Olympic Weightlifting Moves

So I’ve just joined a cross-fit gym, and I gotta say, I freaking HATE the movements that involve “squat and jumps,” i.e. the clean and snatch. I find it very frustrating because I’m not a coordinated person and these movements involve a lot of coordination. I think I’m frustrating my instructors too because no matter how much I work on them I’m still probably the worst in the class, form-wise.

Anyways, my question is, what is the point of the “squat-and-jump” aspect of it? For instance, in this video, even with the barbell snatch she does a little jump when bringing the bar overhead. Why? Why can’t she just pick the barbell up off the ground and bring it overhead, in the same way as if someone asked you to pick up a broom that was lying on the floor and hold it over your head? (i.e. you’d keep your legs straight and simply bend down, pick it up off the floor, and lift it over your head). Is it because this is the best way to get the most weight off the floor to chest height or higher, because it allows you to use your leg muscles instead of just your arms? Or do they just do this to make it harder for klutzes like me? I would really appreciate an answer that is, for lack of a better word, precise and scientific, because all the coaches talk about is “power” and “explosive movements,” and I’m not sure exactly why these moves are so complicated. Thanks.

You say you started playing with weights only now. Are you sure you joined a cross-fit gym with weights training and not a weight lifting team’s training pool? I may be ignorant of most cross-fit gyms (never joined one) but i’m pretty sure a coach will teach me basic moves closer to so-called power lifting: squats, dead lift, various presses and curls. Doing the snatch and clean-and-jerk are competition moves AFAIK.

Explosive movement and power is the very reason for these lifts.
The little jump is because the last muscle group to fire are the calves. The jump is involuntary as your drive off the calves.

Bending over and trying to lift a weight with legs straight will destroy your back.

The snatch and clean and jerk (done properly) are the best way to lift a large weight overhead.
These are primarily a leg/hips/back movement. The arms are only engaged after the weight is moving fast.

Are your instructors using light weights to teach technique?
You should not use heavy weights until you’ve learned the moves.

They’re complicated because they demand speed, power, strength, flexibility and balance.

I’m still wondering why he’s being taught those moves.

Because some cross-fit places are run by idiots.

Yes, they obsess over my shitty, shitty technique. And I do use really light weight. But honestly, weight per se is not the issue. It’s more the, “squat and keep the barbell close, now lift it so that it’s brushing your shins, and when it’s right above your thighs lift it above your head, but do it really fast and with good form” coordination that’s killing me. And the way cross-fit works is that there is a standardized workout for the whole group, with “scaling” as you see fit. So it’s not like everyone does their own thing.
I actually really love my cross-fit gym and I think the instructors are fantastic.
The basic moves, not involving jumps, like deadlift, press, squat I can do and am very comfortable with the form.

What do “explosion” and “power” mean in a physiologic sense?

Oh also I am a woman, if that makes any difference.

The muscles contract very quickly. Your body actually learns to use more muscle fiber on each contraction. (The body never uses all the muscle fiber available even on a maximum effort lift.)
Power is simply strength delivered in a very short period of time.

Oh I see. Thank you. This makes it easier for me to understand.
I think the best way for me to rationalize the multi-step nature of these moves is to understand that the purpose is to get more weight from ground level to chest or higher level than could be done with arms alone.

A clean and jerk, power clean or cleaning from a hang is better than the snatch to raise a bar to your chest or shoulders.

Being a woman shouldn’t make any difference to your snatch.

Was that intentional?

I’m sure it was :dubious:

You mind if I laugh? Crude but the timing was good. :smiley:

Does conservation of momentum play a part here? The path of the barbell seems to be fairly straight and its motion fairly constant during the move - that is, it seems like doing this another way would require additional effort to get it moving again, or change its path of motion.

Only when the weight is falling. :smiley: :wink:

Viewed from the side, the bar should follow a straight line up during the lift.
The trick is going to a full squat while extending the arms straight overhead and balancing the bar.
First pull
Second pull
Failed snatch. Watch at your own risk

That’s what I mean though - sure, you’re acting against gravity, but starting the thing moving once, and keeping it moving in a straight line, is less hard than any of the alternatives.

I know nothing about lifting weights in the sporting sense. I do know about lifting weights in the workplace.

The biggest muscles we have are the ones in our ass and thighs, and the ones most likely to give us problems are in the lower back. So keeping the back straight, making the initial lift with the legs, keeping the weight close to the body, and then the arms is good technique.
I had a friend who injured his back picking up a screwdriver from the floor.

Sorry, I phrased it badly. I mean:

“Being a woman weight-lifter shouldn’t make any difference to your snatch”

I think I’ve got it right now. I’ve seen Olympic women weight-lifters and there were some very impressive snatches on display - all, obviously, with flawless technique (or they wouldn’t last long at the Olympics).

Insufficient warning for a direct link. The video is titled Dislocated Elbow Over Snatch. This video is from the 2008 Olympics and shows what happens in a loss of form and concentration and some may find it disturbing.

This guy? http://www.iann.net/giants/behindscenes/props/giant_screwdriver/screwdriver_002.htm