I forget precisely who it was, but I believe it was Coach Dan Bell who made a very important observation at the American Open in 2013. He said that many people had fairly horrific form, but that what he noticed was that the crossfitters could often overcome that poor form with good overhead strength.
I noticed the same thing, from a slightly different angle. At the Open you could almost tell the Crossfit trained women by the muscularity of their upper bodies. American women weightlifters don’t always look like strength athletes. You wouldn’t pick them out of a line-up as 100+kg jerkers. But the Crossfit women generally do look more like they lift.
While they may have been nice to look at, that wasn’t the biggest perk of those boulder shoulders. It was crucial because they could save lifts overhead that got a little ahead or a little behind because their entire trunk and shoulder girdle were very solid.
Which brings me to what I’m calling project Stronger Lockout. I think my core strength is good (both anterior and posterior) but I continually try to improve it with back extension work and other core specific exercises. So it’s pretty good at transmitting the force produced by my legs to the bar.
My shoulder girdle on the other hand (and I include some of the musculature of my back in this as well) is, like many women’s, fairly weak especially relative to my lower body. So I’m now on a mission to rectify this situation. I’m building a better lockout not by practicing only jerks, presses in the sagittal plane and triceps press downs.
I’m trying to build shoulder and trunk strength in many different planes and from many different angles. Eventually I’ll go back to focusing specifically on the jerk but only after I’ve made improvements in overall strength and stability. No more building pyramids on a base of sand. I want that base to be built out of bedrock.
Lots of “ninja work” as Nick Horton likes to call it. Pull-ups, push-ups, one armed presses across the body as well as above the head. And maybe the granddaddy of them all, the handstand.
I’ve published a few videos of the various exercises I’m doing previously if you’re curious to see what kind of work I’ve been doing.