Five things to get you comfortable with weightlifting

CrossFit Unbroken’s Coach Jason is starting a new class on April 19 for members interested in learning the sport of weightlifting. We sat down with him and asked him what for five important things to know before attempting this awesome sport.

Know the terminology

It’s important to know and use the correct terminology. Weightlifting is a sport of its own – it’s different than CrossFit and it’s different than weight training. They may all occur at CrossFit Unbroken, but weightlifting is a specific practice of its own.

The terminology of weightlifting is also important, both so you can understand the sport and for me to teach it to you so we are able to communicate during training. There are only three main movements in weightlifting: the snatch, the clean and the jerk.

Create the strongest starting position possible

You can only go as far as your starting position will support you. It’s similar to when you deadlift: When you’re not starting off with a strong base, you’re not going to get far as your posture will be off.

Lifting starts with the strongest base possible.

Lifting starts with the strongest base possible.

The interesting thing about weightlifting is that not everyone has to look the same when doing it. But what everyone should have in common is that strong, solid base position. You want your hips lower and you need to use your arms to create tension with the bar. When you find that position, it will feel comfortable to you.

Give yourself every opportunity to explode in the second pull

When weightlifting, as you progress through and your hips make contact with the bar, you’re able to do the single most explosive and powerful move in any sport. There is more force per second in that move than anything else you really can do in sports.

Knowing that helps you to understand just how important it is to pay attention to your vertical positioning. You want to be stacked with your knees bent. It’s a matter of putting an axis upon an axis so you can be as powerful as possible but, just as importantly, as efficient as possible. When you get that combination just right – those are the guys who are medaling in the Olympics.

Understand the triple extension

A triple extension is the use of the three major lower joints of your body – the ankles, knees and hips – moving in one direction at the same time. This is a very important concept in weightlifting because it gives you so much power.

People sometimes call this part of the lift “jumping with weights” because the bar essentially feels weightless at this point. Why? Because you’ve used the triple extension to fuel this motion. The weight is still there, but the bar is moving so quickly and with so much power so it temporarily feels as if the weight has been removed.

Weightlifting is a complex sport that requires skill and control of your entire body.

Weightlifting is a complex sport that requires skill and control of your entire body.

Keep a vertical torso in the catch

A successful power clean – also known as a full-squat clean – requires you to maintain stability and increase your mobility. You want to give yourself the best chance to be successful. This includes a vertical torso, elbows staying up and being in control of the weight.

Working on this will also reduce the number of missed lifts as a whole. Increasing the number of made lifts throughout a training cycle is what ultimately increases our strength and awareness. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful; you’ll ultimately be stronger and more efficient because of it.

CrossFit Unbroken’s weightlifting class begins Tuesday, April 19.