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On deeper understanding…

Home/CrossFit Ktown Knoxville, Uncategorized/On deeper understanding…

On deeper understanding…

Ilya Ilin destrominated the 95kg class in London last week. He is always a pleasure to watch!


Mid-hang Power Clean + Below Knee Power Clean 1+1 for 10-15 sets at moderate weight

MetCon – 4 Rounds:
2 min Row for Meters
3 min Walk Rest
Score each round’s meters rowed

Copying equations is for the birds.  If you want to be successful in math or the sciences, you need a deeper knowledge of the underlying principles.  And, in my opinion, the same applies to weightlifting.  It is not good enough to know that you need to activate your lats before you pull; you need to know why you must activate those lats before breaking the bar from the floor.

It is no secret that we do a lot of weightlifting at Ktown.  And when I say weightlifting, I mean Olympic weightlifting, which is commonly just referred to as weightlifting.  Just like a squat clean is actually just called a clean.  The squat is implied, and people in the know are giggling at your expense when you say “squat clean” or “squat snatch.”

We do a lot of weightlifting because it is our contention that it is a great developer of speed, power, strength, coordination, agility, and flexibility.  Nothing else builds capacity in all of these areas as well as weightlifting.  Sure, there are lifts that build strength faster than doing the Olympic lifts, but they do not necessarily increase the other domains of fitness commensurately.  Because we do so much weightlifting, our athletes are above the curve when it comes to skill, technique, and overall prowess in the quick lifts.  However, I may be viewing you all through rose-tinted glasses.

Regardless though, these lifts take a lot of devoted practice, dutiful mobility work, and constant reflection on successes and failures.  That is another part of their beauty.  The snatch is immeasurably more difficult than sitting down in to a chest press machine.  You have to break that illusive mental sweat almost every time you walk in to the hallowed halls of Ktown.  We do not allow you to just turn your minds off and walk around the gym numb to all around you.  You have to interact with the bar, with the platform, and with the coach.

The O-lifts force you to think about many different things all at once.  The snatch is easily analogous to a drive off the tee in golf.  The complexity can be daunting, so we often break the lifts down in to smaller parts to practice.  Sometimes we will pull from the hang or the blocks to shorten the pulling distance.  Other times we may catch in a power position instead of going all the way in to the bottom of a squat to receive the barbell.  And still other times we may have you all use ancillary movements to improve positioning, strength, and confidence for the lifts – snatch balance comes to mind.

Knowing the underlying principles behind the lifts will help you improve your technique and make you much more coachable.  Comprehending the idea of torque and lever arms will help you realize you need to keep that bar close to your body in a somewhat vertical bar path.  Understanding that gravity pulls on the bar and your body with equal force regardless of weight on the barbell should help you realize you must actively pull yourself underneath the bar in a snatch or clean.  The same goes for the jerk.  You will jump it up off your shoulders, and then you will push yourself down underneath it to receive it, elbows locked out, in the split or power/push jerk stance.  Appreciating the role of the lats in keeping the bar close to you during your pull can only improve your weightlifting.  These concepts are just a few of the weightlifting minutiae.

Don’t just go through your next weightlifting session on cruise control.  Take an active part in the coach and athlete system and really get the most out of your training.  Acting and not reacting, as Dead Prez so poetically rapped, is the key to good weightlifting.  Know why you are doing something, and you are more likely to repeat it with greater confidence and better parity in the future.

Don’t just know your part, know what you’re a part of,
Coach G

By | 2017-04-25T14:38:33+00:00 August 16th, 2012|CrossFit Ktown Knoxville, Uncategorized|4 Comments


  1. Ben August 16, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Great post!

  2. Callie August 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    agreed, you’re on a roll Coach G!

  3. Drake August 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I agree with Callie, G-unit. We should call you BUTTER…because you’re on a roll.

  4. T-Pain August 19, 2012 at 4:45 am

    I need a post on the elusive squat jerk.

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