The Weightlifting Education Progression

Olympic weightlifting education progression.Olympic Weighting is a big deal in CrossFit.

So, it’s no wonder perfecting the elusive moves of the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk has become an opportunity for furthering Coach education. However, there are a lot of options out there for that.

“You have to be careful in this community where everybody is really seeking out the best information they can, and that’s such a great thing,” said Chad Vaughn, one of the developers of the CrossFit Advanced Weightlifting course and a co-owner of CrossFit CenTex. “One of the things that makes CrossFit so successful is it attracts individuals like that. They’re willing to go out and seek out the best information and then apply it, and the problem is with … going to a lot of different seminars, there’s no consistency I guess.”

CrossFit offers both a weightlifting and advanced weightlifting course for Coaches looking to increase their knowledge of Olympic lifts. However, while the first studies the movements, the second focuses on how to teach the lifts to others. But, the CrossFit Level 1, CrossFit Weightlifting and CrossFit Advanced Weightlifting courses all work together in a sort of weightlifting progression that Vaughn said is unique to CrossFit.

“You should first teach [members] with this [technique learned at the Level 1], and once you see them where you want them to be, then you need to progress more towards what the Weightlifting Level 1 is teaching, and now you can really perfect them with what we’re teaching in the advanced course,” said Vaughn.

The advanced course makes sense of the conflicting information out there, said Vaughn. It also teaches individualization of each athlete and how instruction varies from person to person.

But, time is one of the best teachers. In fact, Vaughn said while he suggests Coaches get their CrossFit Weightlifting Level 1 soon after obtaining their CrossFit Level 1 — as the weightlifting course spends two days focusing on the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk, while the Level 1 spends 20 to 30 minutes on Olympic lifts — he suggests Coaches take a year with their weightlifting certificate before coming to the advanced course. “How many people [has the Coach] been exposed to? Because that’s a really big part of the learning process as a Coach,” said Vaughn.

The biggest thing is understanding how to translate all of this information to the CrossFitters Coaches teach. “We have to know what they are doing, we have to know a little something about it, and we have to know exactly what we want to see from them in those movements so they can reinforce what we want inside of their movement with the Olympic lifts,” said Vaughn.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at