I wrote this article some time ago. This is still an issue I see all too often. Most people aren’t giving weightlifting the attention to technique that it deserves – this stalls their progress and frustrates the lifter. Because I’ve seen this problem happening too much, I’d like to share this article with you guys.

Let’s take the dip portion of the Jerk. The Dip portion of most of The “Jerks” I see posted on social media, are simply too fast to apply the proper tensions and muscle sequencing. Heavier weight would cause a faster, shorter dip; but trying to emulate that with light weight only forces the lifter out of position. 

Coaches, Speed should only be added if it doesn’t compromise positioning. If you continue to dip fast, and it keeps pushing you forward to the toes; then stop dipping fast. You’re looking for elasticity in the Dip, if you over tension the quads then the hips will shift underneath you. It should be an obvious correction, but sometimes we like to walk before we can crawl.

You can’t watch Ilya Ilyin perform a 535 pound Jerk, and expect to have the same speed or oscillation for that matter. 

In every lift(especially warming up), start with a smooth pattern, not a fast one, then allow speed to build gradually. I see this happen all too often when people warm up with a barbell. They put 350# of force into a movement that requires much less. The fastest part of most lifts(olympic) will be as you move under the bar. Work on your transitions; timing between the Up and Down phases of each movement.

The Russians and Chinese are two of the most successful weightlifting programs of all time. You can SCREAM at the top of your lungs, “Yeah, but they’re on PED’s!”. My rebuttal will always be, “What country isn’t?”. So we can finally give credit to two systems of teaching that work well, instead of disregarding them completely based on some weird moral dilemma you have with PED usage. Most of their lifters are 5 for 6, and 6 for 6 when not going for World Record Attempts.

Realize that CrossFit is a mix of multiple sports. Look at the Top 10 competitors of each of the individual sports that make up CrossFit. If you want good examples of Olympic Lifting Champions, look them up on YouTube. 

Yes, Asa Bartow’s Snatch is “really pretty”, but he’s no Lu Xiaojun, or Klokov for that matter. Same thing with Gymnastics, or Powerlifting. This is the exact thing that I did when I came in to the CrossFit arena. It’s also a huge reason why when I first started coaching, I received a ton of weird looks.

I wasn’t using the Conventional CF Cues given to me at some cert. I was using real world evidence. 6 years later, I can’t tell you how many people i’ve had come up to me and say “remember when you told me about those internally rotated shoulders” or “I’ve noticed people don’t actually jump, or shrug, at the top of a clean” or “you were right my toes are coming off the ground during my pull, so I should keep my toes down”, etc.

Most of us are so concerned about lifting heavy weight, that we will ALLOW ourselves to move into mechanically shit positions to do so. This is unfortunate, as it usually leads to injury. We need to change our brain when it comes to weightlifting. 


Instead of looking at the bar and weights, as such; try and picture it as a Pen and a piece of paper. Your goal is to draw the same line, over and over again. Typically with practice, you will be able to draw that line faster and faster; but there will be an end point to speed and stability. Find that point, and live there. Start thinking of weightlifting as an ART form, instead of just picking up heavy objects. If you don’t like all of that coordination….there’s always Powerlifting, hehe.


-Iron Legion Head Coach Jason Philyaw