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Crossfit Weightlifting

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jan 6, 2016 11:17:08 AM

What is crossfit weightlifting ?

Crossfit weightlifting is performing a certain exercise including free weights usually for a higher amount of repetitions at a predetermined weight for time incorporated in a workout of the day or WOD.

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What is weightlifting ?

Weightlifting in itself can have many forms and usually includes moving challenging weights over a certain distance. Depending on who you ask, they will have a different picture in their head when they think about weightlifting.

All of them will most liekly think of some sort of moving the plates, barbells and dumbbells provided in a free weight section of a gym in some kind of way. The interesting question is how these weights are being moved.

Some will think of bulked up men like Arnold Schwarzenegger or CT Fletcher doing a lotf of repetitions to get pumped. Than we are on the range of bodybuilding, with the purpose to put on as much muscle mass as possible and thew weight being moved as just an means to an end, which is growing muscle.

Another form of weightlifting would be powerlifting. Here the weight being moved as on three specific lifts, the bench press, the deadlift & the squat. These movements to not involve bringing the weight overhead and are usually done with more weight than the load being moved in olympic weightlifting.

If you have watched a lot of eurosport in the late nineties you might thing of weightlifting as pulling trucks, moving atlas stones, throwing beer kegs as a high as possible or walking as far as possible while having a small car attached to your body (also known as a form of farmer's walk).

What is olympic weightlifting ?

Olympic weightlifting is the kind of lifting that you see at the olympics. In different weight classes competitors measure their strength on how much they can lift in total in the snatch and the clean and jerk.

The snatch is a movement where the barbell is accelerated from the ground overhead directly, without loading it to the chest first. The clean and jerk involves bringing the weight to your chest from the ground and  pushing it overhead from there.

Generally more weight is lifted for the clean and jerk as the snatch is being considered the more challenging movement to master and is therefore usually less loaded.

Each athlete has three attempts for each lift to establish a maximum. The best snatch and the best clean and jerk are combined for a total which is the final result for the lifter. In competition lifters are ranked based on their weight class and the total that they have lifted to determine the winner. Each lift is being observed by three judges to validate whether the lift has been fully completed and counts. The lift counts if two out of three judges determine it to be according to the rules.

What is crossfit weightlifting ?

Crossfit weightlifting can incorporate all of movements that have been mentioned before, but it is usually done within a "workout of the day" or short "WOD". The main difference is that the repetitions per lift are higher and that they are being timed. 

So in crossfit you would weightlift 30xsnatch of a certain weight weight for time. Usually this weight is being prescribed due to structure of the workout of the day that you perform. Novices should consider to start with lower weights as the prescribed ones to get used to the movement. 

Crossfitters are usually not specialised in olympic weightlifting as this is only a subportion of the overall spectrum of exercises which they comepte in. It takes however a big proportion of the performed movements and it is therefore key to master the olympic lifts to become a good crossfitter.

The approach of doing high repetition work on the snatch and clean and jerk is unique to crossfit and debated amongst experts due to injury risk, as heavy loaded multi joint movements are being perceived as risky in some circles. Also, if you do crossfit, you will get introduced to these complex movements quite early and chellenged on them.

Further reading

On the deadlift

On the squat


On the bench press