Weightlifting is a very humbling sport. Just like anything, there is a lot more that goes into it than meets the eye. When most people look at a bridge, they just see a bridge. What they don’t see is the thousands of hours that went into the planning, design and application of that bridge. I think most professions are like this; thousands of intricacies that don’t even cross the general population’s mind. It’s the same thing with the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.
When people see the movements, a lot of people that don’t have any background with them just see someone getting a bar overhead. As far as they know, the lifter is just throwing the bar up any which way. Anyone that’s done the movements will know that it’s much, much more than this. What’s more, these same people will appreciate a good looking Snatch or Clean and Jerk much more than the average person. They have an idea of what it takes to get there; or at the very least, how tough weightlifting can be.
If we take a look at any CrossFit Games competitor, most of them practice great technique whether the WOD is a Snatch ladder or 30 Clean and Jerks for time. You know why? It’s because that is the most efficient way to move the weight, even if it’s a light weight they can just ‘’Muscle up there.’’
These are the athletes that really worked at it. Even when they were extremely fatigued from all those box jumps and rope climbs throughout their training and even though they didn’t have the greatest technique from the start, they focused on what they needed to focus on and improved.
Doing this along with specific weightlifting training is the fastest way a CrossFitter can get better at the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.
The best (and most common) way for a CrossFitter to stall on the lifts is to practice weightlifting one way in dedicated practice and practice it another way during WODs. This is exactly why it’s so hard for some CrossFitters to progress in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. The way they do half their lifts totally contradicts the way they do the other half. This leaves them in technique purgatory; unsure of exactly how the lift should feel instead of working towards improved technique. The result: no improvement.
As a weightlifting coach who coaches quite a few CrossFitters, it’s very easy for me to tell you which ones make an effort at good technique, even when they’re super tired at the end of a WOD. These are the ones that inevitably progress the fastest, whether they’re practicing weightlifting for CrossFit or they’re a weightlifter that also CrossFits.
Like I said before, weightlifting is one of the most difficult things you can do in a gym and it’s very humbling. It takes a lot of work to get good at. The upside of this for CrossFitters is that by focusing on the long-term development of these lifts, you’re not only going to be prepared for when they show up in a competition, the explosiveness, body awareness, mobility and strength you’ll develop far outweigh those few WODs you’ll get through with 85 lbs instead of 95. Like I hear almost every time I walk into a CrossFit gym, ‘’Leave your ego at the door.’’ This includes weightlifting too.