It is not unusual to see CrossFitters snatching 300lbs and clean & jerking 370lbs. The sport has come so far in the last five years; It has morphed into something totally new, something never before imagined possible. The question is, “How?” Five years ago Rich Froning was snatching 264 lbs and clean & jerking around 330lbs. Now he is qualifying for the A session at the Olympic weightlifting Nationals with 300+ and 370+. CrossFitters are doing what most people would have considered impossible just a few short years ago.
This is the answer to “How”?
If you know any top ranked CrossFitter, then you probably know that they have their own “Oly” coach. I put “Oly” in quotes because this is a phrase only used by CrossFitters. Most old school weightlifting coaches know the sport we love as “weightlifting”- (without a space). One word, Nike! Dang it! I personally have given into my beloved CrossFitters because they have been so inspirational in the rise of the sport of weightlifting. If they want to call it “Oly”, then “Oly” it is as far as I am concerned. CrossFitters seeking out professional coaches has completely changed the world of CrossFit.
Technique as a whole has completely evolved into true weightlifting movement. In the early stages of CrossFit, technique wasn’t much of a concern, but from the top down, CrossFit has completely evolved. My hat is off to HQ for being a big part of that evolution. Today, in CrossFit competitions, you are seeing proper bar paths, delayed double knee bends (superman pull thank you Jon North), faster third pulls, and vertical backs. Involving some of the top Oly coaches from around the nation has been inspirational in this process.
Another element that has helped to change CrossFit as a whole is the “Oly Cert/seminar” movement that has swept the entire world by storm. CrossFitters have so many great weightlifters from which to learn now: Jon North, Coach Pendlay, Kendrick Farris, Jared Enderton, Coach McCauley, and Klokov. All of these people have something awesome to offer, and I encourage you to take as many seminars as possible to create your own melting pot of awesomeness. These seminars have been epic towards the evolution of weightlifting within CrossFit. The CrossFit community is blessed to have the opportunity to be taught the great sport of weightlifting from Olympians, USA Team Members, and Team USA Coaches.
I have to give the CrossFit community props on being proactive in their approach to mobility, stabilization, and posterior chain work. Their coaches are getting wicked smart in their approach to the sport. All the top coaches that I know have libraries loaded with books on mobility and biomechanics. Ryan Grady is the biggest nerd for knowledge that I have ever met besides, Greg Nuckols of course. Ryan is always asking questions, looking for answers, and coming up with new ways to improve his program. This is the reason that the CrossFitters as a whole are getting into better position, catching weight in stable positions, and maintaining proper positions throughout the pull.
Programming is another huge reason that CrossFitters are getting jacked. It’s definitely not as random as it once was especially with the strength portion of the WODs. They are staying more random in the met cons, but the energy system that they are working isn’t random at all. They are focusing on energy systems that don’t compete in relation to their strength program. The closer they get to the Open the more focused they are on anaerobic conditioning to get their bodies ready for those heavy 10 minute workouts from hell. I guess you could call it “thought out programmed randomness”.
These are the reasons that CrossFitters are performing the sport of Olympic Weightlifting at a level comparable to athletes who focus solely on weightlifting. The top competitive CrossFitters are taking the sport of fitness to new levels. They are a part of a movement much like the first person to break 4 minutes in the mile, or the first person to run a marathon. Both accomplishments were thought to be impossible before someone destroyed the fallacy. CrossFitters are doing things every day that were once thought impossible. This group of athletes will revolutionize fitness, strength & conditioning, and sports before they are finished.