Why You Should Work on Weightlifting – Coach Stu
Why work on Weightlifting?
CrossFit – both as a training program and as a sport – places a large emphasis on the olympic weightlifting movements. They are found in WODs and strength pieces week in week out. Why are they held in such high regard and why should you work on improving them?
In line with the new Olympic weightlifting sessions in the timetable starting next week, programmed by Coach Mario and myself, I am going to delve into weightlifting for CrossFit a little deeper.
Firstly, just to clarify the Olympic weightlifting movements are the Snatch, Clean and Jerk and their variations, such as hang snatch or power cleans.
What are the benefits of weightlifting?
> Rate of force development (RFD)
> Kinetic chain synchronization
> Neural recruitment
> Maximal oxygen uptake
> Increased range of motion (ROM)
Let’s break that down;
Increased RFD enables you to produce a greater amount of force in a smaller amount of time. Doing a lot of work in a small amount of time = high power output. Power is one of the 10 general physical skills CrossFit is based around.
Kinetic chain synchronization is basically how well your muscles work in time with each other to transfer force. This is also called inter muscular coordination. Coordination is also one of the general physical skills.
Increased neural recruitment basically means your brain can make use of more muscle fibers to produce force. In the case of Olympic weightlifting – the fast twitch fibers. Fast twitch fibers are the ones that produce a LOT of force. Thus increasing neural recruitment makes you stronger. Strength – yet another general physical skill… Starting to see a pattern yet?
Weightlifting in the realm of CrossFit is used in a high rep format. Using these movements with this rep scheme has been shown to increase maximum oxygen uptake. The most important marker for cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular fitness – surprise surprise it’s one of the 10 skills too.
Olympic weightlifters are some of the most flexible athletes in the world. The entire sport involves getting into positions that require a high level of mobility. It’s not a coincidence that weightlifters are flexible. Learning the correct movement and positions will help increase flexibility. Flexibility .. (I think you have got the idea now).
Now having all been exposed to the movements in fundamentals and classes. We know that they are very technical movements that take a lot of patience and persistence to do right.
Getting the movement might be more important than you think.
Multiple studies have shown that when performed incorrectly the benefits Olympic weightlifting are greatly reduced. Therefore not only will incorrect technique limit the amount of weight you can lift in that particular movement but can in fact massively limit the potential benefits weightlifting can have for all aspects of Crossfit.
This is why such great emphasis is put on technique over weight at Perpetua.
In that order.
The new Oly classes on Saturday mornings are the perfect time to sharpen your skills. These classes are all about practice practice practice of the movements and nailing down the movement patterns.
There will be programming for both beginners and advanced. All under the watchful eye of Coach Mario and Coach Naz. It is important to be coached with weightlifting. It might feel like the movement is right but the eye of the coach could pick out an issue that has been holding you back. So get signed up!
Can’t make these classes?
Talk to your coach, you could get some personal training sessions to focus on the lifts. You have to have witnessed JZ smashing out PB snatches at the John Mehigan cup to see that his PT with Coach Mike has helped him no end.
Open gym – your coach can write you a program for you to follow. Check out the open gym policy on the website for more details.
Finally and most importantly, when the lifts come up in class don’t let your ego take over. Taking the time to master the technique will lead to much greater improvements in the long term. This mastery of technique doesn’t come from throwing up heavy weights in any old fashion. Get it right, get it right often. Groove the pattern and the results will show. Practice makes permanent not perfect. So make sure your practice is perfect!
Let the gains begin!