By Logan Price
The Olympic lifts (Snatch and Clean & Jerk) are two of the most difficult movements to master. Even professional weightlifters who lift as a full-time job take years to refine their technique and efficiency. Even though we don’t snatch and clean & jerk for a living, working towards technique proficiency can save you the frustration of hitting a plateau and having PRs be few and far between.
One way we can take a step in the right direction is to always prioritize our form over the amount of reps we get in. This applies especially to the times when snatches or cleans are in metcons. If a workout is for time it’s easy to want to fly through all of our reps and bask in the glory of our top score on the whiteboard. The next time Olympic lifts come up in a workout, think of it as another opportunity to hone in on technique. Sure, we may not have the fastest time, but it’s very easy to undo any technical progress we’ve made when we accumulate a lot of sloppy reps. Tap and go reps are completely fine to do in metcons as long as we’re able to find a proper set-up position on the floor and maintain it under fatigue.
Another very effective way to work towards proficient technique may also be the most obvious: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Practicing the lifts frequently with lighter weight goes a long way. Getting a PVC pipe to practice with at home is a great way to get in more reps. That way, even if we aren’t able to get to the gym we can always film ourselves practicing snatches and clean & jerks with a PVC. Recording our lifts is a big eye-opener, and can help us identify any flaws when we don’t have access to a coach.
It takes time to gain the necessary muscle memory to consistently have good technique. We may find that, right now, our technique is a little inconsistent. We may do a snatch and think, “Wow, that one felt great!”. And then on the very next rep it feels like we just figured out how to walk and everything went out the window. That happens to everyone so don’t get discouraged. It literally takes hundreds, if not thousands, of reps before most of us can maintain good technique. Weightlifting Class is a great way to spend a solid hour working with light weight and building a base to handle heavier weights in the future. There’s no use in muscling up a super ugly lift every time we build to a heavy weight in class, and then being stuck with the same 1 rep max for years. Remember, it all starts with technique and everything else will follow.
Logan first found CrossFit in 2012 while still in high school. He was looking for something new after getting bored with the traditional gym routine. He got hooked and never looked back. He got his CF-L1 when he was 17 and started interning shortly after. Since then, he has obtained his USAW-L1 and competed in nearly 20 local and national level weightlifting competitions. Logan is passionate about not only coaching CrossFit and weightlifting, but also helping people reach their goals and having fun while doing so.