July 12, 2009 Rest
Coach Mike Burgener demonstrates the Power Snatch, featuring Sage Burgener
Why Olympic Lifting is Good for CrossFit
Written by Sage Burgener
I recently decided to take a little break from the competition aspect of Olympic weightlifting and focus more on becoming a better all-around athlete. In order to do so, I took on Crossfit. Olympic lifting definitely set me back in fitness when it came to doing anything more than one snatch or one clean and jerk. Doing anything as simple as walking to the refrigerator to eat a spoonful (or three) of delicious cashew butter had me in severe oxygen debt. So, I decided something needed to change. That’s when CrossFit really came into my life.
The point of this post is not to bash the fabulous sport of Olympic weightlifting, but rather to brag about it. Now that my focus has shifted more to becoming a better CrossFit athlete, I have started to realize the benefits of having experience with Olympic weightlifting. I have started to realize how much the movements of the snatch and clean and jerk transfer over to almost every other movement in my CrossFit workouts.
Because Olympic lifting is such a technical sport, I have been able to understand the concept of using my whole body as opposed to muscling my way through the CrossFit exercises. This enables me to save energy, and saving energy will, in the future, help me improve my times and scores. Olympic lifting has also helped me to gain a sense of body awareness. This comes in handy for movements that require rhythm and coordination such as kipping pull-ups and box jumps.
Most importantly, Olympic lifting has helped in my journey to becoming the best all-around athlete that I can be by instilling in me mental strength. I am not saying that I am mentally strong by any means, but I have been able to feel what it is like to completely fear something, and yet still complete the task. I have felt the rush of butterflies right before a hideous workout, and I have experienced the constant struggle of telling myself not to quit when I thought I could not go on any longer. These are all things that CrossFitters experience EVERY workout.
The mental strength that is required for CrossFit workouts does not necessarily exceed that of Olympic lifting, but it is definitely on a different level. I look up to and admire each and every CrossFitter for pushing themselves everyday to their absolute limit and for putting their bodies through constant pain with the goal of becoming a better athlete. So, having those experiences of overcoming the barrier of mental toughness in Olympic lifting has helped immensely in my pursuit of becoming as mentally tough as my fellow CrossFit friends.
In conclusion, don’t shy away from the scary technical aspect of Olympic weightlifting – because you sure wouldn’t shy away from a scary CrossFit WOD. Learn to love the sport and learn how to master it, and watch it help you in your CrossFit endeavors.
Sage Burgener is the daughter of CrossFit Olympic Lifting Coach Mike Burgener. Coach Burgener will be at CrossFit Auckland this November, as we host New Zealand’s first CrossFit Certification seminar. This two day immersion seminar with Coach Burgener is a must for any trainer, athletic coach, PT or CrossFitter alike. Don’t miss out. Click the button to the right to register today.