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Old 12-31-2013, 03:04 AM   #1
Veronica Mitchell
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Default Advice for a beginner

Hello everyone,

It's been a long road for me to get to this point. I found and started CrossFit a few years ago mainly because I thought I would learn the Olympic lifts that way but it didn't work out. I've spent the last few years focusing on strength with Starting Strength and Wendler and have built up my lifts enough where I feel ready to make a change and really dig into learning the Olympic lifts.
I'm looking at the different cycles and wondering which would be best for a beginner to focus on technique. I will be working out at home by myself with no other eyes on me correcting my form errors.
I am familiar with power cleans as those were a part of my strength training, but as far as snatching, cleaning, and even overhead squatting, I never really worked those lifts. The jerk I've done only in "metcons" not ever really for technique or weight. I have no restrictions other than a problematic right hand and wrist due to broken fingers years back - this should be alright as long as I warm it up and condition it as well.
Any recommendations for which cycle to start with? I want to focus on the lifts and make gains with them. I am not afraid to take it slow with beginner drills as I want to get this right from the foundation. I had it narrowed down to the "Classic/Position Cycle" or the "Basic Rep Cycle".
Thanks for any advice anyone can give!

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Old 12-31-2013, 06:36 AM   #2
Javier Sanjuan
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 182


Depending on where you are located, it would benefit you to visit a quality coach. You can run a quick search on the internet to see who is close by (but being wary of the people and places like you experienced at your CrossFit facility), or you can view a list of gyms and coaches affiliated with Catalyst Athletics here: http://www.catalystathletics.com/cert/affiliates.php.

With your exposure to power cleans and squats, the Starting Strength teaching method deviates from what is optimal for weightlifting. Even if you've experienced executing a normal squat as opposed to a low-bar back squat, the chances are that you've trained the low-bar -- more suited for powerlifting -- much more than the weightlifting squat during your Starting Strength training. This puts more emphasis on posterior development, whereas in weightlifting, we need a much more balanced approach to our lifts and development. There are also the flexibility limitations that tend to develop when executing powerlifting squats, which will make receiving lifts such as the snatch and clean and jerk -- and even executing simple overhead movements, not to mention the overhead squat -- a difficult task should you not have someone that can coach you through them.

To answer your question regarding which program to follow, I recommend following a program that will best suit your needs. Technique may be the most important thing to work on, but you also need to ensure that you maintain those strength levels so that when your technique begins to catch up, you're hitting the ground running. I know this isn't choosing one over the other, but every program should be for the individual based on the lifter's needs.

Therefore, if you're around a quality coach, I strongly encourage you to visit with him/her. If not, then feel free to post videos on this forum for some instant feedback. If you can't get to a coach and would like to post videos, I recommend you posting videos of you doing these couple of things so we all can gauge your abilities and make more solid recommendations: pressing (front and back), push press, squat (back, front, and overhead), power cleans (full cleans if you can as well), and what you know about snatches.

I hope this helps you!

Javier A. Sanjuan
Olympus Barbell Club

Dear God, please help me lift heavy and be awesome. Thanks. Amen.
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:12 AM   #3
Veronica Mitchell
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2


Thanks for the reply. I did my best to train heavy with a high bar squat and incorporated front squatting as well in order to develop that strength. Videos are probably a pretty good idea to start with.

Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

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