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

3) Technique & Loading:

Exhibit A-

This is the max snatch event from the 2009 Games. The only thing I can imagine that’s more embarrassing than this video would be walking in on your parents having sex and being forced to stand there—eyes wide open—for 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Considering that our sport is now full of national caliber lifters, this video is even more shocking. To imagine that these are the top women in 2009, less than four years ago, is mind-boggling.

Here are some numbers to drive the point home:

-Among the top ten women at the 2009 Games, the average snatch was 120#.
-Among the top ten women from the 2012 Games the average snatch is 163.6#.

Here’s one that I had to do the math on at least eight times to believe…

-The average snatch of the 69kg women at the 2012 American Open was 161.6#.

This is notoriously the most competitive weight class in American women’s weightlifting, and 69kg (151.8#) is actually more than 8 pounds heavier than the 143.1 pound average weight of the Games 2012 top ten. (You should probably ruminate on the numbers for a second.)


Let’s hear from Mr. Dreschler again:

The mere practice of the Olympic lifts teaches an athlete how to apply large amounts of force.

We have, at times, been criticized for sticking to a lifting template throughout the season. The criticism apparently is that this much lifting will detract from the development of other skills. The reality is that the lifting we do is a developer of overall athleticism, which carries over to all of the skills of our greater sport. Ryan Sunshine has a 240# snatch @ 20 years-old—he just maxed out at 24 unbroken muscle-ups. Spencer Arnold has an American Open podium—he also has 24 unbroken muscle-ups. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet has a nearly double-bodyweight clean & jerk—she has…well, here:

What do we see in this video? Violent hip extension. She keeps the arms long and loose until the power is transferred vertically. Incredible speed and turnover with the elbows. What does all that sound like to you? I’m not trying to argue that if you can’t snatch, you can’t do muscle-ups, but—if adequate time is taken to develop both disciplines—it will never hurt.

We program, practice the technique of, and generally revere the lifts for the overall kinesthetic development they provide our athletes. Kinesthetic awareness is paramount in a sport that rewards efficiency over brute effort. We believe that even the accessory lifts have massive carryover for our athletes. Our best front squatters—who generally have the biggest cleans—have the easiest time with tasks such as wall ball and thrusters. These are things that can be developed by simple repetition, but if the practice of the lifts, and their accessories, can help develop them with less toil, then we have an obvious elixir that can improve athletes in a multifaceted and expedient manner.

Learning the technical aspects of weightlifting is not a one size fits all for athletes. Bob Takano writes:

My experience has been that teaching the snatch and clean & jerk to high-level gymnasts, divers and dancers is a piece of cake. I’ve done it with a couple of these types of athletes in about a half an hour… People lacking in motor learning skills, and that have never done anything to improve their kinesthesia are going to need a lot of coaching and a long time to learn the lifts, if they can learn them at all. June 11th article “How Much Time Does it Take To Learn Technique?

Former athletes, especially from “body control” sports, will have an easier time adapting to the lifts. Athletes or people in general who have done less to “improve their kinesthesia,” as Mr. Takano writes, will have a much harder time. This, however, does not mean that the improvements and adaptations gained from this learning will not have just as much, if not more, carryover for those who have less general body awareness. In fact, I would challenge those of you who have a “high motor” to take the time to fully delve into the learning and perfection of the lifts. Motor is always easier to develop than skill, and once the skill is attained, the motor is just a few grueling weeks from being right back where it was (and likely much improved). The caveat? If you don’t ever take the time to become a barbell virtuoso, no matter how many times you do “Cindy” and “Helen,” you will still be the first person out of the snatch ladder at Regionals.

Monday – 4) Loading.

WOD 130202:

2012 Regionals Individual Event 4-

*With 1 barbell.

50 Back Squats 135/95#
40 Pullups
30 Shoulder to Overhead 135/95#
50 Front Squats 85/65#
40 Pullups
30 Shoulder to Overhead 85/65#
50 Overhead Squats 65/45#
40 Pullups
30 Shoulder to Overhead 65/45#

For time.

109 thoughts on “130202

  1. I appreciate your intelligence and insight, Rudy. Especially when it’s combined with your liquor loving, bread rocking, shit talking personality. Thanks for keeping it real, man. And sharing your knowledge.

  2. Dear Lord that was horrible. I can’t believe that’s how they snatched…(gives me the chills)

  3. I have two tickets to the Outlaw Nor Cal session. I hate to have to sell them but unfortunately I do.


  4. So your basically telling me that, Female Crossfitters are better Olympic lifters, then well.. Female Olympic lifters? I’m not an expert here, but is this data that can prove that Oly Lifters, could use CrossFit as a supplemental training program to enhance there Olympic lifting, and better there already amazing oly total numbers?

    • Don’t be stupid. This is data to prove that working on the Olympic Lifts in fact makes you better at Crossfit. Nowhere does this data say that doing Wall Balls, Pullups, and Double Unders in a rapid fashion under a timed restrictor make you better at the Olympic Lifts. Case and point… Find one Olympian or World Record Holder in the Olympic Lifts who EVER did Crossfit consistently before achieving such feat… you won’t. Now find one top Crossfitter who didn’t practice the Olympic Lifts consistently… you won’t. Bottomline: You cannot be good at Crossfit without working the Olympic Lifts BUT you can be good at the Olympic Lifts without doing Crossfit.

      • Doesn’t this data point directly to the fact that female American Olympic lifting competitors could possibly do themselves a huge favor by improving in their GPP? Not saying that would record holders or Olympic champions would benefit that much, but that isn’t the case with American women. Those top ten CF women are training for completely different task yet excelling and out performing the people who are sport specific. Maybe that is the definition of over specializing, or possibly underdeveloped GPP/general athleticism in that population?

  5. I NEVER wanted to do this wod again….
    Damnit Rudy!
    Wasn’t the cut-off time 19? Or was it 17?

  6. Well ill at least get to test out my butterfly pull-ups..I feel like theyre getting better but my hands may tear the fuck off..yay

    Did they do this WOD from the rack or floor?

    • generally I always go by which way would be the “worse”/hardest way to do any of the WODs that Rudy puts out there unless he says otherwise. But looking back it was from the ground/floor.

      And to answer question before as I pulled up the 2012 games page, it was a 22 minute Time Cap. That was for the Games Regionals, not for this. Repeat that is for the Games Regionals, NOT today’s workout/test from Rudy

  7. So basically the Snatch is so effin’ hard that if you can master it then everything else in CrossFit’s movement toolbox will be cake?

    If thats the case then I just feel like this entire post could have been summarized by that clip from the movie Dodgeball where Patches O’Houlihan says “If you can dodge a wrench, you can Dodge a ball”

  8. I have never been taught to push my hips when doing a body pull like a chest to bar or hip to bar. That video of Leblanc taught me a better way of doing both. Thank you for you explanation. Will be using more of that technique when doing my movements from now on.

  9. 46 yr old
    10 weeks of outlaw way
    Really need to get butterfly pull-ups
    That sucked ass

  10. Had a competition last night… Ran Elizabeth not a pr but 3:06 did 180 du strait 20 rep pr..
    And ran Karen…. Drank 6 beers ate 4 pieces of pizza woke up and ran this shit…. 19:01 at regionals last year it was 23:17…


  11. 17:56

    Really curious what i did at regionals last year…cant find it anywhere…+1 if anyone can lol.

  12. Haven’t been posted in a while but have been following everyday…

    22:44 Rx @ 22min cap I was at 15/30 shoulder to overhead. Absolutely brutal

  13. 23:59

    lost my shoulders after the first shoulder to overhead and just had to push through the burn. shoulders = weakness much better than before though.

  14. Made up hbbs and hit 400#. My high bar is now the same as my low bar
    No regional wod today.
    I hope I can snatch like sunshine when I’m 19…or 20 whichever one it is

    • Felt guilty for not doing the wod so I forced myself to do it
      19:32 that was the worst workout I’ve ever done

  15. Coach, I’m new, not as strong but love the programming and want to improve. However…should I scale the weight or the reps on these types of workouts? Or neither

    • Do what you can, scale as needed…if your looking at the weight for two minutes in a section of the WOD that should take less than 3, scale. Don’t let your pride take away the intensity of the workouts.

  16. 30:24 RX

    This felt like 28 min of pullups.

    Stepped off a 5 hour red-eye flight and went straight to the gym… Not to mention the wheezing from a head cold. Excuses…

  17. I was excited to do this today, when regionals were going on last year, I had just started crossfit, and I remember thinking: there is no way I could ever do that workout. Pullups and 95 lb push press would have done me in…

    Today I did it in 27:55. Felt horrible, Pullups really sucked, but I did it!

  18. 24:35
    (Through 24 pull ups at 22min)
    (2012 Regs score was 22:56)


  19. 24:18 Rx ~ took just over 5 min off my time from last year (pre outlaw way) and I think I even used a rack last year ~ still think I should have been faster through the FS this year though ~ either way big time improvement.

  20. 19:11

    Back got super tight during the front squats and they took up a big chunk of time. I hope we do some longer wods in preparation for the open and regionals because I had a hard time knowing how to pace this. I spent a lot of the workout wondering if I was pushing too hard or not hard enough. I just can’t wrap my head around going hard for 15-20 mins right now. This was a tough wod to do alone.

  21. Did the back squats and felt my lower back tightening up. Have a comp next weekend, so opted out of finishing it in favor of saving my back.

    On the plus side, I PRed my clean today at 285# (10# PR). Got under 295# effortlessly, just couldn’t stand it up – need to work on my front squat.

  22. 23:01 RX
    Felt so slow during and felt like I was taking too many breaks. Crushed my soul.
    Top 5 hardest we’ve done since I started outlaw last summer.

    Any stand out as the hardest workouts of the last 9 or so months? The gasser at Xmas has to be near the top.

  23. Scaled to 40,30,20 reps, and moved slow, took somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes… Went and shredded at the Bird afterwards and my legs were fucked! But I felt great hiking Baldy.

  24. I had to throw in the towel, following my first attempt @ a behind the neck push jerk @ 135. My left shoulder, is tweaked a bit…and, it seems to feel uncomfortable when I do HSPUs and barbell shoulder press of any kind. The shit wouldn’t even let me match my previous 230 Push Press PR, yesterday. Thinkin’ too much, now.

  25. 16:55, first time for this particular wod so was not quite sure what kinda pace to run at. Last set of pull ups got pretty sloppy.

  26. With a 25 min time cap, I got to 21 shoulder to overhead @ 85# I have been doing crossfit for 6 months and started outlaw programing one month ago.

  27. Did not get a chance to do this today but participated in a big team comp in the Southern California area. It was the highest finish, 6th out of 65 teams, for our 4 person team at comp of this caliber. Progress.

  28. At 22 minutes: 20 OHS

    Then I died. Kinda had an asthma attack from a smoke inhalation injury a few weeks ago. Finished at 33:44.

  29. Had to do fridays outlaw on Saturday morning then the regional wod about 3 hours later.. With literally no sleep

    Pr’d my bench 275#
    Pr’d my push press 235#
    19:46 (RX) on the regional wod

  30. 26:24
    11 pull ups into last round at 22:00 mark,
    1 extra rep than regionals. Fuck sake! I hate that WOD.

  31. Rxd got through 16 pull ups in 2nd round then hand tore. Finished the shoulder to overhead on that round at about 27 mins. DNF.

Comments are closed.