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Old 08-31-2007, 07:54 PM   #1
-Ross Hunt
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Default High-Rep O-lifts for Metcon: Yay or Nay?

What do you say? Are high-rep barbell clean and jerks and snatches a solid, hardcore way to develop metcon, or do they just deliver all the pain of a metcon workout and all the pain of an oly workout with none of the benefit of either?


I saw good metcon results from doing Grace on a regular basis a couple years back. I recently did Isabel on a dare and was underwhelemed by the metabolic impact. Of course, I could always just do it faster... I guess. I knocked it out in 4:50, and I was breathing hard, but I definitely wasn't flatlining the way I would during a workout where I wasn't constantly dumping the bar and refixing my grip. Indeed, it seems to me that constant loading of the body greatly intensifies metabolic impact. Any exercise where the body is still loaded while you're resting, or where the athlete is otherwise 'punished' for resting (e.g. repetition full squats-to-broad-jumps for distance with added load) seems to be more productive for metcon.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:13 PM   #2
Mike ODonnell
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good question...I would say to benefits of doing high rep Oly lifts may or may not be underminded by the potential of the form for each...does the barbell come to a stop on the floor everytime or are you bouncing it? Does the high rep reduce form that is more important come heavier lifts? Are you reducing the explosiveness of the exercise by pacing yourself? Is the high rep condusive to tendonitis issues?

From a person who doesnt follow crossfit workouts, in the end I would personally keep the main Oly lifts heavy and/or very explosive with stress on form for maximum benefit....and then get my metcon through sprints, 1 arm DB/KB lifts, etc.
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:18 AM   #3
Jonathan Owen
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I stopped doing them because I was training for a meet, and since I def. want to compete again, I will not be doing any high rep oly stuff. When I was doing consistent cf wod's, my form sucked on the oly's, but by the end of a high rep set my form sucked even more than when I started. For my needs I would rather do three good c&j than doing a 30 rep set where the last 10 or 15 become "two hands anyhow." If I want metcon I can get all I want from swings, tire slams with a sledge etc...

Just my 2 cents

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Old 09-01-2007, 05:02 PM   #4
Greg Everett
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I have a ton to say on this (article length), but the basics:

There's nothing inherently problematic with high rep oly lifting in metCons - the injury potential arises from shitty technique and attempting lifts beyond the athlete's ability. Those things can be true at any number of reps.

I do encourage learning the lifts in isolation before using them in metCons to ensure a solid technique base both because of the above reason and because it will help prevent the reinforcement of shitty technique through so much fatigued repetition.
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Old 09-01-2007, 06:24 PM   #5
Garrett Smith
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I've personally noticed that, while paying close attention to weights used and my own form, that it seems like my form almost gets better as I do my 30 rep OL workouts. I base that completely on completing more reps as a group towards the end of my workout, and my observation that I often feel more "pop" in my lifts towards the end.

Maybe I'm crazy. Or, as has happened before, maybe I just pay a ton more attention to my form than nearly anyone else I know. That and checking the ego at the door in terms of weight used.
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:38 PM   #6
Chris Forbis
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I haven't done them in a long time, but my lift efficiency seemed to improve with high rep cleans. My theory is that as my strength endurance diminished, the form had to improve in order to be able to complete the lift.

I have since abandoned high rep stuff on anything requiring a degree of technical proficiency. I even take my higher rep free squat sets pretty seriously. My back seems to appreciate this focus on form.
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:26 PM   #7
Jordan Glasser
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IMO there is a new generation of people learning and using the olympic lifts to help further their GPP. Most of us starting off relatively old (well into adulthood), and most of us underperforming the lifts due to the inexperience. However, we all have a some degree in strength training, and as a result, have a ways to go to match our strength to our #'s in the lifts.
My point....when I am exhausted from high reps with submaximal loads, I sometime begin to see major breakthroughs in my technique. I can no longer rely on brute strength, I force myself to be hyper aware of my faults to overcome just one more rep. For this generation of people who are looking to improve on their GPP, and their skills with the olympic lifts may stand to benefit from the occasional high rep olympic lift workout.
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:17 PM   #8
James R. Climer
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I second Jordan here, being older, I always feel like I
finally get into a nice, loose groove at the end of
one of these type metcons, sort of like blood is forced
to flow into places it hasn't flowed willingly into for decades.

Something finally unsticks late in the oly-lift metcon WOD,
and I feel like an athlete again - in command of my body
and it's doing what I want it to do.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:22 AM   #9
Allen Yeh
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I've done high rep olympic lift metcons before I learned proper form and after so I'd say I'd agree with what James and Jordan said as long as the person in question has proper coaching in the lifts to begin with. For people that haven't had proper coaching there are better ways to skin the metcon cat.
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Old 09-02-2007, 05:17 PM   #10
-Ross Hunt
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Thanks, everyone. That's a lot of really useful responses.

It's interesting in particular to hear from people who aren't interested first and foremost in a bigger snatch and clean and jerk. Before I started focusing on developing my strength and olympic lifts, I definitely got a lot out of the high-rep lifts, and I felt the same way about them.

Now, after a little bit more dedicated oly training, I don't think they're really worth it. I went in to do a heavy snatch and clean and jerk today and found that those 30 reps had really messed with my pulling technique--to the tune of about 5 kilos a lift in both lifts. Plus, because I'm more efficient at performing the lifts now, those 30 reps weren't really challenging, either with respect to strength-endurance or with respect to anaerobic/aerobic capacity.

So it seems to me that the better you get at the olympic lifts, the less worthwhile it is to perform them for metcon, not only because obviously

A) They mess with your technique, but also because

B) Since you're already stronger in those exercises, they do not offer you a lot of potential for developing strength or metcon qualities; even if you let form go out the window, you still don't get a great workout.
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