In 2006, Mark Rippetoe, a weightlifting coach conceived a strength test for the CrossFit community that consisted of a series of three main CrossFit exercises. These workouts were the overhead press, deadlift, and squat. The CrossFit total is designed to be more accessible compared to the Olympic lift and assess the functional strength of the whole body. Followers of CrossFit do the CrossFit total each month to measure gains in terms of their strength. The Methodology Before performing the CrossFit total, you are required to do a thorough warmup. You can do this best through dynamic stretching and some light cardio. After your done with the general warmup, you can then perform the squat, overhead press, and deadlift in 2 to 4 sets. This will prepare you for your test lifts. The rule set by Rippetoe in CrossFit total is that you should do up to 3 attempts at each of the three exercises to establish your repetition minimum. In your first attempt, pick up a weight that is heavy, but which you know you will be able to lift. In the second attempt, go for a weight that is closer to your best. In the third and final attempt, go for a weight that will help you set a new personal record. For each of the lifts, record the weight of your heaviest in each exercise and then sum them up to calculate your score in CrossFit total. Selection of Exercises All the workouts in CrossFit total are done while standing. This gives them an excellent carryover to sports and real-life activities. Just like in CrossFit training, proper technique is essential. However, compared to Olympic lifts which are somewhat technical, the overhead press, squat, and deadlift are easy to learn and much more straightforward to perform. The bench press which is not included as part of the CrossFit total is done while lying down. According to Rippetoe, this reduces its functional benefits. You do not need any specialized equipment to do CrossFit total, and for this reason, it is considered very accessible irrespective of where you decide to workout. Using the Results After you have completed your attempts and you have your score in CrossFit total, you can compare what you have scored with other CrossFitters and the benchmark as known as the normative table. Based on your score, you will be ranked as untrained, novice, intermediate, advanced, or if you score the highest, elite. Apart from making an overall results comparison, you can single out the individual exercises and compare them to ascertain areas of weaknesses. The goal of CrossFit total is to strive to maintain your current bodyweight and enhance your loose body or total weight. These are indicators of functional strength.
Even though the jerk is not given as much attention in comparison to snatch and clean, still it is an equally important CrossFit workout. Most athletes spend much time exercising, but they can’t seem to get the jerk correctly. There is a susceptibility to develop bad habits in exercising that makes it hard for you to get the jerk right. In order to address the above challenges, there are a number of assistance exercises that you can pick up, put them in your routine, and improve the jerk. Push Press This is a multidimensional exercise prominently known as an upper body strength lift. However, experience shows that push press has so much potential than just the upper body strength lifts part of it. Since then dip and drive action is similar to the jerk, the lift trains the timing of the movement, the strength of the legs, the postural strength of the dip position, the elasticity of the legs to accommodate the changing direction in the dip and drive as well as the transition timing between the legs drive and the arms push. Therefore, the push press is a single exercise, but it has a lot of elements packed in it. You can use it in isolation as a teaching exercise or technique or even a strength exercise. Power Jerk Some lifters may not like it, but the power jerk is very effective in improving the split jerk. It imposes a massive demand on overhead flexibility, and this could be the reason why some may feel it is uncomfortable. However, when well performed, power jerks can give you lots of benefits. The most outstanding benefit of this CrossFit exercise is that it trains a balanced, vertical dip and drive. Because of the power receiving position, the placement of the overhead bar is supposed to be precise. The dip and drive must be vertical whereas the bar must move back behind the neck to give latitude for the trunk to incline forward slightly to complete the overhead position. The power jerk can be used as a teaching exercise or technique as well as a training exercise. Jerk Dip Squat This is a simple, but highly rewarding exercise. The lifter sits down into the dip position and then stands back up at a controlled speed. This exercise improves the drive by ensuring that you have a proper position to drive from. Because of the controlled speed, the lifter feels constant pressure on the heel region and this prevents shifting forward. It also serves to keep tension on the quads during the movement. Jerk Recovery It can be very frustrating for a lifter to get a weight overhead and thereafter fail in sustaining it up there. The jerk recovery exercise helps in building maximal overhead position strength and the control needed for recovery to a standing position. Building strength and confidence is a very important component of the jerk and how best you can do this will determine your overall success in this workout. There are lots of other jerk exercises you can incorporate into your CrossFit WOD, but the ones listed above will give you mileage as you seek to master the jerk.
Athletes and CrossFit beginners who become infatuated with weightlifting stand the risk of having their dreams crushed by the snatch lift. Compared to jerk and clean, snatch requires not just precision, but mobility as well. You require perfectly harnessed aggression consisting of maximal effort perfectly timed and channeled into a precise movement. Lifters are different. They are that who are endowed naturally, and quickly develops consistent and impeccable technique. On the flipside, there are others who struggle and spend quite some time to refine their technique. Some of them finish their lifting careers with lots of dissatisfaction. In order to prevent such a fate from visiting you, below are some assistance CrossFit exercises to perfect your snatch. Snatch Pull This is one of the basic strength builders for the snatch. You can adjust your snatch pull to exercise speed or strength and incorporate a considerable number of variations to address your needs as a lifter. Snatch pulls are usually performed with weights of about 90 to 105% of your best snatch. However, such changes depending on your level of development. The more advanced you are, the lower the snatch weights percentages for pulls because of your greater ability to snatch higher rates of your basic strength capacity. The weights can be kept light if your focus is more on CrossFit training speed or mechanics. Muscle Snatch The muscle snatch serves two main purposes; as a drill to teach you the proper mechanics of the third pull and as an exercise to train and strengthen your movement. Whatever the aim, it is important that it is performed accurately to obtain effective results. You can use the muscle snatch as a technique primer. In this case, you do it with light weights immediately before snatch training to practice and prime the proper pull under the bar. You can also use the muscle snatch as a warm-up couplet which combines with snatches to strengthen and train the turn over while warming up in a snatch session. Lastly, you can do the muscle snatch as a standalone strength exercise done at the end of the workout. Snatch Balance This exercise can include three variations which are heaving snatch balance, drop snatch, and the regular old snatch balance. As a group, the snatch balance exercises help in addressing elements of the snatch such as the timing of lockout overhead, receiving position strength, turnover aggression, receiving position precision, footwork, and confidence. Snatch balances are seen as an advanced variation of the overhead squat. As an advanced lifter, you will find yourself using more of snatch balances than overhead squats during your training cycle. That said, the more common progression is to start with overhead squats and then ease into snatch balances. Dip Snatch This exercise can help you train the final aggressive drive of your legs in the pull, proper position, as well as balance in this lift phase. It also plays a key role in helping you practice better bar proximity in your third pull. Equally important, dip snatch is instrumental in correcting overreaching of the hips through the bar as well as practicing better foot transitions from the second to the third pulls. Apart from the above CrossFit workouts, there is the tall snatch which trains the proper mechanics for the turnover. It is also an excellent exercise to help you train proper movement of your feet.