Monday, September 14, 2009

My Sentiments Exactly

With permission, I've copied an excerpt from Greg Everett's article in the September Performance Menu--a publication I highly recommend to any affiliate owners or interested people. I am often asked to teach small group classes at local Crossfit affiliates, and many of you know I struggle with how these lifts are used in certain Crossfit workouts. From my perspective, most people have no business doing these barbell lifts for high reps for time.

If you want to jack your back, shoulders, elbows, wrists or hands up, go for it. If you truly want to learn to do the lifts correctly, you are probably setting yourself (and good technique) back with every poorly executed rep you do. During my classes, I really try to thoughtfully convey my concerns on this matter: These lifts are best done in 1-3 rep sets and in a rested state. The full lifts need to be practiced purposefully and frequently if you wish to do them well. They are complex, full-body movements used to train and develop lower body power. If you want to burn calories or have a high-intensity circuit workout, there are better choices.

Here is what Greg has to say about using the lifts for metabolic conditioning workouts, and I agree with him:

The Lifts within the Training Program

All this talk of mixed skill levels and the importance of
technical proficiency begs the question: How do we
use the Olympic lifts within metabolic conditioning
workouts in a group? The easiest answer is not to. The
reality is that the overwhelming majority of CrossFit
clients will never reach a level of technical proficiency
that makes the lifts’ use within metabolic workouts
a great idea, simply because the proportion of their
training time dedicated to the lifts is minimal.

There are better options for conditioning that won’t
hinder further development of lift technique while still
providing a large metabolic dent—arguably more of
one, in fact. Additionally, dumbbell, sandbag, and
other implement variations of the Olympic lifts can be
used to provide most of the metabolic effects desired
from the lifts—these lifts require far less instruction and
practice to be effective and are distinct enough to
not interfere with technique for the barbell lifts. (It
should be noted that these exercises do not include
the medicine ball clean, because it is hopelessly lame
and has no place in anyone’s training.)