Take 15 minutes to work to a heavy 3 rep Clean & Jerk
20 Clean & Jerk @ 205/125
While I disagree with some of the key assertions made by the author and think that they speak to a fundamental misunderstanding of our pursuit with CrossFit and general lack of understanding of the physiological adaptations garnered by performing Constantly Varied, Functional Movement at High Intensity – it’s still an interesting read.
How to beat Rich Froning and win the Crossfit games
This title is quite the tease, but it is still a decent question. First Pull is – and will always be- a site dedicated to weightlifting and to some extent physical preparation (since most of the weightlifting concepts and training methodologies are revelant when training for another sport). This piece is about taking a look at Crossfit from a sport training point of view. Everything touched here applies to all sports, including Crossfit and Weightlifting. It’s old news that Crossfit became a fitness sport. Crossfit motto is that “constantly varied, high– intensity, functional movement.” lead to fitness and high results. While its hard to argue against this, it is easy to argue against the preached general methodology in favor of a specialized approach.
Fitness training is not sport training : Crossfit is a new sport and the performance of the current top crossfitters will be looked at as subpar within 10 years as the training methods improve
What you are now witnessing at the Games is the performance of incredible pioneer athletes that are the best of a sub-par system (Subpar defined as not yet refined). I don’t mean this as an attack nor do I mean it to be offensive. Actually, I would say that it’s a rather objective observation. Allow me to expand on this. When women weightlifters were finally allowed to compete in the Olympics (in 2000), the results were very high for the time, but on the low side in comparison today’s results.
For instance, in the 48kg division, Tara Nott snatched 82.5kg for Gold whereas Wang Mingjuan of China snatched 91kg in London 2012 (which is 7kg below the World record in this division). In the 75kg+ category, Ding Meiyuan (China) did a 130kg snatch and 165kg clean and jerk in 2000 for gold. Zhou Lulu (China) did 146/187 for Gold. Tatiana Kashirina of Russia has done 151/190kg.
The totals have not changed as much on the male side of weightlifting. This is due to the fact that male weightlifting is over 100 years old. When it started, the totals went up years after years and it later plateaued (or slowed down by a lot) in the late 80′s-early 90′s. Plus drug testing has been put in place, which may or may not have changed the game. If Crossfit is there to stay, the same type will happen : fast increase in results followed by a plateau.
You could also look at the performance of the Olympic Lifts in Crossfit. At the 2009 Crossfit Games, Tamara Holmes snatched 145lbs (65kg) for first place in the Snatch Event. In 2014, Camille Leblanc Bazinet is said to snatch 190lbs (86kg), Michelle Letendre snatches 185lbs (85kg), Annie Thorisdottir snatches 71kg, Lindsey Valenzuela snatches 200 (90kg). (I picked those name based on popularity rather than cherry picking).
So what changed, in female weightlifting, between 2000 and 2012 that could explain such improvement in the results?
The development of female weightlifting teams and coaches specialized in women weightlifting, specialized training methodology for women and a bigger athlete pool. Female weightlifting teams and coaches specialized in female weightlifting are necessary for improvement. An environment where you train with people that challenge you under the supervision of coaches that understand the female reality and biology (Because, yes there are differences) will lead to high results. Do a month long training camp with all the top Crossfit people, and you can expect results to shoot up. That would require planning, specialized training plans and certain conditions would have to be met, but that isn’t in vogue in Crossfit yet.
Specialized training methodologies are necessary for the athletic advancement of any sportmen/women. For instance, peculiarities have been found in training women vs men that make huge differences. It is said that in China, female lifters are doing more volume than men. Female athletes who have kids also need an adapted training plan to keep on making progress which can only happen if the motherhood reality is understood. If Crossfit is a sport, then you need to specialize for Crossfit if you want to be a contender. It seems unrealistic to think that you could train whatever with high intensity and expect to be a contender. It seems like a few contenders are slowly understanding this and make programs for themselves or get programs from coaches. That’s already good. The next time is individualizing the programs for every athletes rather than send generic programs at large.
A bigger athlete pool is necessary if you want to find real talent. Female weightlifting is in vogue and it has become easier to find the best female lifters. Crossfit is growing exponentially, so the athlete pool is theoretically growing as well. Crossfit’s biggest problem is the lack of junior athletes, but that too would require careful planning and everything but a general approach. How would you train a kid for Crossfit?