The Clean & Jerk – Why are we doing this?

If there were a single exercise to select to build training program around it would have to be the clean & jerk.

That’s not my opinion. That’s a quote from Bob Takano, a 2007 inductee into the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame who has coached four national champions, two national record holders, 27 top ten nationally ranked lifters, and been on the coaching staffs of 17 U.S. National teams to international competitions, five of those being World Championships.

Those credentials would seem to indicate that Bob knows what he’s talking about and for the next six weeks we’re going to build our training program around the clean and jerk.

There’s four main reasons why we decided on the Clean & Jerk:

Dramatic improvements to overall fitness

The clean and jerk is a compound movement meaning that it engages multiple muscle groups and multiple joints at one time. That allows for the clean and jerk to improve explosiveness, power output, anerobic fitness, and core strength.

(And, remember core strength is what we are shooting for. Everyone remembers “core to extremity” from Foundations, right?)

Additionally, the clean and jerk can improve range of motion on the squat and the shoulder to overhead movement. Needless to say, there’s a lot of fitness happening in the clean and jerk.

Perfect for goal-setting

Because the clean & jerk is such a popular movement that people WANT to get to the gym for, it was the perfect cycle for everyone to set short-term goals.

After the success of the deadlift cycle we wanted to “deload”, get our goals set, then tackle this clean & jerk. Almost everyone in the box was able to establish a 1RM and now they have a number that they are CHASING after by the end of this cycle.

We’re trained for this

In October, Russ and I got our CrossFit Weightlifting certs and have yet to be able to really put them to use. Besides our certificates, Becca has always been enthusiastic about the Olympic lifts and teaches them incredibly well.

Plus all of our other coaches are just pretty talented at this. It just makes sense to put all those skills to work!

It’s just fun

I can’t speak for everyone but I LOVE the environment in the box when there is some heavy lifting going on. The clean & jerk is kind of the bench press of the box and I love cranking up the music and watching people get after it.

The first two weeks have been terrific. The first week we saw a couple of people get up over 250 and one hit 285 and one JUST MISS 300.

Being a successful Olympic lifter requires strength, coordination, technique and flexibility. Moving forward you can expect quite a bit of skill and technique work. This is not a pure strength cycle but instead a dedicated time to improving all the skills needed for the Olympic lifts and, thus, dramatically improving your fitness.

I can’t wait to see where everyone ends up. See you around the box!

Chris

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