Weightlifting: One Word (Not Two)

Weight lifting refers to the lifting of weights. It’s vague and is a term that could describe any and all activity with conventional weights, including the weird things you’ll see at your local corporate gym or even the part at Soul Cycle where you have the dumbbells in your hand. Now, weightlifting (one word) is something different. Specifically, weightlifting is an internationally recognized sport.

Weightlifting is comprised of two major efforts: the clean and jerk and the snatch. The clean and jerk is an event where the athlete is tasked with get the most amount of weight off the floor and put it overhead. He/she is afforded the opportunity to bring the bar to shoulder height before going overhead, which is the specific reason that the weights moved in the clean and jerk are heavier than the snatch. The snatch has the same goal: get the most amount of weight off the floor and overhead as possible. Except, in this instance, the athlete is not allow to rest the bar anywhere (including the shoulder position, like the clean).

Over time there have been a number of specific rules, like any sport, to corral the fringe details of competition, but the goals are quite straightforward. What’s most beautiful, in my opinion, about weightlifting is the technique is task oriented. First came the task, and the ideal technique came second. Not all movements in fitness can say the same. Athletes can accomplish the goal of the clean and jerk or the snatch in any way they please. The snatch, the clean, and the jerk are not exercises invented to target certain muscles. Hell, they weren’t invented at all. The reason, then, that a clean generally looks like a clean whether it’s performed in Iran or China or dingy gym in Tennessee is because form, over time, has met function. We’re observing optimal human movement (for the task) emerge naturally.

It’s through weightlifting that we can say this example of movement is the perfect expression of the human body to accomplish this task. Separate of developing power, strength, speed, accuracy, coordination, and even flexibility today with the snatch, today is an incredible opportunity to connect with your body in a way that simply lifting weights cannot compare.


Logan Gelbrich


3/8/17 WOD


Snatch Grip Deadlift



High Hang Power Snatch