10 Hang Power Clean
10 FR Push Press
10 BTN Push Press
30 Clean and Jerks (135/95)
*Optional 500 Meter Sprint
Ball on Hammy
Courtesy of Zach Forrest at CrossFit Max Effort…
Foreword: These are my personal opinions about the general population in CrossFit training…there are always “exception(s) to the rule.”
Recently I noticed an increase in the amount of people wearing weightlifting “gear” – specifically knee sleeves, belts, and wraps. I just want to clarify a few things and make sure people understand why they should be used and when they SHOULDN’T be using them.
Knee sleeves = AUTO-PR! Not…
The primary purpose of knee sleeves is to keep the joint warm during activity. Weightlifters have a tradition of lifting really heavy weights, in short bouts, with lots of rest in between sets. That “lots of rest” sometimes works against the lifters joints, as the body’s inflammatory responses can start pretty quickly and cause the knees to “tighten up” so to speak.
The knee sleeve should JUST be used for keeping the tissues warm. You should AVOID buying a couple sizes too small, working them over the joint, and relying on them to spring you out of the bottom position of a squat – at least on a regular basis. What you are doing is de-training the tissues in your knees to handle the load you want to be able to squat.
The same thing occurs with weightlifting belts and wrist wraps.
Keep it tight!
A common misuse of these pieces of equipment is to, literally, compensate for a shortcoming in your body’s capacity to perform a functional movement. The weightlifting belt is meant to reinforce the posture that your ABS and LOWER BACK should be working to maintain. If you need a weightlifting belt to train the deadlift, then you’re going to heavy. Notice I used the word “train”. If you are testing a new 1RM or you’re in a competition pushing the limits of what you know your body can handle, then by ALL MEANS, use a weightlifting belt (if the rules permit it).
Wrist wraps used for push press/jerk lifts typically compensate for bad positioning of the shoulder (who would of thought!), but I will concede that it may be necessary to use them for comfort in the wide grip of the Snatch and overhead squat.
But if you regularly train with these things, you are effectively reducing your body’s own ability to maintain strength in position and functionality as a whole.
“Come on Zach, surely you think Weightlifting shoes are a piece of equipment I should use! YOU use them!”
I can actually do WALL SQUATS IN THESE THINGS!!
Correct, mostly. Just like you should be able to deadlift without a belt and press without wrist wraps, so should you be able to perform a good (i.e. correct) squat without the aid of O-Shoes. Or a clean. Or a snatch.
This shoe does two things: 1) It gives you a very stable heel position for receiving weight. More stability is a good thing! But it also 2) compensates for lack of ankle mobility/range of motion.
What I’m sick of seeing is people using O-Shoes to do “Cindy” or things that aren’t even heavy squatting – you need O-Shoes for sets of 15 AIR SQUATS?! Come on…just get your squat better.
OR people that need to wear these things for workouts like “Grace”. You don’t even have to squat in that workout – it’s power cleans (in case you didn’t know, Weightlifting shoes typically put you at a mechanical disadvantage for pulling off the ground…they are meant to help the squat position mostly).
Anyway, the point of this post can be summed up with this sentence: Stop relying on equipment and gear to help you perform basic movements better. I’m not saying NEVER use them. Just don’t let them turn into a crutch!