If you play Golf you can relate to the analogy to Olympic Weightlifting. The sport of Weightlifting is fun and rewarding. It's mechanics and execution require every physical skill imaginable. For this reason, it is very hard to learn. For the same reason, it is very effective to develop athletic quality. The Golf swing is a series of biomechanical movements, all of which much take place from ideal positions. To hit the ball straight and with power, all of these elements must exist in a couple of seconds of execution. The Olympic lifts are no different. Everything is about positioning and adhering to these positions as the lift is performed. When one thing goes wrong, the chain of events is compromised and recovery to getting back is hard and often impossible. Lighter loads are more forgiving. When an experienced lifter is attempting heavy loads, the little things matter more and more. Be patient in learning the lifts. Remember it's harder to correct faulty movement patterns once they are established.
Enjoy the following video. Tonya Charland, who is returning on our team for the 2012 CrossFit Games Regionals, is working hard on her lifting abilities. The video will show some faults that she is trying to correct. We hope that helps you understand the Olympic Lifts better. Here is a breakdown of what to look for.
- Tonya is an extremely strong and powerful athlete. She manages to recover slightly from less than ideal movement patterns. Strength will get you far. Technique combined with strength will get you much further. Note that these are PR loads. We don't see the faults with lighter weights.
- The bar is always forward. To jump it up and recieve it we want to bring the load back, getting closer to our center of gravity. Being forward equals missed lifts. Good bar path is everything.
- The first pull starts everything. If the bar stays forward here, it is very hard to get it back on an ideal bar path. Keeping the hips down and "sweeping" the bar in is essential. The knees must back up and clear the path. You will notice her hips shoot up a bit as the shoulders stay down. This will promote forward position.
- Her strength typically gets the bar back into a decent position but this can promote an early jump. All of this adds up to the bar always staying slightly forward.
- Her power drives the bar high. Whether the athlete decides to recieve the bar in the power position or squat position, the move under must be lightning fast. If the athlete is under the bar before the weight has fully started it's descent, the weight will "crash" a bit. The athlete must remain extremely tight to stabilize the load, which is trying to bury them. In the slow motion clip, you will see this. Remember to drop and punch the arms.
- It's a game of millimeters when recieving lifts. Tonya is on her way to bigger numbers.