The importance of weightlifting in CrossFit

If you live for the WOD and you come in to the box to smash yourself with a really nice gassy WOD is there any point in learning the olympic lifts?

Well, there are two answers of course…

  1. No – you are happy running and rowing and scaling out any movements you can’t achieve.  You simply want to get fitter and faster.  As long as you push to the max you will continue to get fitter for quite a while using this approach
  2. Yes – you suddenly find you can’t keep up with your chase buddy with weights on the WOD.
    Or, irritatingly – someone in the box who is far less fit than you can Rx workouts when you can’t or can beat you because they have better movement efficiency.
    Or, you fancy being a bit more muscular or defined and met con alone isn’t getting you the results you want.
    Or, you want to take your CrossFitting to the next level and get involved in some competitions or throw downs.

Raw strength and aerobic engine will get you a LONG way in CrossFit, but it’s not the whole story.

This last weekend a few of our guys were competing at the Rainhill Trials – a CrossFit competition.  Here’s a quick rundown of the workouts and the quantity of elements which demanded movement efficiency which is trained by olympic lifting:

First out of the gate a clean, front squat and jerk complex.  This obviously requires olympic lifting skill – most CrossFit competitions involve a max lift or max complex.  Whilst this is sometimes a slow lift more often than not it includes either a clean, a jerk or a snatch.

Secondly – a couplet of deadlifts and burpees.  I’ll give you this one – olympic lifting will only help your pulling but if you deadlift a lot you’ve got this one in the bag.

Thirdly – a gas fest of rowing, thrusters and kettle bell snatches.  This is a pure met con WOD – BUT the guy that can squat clean the first thruster is already a rep ahead of the competition who can’t.  Kettlebell snatches – easier than bar snatching but the same extension and requirement to keep the weight close.  Good snatchers make fast and efficient kettle bell snatchers.

Last – a sprint of t2b, dubs, hang snatches and box jumps.  Yanking light snatches over your head is far more tiring and shoulder intensive than moving efficiently and making use of your legs.  An important consideration when mixed up with other shoulder intensive movements – like skipping or hanging from a rig for toes to bar.  And those box jumps that you do to prime yourself for olympic lifting – it cuts both ways.  Box jumps help your lifting – lifting will help your box jumps.

Olympic weightlifting classes are not just for aspiring weightlifters – they are most certainly for CrossFitters who want to take their game to the next level,.

Day 2 of the current programme in today’s class.