February 06 , 2012
This past weekend, Anthony and I were at Semiahmoo Secondary in South Surrey for the second annual BC CrossFit Olympic Lifting Competition. At this event, CrossFitters from all over British Columbia came together to showcase their strength, power and technique in the two Olympic lifts, the snatch and the clean & jerk. At this point in our physical conditioning we could only wish to be strong enough to compete at this event, but we were fortunate enough to be invited by host Dave Kitchen, owner of CrossFit North Vancouver, to be vendors at the competition. Thanks, Dave!
While other vendors such as our friends at Real Extreme Rx and Fitness Town were showcasing cutting edge CrossFit footwear and apparel, Anthony and I setup a modest table to showcase Functional Movement Systems (FMS). Throughout the day we offered informal functional movement screens and highlighted some glaring physical limitations in the process. Our goal was to educate athletes on how undergoing a full screen and assessment would provide them with precise instructions on how to immediately improve performance and power output.
For example, Anthony and I took notice that in the snatch portion of the competition, the vast majority of athletes performed a power snatch (i.e. catching the bar in a ¼ – ½ squat position), rather than a full snatch (i.e. catching the bar in a deep overhead squat position), and we mutually agreed that if a full snatch was used, the athletes would be able to lift considerably more than they were, or at the very least, reduce the frequency of missed lifts. Coincidentally, when these athletes were screened by us in the FMS deep squat, the majority of them pitched forwards after descending past a certain point. In practical application, this movement dysfunction would cause the athlete to lose the bar forward if catching too low in the snatch. As a result, they have no choice but to power snatch, which limits their athletic potential.
The interesting part of this experience for me was that while several athletes were certainly interested in FMS and what it could offer, there was also a high level of reluctance to undergo the screen because a lot of them knew they had severe mobility issues, but wished to stay ignorant rather than work on their weakest link. Talk about an elephant in the room! Considering the competitiveness of CrossFit athletes and their desire to be the best they can possibly be, this seemed a bit odd. It was no surprise, then, that the athletes who were knowledgeable and mobilized and performed corrective exercises/warmups all day prior to their lifts were the ones who put up the biggest numbers. Slowly but surely we’ll show the rest of them the light!
The competition itself was spectacular, as it was the first Olympic lifting event that either of us attended, and it was the first for many of the competitors as well. The level of camaraderie and encouragement was awesome, and watching these weightlifters lift all day was bittersweet; I’d never felt so small and weak until I saw the amount of weight these men and women lifted overhead, but the sheer repetition of watching the lifts over and over again taught me a lot about technique and provided lots of motivation to improve. Who knows, maybe you’ll see representatives from Engineered Bodies compete at the next Olympic lifting competition!