, which is a powerlifting-based program, so it appeals to these people. These guys already bench press, back squat, and deadlift, so you're going to market to them how to do it correctly and safely, and they are going to get much stronger.


Here's a surprise for you: You may think that the ideal client in this category is male, but you're absolutely incorrect. Women are starting to flood powerlifting. In fact, when I spoke to the powerlifting federation, USPA, I was told that in the past three years, it has had an increase of 40% in lifters, almost all female, and many come from CrossFit gyms, the same CrossFit gyms that already figured this out before you did. Women find powerlifting empowering! For a woman, getting stronger, picking up heavy weights, and being independent is exciting and makes her feel like a badass. Don't believe me? Check your Instagram feed.

It's time to restructure your facility so that you can increase your revenue and boost your membership. We've seen the change happen before, and it is happening again. The bus is here, and you're either going to get on it or be left behind.

Images courtesy of American Strength Club

Jeremy Augusta is the owner of American Strength Club, which is known for its competitive strength team. Jeremy is a USAW L2 coach with 17 years of fitness experience with a background in mixed martial arts, CrossFit, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and bodybuilding, all of which come together in his programming, which is responsible for 224 national powerlifting records.

The American Idol Phenomenon in Powerlifting