Matthew Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey did weightlifting, look what they have achieved!
This is not a rant
Weightlifting is a sport in it self and Crossfitters should therefore never be expected to perform at the same level as weightlifters, in regards to the olympic lifts. That being said, there are still a ton of Crossfitters who are extremely good at weightlifting! Just look at the two fittest people on earth as an example, Mathew Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey. Mat has won the Crossfit games 4 times in a row and Tia 3 times. Along with all the other sports they both did previous to Crossfit, weightlifting was a big part their pre-crossfit days. Tia, especially, had an amazing career in weightlifting. Gold at the Common Wealth Games and lifted in the Olympics in Rio 2016! #Jawdrop
I'm telling you this to let you know I'm not some random guy trying to tell the world that the whole Crossfit community is s*ite at weightlifting, but rather that having good weightlifting skills might improve your overall crossfit game up a notch. Mat and Tia, I'm just sayin'
Ever since Crossfit entered the world of lifting bars from the floor to overhead the weightlifting community has increased massively. There are now more people interested in weightlifting as a singular sport than ever before, and we have to give most of the credits to Crossfit for that.
Now, here is where the sh*t hits the fan. Ever since Crossfit has entered the world of lifting things from the floor, the standards of technique has decreased significantly. And I’ll be the first one to say that it’s not due to a lack of knowledge of how technique should be taught, because Crossfit coaches and athletes know their stuff. With all the aspects a Crossfitter has to be good at to reach a reasonable level, weightlifting is just a small piece of the puzzle. But when looking at all the pieces, along with some of the other more difficult movements, it should be common sense that putting a greater emphasis on technique with the more difficult movements, e.g weightlifting, should be prioritised. Unfortunately, most people who get involved in crossfit will, too early, use the weightlifting movements in the same manner as the lesser technical movements and just hammer through an awful lot of reps within a minimal time cap with suboptimal technique. Crossfit has a massive influence on the fitness community, and if their standards are going to be relatively low (speaking from a weightlifting perspective) it will have a ripple effect and affect, at this point, the majority of the fitness community. And that would be such a shame since Crossfit has such a excellent potential of being the most badass of all sports! #truth This article isn't written to tell the Crossfit community how it should be managed/organised, but as Olympic Weightlifting enthusiasts it is my duty to do whatever it takes to improve the reputation of our sport. And other than improving what we can within the Weightlifting community the best we can, the next best step for that would be to have a positive effect on the sport that has the greatest influence on the weightlifting community externally, namely Crossfit.
It has to be respected that Crossfitters can’t use the majority of their time allocated to only one aspect of their sport versus any other. However, weightlifting, like any other movement in Crossfit should be taught to the point where the technique is at least decent before starting to load the bar up and doing reps for time. Unfortunately it takes way longer to master the technique of weightlifting compare to most of the other Crossfit related movements, and therefore it's only reasonable to allocate more time to it.
Please, just please!
When training in a controlled environment, not the crossfit games or any other crossfit competition for that matter, it's always wise to start with the movements that are the most difficult, and then follow up with something easier. So if your weightlifting technique isn’t top notch don’t start of with a hard Metcon workout and follow it up with weightlifting movements. Do it the other way around, start with the weightlifting workout/technique and then move on to the Metcon workout. Your improvements on technique will both be easier and faster to achieve. And in regards to the MetCon, you'll still get major benefits from doing it when "tired", that's the whole point of a MetCon.
The easiest way of looking weightlifting technique is in a hierarchy pyramid with four blocks. The bottom one, the foundation, would be positions. These positions are: Starting position, hang position, triple extension, and the receiving position. Only when the positions are performed correctly can you move on to the next block, movements. The movements are: 1st pull, 2nd pull, and a 3rd pull. The pulls are performed in moving from one position to the next in the most proficient and efficient manner possible. When the movements are perfected move on to the next block. The third block is speed. To add load you need speed, therefore you have to practise finding the optimal positions through the three pulls with a bit of speed before you can actually apply what everyone wants to add first, load. If you practise weightlifting using this hierarchy you'll excel quickly.
Take away message
Crossfit has a major influence on the fitness industry, so why not use that influence by improving the standards of the Crossfit community? Put more time aside to improve movement patterns, body awareness, decrease injury risk instead of just battering the living sh*it out of everyone and measure the success of a WOD based on whether the athletes have thrown up or hit a new clean PB before the timer went off. In the grad scheme of things, as far as weightlifting is concerned, the saying "Quality over Quantity" is good way to go about it. Crossfit, you're doing great! However, there is always room for improvement.
Thanks for reading FAE Barbell