Cycling Barbells And Why We Love It

CrossFit gets a lot of flack for encouraging olympic lifting movements within a CrossFit style workout. “Doing a snatch or clean and jerk for multiple reps, when fatigued, is going to create bad habits for an athlete”.

What if I told you that cycling barbells, or moving barbells fast, for a lot of reps can actually HELP your olympic weightlifting technique if done properly! 

When an athlete is able to cycle barbells efficiently, or perform a clean and jerk the EXACT same way, multiple times, tells me that they actually understand the snatch and clean and jerk. 

For example:

Athletes who cycle barbells well understand the importance of balance on their feet. They know that they can not let the bar pull them forward on their toes and they can not sit too far back on the heels. Allowing either of those things to happen results in the inability to string more than one or two reps together. Balance through the WHOLE movement is KEY. 

Second, athletes who cycle barbells efficiently understand that with fatigue comes a decrease in leg drive… so the shrug under and depth in which the athlete receives the bar needs to change often and on the fly. Throwing the feet out wide to get depth or trying to receive the bar at the same heigh regardless of how fatigued the athlete is, results in, again, the inability to string more than one or two reps together. 

Last, athletes who cycle barbells well understand that if they want to be able to move as efficiently as possible, for as long as possible, exerting the least amount of energy as possible, they MUST stay fluid with their movement. Their focus needs to be on moving their body around the bar, rather than trying to manipulate the barbell around their body…like pulling the bar up with their arms, for example. Muscling the bar up for 10+ reps exerts the body to the point where trying to do any sort of movement (gymnastic movements especially!) afterwards is much harder than it needs to be. 

Instead of blaming CrossFit for “encouraging improper technique”, lets take responsibility for our movement by learning the proper technique when cycling barbells. Let’s educate ourselves so that we can understand the lifts in their entirety. This will make it so we can perform the olympic lifts for multiple reps, fast… looking EXACTLY like Mat Fraser when doing so. 

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