If you hadn’t noticed over the years, Olympic weightlifting is very much a critical aspect of CrossFit. Therefore, having Coaches with in-depth knowledge of the lifts can be what sets your Box apart from others in your area.
“We look for Olympic lifting Coaches that are master technicians themselves, are obsessed with the movements and are meticulous in their coaching,” explained Juliet Starrett, the co-founder of San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF). “Until CrossFit hit the fitness scene, Olympic lifting was an obscure sport practiced by pros and some college athletes as part of their weightlifting programs. Now, thanks to CrossFit, there are hundreds of thousands of recreational athletes performing the Olympic lifts as part of their regular CrossFit regime, which is amazing and awesome.”
But, many of the Olympic lifts we all love can be dangerous if not performed properly. That’s where a skilled Coach with Olympic lifting certifications comes in.
“Because the movements are so technical and dynamic, it is important that all our Coaches are proficient and skilled at teaching them, which is why we require all of our interns to take Coach [Mike] Burgener’s Olympic Weightlifting Course at a minimum,” explained Starrett. “We are lucky enough at SFCF to have three amazing Coaches who specialize in the Olympic lifts — Diane Fu, Pat Griffin and Kristen Newman — but every one of our Coaches can teach these movements to any athlete.”
At SFCF, Starrett said her Coaches use Olympic lifts to realize a member’s range of motion. “We also use the Olympic lifts as a diagnostic tool for athletes, as the ability to perform those movements — or not, as the case may be — can tell the Coach an immense amount about where the athlete is missing important ranges of motion,” she explained. “The Coach can then use that information to help the athlete work on their mobility or scale the movements as necessary.”
It’s vital Coaches have proper Olympic weightlifting training and coaching. However, it’s even more important to ensure the safety of your athletes and help them progress. Pay attention to your Coach’s knowledge, as opposed to helping your athletes work through weightlifting injuries.