Shake weights! W’burg lifters drop barbells, rattle homes, neighbors claim

Shake weights! W’burg lifters drop barbells, rattle homes, neighbors claim
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Neighbors of a Williamsburg gym say brawny weight lifters shake their building by dropping massive barbells on the ground during their workouts.

Residents of a four-story Roebling Street condo say that their apartments shudder after gym rats at the Brooklyn Barbell Club “snatch” or “clean and jerk” weights of as much as 215 pounds — then hurl the barbells to the floor.

“It’s not so much the sound as the vibration,” said Ed Roth, whose lives in a brick condo building that shares a wall with the gym.

“One guy comes in and starts dead lifting at 7 am — the building starts shaking, the dog starts barking, the neighbor’s baby starts crying, and if we have the energy for the hundredth time, we’ll call 311,” he said.

But crossfit club co-owner Sam Orme says she has already done everything she can to mitigate sound when her patrons pump iron.

Orme said her N. Eighth Street gym has already added rubber floors and special bulletproof padding to the weightlifting area — and she doesn’t think there’s much else she can do.

“We have 300 people paying to come here and do this activity — it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable activity to do in a space like this,” she said.

Customers often take classes at the gym twice or three times per week, paying between $150 and $250 per month to do intense workouts including timed cardio exercises and Olympic-style lifting.

Barbell backers say lifting is an important part of their workout — and dropping the weights is just the way the exercise is done.

“It’s competitive and you’re working against your own best and others best at the gym,” said Williamsburg resident Mike Christman. “At another gym, no one is watching you and if you don’t want to put forward an effort, you can get away with it.”

Residents say they have routinely complained to the city and fear the dropped weights could cause cracks in their ceilings and walls.

Building inspectors have visited the gym four times in the past two months and found no damage.

But neighbors aren’t satisfied.

“When I put my kids to bed, the building is shaking,” said Tobias Englund, whose unit shares a back wall with the club. “I go to a gym, I do the same thing they do. But I don’t want my bedroom to shake.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.

Shake it up: Williamsburg resident Ed Roth says his apartment vibrates whenever weightlifters at the Brooklyn Barbell Club drop their barbells.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini