After Essex Weightlifting Club’s Spring Open this past weekend, and watching four groups of male and female competitors on the platform, it’s hard not to feel inspired to grab a barbell, lace up your lifters, and shift some tin!

The two Olympic lifts – the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk – have always been a cornerstone of CrossFit training. They are full-body, explosive movement patterns, and are unrivalled in developing athleticism.

What’s the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk?

The objective of the Snatch is to lift the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion. The Clean & Jerk is made up of two movements: the barbell is first lifted from the floor to shoulder-height, before it’s then raised overhead. Both lifts finish with the lifter standing tall with straight arms and legs.

Developing the technique to allow your body to safely and efficiently move weight this way demands coordination, flexibility, and complete concentration. The technical aspects of olympic lifting call on our mental and motor skills, more so than free-weight lifting.

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In weightlifting competitions, the Snatch is performed first – most consider it to be the more demanding of the two lifts, requiring more skill and finesse. The Clean & Jerk calls more on a lifter’s raw power. In CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting is integral in our broad, general, and inclusive fitness program.

Oly Lifting in CrossFit

If you’ve ever fallen victim to clickbait (haven’t we all?) you might know there’s some controversy around performing high-rep sets of these movements. However, CrossFit’s methodology advocates the role olympic weightlifting plays in boosting strength endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, and stamina through a wide range of rep schemes.

• Build strength through your core, glutes, upper back, triceps, and grip.

• Gain an extra edge by training the fast-twitch muscle fibres associated with sprinting.

• Improve your resting heart rate, blood pressure, and VO2 for better overall cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

Yes, both movements take just a couple of seconds to execute, but the discipline and training required to hit heavier weights well calls on just about every aspect of fitness. Coached with good form, you’d be hard-pushed to find an exercise that deliver so many benefits at once.

Longevity in Lifting

Oly lifting is an excellent way to train as you age because one of its major components is speed. Often underrated in fitness in general, keeping fast and strong for as long as possible with this kind of full-body resistance training also reduces the risk of back pain, osteoporosis, arthritis, an array of metabolic diseases, and depression as the years rack up.

But it doesn’t come easy.

Pushing toward and then maintaining the necessary mobility to perform the full Snatch, proper front rack in the Clean, and a strong lock out in the Jerk, takes work. But polishing the technique and increasing the weight is what makes it so satisfying!

A successful Spring Open 2023

Congrats goes to all the lifters at EWC’s comp. Especially those who podium’d, PBd, or debuted on the platform. And a huge thank you to all the volunteers and spectators for making it a well-run and energised day. We love having visitors to the gym so we can show off our facility, and having such a nice bunch makes it all the more fun! Keep an eye out for the photos and videos on Facebook.