6 Tips to Improve your Snatch & Clean from Freyja Mist Olafsdottir

Freyja is the 2x Junior Nordic Weightlifting champion, as well as a Crossfit coach. Find out what you can learn from her about lifting, and why the Crossfit culture is so strong in Iceland.

Freyja Mist Olafsdottir, can you tell us about yourself and your role at Crossfit Reykjavik:

My name is Freyja Mist Olafsdottir and I am 19 years old. I am a full-time student as well as a coach at Crossfit Reykjavík. I do both Crossfit and olympic weightlifting. I’m on the national weightlifting team and I’m two time Junior Nordic Champion.

Ready. #90kg #nationals

A video posted by Freyja Mist Ólafsdóttir (@freyjamist) on

How did you first get involved in Crossfit?

My mom started back in 2011 and she was always telling me how fun it was. At first I thought it sounded awful and I was completely sure it wasn’t for me, even though I didn’t really know much about it. Then in 2013, when I finally saw what Crossfit actually was, I decided to try it out. Now it’s absolutely impossible to drag me out of there!

Favourite and least favourite exercises?

Everything heavy – except deadlifts. If I had to chose one favorite, it’d probably be heavy snatches and power cleans. I really like chest to bar pull ups as well. Least favourite = deadlifts

freyja mist olafsdottir does murph
Murph: 188 Push Ups in.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give people looking to improve their Clean?

  1. Squat. It sucks getting stuck in the bottom position.
  2. Practice clean pull unders, they help with speed under the bar.
  3. Nail the starting position as well as your receiving position.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give people looking to improve their Snatch?

  1. Work on your mobility. Snatching is way easier if you feel good in the bottom position.
  2. Keep the bar as close to you as you can throughout the lift.
  3. Use your hips! Hit full extension and everything else just kind of happens.

Bonus: Work on your snatch pulls.

What does your training plan look like?

I mostly follow The Training Plan by Jami Tikkanen, which is a great program. However, I’m very bad at following programs and like to do what I want. So if someone else is doing a brutal workout or a fun weightlifting session, I’ll jump in with them without worrying too much about the program. I often add extra weightlifting sessions and try to do some barbell work everyday.

What is the training atmosphere like at Crossfit Reykjavik?

Amazing. We have so many phenomenal athletes training here and they inspire me to be better every single day. There is always someone fun here to train with and always someone to cheer you on. We have a lot of Regional and Games athletes and of course, two Crossfit Games champions, which is crazy. It’s extremely motivating to be around them and see all the hard work they put in everyday.

How is it different to train and live in Iceland with the huge change between summer and winter?

Icelandic winters are really cold and dark. We only get a few hours of sunlight everyday and everything is covered in snow. So in the winter, we just train inside all day with the heating on.

The summers are much better. It’s bright all day around and a whole lot warmer than in winter, even though it doesn’t really get that warm. When the sun’s out, we take advantage of it and we train outside all the time, no matter what we’re doing.

freyja mist olafsdottir
Freyja during a workout

Iceland has a proud tradition of strongman, fitness and crossfit, why do you think so many people take part in these sports?

Icelanders have had a lot of success in these sports and I think that it inspires a lot of people to try them out for themselves. Here it’s considered pretty cool to go to the gym and lift weights, it’s cool to be strong.

What kind of impact do you think Crossfit has on the issue of female body image?

A very good one. I can see it both in myself as well as the younger girls I’m coaching. I think it’s really awesome to see how the younger girls at our gym think, they think it’s cool to be strong and to have muscles. When I was younger, I was very aware of everything I ate. I only thought about calories in and calories out. I only ate to look good and felt guilty if I ate something unhealthy. My perception changed immensely after I started Crossfit. I don’t eat to look good, I eat to perform.

What Superhero power would you like to have?

Probably to stop and control time, that’d be pretty cool.

If you were stuck on a desert island and could take only one luxury item, what would it be?

A boat, right?


freyja mist olafsdottir does murph © CrossFit Inc

freyja mist olafsdottir © Freyja Mist Olafsdottir

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About The Author

Newly graduated journalist, From Izmir/Turkey and currently lives in Berlin. Passionate about all kind of sports. CrossFit is definetly one of them. Former tennis and volleyball player, global citizen,traveller and sportslover.

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