Weightlifting is fun! More specifically heavy Weightlifting is fun, and because of that we often want to do it all the time or are more likely to notice if we haven’t done it much that week (I don’t often hear anything if we haven’t done thrusters in a couple weeks lol). Even if it is a fun thing to do, how often do we really need to be doing heavy Snatches and Clean and Jerks before falling into to much of a good thing?
Before I get into how often I think it makes sense to do dedicated Weightlifting in CrossFit let’s get the outliers out of the way. First there’s the group that consists of those who have never really done any kind of exercise in their lives. Whether they’re 18 or 88 there’s other things that are gonna be greatly more beneficial for them to focus on. Eventually they will probably add in the Olympic Lifts, but if possible I would wait several months or keep them in their simplest forms. Then there’s the other end of this spectrum, those who’s sole sport is Weightlifting. Even in that area though there’s a variety. For those that are more casual about it will probably be looking at 4-6 sessions a week, but for those who are competitive, or even professionals, could be doing as many as 10 sessions in a week.
In CrossFit we essentially define Fitness as the ability to move a large load a long distance quickly, which is literally the definition of Power. This is why we do the Olympic Lifts at all, they are unmatched in their ability to create force production and require extremely high amounts of power output. That being said, taking a 200 pound barbell from the ground to over my head in about 1 second isn’t super transferable to the real world.
For the general day to day CrossFitter I honestly believe that 1 day a week of dedicated work to EITHER the Snatch or Clean and Jerk is plenty. Occasionally maybe there’s a second quick session touching on them leading into or after a workout that gets decently heavy, but it likely isn’t the main focus of that session. Even in the competitive and professional circles of CrossFit you don’t see it overtake as the main focus over other things because, even though the Olympic Lifts are tested in competition, there’s a much larger number of things tested more often. From what I’ve seen out of a lot of competitive programs the usual amount of days with a dedicated focus on the Olympic lifts is 3; one for each the Snatch, the Clean, and the Jerk.
It’s always a blast to do heavy Weightlifting, but don’t get caught up in thinking they need to be there every other day. The Snatch and Clean and Jerk make great contributions to our fitness and should have a spot in our programs, but there’s a lot of aspects of fitness that need their focus through the week also.