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Variants of the snatch, clean, and jerk are frequently programmed at our facilities and in many CrossFit or strength and conditioning facilities around the world. They are highly technical movements that take years to master, especially if you aren’t only doing weightlifting. Even people with good foundations take months to achieve just basic competence. And the movements are just as challenging to coach as they are to perform. So why then do we bother practising a competition-specific movement when, for the most part, we’re just training for fitness.

Well, that is precisely the answer! We teach the Olympic lifts because our primary goal is fitness. A broad and inclusive fitness. Learning the lifts and performing them in training develops almost all aspects of fitness, so we get huge bang for buck on those movements. Just one movement has the potential, if performed correctly, to improve strength, stamina, flexibility, coordination, accuracy, power, speed, agility and balance. Throw a lift into a metcon or program a higher volume of work when doing the lifts and you develop cardiovascular endurance too. All ten recognised physical traits covered with just one to three movements!

So when you see “barbell conditioning” programmed or one of the Olympic lifts included in a metcon, don’t shy away and don’t get agitated if we use a long skill session to prepare you for the workout. We aren’t using those lifts just because it’s the cool thing to do. We’re using them to better develop your fitness. What is cool, however, is that there are very few places, CrossFit gyms or otherwise, at which you do get taught movements that are typically reserved for elite sports people!

Whether you’re training for life or sports, the Olympic lifts add huge value to your program. So get used to feeling the steel!

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