There is never any absolute way of doing things in the fitness industry, specifically in exercise selection. However, there are certain exercises that pack more of a punch and accomplish a lot of things in one movement. The Olympic lifts are some of those movements.
They teach us about coordination, balance, stability, and they cover a huge range of motion so more muscles are being worked. The hinging motion develops our hips and the dynamic part of the movement teaches us how to move with speed and quickness. The Olympic lifts are the ultimate core to extremity movement. All this means is that it helps develop a strong midsection.
There are other movements that we can do to train all these areas, but it would take a lot more time in the gym and in CrossFit, or in life, it’s all about being as efficient as possible. We want to create as much carry over from one movement to help develop many. The beauty of these lifts is that you don’t need much more than a light to moderate load to get all the benefits, so trying to max out the weight, struggle, and possibly injure yourself each time is not necessary. Quality of these movements over quantity (weight or higher reps that are done bad) always wins out.
Now in class you might see these lifts in part A or B. This typically is designed to work on one of two things — develop better movement patterns to be more efficient and get stronger or to work on the skill of performing a light weight for multiple reps to develop anaerobic endurance and muscle endurance. In a part C of class, this would be for the purpose of complimenting the aerobic or cardio work that we do. In other words, keeping the weight light breaks up the monotony in the circuit of movements that are causing you to breathe heavy rather than just doing the row for 10 minutes or running 2 miles.
So all this might sound great, but how does this help me possibly lose weight or gain strength? These movements will utilize your whole posterior chain (your whole back side) and when we perform these speed movements more muscle fibers are being used as well. So more muscle being used is better development and also more calories being used to benefit aesthetics.
With all this being said, if for some reason these movements cause pain or extreme discomfort then we are here to help you with some movement alternatives as well. If these movements are just awkward then let’s talk further about what parts feel uncomfortable because it will offer an insight into some areas of fitness that need development so those don’t hold you back from getting the results you want.
I hope this helps with any questions you might have about why we do the Olympic lifts. If you still have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me