All Hands on Deck: Weightlifting

Weightlifting (spelled as one word as opposed to two) is a sport, which consists of the snatch and the clean & jerk. While there are variations of each lift, the idea of weightlifting is predicated on best practices to move a load from the ground to overhead, albeit with the clean and jerk allowing for a pause at the shoulder position. 

In any case, “the lifts” as they are casually referred to are often taught and over-simplified as an act of “jumping and landing” (with a barbell, of course). While at its essence this is the mechanical driver of weightlifting, it’s just not that simple.

The clean, the jerk, and the snatch are efforts that require “all hands on deck”. It’s all muscle systems go from pushing and pulling and jumping and landing and hinging and squating. Distilling the effort down to “jumping and landing” does much more good for the lifter’s approach than bad, however, but let’s not stop there.

After an intermediate level understanding of weightlifting has been grasped, it’s important to maximize the body’s participation in the lifts. Pulling on the bar, for example, isn’t the no-no it was maybe once made out to be. After all, if you’re going to snatch more than your bodyweight, you’re going to need to pull against the bar and (God forbid) bend the elbows. 

How, then, do we hold the oversimplification of weightlifting as simply “jumping and landing” and this notion that great weightlifting is an “all hands on deck” effort in the balance?


Great movement is a concert and a great concert isn’t just the right instruments playing notes. It’s the right instruments playing the right notes in the right order at the right time. “Jumping” with the bar prioritizes the prime movers of the lift in the right order, which in this case are the legs in the leading for propelling the barbell. Does it mean that this concert won’t include pulling on the bar or pressing into the bar? No, those notes just come later in the song and aren’t played nearly as loud.

Weightlifting is a complete effort from the muscular system. The key is learning how to use everything you’ve got at the right time. Pulling with the arms first, as if to place them in the lead role for propelling the bar, guarantees and ineffective propulsion of the barbell. So, if we were to ask the question: “Do we lift with our legs or with our arms?”

The proper answer is “Both.”

For specific insight into this symphony of movement join us Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm for DEUCE Weightlifting

Logan Gelbrich


2/13/20 WOD


Clean Pulls


Then, complete 5 rounds for time of:

5 Power Cleans (135/95)

5 Front Squats

3 Muscle Ups