Shrugged Collective

“Will my Conditioning & Gymnastics suffer if I focus on Olympic Lifting?” – N&P


Will my conditioning & gymnastics suffer if I just focus on OLYMPIC LIFTS?

The truth is that if you suck at the snatch, clean and jerk, working at it will boost your fitness and performance in the gym, at just about everything!

Here’s a question – What limits you in Metcon’s? What holds you back? If you’re like most new athletes, it’s strength. For example, how long do you think it would take to lift 185 pounds from ground to overhead 30 times if your current maximum lift was only 200? …Probably all day, right?

That said, if you could raise your best clean to 300 pounds, how much easier do you think that 30-rep WOD would feel? That’s right, there’s no question – All things being equal, a stronger person is a fitter person.


The same is true for your Gymnastics skills. If you can raise your press and jerk performance with the barbell, there’s a very good chance that your overall handstand performance will also improve.

But the opposite is also true. Gymnastics and Weightlifting both require a very high degree of movement proficiency. If you can achieve better, stronger positions in any gymnastics movement, you will find carryover to the snatch, clean and jerk. For that reason we always program basic gymnastics drills for our Weightlifters, most often as assistance work after barbell practice.

I hope you enjoy the video. Watch, enjoy and share with a friend who could use the advice.




Chris Moore is a writer, recovering meathead, fledgling raconteur and rabid imbiber. He's also cohost and resident potty mouth on Barbell Shrugged, a weekly podcast devoted to Crossfit, strength, fitness and all things brash. His experience is drawn from over twenty-years spent training for and competing in American Football, Powerlifting, a bit of strongman and a dash of mixed martial arts. Also, it's possible that he's had one too many cups of coffee. A caffeine fever is a hell of a thing, you know?


  • I think you are missing the point of the individual that posed this question. Obviously if you focus on lifting more weight you will naturally be able to lift more weight efficiently in Metcons. The improved strength and technique will be a natural byproduct of this training.

    I believe the intent of the question is the actual conditioning effect. Will someone’s cardio abilities suffer while they “focus” on olympic lifting? My opinion is yes if you are not doing at least 2-3 Metcons per week in addition to it. For example, if person A can only overhead squat 150lbs then a Metcon with 115lb thrusters will be challenging. However, if your overhead is 200lbs then those 115lb thrusters will be easier but for how long before your lungs fail you?

  • Agree with Ryan about the intent of the asked question. And from all the weightlifting coaches I’ve talked to, they all have said that it works both ways, as in, doing too many metcons will make your weightlifting suffer (if that is your focus) and weightlifting will make your endurance capacity suffer in lung-burning wods. As weightlifting coaches, they tend to advise keeping wods to a minimum (being smart about it) and keeping them under 15 minutes has usually been the rule of thumb.

  • This is true. But, where is the trade off? If you don’t have a overall foundation of strength this could lead to injury in the future. I think it would be more beneficial to the athlete to start with a solid strength program then move on to metcons through periodization.

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