KUO Hsing-Chun of Chinese Taipei lifts in the women's 53kg weightlifting finals of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall in Singapore, Aug 16, 2010. She won a silver medal. Photo: SPH-SYOGOC/Chia Ti Yan

Many non-CrossFit trainers while acknowledging the efficacy of the Olympic Lifts do not teach them to their clients because they are “too complex”.

As Super Mario points out, Olympic Lifts, like the golf swing, require a great deal of agility, balance, coordination & accuracy.  In addition they require speed, accuracy, strength and flexibility.  It seems to me that these are strong reasons for practicing the lifts.  We want our athletes to develop all those great traits.

True, it is not easy, there is a long learning curve.  But being challenging is not a good reason for avoiding something.  In fact, a large part of CrossFit’s success has been the unrelenting approach of the coaches who simply demand more from their athletes than conventional trainers do. And by demanding more yield superior results.  We view our clients as capable of learning complex movement patterns.

The other argument is danger.  Yes, Olympic lifts done quickly with poor technique and heavy load can be hazardous to your health.  So don’t do that!  Here on Dunbar Street we prefer athletes to start with light weights and learn the mechanics before they begin to introduce intensity.  And most athletes willingly comply.

To be fair, in all my time coaching in Vancouver (since 2009) I have seen more athletes injure themselves on deadlifts or back squats than on the clean & jerk or snatch.

It takes time to learn to do these movements well and it is time well-invested.  Let other trainers coach for mediocrity, we are shooting for excellence!