The importance of Olympic weightlifting for the “Sport of Fitness.”

1) General Introduction:

The mere practice of the Olympic lifts teaches an athlete how to apply large amounts of force. Part of the extraordinary abilities of an Olympic lifter arises out of his having learned how to effectively activate more of his muscle fibers more rapidly than others who aren’t trained to do so. This becomes extremely important for athletes who need to remain at lower body weights for athletic purposes but need to learn how to apply greater force.—Artie Dreschler

Mr. Dreschler literally wrote the book on weightlifting. Clearly he wasn’t writing for competitive exercisers, but his comment could not be any more appropriate in relation to our sport. I say this at every camp, and I’ll say it again here: Rich Froning has the highest WL total of any Games athlete—Rich Froning has won the Games twice.

The debate on the importance of weightlifting should stop with my last statement, but fools will continue to quarrel. So here’s a quote from “Were the Games Well Programmed?” on Anders Larson’s CFG Analysis site:

What is clear from this is that HQ puts a large value on the Olympic lifts. The clean and snatch were worth a total of 5.35 events on their own! Add in shoulder-to-overhead (0.67) and that’s more than 6 events worth of points based on the Olympic lifts. Although I am a big fan of the Olympic lifts myself, I do think the snatch in particular was over-valued. It was worth nearly 14% of all the available points, including 20% of the Open and 17% of the Regional.

These are actual numbers and facts, not opinions about what you “think” will be programmed. Larson also has added up the total point values for every movement tested during both the 2011 and 2012 Games seasons. The snatch and clean & jerk are worth 20 percent of the total point value. If you add accessories, you have 36 percent of the total point value—read that again, except in all caps: THIRTY-SIX PERCENT. I can and will talk about exactly how the lifts develop the athlete from an overall perspective, but strictly from a sporting perspective, that’s a lot of points.

We are not programming for and coaching athletes to be Olympic weightlifters. Our athletes’ success in Olympic weightlifting is secondary to this fact: to be successful in the “sport of fitness,” they must be good weightlifters. Rich Froning’s 293kg Total (in f-ing Nanos) would have been good for third place at the 2012 American Open. Rich Froning is the two-time CrossFit Games champion.

Tomorrow – 2) Science

WOD 130125:


1) Deadlift: 3X10 – heaviest possible, rest 3 full minutes
2a) Tempo Bench Press: 5X5 (fast up, 5 second count on the descent) – heaviest possible, rest 60 sec.

Notes: All reps must be performed with the hips (ass) in contact with the bench.

2b) Strict Tempo Supinated Weighted Pull-ups: 5X5 (fast up, 5 second count on the descent) – heaviest possible, rest 60 sec.

Notes: 2a & 2b should be performed in alternating sets.


For time:

30 Handstand push-ups (regionals standard)
40 Pull-ups
50 KBS 24/16kg
60 Sit-ups (Ab-Mat, anchored)
70 Burpees

92 thoughts on “130125

  1. Iv got a ticket to the Outlaw Camp in Austin, TX on February 27th. I am selling it for face value. Text me if your interested. 713-319-7127

  2. Great article. Oly lifts should be taught in elementary school, and cops should issue fines to adults for doing dumbbell curls.

  3. Great post.

    I had a question to you guys regarding the Friday/Saturday postings. I find that when I max out Saturday after the deadlifts on Friday, I have trouble pulling and hitting big weights. When I switch the days I find I am fresher for the max out attempts. This could be because, relatively, I am weak deadlifter. So I figured I could go harder on the deads on Saturday and get more recovery after them. Does any one else have a similar experience to this?

    • I feel the exact same way. If I were to do 3 sets of 10 heavy deads on Friday I will almost never reach pr weight on Saturday.

    • There are probably many people who experience this because it’s the design of the program. If the program dictates 60 second rest, would you take 120 seconds so you can move more weight? It’s the same thing.

      • I have a question I’ve been mulling over for a while: If we aren’t hitting our maximal PRs on saturdays (I experience this as well) Should we be using our most recent Max lifts (as in from the latest Saturday 1RMs) or our current PR lifts to calculate our weights for Monday’s big WL sets of Sn and C&J?

        When I calculate using my PRs its rare when I fully complete a WL circuit without a few missed pulls. Usually at +90%. The answer could be HTFU, but I’m curious whether making all my lifts at lower weight would be more beneficial.

      • I know you’re right EA. I expected this answer and I must admit, I am one of those that fudges the rest intervals at times to hit bigger weights (rarely!). In both cases I do this because I compete in weightlifting meets, with the hope to make Nationals, as much as I do CrossFit. So, if I have an opportunity to hit as big lifts as possible on a weekly basis, I take that opportunity because I think it works for me. That being said, using yourself as example, you are a National level weightlifter and “competitive exerciser”, and doing what this program dictates has worked incredibly for you, as it has for me. I just am always looking for ways to experiment and individualize it to get the most out of it for my needs.

        Right now, I am experimenting with switching Friday and Saturday but that probably will not last. I know that the program is written the way it is to limit how maximal an athlete can go on a given exercise. There are just times, if I feel good, that I want to push that envelope and not leave any weight “unlifted”. Just some thoughts. I am more than open to critique.

        • James, you’ve got to stop thinking of Saturday’s as “PR days”. They are true ME days in our version of the conjugate method. To a large extent I program pulling the day before our ME lifts to take away the ability for the lifter to “muscle” the lift. The goal with the Saturday ME work is to force the lifter to be as technically sound as possible, while being in a slightly fatigued state. All percentage work should be done based off highest recent 1RM.

          The goal is when the athlete is rested and the test calls for a true 1RM, they will feel like they’ve never been so strong.

    • I’ve read something on this that can explain it much better than I can, but I believe it has to do with the nature of Deadlifts and how taxing they are on the CNS. Even if muscularly you feel fine after a day of heavy deads, your CNS will still be a bit behind, and thus unable to get its shit together for big lifts the next day.

    • i normally don’t have time to do all the bbg and str and cond on saturdays, so i have been alternating 20 min and 3 attempts at each sn & cj before the friday strength

  4. Might I play devil’s advocate a bit?

    Rich Froning is the best CF Games weightlifter, yes.
    He won the fitness competition that has a statistically verifiable bias toward weightlifting movements.

    This is not surprising. I think you were a guest on someone’s CF-related podcast (can’t remember exactly) a few months ago and I was intrigued by what you had to say about former gymnasts making the best CFers (eventually). Something about kinesthetic awareness and body control (if I recall correctly). You then went on to say something about training gymnastics being too much of a lifelong pursuit to effectively teach a bunch of new found CrossFit bros in any short amount of time, who in turn provide leadership and validation for the Soccer Moms who eventually must comprise a sizable chunk of your business in order for it to probably be successful.

    I don’t disagree with any of this. But, just because weightlifting is more readily teachable, palatable, measurable, profitable, and logistically accessible, does that justify its bias in CrossFit (Competition and otherwise)? What makes a world class Snatch intrinsically superior to, say, an Olympic-level gymnastics tumbling pass for “fitness”?

    I come from a breakdance background, and was/still am relatively mediocre, but I’ve met/seen/know dudes who could basically levitate in 3D with speed and precision in ways that most CFers could scarcely comprehend, yet they would probably suck at a Snatch and could care less anyway (who knows maybe if they decided to train it the speed/coordination would carry over eventually). And there were and still are a lot of them. They were not that special or “gifted.”

    As far as the “argument,” I could personally give a shit either way because it is what it is today and will probably not change a whole lot any time soon. Although stuff like the O-course is a fun deviation from the norm. People like hoisting big weights, I get it. I enjoy CF in its many practiced forms/definitions and do stuff on the side that I also enjoy that will probably never show up in a WOD. It’s all good.

    Not trying to stir the pot, just enjoying the discussion. I look forward to your next pieces on this. Also, getting my ass handed to me at the NorCal camp, woo!

  5. Check out this clip of Rich and Dan and tell me that they can’t do gymnastics. The weightlifting makes you stronger and gives you more control over your body as shown here. Dan learned to do backflips minutes before this WOD.


    • Big shout out to DanB, for makin’ that shit happen!! I remember when I was a kid (around 7 or 8), I did my first ever “No-hands” Backflip (as we referred to ’em on the southside of Chicago), on concrete…the sidewalk! My thought was either I land on my feet OR bust my shit! Of course, I landed on my feet…and for a very long time after that, used to receive many challenges and small payments to do all sorts of flips that I taught myself to do. Weightlifting prowess coupled with mental fortitude, are a bitch to contend with…in my opinion.

    • Don’t really want to get into semantics, but A back flip/tuck is a basic beginner’s skill. It is well documented that you can teach most marginally athletic 18 year old boys with a cute girl to impress one in the same amount of time, lifting or no lifting experience.

  6. My apologies! Here, on the southside of Chicago…when I was coming up and doin’ unorganized gymnastic movements, we called the flip DanB and RichF did in the clip, “NOs”.

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more, Rudy. Falling short in 2010 was such a disappointment, I knew I had to changes to my training. A daily focus on Olympic movements made all the difference for me. Thanks for putting this program together, it’s been a game changer.

  8. Strength:
    1) 140-150-160kg (180Kg 1RM)
    2a) 60-70-75-75-80Kg (100Kg 1RM)
    2b) 6Kg


    Man don’t I feel the puss posting after Froning.

  9. 1) 275-300-300(f)

    failed 6th rep on third set, back gave out. 8 months ago 300 was my max. putting it up for a 10-spot gives me a chub.

    a) 155 across
    b) 15-15-10-10-10

    cond 14:30 Rx

  10. I think this clearly defines why we all love Outlaw. On a fun side note, I just realized that I train the stats guy’s (Anders) mother. Small world.

  11. 1.) 315, 345, 355
    2a.) 135
    2b.) 35×2 26×3

    18:18 (pure muscle fatigue, burpees alone took almost 10 minutes.)

  12. Strength
    1) 315, 365, 375*6
    2a) 205, 225, 225, 225, 225 (needed spot on last 2 reps)
    2b) 10lb (should have gone heavier but bench wore me out)

    17:29 (hspu killed me) (pull-ups were strict because I suck at kipping on the makeshift pull-up bar at 24 hour fitness)

  13. 1) 185-205-225

    2a) Scaled volume, only did 3 sets of each: 135-135-135

    2b) *Green Band-Green Band-Green Band

    Conditioning: 14 KBS, RX’D, DNF, 15 minute cutoff.

    *Scaled version for reps:
    15 Handstand push-ups (regionals standard)
    20 Pull-ups
    25 KBS 24kg
    30 Sit-ups (Ab-Mat, anchored)
    35 Burpees

  14. Str-
    1) 275/295/305
    2a) 155/165/175/185/195
    -should have started heavier
    2b) 16kg KB all sets

    12:02 rx’d
    Struggled with hspu, my shoulders were rocked.. was hoping to go unbroken with those but otherwise felt good

  15. Strength:
    1) 275lbs, 290lbs, 315lbs
    2a) 155lbs, 165lbs, 165lbs, 165lbs, 175lbs
    2b) 25lbs each set (regular strict pull-ups)

    Conditioning: Rx
    20:30 (HSPUs suck, and did 7 mins on burpees yesterday)

  16. Str –

    1) 335,355,375

    2a) 225
    2b) 44

    (God i felt soooo swole…lol)

    Cnd –


    I suck shit at hspu. Used 2″ deficit, and probably will continue to, until regionals

  17. 2/2/7 upper neck issue from deficit HSPU

    1) 315 across (this is the weight that I trashed my back with back in August when I discovered I had one leg a full inch longer than the other. Killed it today. Major psychological breakthrough.

    2a) 155 then 175 across (def slowed a bit on the way up in the last two rounds
    2b) 36 across (slowed up on the last couple reps of the last two rounds


    14:26 (wasted about two extra minutes on the HSPU, shoulders were smoked)

  18. Strength:
    1) 315(11), 325, 335
    2a) 155
    2b) 25, 2×15, 2×10

    -not a balls to wall effort by any means


  19. Strength:
    1.) 315, 325, 340 ~ (steel plates)
    2b.)25x5x5x(4fx1), 20x(4fx1), 15x(4fx1)

    13:18 Rx

  20. Deadlift 315 325 335
    Bench @165
    Wd pullup @35
    I have never done burpees so fast. Hspu and pullups ub

  21. Strength

    19:35 – strict, strict, 32kg, rx, rx


    Have to do what I can to get rid of the competitive exercising aspects of the conditioning while I wait for the Outlaw S&C program to roll out. Kipping is silly.

  22. First let me say that this is my first day with The Outlaw Way. I love what i have read and seen.

    1) 300-300-300
    2a) 165 for all
    2b) 25-25-15-15-15

    Metcon 8:13 half the reps on all 5 exercises

  23. 1) 405-405-405
    2a) 225-225-225-235-245
    2b) 0-0-0-5-10. I’m kind of a fatso. Bwt 225

    Cond) half rep volume in 6:47. Surprised myself with 14 unbroken HSPU to kick it off. pr by 4.

  24. 1) 275 295 315
    Stayed lighter and tried to maintain speed

    2a) 185
    2b) 20
    Arms smoked after these.

    Cond: 15:25
    Subbed pullups with ring rows.
    Arms completely fatigued from above.


  25. Maxed out today. Sorry.

    Snatch – 265. Missed 280 x 3
    Clean and Jerk – 315 easy. 330 racked but could not stand up.
    HBBS – 395

    Conditioning (Gym’s WOD)

    OC Throwdown WOD 5:
    30 Wallballs (20/14 lbs)
    15 Power Snatch (135/95 lbs)
    30 Wallballs
    12 Power Snatch (155/105 lbs)
    30 Wallballs
    9 Power Snatch (185/125 lbs)

    I switched the order of the wall balls and snatches and it definitely slowed me down.


    I will make up today’s tomorrow.

  26. Strength
    1) 285, 305, 320
    2a) 205,210,215,220,220
    2b) BW,10,15,20,25

    forgot I could have done kipping HSPU

  27. Strength
    2a) 165,165,165,160,155
    2b) 45,35,35,31,31

  28. M/5’8″/38/187


    1)3×10 @ 405; +/- 25sec/set
    2a)5×5 @ 250
    2b)5×5 @ 35


    14:06; didn’t do the HSPUs as prescribed…went head to Ab-mat. That felt a little better on my left shoulder. Could have gone lower on my time…had to walk across the gym floor a bit. All good.

  29. 3×10 @345lbs 75% >1rm it was heavy
    1a) 210,205,205,205,205
    1b) 70×3/63×2, 63, 53, 53, 53

    Conditioning: 15:26rx shitty hspu today, worked really hard to go butterfly the whole way since I’m weak at those. But overall pretty happy about the day

  30. 255 DL. Touch and go- should’ve done more
    195 bench
    Strict no weight

    Conditioning: kicked my butt. 15:04 RX. Burpees were Johnny Slowballs.

  31. Strength
    1)165, 185, 195
    -have never done more than 5 reps of a DL so wasn’t sure where to go with this.
    2a) 95, 95, 95, 105, 110
    -the 110 was a mistake with a unevenly loaded barbell. meant to hit 105 again.
    2b) bw with a thin blue band for all

    20:09 rx’d
    -hspu’s were the most difficult and took me a good chunk of time to get through. thought I might drop the kb on my head because my grip was fried. should have moved faster through the situps. burpees were slow and awful.

  32. 1) deadlift
    3×10 155, 185, 205
    2a) Tempo Bench Press:
    5X5 155 all reps
    2b) Strict Tempo Supinated Weighted Pull-ups:
    5X5 started out with 30s and decreased each set ending with 10’s
    Substituted HSPU with Push press @95

  33. Strength
    1) 3×10 deadlifts
    205, 225, 235 (failed after rep 8, bummed. I lost my grip)

    2) skipped… short on time.

    14:25 rx – Burpees slowed me way down. I don’t know why I am so slow at those.

  34. Deadlift: 205-245-265(8- Lost grip)
    2a. 95-95-105-115-115
    2b. 10-10-10-10-BW

    Conditioning: 22:04
    I seemed to have lost my Butterfly Pullup, if anyone sees it, please return to Afghanistan.

  35. 15 min to 1rm clean and jerk hit 180# 1rm is 185

    deadlift 260-280-300 300 is 80% of my 1rm

    2a) 115#
    2b) 35#

    conditioning: 18:30

  36. Strength
    •275,295,300# (couldn’t go too heavy. Battling injury)

    2a)•225# (across)


    For time:

  37. Strength
    405 – 405 – 405

    2a) 185, 185, 185, 205, 225
    2b) 40, 26, 26, 26, 26

    For time:
    •18:45… (HSPU weren’t cooperating this morning)

  38. Strength

    1) Deadlift: 3X10 – 100, 110, 130 kg
    2a) Tempo Bench Press: 65 kg
    2b) Strict Tempo Supinated Weighted Pull-ups: BW


  39. How does Annie Thorisdottir compare on O-lifting? As she is also a 2 time champion, I’d be interested to know the figures on her to see if there is a direct coloration

  40. Strength:
    1) 205/225/240
    2a) 90/95/100/105
    2b) just strict no weight

    18:03 hspu with abmat

  41. Strength
    1) Deadlift: 3X10 – 315/345/355
    2a) Tempo Bench Press: 195
    2b) Strict Tempo Supinated Weighted Pull-ups: 25/25/25/35/35

    Conditioning: 16:07 rx

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