Olympic Lifting into the CrossFit Record Books

We had the pleasure of being part of the Western Warriors Weightlifting Competition on Saturday 11th July.

Born from the idea that CrossFitters love to Oly, CrossFit Rise Up owners Ben and Logan Poon along with Damien Hennigan of CrossFit Westgate, came up with the idea to run a unique Weightlifting Competition for CrossFitters.

Only in their second year running, this comp sold out within hours of being released and there’s no doubt it’s here to stay!


Why we thought this was an Excellent idea


CrossFit has certainly popularised the sport of Weightlifting…now every day mums and dads, primary school kids, tradies and athletes alike all know what the Snatch and Clean and Jerk are.

Some more traditional weightlifters may feel that CrossFit has bastardised the sport of weightlifting, but it is unquestionable that since the growth of CrossFit, weightlifting has made a solid comeback.

There are however, those elite lifters who have embraced the CrossFit movement  such as Glenn Pendlay, Kendrick Farris and more locally, the likes of Chris Ciancio who featured as a guest lifter and coach to two of podium of the winners on the day (By the way, he casually Clean and Jerked 180kg that afternoon…epic!)



While the day still had the basic elements of a weightlifting meet, etiquette and regulations that you would normally have to adhere strictly to at an AWF comp were relaxed for the day.


“I asked my brother on Saturday (who was in the audience) what other weightlifting competitions has he ever been at where he has had this much fun…and in his 27 years of being involved in the sport of weightlifting, he said none!”  


Yes, FUN!!


Unitards were not compulsory, gangster rap was played between lifts, PBs celebrated with high fives and fist pumps and even a 2nd attempt at a missed jerk was encouraged and cheered on (why not try for that lifetime PB if you have the chance right!?!) …This comp had CrossFit written all over it.


DJ Hennigan in the house!

Asked about what CrossFitters brought to weightlifting, Chris’ reply was not surprising!


“Community, Atmosphere and Energy”


And there’s no doubt that as you read this, you would agree. You go back for more because of the people and the camaraderie…you know it’s boring to train alone. And you do these competitions because it’s a chance to see where you pitch up against those who love to lift but don’t take themselves too seriously!



Ok so what about the actual lifting then? 


While the comp was super fun, technique and standards were still important elements on the day.

The use of three judges to discern a good lift from a bad lift gave us a taste of what it would be like at an official AWL meet and press-outs were unfortunately for some, given as “no lifts”!


We observed that the athletes competing on the day were better at the Clean and Jerk than the Snatch. We asked Chris if he could comment on this-

“You can get away with not having the most amazing technique when it comes to the Clean and Jerk. When it comes to the Snatch, there’s nowhere to hide. You have to remember that some of these athletes have only started weightlifting a few months ago and its about having confidence to drop under the bar”

Makes sense…many of these athletes have really only discovered a love for weightlifting through CrossFit and while the “constantly varied” environment of CrossFit may see the occasional Olympic lift in programming, there’s no doubt that that many will have taken up training these two lifts more seriously and consistently in the months leading up to this comp.

Having said that though, you could certainly tell who the more experienced lifters were. They were the ones who were fast under the bar, the ones who stuck the landing and the ones who displayed precision when it came to executing the lifts. Technique certainly cleaned up the heavier the load got…its not all about strength.


“Two of the most important things to remember when it comes to weightlifting- technique and flexibility. The strength will come”


So what’s the future for competitions like this? 

All Chris could say was “Watch this space!”

**We’d like to thank Chris Cianco  for the informal chat. All the best for your journey towards Rio! **


Jac comes from an experienced background in Sports Physiotherapy through many years working in London and Melbourne.

She has a wicked eye for Analyzing Movement and Biomechanics. Jac is also a coach at CrossFit U in West Melbourne and works out of our South Yarra clinic at GW Performance on Mondays and Thursdays, Kew and Tuesdays. Bookings with Jac can be made here