CrossFit is a multi-dimensional fitness program with a large number of movements to perfect. Even seasoned CrossFitters are likely to be performing a few of them incorrectly despite their best efforts.
Some of the most common movements that are performed incorrectly are the Olympic weightlifting movements and higher skill gymnastic movements. A big reason is that it takes years of practice to master these movements the right way.
Take a look at three different movements which are often ‘done wrong’.
The Olympic Snatch is one of the most complex movements and perhaps the most difficult for beginners to master. Frankly, it is the most complex movement an athlete will ever do with a barbell. The multi-step nature of this movement makes it one of the most likely to be performed incorrectly. Additionally, if your coming into olympic weightlifting as an adult, be patient. It is harder to learn new movement as an adult than as a youth. People literally spend a lifetime perfecting the snatch.
A properly performed snatch consists of the following phases:
- First Pull
- Second Pull
- The Catch or Receiving the bar
There is the potential for mistakes to be made in any of these stages, however you are likely to get caught out on the catch. Common mistakes when missing the catch include; poor set up position, not finishing the pull, pulling early, and not being confident in the overhead position. Ego can also play a factor, especially if a PR is within site but it is important to perform this move carefully in order to avoid injury.
The best way to fix mistakes when performing the snatch is via consistent practice at an achievable weight (aka more reps!), under the watchful eye of an experienced coach. A correctly performed snatch is a thing of beauty to see and when you practice this correctly you will be able to progress to heavier weights more rapidly.
The jerk, along with the snatch, is another highly technical Olympic lifting movement performed regularly in CrossFit.
The two variations of the jerk are the push jerk and the split jerk. The same error is commonly seen with both — not correctly locking out the arms and performing a pressing motion to complete the movement.
The jerk is an aggressive move, dare I say even violent. It is designed to get a weight overhead it the fastest and most efficient way possible. This is where errors occur. Often, athletes misjudge what they can lift, “pressing” the weights into the air using poor form instead of using a controlled fluid motion. Common mistakes when missing a jerk include: not getting under the bar, losing external rotation in the shoulders, and not finishing the drive.
Much the same course of action is required to fix the mistakes with the jerk as the snatch. By training regularly with a lighter weight under the supervision of a coach, you’ll be able to develop a technique which looks effortless and requires less energy, thus allowing you to lift more.
Perhaps one of the most controversial movements in CrossFit, the kip in itself is not actually a movement but instead a motion an athlete pairs with other movements to make them more efficient. The kip can be added to a lot of movements including pull-ups, handstand pushups, and toes to bar. The fact is that kipping has been a part of gymnastics training long before CrossFit. So let’s break it down and see what the common mistakes are.
The number one rule to follow here is; strict before kipping. Always. An athlete should develop the strength to do gymnastics movements in their strict variation before adding things like momentum. If we look at the kipping pullup as an example you see tremendous force placed on the shoulders though that movement. It is estimated that an athlete places 2-3x their bodyweight on their shoulders during the bottom position of the kipping pullup. Your connective tissue must build up strength using strict pullups before progressing to kipping.
Getting on a progressive strength cycle for gymnastics movements is the first step. From there work with a coach to start learning the kipping movement variations.
CrossFit is a world class fitness program which caters to all fitness and skill levels. Spending time mastering high skill movements keeps fitness engaging and will keep you safe for a lifetime of health!
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