Friday, September 30, 2016

Houston IWF World Championships Wins Prestigious SportsTravel Award

On Tuesday, SportsTravel Magazine held their annual awards gala at the TEAMS (Travel, Events and Management in Sports) 2016 Conference and Expo in Atlantic City, NJ. TEAMS represents the world’s largest gathering of event organizers and travel planners from the sports industry.

In exciting news for the world of strength sports, the award for Best Amateur Single-Event of the year went to the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships, which were held November 19-28, 2015 in Houston, Texas, USA. The award will be shared between the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), USA Weightlifting (USAW), and the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority (HSHSA). On hand to accept the award was USAW CEO Phil Andrews and HCHSA CEO Janis Burke.

“It is such an honor to win this award,” HCHSA CEO Janis Burke said in a press release by the HCHSA. “Houston welcomed the world and I am so proud that our community was recognized for its hospitality.” 

“Organizing and hosting an event of this magnitude is never easy,” USAW CEO Phil Andrews added. “We were lucky to have great partners at the International Weightlifting Federation and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority who were all instrumental in making this event such a success.”  

Weightlifting was victorious over 4 other nominated events that included:

  • 2015 ASA/USA Girls Class A 14U Fast-Pitch National Championship, Salem, VA
  • 2015 GWN Dragon Boat Challenge Presented by CIBC, Toronto, ON
  • 2015 NXT Cup Lacrosse Tournament, Brandywine Valley, PA
  • 2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, Milwaukee, WI

The SportsTravel Award honored the World Championships for “its superior organization and spectator attendance.” The award also recognized the city of Houston.

The Opening ceremonies featured a performance of MystĂ©re™ by Cirque Du Soleil®, as well as official oaths by the athletes, a history of weightlifting video accompanied by a live musical performance from a Houston Symphony cellist, and a presentation of flags for each country represented. Also in attendance for the event was Basketball Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar and multi-sport strength athlete Mark Henry, himself a two-time Olympian in weightlifting.

Almost 600 athletes from over 90 countries competed at event, hosted at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Along with the 2014 World Weightlifting Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, this event co-served as the primary qualification method for a country to qualify athletes to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Featured image: Harris County – Houston Sports Authority

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Conan O’Brien and Kevin Hart Work Out at CrossFit Horsepower

Weightlifters Getting Gymnasty: Nathan Damron’s One-Legged Back Flip

Understanding The Difference Between Snatch Extensions and Snatch High Pulls

Thursday, September 29, 2016

U.S. Disctrict Judge Says NSCA Published False Data on CrossFit Program; CrossFit Issues Response

Ilya Ilyin, Other Guests and Participants Announced for 2016 Klokov Power Weekend

The second annual Klokov Power Weekend is coming up this November, and while some Russian athletes have already been announced for the competition portion, Dmitry Klokov himself has recently confirmed an impressive list of guests and participants.

Nine new guests and participants are confirmed to attend the event in Moscow; Klokov’s post did not specify exactly which are participating in the two-day competition portion, which will text the following events for cash prizes:

Hang Snatch with Straps
Thruster
Jerk from the Rack
Power Clean & Press

The newly announced attendees include both active lifters and retired lifters and coaches. Several are currently serving provisional suspensions after doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

The new names are listed below; most have much lengthier lists of accomplishments than the snippets we’ve included here.

Klokov Power Weekend

Image: @klokovd on Instagram

Ilya Ilyin (Kazakhstan) — Multi time Olympic Gold Medalist (2008 and 2012), World Champion, and World Record holder. Ilyin is currently serving a provisional suspension after positive doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. He was not allowed to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

David Rigert (Russia) — Olympic Champion and World Champion, former Head Coach of Russian National Team, and Member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.

Szymon Kolecki (Poland) — 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist.

Vyacheslav Klokov (Russia) — World Champion weightlifter and Dmitry’s father.

Apti Aukhadov (Russia) — 2012 Olympic silver medalist, currently serving a provisional suspension after positive doping retests from the 2012 Olympic Games.

Mikhail Koklayev (Russia) — Veteran strongman, weightlifter, and powerlifter; Russian weightlifting champion.

Ruslan Nurudinov (Uzbekistan) — 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2013 World Champion.

Aleksandr Zaychikov (Kazakhstan) — 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist.

Khadzhimurat Akkayev (Russia) — 2 time Olympic medalist (2004 and 2008).

What are you most excited to see at the second annual Klokov Power Weekend? Which lifts are you most excited to see tested? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ben Bergeron: East Coast Championships Canceled for 2017

In an announcement posted by coach, CrossFit New England owner, and ECC organizer Ben Bergeron, it was announced today that the yearly functional fitness competition in Boston has come to an end.

The competition’s homepage has been replaced with a simple message from Ben and his team, which also appeared on his and the ECC’s Facebook fan pages.

After three fun, busy, successful years of hosting the ECC, my team and I have made the tough decision to cancel the show for 2017. We took an honest assessment of the opportunities before us, and after some long conversations and some soul-searching realized our passions were pointing us toward continuing to make CFNE better, to make our athletes better, and to help affiliates run better businesses.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and beyond excited at what’s to come. Thanks to everybody who ever came out or watched one of our events, thanks to the athletes who put on such a good show year after year, and thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and partners who helped make it so special.

Ben and the ECC team

While the announcement doesn’t explicitly say if there’s a chance the event could come back in subsequent years, the tone and “Thanks for the Memories” banner implies 2016 was the last year we’d see it.

In 2014, 2015, and 2016, the East Coast Championships — sponsored by Kill Cliff and branded as the Kill Cliff East Coast Championships — was held at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center in January of each year. The competition featured individual competitors on Saturdays and team competition on Sundays.

Past champions included Mat Fraser (2014, 2015, and 2016 individual champion), Sara Sigmundsdottir (2015 and 2016 individual), and Rich Froning (2014 team, along with Chris Spealler, Stacie Tovar, and Elisabeth Akinwale).

Katrin Davidsdottir — who is, along with Mat Fraser and several other to functional fitness athletes, coached by Bergeron — was also a multi-time competitor.

Featured image: @builtbybergeron on Facebook / Jordan Samuel Photography

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USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews to Host Reddit AMA Friday at 3pm

Canada, Eh? Ottawa Explores Bid to Host 2017 CrossFit Games East Regional

The Montreal-based Orleans Star is reporting that Ottawa Sport Commissioner Jody Mitic has announced the city will bid to host the 2017 CrossFit Games East Regional. While numerous cities are bidding to host the event, it would be the first time the East Regional heads to a Canadian city.

Since the creation of “Super-Regionals” prior to the 2015 season, the event has been held in Hartford, Connecticut (2015) and Albany, New York (2016). By hosting in 2017, the Canadian capital would be breaking new ground in bringing geographic parity to the event, which prominently features elite Canadian competitors.

Ottawa

Canadian athletes have had immense success at the East Regional in recent years. In 2016, 5 out of 10 individual CrossFit Games athletes out of the region qualified from Canada. One Canadian team — JaktRX RED — also qualified for the Games out of the East Regional.

The Orleans Star report suggests city organizers would expect roughly 5,000 spectators per day at the event, with another half a million daily views through online streaming and other platforms. Ottawa’s bid would need to be submitted by mid-October.

Later this year, another Canadian city — Toronto — will host the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Invitational, featuring elite athletes to form country (the U.S. and Canada) and Regional (Europe and Pacific) teams to compete in a one-day, all-star challenge.

The post Canada, Eh? Ottawa Explores Bid to Host 2017 CrossFit Games East Regional appeared first on BarBend.

Jon North Suffers Cardiac Arrest, Remains in Hospital for Further Evaluation

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

4 Corrective Exercises to Strengthen Your Shoulders from Injury

The Strongman Deadlift Cheat Sheet (and How to Fix Your Pull)

“I pick things up and put them down.”

This is easily the most obnoxious thing people say when first meeting me and they are not involved in the sport of strongman (or any strength sport). The implication that lifting is some mindless pursuit could not be further from the truth. The pursuit of strength as is noble as any athletic endeavor, and to insult the deadlift is silly. It is the heaviest of any movement and the truest test of overall absolute strength.

The deadlift is tested, in some fashion, in almost every event in strongman. Literally, before you can use that object, you have to pick it up. By definition this is a deadlift. It is also the number one thing competitors tell me they need to improve to win more contests. The issue is, many people hit a sticking point in the movement that can last for a very long time if they do not know how to break through.

[Wondering about the various types of deadlifts tested in competition? Check out Michael Gill’s explainer here.]

The Warm Up

A solid warmup is going to help your pull. The deadlift requires the biggest muscle groups in your body to fire in unison for a truly great lift. Two movements that will really get the blood flowing and increase your core temperature are high rep kettlebell swings and pull-throughs. I hope at this point you are proficient with a proper swing and 3 sets of 15 should do the trick here.

Many people never do a pull through, and they have no idea what they are missing! A great video explaining them can be found below:

Correcting “Rookie” Mistakes with the Deadlift

We should ensure that you aren’t making any rookie mistakes. If you are, a simple correction of any of these can throw pounds on your pull today.

Hip Rise: Are your hips moving up without the bar leaving the floor? The second you begin your lift, the bar should move in unison with the body. Now, to be clear there is more than one accepted start position for the lift, and many elite lifters do a modified stiff leg but the bar should come off the floor when you pull it. Keep your eyes and head up and when you begin the lift bring your chest and back up in unison with your legs. This will cause the bar to come off the floor.

Bar too far away: Is the bar against your shins for the start of the lift? No? Simple fix: have the bar on your shins for the pull, then continue to keep it in contact with the body. See how easy that was?! This is simple physics: the further away from your body the weight is, the more difficult it is to lift. Bigger lifters my struggle to keep it close and keep their shoulders over the bar. If this is you, just get it as close as you can.

Weight distribution: Like a squat, keep the weight on the heels and the outside of the feet. If you move to the balls of your feet at all, you are going to tip forward quickly. Control the weight at all times and push down into the floor!

Those are just a few of the more common mistakes you should eliminate before getting serious with this lift. I’ve heard far too many horror stories stemming from deadlifts gone wrong.

Deadlift

The author with a 700+ pound pull.

Accessory Exercises for a Bigger Deadlift

Once you are lifting correctly try working in the following exercises to start hitting bigger poundages.

Pendlay Rows: A bent over row with a big variation. You start by pulling the weight off the floor with every rep. To maximize this exercise as a deadlift helper, go heavy for threes or fives and practice keeping your weight back on your heels, having a dynamic pull and a controlled lowering of the weight. This is a great aid to people who have a great lockout but struggle off the floor.

Rack Pulls: As a coach I’ve used these from above and below the knees to increase max lockout. They are also great for hammering on muscular endurance and building the posterior chain. A technique that you can try on this is the one set to failure method. After a serious warm up, take the heaviest weight you can pull for at least five reps and go for broke while maintaining form. At failure your entire body should be exhausted and that’s all for the day.

Side Handle Pulls: Frame, Farmer’s, or Car Deadlift apparatuses all work here. The side handle pull greatly changes the mechanics of the exercise. The weight is more comfortably distributed when pulling with your hands at your side and you can pull  more here than you would on a traditional loft. These are good for overloads or reps and are great to work in on event days.

Good Mornings: A staple of every strength athlete’s program and typically done after squats, this exercise uses the posterior chain as the prime movers. Make sure these are performed in a power cage with a solid safety set up. Triples are great here, but use a weight you can always control while maintaining spinal integrity. I always have my athletes do a super slow eccentric on these with a much more dynamic concentric.

The Reverse Hyper: Invented by geared lifting guru Louie Simmons, the reverse hyper is one of the best machines for any athlete to use and strengthen the lower back thereby improve power in the posterior chain. I’ll let the inventor of this machine give you the how-to on it here:


The Box Squat: For athletes the have a hard time breaking the weight from the floor, the box squat can be a tremendous help. Use a box that will be at the height of your glutes at the start of the pull and have your feet in a similar position. This will overload the hips and lower back to build a dynamic start from the floor. If you have always done traditional squats, adding in this exercise can really up your power.

These compound exercises should be programmed into a template with the realization that they are all similar ways of working the same muscles. There is no need to throw them in all at once. Try subbing your regular squats one day a week with the Box and switching your rows to the Pendlay style for a few weeks before throwing in anything else. The added benefit of these exercises, as well, is going to increase overall body strength and all your lifts will be going up.

Deadlift Do and Deadlift Do Nots

With 25 years of hands on coaching experience, there are certain maxims that you learn for the deadlift that are gospel for coaches. Use this quick guide to shortcut years of trial and error:

  • Never pull maxes off the floor in the gym. Always save them for contests.
  • Heavy singles are fine but should be complemented by speed work.
  • Sumo isn’t allowed in Strongman so most skip it completely.
  • It’s the least technical of the lifts, so if there is one lift to get your adrenaline up for, this is it.
  • The indirect work of box squats and rack pulls is so effective for many lifters that they only pull off the floor as a tune-up right before meets.
  • Use straps on overloads, if grip is a question. Don’t miss training lifts due to weak hands.

Getting your deadlift up is a surefire way to increase your overall performance in the sport of Strongman. By working hard and smart the above tips will pay off and set you on the road to some huge poundages. Now get pullin!

The post The Strongman Deadlift Cheat Sheet (and How to Fix Your Pull) appeared first on BarBend.

Weightlifting Myths: Spot Toning and Muscle Turning Into Fat

Should Weightlifters Do Static Stretching?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stop Ignoring Accessory Work

I recently heard Louie Simmons on the Barbell Life Podcast say that his lifters do 80% accessory work! That means for some of the strongest guys in the world, they spend roughly 20% of their training day on the main lifts. Obviously that’s for powerlifting, but what was once commonplace among bodybuilders, powerlifters and even the average gym goer has since become an almost “taboo” word with the rise of functional fitness.

Although it’s seen a resurgence as of late, I believe accessory work is a widely under-utilized or misused training practice. Don’t get me wrong; I coach numerous functional fitness athletes (including those who have competed at the CrossFit Regionals and Games level), and what they do is both impressive and admirable. But it was in working with them that I noticed a trend of under-developed muscle groups, at least relative to the rest of their body. Over time, I’ve seen this lead to injury after injury in lower backs, shoulders, knees, you name it.

What are we doing to prevent these injuries? I see a lot of people heading to PTs, massage therapists, chiropractors etc… — but what is changing in the program? Why aren’t we correcting the imbalances and teaching the athlete proper bracing techniques or actually explaining the cues that we give, such as the ever infamous “knees out?”

Alex LaChance

What I found in many athletes were very under developed and almost non-existent hamstrings, at least relative to their quad development or a lack of proper loading within the posterior chain and an almost non-existent back musculature. You’re probably freaking out at this point thinking about the giant traps many female athletes have, but if you look a little closer you’ll notice that the upper back is slightly disproportionate relative to those “giant traps.”

In my opinion, that discrepancy stems from an excessive use of cleans, snatches, deadlifts and other heavy multi-joint movements — and a lack of targeted accessory work within the back, like Pendlay rows, dumbbell rows, prone rows (the list of horizontal pulling movements goes on and on). Even lat work at times is lacking now that many athletes rely primarily on kipping or butterfly movements; the strict pull-up, weighted pull-up and even things like lat pulldowns go by the wayside.

Let’s remember that I am speaking in generalities; while I do believe this applies to many top athletes, there are many more aspiring athletes at the local and regional levels that would benefit from this type of accessory work to build resiliency.

The posterior chain is where I see the biggest issue with many of today’s functional fitness athletes. Lagging hamstrings, low backs, and glutes are the cause of numerous injuries throughout the sport. For simplicity’s sake, the posterior chain is the back side of the body, glutes, hamstrings, and back; we can certainly be more specific, but we’re “keeping it simple stupid.” What you primarily need to know — in my opinion — is that the posterior chain is where much power is generated from in the body. If you look at shot put athletes, considered to be some of the most powerful athletes in sports, all of the energy they create through rotation is largely generated from creating torque within their hips through “separation” of the upper and lower body that is then transferred to their throws.

For a more relatable example, watching a great weightlifter, you can see how they stay over the bar during a snatch while keeping their hips back and then violently extend the hips to help “propel the bar upward”;  obviously an oversimplification, but you get the idea. Watch a snatch video of Jared Fleming in slow motion, and you’ll see what I mean.

Deadlift

Jesse Burdick and I developed a program called Buttstuff (credit goes to Alex however for the name) which originally stemmed from a protocol we used to help Alex “No Pants” LaChance learn to activate her glutes, bring up her hammies, as well as teach her how to turn on those muscles under load to protect her spine. Ultimately, that included months of accessory movements like sled pulls and pushes, banded marches, slide boards, hamstring curls, banded good mornings, hip circle walks and squats, and glutes bridges, along with light weight tempo squats and deadlifts to focus on form and breathing techniques.

Alex managed to PR both her front and back squat as well as her power snatch, sumo deadlift, and — in what I think is our biggest achievement — the infamous thruster, which always irritated her back but no longer bothers her at any weight or rep scheme. All of the PRs aside, her back pain post training is gone, no more hobbling around the house after a hard session or crawling out of bed in the morning and all without surgery, medicine, or doctors. I am certainly not suggesting that what we did is a cure all for all back related issues; doctors have their place and should be sought out if necessary.

There’s obviously a time and place for accessory work. Given the high variety of exercises that need to be performed and perfected for fitness athletes, we can’t always have months on end of accessory movements, since sport specific movements need to be worked on as well.

Alex was injured at the time of the CrossFit Open, so we had the ability to focus all of our energy into her accessory work for almost a year. This obviously isn’t the case for everybody, so what I would recommend is targeting specific areas for 4-8 week blocks, depending on how badly the area needs to be brought up. I recommend keeping the same accessory movement for two week periods while increasing either sets, reps, or load during the second week. This will help create a better adaptation in the body to those movements and give the athlete a better — and I hesitate to say this — “mind-muscle” connection.

This may seem unimportant, but without knowing how to turn muscles on through isolation exercises, how can you expect to properly brace for heavy squats, cleans and snatches?

For example, if you can’t feel your upper back in a barbell row, how are you going to keep your upper back engaged and tight during a squat?

Similarly, if you can’t load your glutes and hamstrings in a Romanian deadlift, how do you expect to stay over a bar and keep your hips back during the pull of a snatch or clean?

You will most likely round over on that squat because you can’t engage your back and keep it tight. If you’re not sure what I mean, it’s generally when your ass shoots up in the air as your head dips down, you then subsequently dump the bar behind you and miss the lift. As for the snatch and clean, your hips will come forward too quickly causing you to make contact too low on your body and the bar will be shot too far away from you due to the momentum you put into the bar making you miss out in front.

Does that sound familiar to anybody?

Accessory work is crucial to the development of any athlete, but it needs to be programmed intelligently per the sport the athlete competes in. The farther you are from that season, the more you can work on accessory movements and bring up lagging areas. The closer you get to the season, the less you can focus on the accessory work, and the more you need to focus on the movements you will see in competition.

Find the areas that are the weakest and attack them. Load isn’t as important as movement quality. Utilize higher reps to build size and lower reps to gain strength.

I am obviously a little biased, as I compete in powerlifting, but as stated above, my primary job is coaching fitness athletes. So in my opinion, it stands to reason that if some of the strongest people on the planet heavily rely on accessory movements to improve their performance, why wouldn’t we want our athletes to have a similar focus when applicable?

Don’t shy away from “bodybuilding” movements. Utilize them intelligently to help your athletes develop the balance they need within their body’s to be successful and injury free.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

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How Much Weight Can a Human Move? Remembering the Back Lift

7 Physiological Symptoms of Overreaching In Strength and Power Athletes

What Is Post-Activation Potentiation, and How Does It Relate to Strength Training?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Greg Glassman on Sugar, Government, and the Consumer Power of 4 Million CrossFitters

CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman has been on a busy tour lately. Last week, he spoke on Capitol Hill about soda companies influence medical research in the United States. Two days later, he was at the iConic Boston conference, where he spoke to CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen regarding a variety of topics — including, but not limited, to his efforts regarding the politics and ties surrounding the sugar industry.

A portion of the interview has been posted to YouTube by CNBC, which we’ve embedded below. In the clip, Mathisen asks Glassman about “squar[ing] your libertarianism your activism and the need for government to move in ways you see fit.” If you’ve ever wondered about Glassman’s perspective on government regulation and consumer choice, the 4:32 video is certainly worth a watch.

A snippet from the interview, which we highly suggest you watch in full:

“I think I can justify it. Look, I don’t wish soda or big food harm. It’s not about that at all. And I have an unprecedentedly effective consumptive reduction plan in that I got four million CrossFitters that don’t consume sugar at all. And so getting people to stay off the product, it’s not our issue. But the corruption of the basic health sciences by these same people, these products that we need to avoid, their impact in the health sciences and their invasion into the health sciences with money is alarming.”

A co-sponsor of the iConic event, Inc. has a post with some more text snippets from the longer interview with Glassman, including his thoughts on accumulating wealth and CrossFit’s massive success as a business.

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End of an Era: Looking Back on the OTC’s Resident Weightlifting Program

Editor’s Note: This week marks the end of the U.S. Olympic Training Center’s resident program for weightlifting. In this opinion piece from former OTC resident Kyle Ernst, the author discusses what the program meant for him, his weightlifting career, and many other American lifters.

As the dust begins to settle following the end of the 2016 Olympic Games, the sport of Olympic Weightlifting in the United States finds itself in an unknown situation. On Thursday, June 9, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) informed USA Weightlifting (USAW) that the USOC would no longer be offering a resident program to the sport of weightlifting after September 30, 2016, at the Colorado Springs, CO Olympic Training Center (OTC), which is a USOC property. What this means is no more resident athletes, no more training camps, no more training specials, and (perhaps) the dissolution of a singular, designated “National Coach.”

I remember as a youth lifter when I first heard about the “OTC.” It was 2003 and I had just competed at my very first “School Age Nationals.” I finished second in my weight class, and my coach, Chris Wilkes, was the first to tell me that I may have made the “OTC School Age Training Camp.” I never knew there was such a thing. Unfortunately on that particular year, I was on the outside looking in. The next year, I put all of my energy in the sport because I wanted to be there, I wanted to experience “the magic” of the OTC.  

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Lifters Colin Burns (left), Anthony Pomponio (center), and Donovan Ford (right). All images courtesy of Kyle Ernst.

As a 15 year old, to imagine training at the same place as the lifters I looked up to when I first got into the sport seemed surreal. It would mean living as a potential Olympian for a few weeks and training accomplished Olympic athletes such as Shane Hammon, Oscar Chaplin, Tara Nott, Cheryl Haworth, and Pete Kelly. That meant something to me. What once seemed unattainable — starting out in the sport as a football player — seemed within my grasp. I told myself I would be relentless the next year in the sport to achieve such an opportunity.

In 2004, I was another year older and had another year of experience under my belt, and  I succeeded in winning my weight class. More importantly, my hard work paid off and I found myself on the team headed to the OTC for the summer training camp. As a 16 year old high school student who had only been in the sport a couple years, the feeling was indescribable. This opportunity was an honor, and the start of something great.

Upon our arrival we were assigned our rooms in building 83. These are known as “the camp dorms.” The rooms are lined with cement cinder blocks and painted white; three to four twin bed size cots sitting on top of light colored wooden frames, complete with a single sink and a couple dresser drawers to share. As you stepped outside the room, you would find the rest of the campers and coaches in the rooms across and down the hall, along with a community bathroom. If my memory serves me right, I was placed in the same room as future International Team members Cameron Swart, Caine Wilkes, and Collin Ito. All of 105’s and 105+’s in the same room; needless to say it was quite cramped, but nonetheless I was excited for the next couple weeks.

The next morning we met at the gym where I finally got to meet the rest of the campers I had only watched from the stands at competitions. I was now shoulder to shoulder with these athletes who had such great talents and potential, and I was one of them. Norik Vardanian — son of 1980 Olympic Champion, Urik Vardanian — was a skinny kid with near perfect technique and really flexible wrists. I had seen him lift a couple times, and he was someone everyone seemed to be talking about. There was Aaron Adams, a kid from New Jersey, who I first saw compete at my first weightlifting competition when I was 13 years old. I lifted in the 85kg weight class and Aaron had out totaled me as a 56kg lifter. There was also this kid from Chicago named Jake Johnson who had a lot of buzz around him who I had never seen lift in person before. There were about a dozen other lifters at the camp, males and females, and over the next two weeks I got to know them all.    

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Anthony Pomponio (right) recovering with fellow lifter and 2012 Olympian Norik Vardanian.

Our days at camp consisted of meeting at the gym in the morning and doing some type of morning warm-up routine to get our nerves going. This typically involved playing volleyball, calisthenics and/or stretching. After warming up, we were given the day’s schedule and sent off to eat breakfast. We would all head to the dining hall in groups, sit together, and talk about what we thought the day would be like. I remember being jittery and excited every morning, thinking “what’s next?” Looking to other campers, “what do you think they will have us do today?” These conversations and these moments, even as simple as sitting down, sitting across from someone eating breakfast, is where bonds began to form.  Many of these kids — now men and women — I am still friends with to this day.  

One of my favorite things about camp and about the training center as a whole was the cafeteria. As someone who had never been away from home before, this was something unreal to me at the time. All of these different types of foods available, cooked hot and ready to eat, Whatever you wanted. Needless to say, I put on a few pounds.  

When you first walk into the cafeteria, you’d find fruits, smoothies, cheeses and breads during breakfast hours; and salads, soups, and sandwiches during the lunch and dinner hours. As you continued down you the line you come across “the pasta station”, complete with different types of spaghetti and meatballs or meat sauces. After this you came to the “hot line.” This comprised of different types of meats, carbs and vegetables. The next section was the grill, where one could get hamburgers, fries, and the “special” for the day. Across from the food lines were drink fountains, an unlimited supply of dairy products, and even an ice cream station.

The cafeteria is where athletes spend a large amount of their time. Eating your meal, socializing, grabbing a quick snack. The place was rarely quiet while open. We would often meet in the cafeteria before and after workouts; discussing the day, talking about how much our bodies hurt or what to expect in the days to come. “Let’s meet in the cafĂ©” became a common phrase.  

As high schoolers, we were able to experience what it was like to be an “Olympic” athlete for just a few weeks. What it was like to live, train and eat at an elite level. Rubbing shoulders and training next to some of the best athletes our country has to offer.  

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Coach Zygmunt Smalcerz helps the author stretch at the OTC.

One particular day I walked into the gym before training; I sat and watched Oscar Chaplin train. His workout that day was going up to a heavy single in the snatch and clean & jerk. He sits down, gets up, works with the bar a few times, sits back down again and back up working with the bar again. After walking over to the chalk bowl once more, the weight started to go on the bar. Seventy kilos, 90 kilos, then  110kg, then 130kg; all with ease. Next was 140kg, and it was just as routine as the others. Once he got up to 150kg I remember being in awe. Once again, “easy,” and adds ten more kilos. He sits down, looks to the ground, then up and begins to center his focus. He sits up, using his knees for support as he stands up. He routinely walks over to the chalk bowl and then back to the platform. He kneels down, grabs the bar, and closes his eyes for a second and then — BOOM! — 160kg breaks off the floor, makes contact with his hips, feet slam on the floor, his arms catch the bar in the bottom of a squat, then he stands up and gives the same facial expression as he did with 70kg.

It was routine. I had never seen anything like this before in person. I was hooked with the sport from that moment on. This is what I wanted to do, this is what I wanted to pour my hours outside of school into. Oscar later worked up to a 190kg clean & jerk, and I remember after he finished he stripped all of the weight off on one side of the barbell with one quick heave and then the other side. Then it was time for us to start training.

Throughout camp, I had a lot of these moments. Watching Shane Hammon squatting 300kg for five reps, watching Cheryl Haworth put up more weight than me on some days, and meeting Chad Vaughn for the first time. Everyone who has been at the OTC has had these moments. You all can think back on those “ah ha” moments where time seemed to stop and you realized you were a part of something special.  

This camp is where I first fell in love with the process and with the sport of weightlifting. Something I had just done for fun as a sport started to become part of my identity.   

In my opinion, youth development is the key to the growth of our sport. These types of camps are where the seed for many begins to grow in the sport. This is part of what we will be losing, but there is also much more opportunity on the horizon for kids to experience this same type of feeling.   

Paul Fleschler notified me at the American Open in 2005 that I was accepted into the resident athlete program. A dream realized, and a dream had come true. The following day, Paul asked me if it was ok if I shared a platform with Pete Kelly. “Of course!” I thought to myself ,but I acted cool in my response. “Yea sure, sounds good.” Pete was someone I had always looked up to and now we were lifting together in his final National meet. Just as I was starting out in the sport, he was finishing up. I was nervous and excited at the same time when I shook his hand as we started to warm up. This was another person I had stood and watched as he trained at the OTC.

As originally planned, I still ended up at the training center following my high school graduation in 2006. Some lifters were still there from when I was at camp and some new athletes as well. Donny Shankle, Matt Devine, Zach Schluender, Josh Moreau, Jason Gump, Zach Krych, Robert “The Admiral” Murphy, Casey Burgener and Norik Vardanian comprised the men’s team. Cheryl Haworth, Sam Turnbull, Hilary Katzenmeier, Doreen Fullhart, Carissa Gump, Natalie Burgener, Megan Kranz and a few others comprised the women’s team. At the time there were two coaches, one for the women’s team; Bob “No Mercy” Morris, as the ladies called him; and Paul Fleschler, the men’s team head coach. Warm-up, programming and training were often kept separate between the two genders, but we always trained at the same time.

When I moved there, I was placed in the same room as Matt Devine, the oldest of the resident athletes. (I was the youngest at 18 years old). This time, I wasn’t in building 83; I was in building 9, which are considered the suites of the OTC. The room had a shared living area, yet separate bedrooms and separate bathrooms. We each had a full sized bed, a television, a built in desk, and couches and chairs that filled out the living area; quite different from our building 83 camp dorms.

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OTC athletes Norik Vardanian (left), Anthony Pomponio (center), and Alex Lee (right).

Our days started off just as most camps would: a warm up, stretching, basketball, or volleyball, and then we would head to breakfast as a team. After breakfast, some of us had sports med appointments, some of us did school work and others stayed at the gym around until it was time for training. The first training session of the day was usually scheduled at 9:30 or 10:30, but most of us got in a little early to get things going and to get mentally prepared for the day. One after the other, each of us ended up in the training hall. The first stop was to head to the coach’s office to pick up our workouts which were all stacked up in binders next to the coach’s chair. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we trained twice a day, with the second training session beginning at 4:00 pm. On Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays we only had scheduled training sessions in the morning.  

As our morning training sessions finished up, each of us had our own schedules. Some lifters had class, others had work, and some had additional sports med appointments.or the most part we all ended up in the cafeteria subsequent to training. On the double training days, it was important to relax as much as you could in between training sessions. Some could more than others depending on their schedules. During the summers when most of us were free we would often all meet up in someone’s room to play video games. When school was in session it was usually pretty different, everyone usually had something going on.  

As the morning and afternoon wore off we all found ourselves trickling into the cafeteria for a pre-workout snack, often running into each on the way and walking with each other to our second training session of the day. Whether or not we knew it at the time we were starting to become a team.As you can imagine we all spent a significant amount of time together. Most of us had our individual clubs we lifted for from back home, but there as I said, we were a team.  

At competitions we all coordinated flights together, and many of us ended up rooming together. We would sit in the stands and watch each other lift. Once we were done lifting we would often help out in the back room when another person was warming up getting ready to go on the platform.  

As time went on, some of us left, some of us stayed, and some of us returned to the training center. No matter what would occur, there is still this sense of “team” when we ended up back together. The sense of team camaraderie was always there. 

The next few months and year didn’t go as planned. I was diagnosed with cancer days after earning a spot, but that’s another story for another day. Needless to say, if wasn’t for the OTC and the support I had from my friends there, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the year.

I ended up leaving the OTC to continue my education elsewhere, but many of the same people were still there. During the summers I would always come back to train and just as before there was still that sense of team camaraderie.  

This was not only a place for camps or full-time residents, but it was a place all of our athletes could gather and train before major competitions. I headed there during the summer before Junior Worlds in 2008. I saw a direct correlation from my training leading up to the meet to my performance.

These gatherings of lifters for camps also allowed the coaches and lifters an opportunity to get to know each other and to get accustomed to each person’s type of training and coaching style. In my opinion, having that in cinque is vital to success on the international stage. It creates trust and gives coaches an idea of how to proceed with certain athletes. The camps leading up to these major competitions also give coaches an opportunity to evaluate each athlete before they are sent off to compete. This helps ensure our best athletes are ready and that our best athletes go to the competition. It creates accountability with each athlete and coach. It also creates a level of competitiveness, as well as a level of support many of these athletes have never received when they train at home.

OTC Athletes

The author (back row, center) with athletes and coach Zygmunt Smalcerz at the OTC.

Many lifters get caught up in their busy lifestyles — Youth, Junior, and Senior lifters alike — but the OTC provided them with a haven to focus and hone in on their craft. Athletes would often go there for days or weeks at a time to work with sports medicine if they were recovering from an injury if they didn’t have that when they were back home.  

Throughout the years we saw our spots dwindle at the training center, but we also saw a surge of athletes willing to make the sacrifice to come out to the training center to try and earn a spot or just to train under our new head coach, Zygmunt Smalcerz, 1972 Olympic Champion from Poland.

As the sport grew over the years we saw the training center become more and more of a center hub to train and evaluate our athletes. Camps coming and going each and every month, we even saw more athletes come from other countries come to experience the training center.  

After finishing up my education, I decided to return to the OTC. At the same time I also saw a huge wave of lifters make the decision to go to the training center and see what it was all about. We had athletes come out for a couple weeks and within a short time later they came back to stay for good.  

Morghan King came out to the Olympic Training Center for a little over a week, and a short time later she was back for good. While she was at the training center she continued to improve  because she was able to give the sport her complete focus. Much of what she accomplished is the result of her hard work and dedication, however the OTC provided a good foundation for her success.

I saw Cameron Swart come out there for a week for a training special. At the time he was working on oil rigs in the ocean off the coast of Houston. His job consisted of working two weeks on out in the bay and two weeks off. He barely had the ability to consistently train. I believe his trip to the training center gave him the itch to put more in the sport, and sure enough we saw Cameron make it back to the Olympic Trials.

Anthony Pomponio, Alex Lee, and Norik Vardanian all decided to make the move back to the training center as well. Norik was returning to the US to compete after being on the 2012 Olympic Team for Armenia, and he was recuperating from a nagging quad injury. Alex’s training lacked the competitive atmosphere that he needed and felt this was the place for him to improve. Anthony Pomponio was still fairly new to the sport, but one trip to the training center, and he was hooked.

All of these people moved back or came to the OTC for one reason: to make the Olympic Team.  

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OTC weightlifters.

Within time after Norik moved back, he got healthy and brought home a silver medal at the Pan American Games. We also saw him put together one of the greatest performances from an American on international soil we had seen in some time at the President’s Cup in Russia. He went on to set a new American snatch record in the 94kg class.

We saw Alex Lee set a new standard in the 69kg weight class, and a weight class mainly considered weak in our country now has become one of strongest He ended up scoring the most points for Team USA and it nearly gave us enough to earn three men’s Olympic spots in Rio.

Speaking of the 69kg class, CJ Cummings was also someone who made a few trips during my time there. I don’t know CJ personally, but seeing him train and seeing everyone watch him train, it wanted to make everyone better.  

Donovan Ford was a resident since 2009. He was plagued with injuries throughout his career, however he stayed the course and kept focused, and under the guidance of Zygmunt Smalcerz he was able to recover and have  a memorable performance at the 2016 Pan Americans Championships. He was very instrumental in the Pan Am Team that earned 1 Olympic Spot for the men at the 2016 Olympic Games.  

Colin Burns also made the move and ended up breaking some American records of his own, including the snatch in his weight class. His work ethic also created a good example for some of the younger lifters in helping to make the 94kg class one of the deepest weight classes our country has seen in some time.  

We watched D’Angelo Osorio arrive as a skinny kid in the 85kg class, with an undeniable amount of talent, grow into one of our top lifters. The kid turned into a powerhouse in the 94kg class and is now a force to be reckoned with in the 105kg class for years to come.

Leo Hernandez, formally a Cuban lifter, found his home at the training center and continued to push until the very end of the quad in helping our men’s team earn an Olympic spot.

Cortney Batchelor, a raw talent from Alabama, rose up through the ranks during her time at the training center.  

Jenny Arthur, an athlete from Georgia, turned into the leader of our women’s weightlifting team while at the Olympic Training Center. Her years at the OTC growing as a person and as a lifter who was vital to our women’s team earning three spots at the Olympics.  

Our Olympic bronze medalist, Sarah Robles, also spent time at the training center.

It was a place where other people could experience what our best lifters lived like on a daily basis. We had camps for masters athletes , youth athletes coaches alike all of which were a huge success.  For some, the training center became the norm, training day in and day out. For others, it was a once in a lifetime experience. For us all, it will be missed, and for a lot of us it was our home.

This is a moment in our history where we have to change and evolve. As USAW CEO Phil Andrews has said, decentralized training.

We already have a great start. Juggernaut is starting to see many of the old faces at the training center come their way. Mash Mafia Elite is garnering their own attention with the likes of the Wilkes family, and many of the former lifters from MuscleDriver. We also can’t forget the other fantastic lifters we have had come through the ranks who didn’t spend much time at the OTC or spent most of their time training in a garage.  

Tim Swords has produced some of our top lifters and always welcomed them with open arms when someone needed a place to train as shown  in leading Sarah Robles to our country’s first medal in 16 years. The same goes for Kyle Pierce and the program he built in Shreveport, LA, helping Kendrick become one of only eight American lifters to earn three Olympic berths in our history.

Our country has the foundation and the tools moving forward. While this may be the ending of an era, it is also the beginning of endless possibilities.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post End of an Era: Looking Back on the OTC’s Resident Weightlifting Program appeared first on BarBend.

Watch Strongman Jerry Pritchett Deadlift 800 Pounds for 7 Reps!

How Weightlifters Can Benefit From Squat Walkouts

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rotate 1 Minute a Day for a Healthier Spine and Improved Performance

Do you want to get stronger, more explosive, more stable? Want to be less likely to get injured? Here is a top tool so many people forget in strength sports: Rotate!

Our bodies work in 3 planes:

  • Sagittal – forward backward/up down, e.g. bicep curls or squats
  • Frontal – out to your sides and back towards your body, e.g. lateral arm raises or jumping jacks
  • Transverse – rotating to the left and or right, e.g. passing a rugby ball to a teammate or throwing a punch

We are living in a very sagittal world. Powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, functional fitness, and even bodybuilding are all very focused on movements that go forward and backward or up and down. And while everyone knows about the “core” and preaches the importance of it in sport, the forgotten plane is the almighty rotation.

The great news is the spine doesn’t require a ton of these rotation exercises, but the more you can add in, the better. So all I am asking for is 60 seconds on days you are training; choose one each day and make it pretty (all these should be performed with intention, care, thought…and love :)). Careful movement is more important than loading a lot of weight right off the bat.

The photos below provide us with some ideas you can choose from, but there are hundreds of options. Constantly vary these to keep the spine nice and healthy.

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1. Ball tosses into the wall, really focus on using your trunk to throw it and not your arms

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2. Plate rotations left to right and back

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Rotation

3. Kettlebell diagonal chops – start at right hip and finish above left shoulder, slow and controlled focusing on maintaining a nice upright posture

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4. Anti-rotation – isometric hold into a solid object where you resist rotation, this can also be performed with a partner gently pushing your arms left or right in an unpredictable manner

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5. Reach across and up as high as you can, controlled movement up and down

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post Rotate 1 Minute a Day for a Healthier Spine and Improved Performance appeared first on BarBend.

IWF Approves 8th Women’s Weight Class, Eliminates Bodyweight Tiebreaker from Competition

In breaking news that was first announced this morning on the International Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) Twitter account, the organization’s Executive Board accepted a long-awaited 8th woman’s weight class.

Technical Rule modification accepted by the IWF EB: the new women bodyweight category is 90kg,+90kg and 75kg,+75kg for youth #genderbalance

The IWF Executive Board met on September 24 and 25th in Beijing, China.

IWF Board

Image: @IWFnet on Twitter

The new weight class for women will be 90kg (198 pounds), with the superheavyweight category becoming +90kg. An additional 8th category has been in conversation since May of this year, as the IWF and the International Olympic Committee as a whole have made gender equality a prioritization.

Assuming final approval by the IWF congress this fall, the woman’s weight categories going forward will be:

  1. 48KG (105lb)
  2. 53KG (116lb)
  3. 58KG (127lb)
  4. 63KG (139lb)
  5. 69KG (152lb)
  6. 75KG (165lb)
  7. 90KG (198lb)
  8. 90KG + (198lb +)

While this new weight category does represent a 15KG (33lb) increase over the next lowest category, many fans, coaches, and ahtletes have suggested a category was needed at higher end of the woman’s weight class spectrum.

It will be interesting to see how this new category changes the international landscape of the woman’s superheavyweight category. Looking at results from the last three Senior World Championships, on average roughly one-third of the women in this category have weighed in at less than 100KG (220lb).

Weight Class

Chart by Mike Graber

 

The next significant IWF competition is scheduled to be the Youth World Championships, to be held in Penang, Malaysia, from October 19th to 25th of this year. Due to the timing of this news, this author’s assumption is that this new body weight category will not be included in this event.

In US Weightlifting news from earlier this year, it was announced on August 31st of this year that if the IWF announced an 8th women’s category, USA Weightlifting (USAW) would include it for the 2016 American Open. That competition runs from December 8th to 11th in Orlando, Florida.

The IWF made additional announcements via Twitter this morning. In the youth categories, 75KG (165lb) will be added so there are equal numbers of men’s at woman’s weight categories at this age group as well. At the youth level, women’s weight categories will be as follows:

  1. 44KG (97lb)
  2. 48KG (105lb)
  3. 53KG (116lb)
  4. 58KG (127lb)
  5. 63KG (139lb)
  6. 69KG (152lb)
  7. 75KG (165lb)
  8. 75KG+ (165lb+)

Finally, the body weight tie breaker has been eliminated from competition. This means that the athlete who makes a total first will outrank athletes who subsequently make the same total in the competition. Once this rule goes into effect, the IWF methodology used to rank athletes will now be:

  1. Best result – highest first; if identical, then:
  2. Best Clean & Jerk result – lowest first; if identical, then:*
  3. Best Clean & Jerk result’s attempt number – lowest first; if identical, then:
  4. Previous attempt(s) – lowest first; if identical, then:
  5. Lot number – lowest first.

*Previously “Bodyweight – lowest first; if identical, then:” was second in the methodology.

For the sake of simplicity: The above means the athlete who totals the most will still win. However, if there is a tie, the athlete that made the total first will win the tie breaker. If athlete A totals 200KG and snatches 90KG and clean and jerks 110KG, and athlete B totals 200KG but snatches 88KG and clean and jerks 112KG, the champion will be athlete A because 110KG was successful before 112KG.

What do you think of these new changes? Is 90KG the correct new weight class for women? Who do you think will be top national and international athletes at this weight class? Will the elimination of bodyweight tie add excitement to competitions? Let us know in the comments below what you think.

The post IWF Approves 8th Women’s Weight Class, Eliminates Bodyweight Tiebreaker from Competition appeared first on BarBend.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Should You Switch from Weightlifting to Powerlifting?

I’m a mystery to many people, especially in terms of my lifting. What do I do, if I even train at all?

The short answer: My initial focus and true love is weightlifting.

The slightly longer answer: My initial focus and true love is weightlifting; however, I have wandered into a few periods of strict powerlifting to increase my strength and because, frankly, it’s hard not to want to train that way when I’m so involved in that sport. But I’ll never stop weightlifting!

I am lucky to have been taught weightlifting from the start by some old-time, entrenched, no-BS coaches. Training in that environment gave me a chance to see lifters through their eyes. Who will be able to handle the coaching and, more importantly, what will weightlifting demands of them? Trust me – it asks a lot.

So many people want to be good at weightlifting. Desperately. They think it looks “fun”. Not everyone is cut out for it in long run, though. Certain people may be better off powerlifting as a strength sport. Sometimes they realize this, and sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately, this means that a coach might have to have “the talk” with a lifter. This is the time when they need to encourage a member to move into powerlifting from weightlifting.

Clean

As a coach, there are several reasons why the conversation may go in that direction. Simply put, there are both physical and mental traits I recognize as red flags. Physically, one may have trouble weightlifting due to:

  •    Lack of flexibility
  •    Lack of explosive power
  •    Chronic pain or injury that doesn’t work with weightlifting
  •    Lack of proprioception

I certainly don’t expect anyone to be an Olympian. Lifting is recreational at this level! However, people have to face the facts. If someone’s been working on the lifts and mobility for a long time, but still can’t get into anything slightly resembling a proper position, then it’s time to consider moving on.

Weightlifting is described specifically as speed strength. Yes, there are drills that may improve quickness. But genetics play a big role, and a person’s ability depends on the type of muscle fibers being recruited. This can’t be overcome completely. Even for the casual trainee, never being fast enough is going to get frustrating.

If I, as a coach, see no improvement in flexibility or speed after several months, or there is a clearly limiting or nagging injury, and every session on the platform is a struggle, then I’ll suggest switching to powerlifting. Powerlifting doesn’t demand the same intense speed and coordination that weightlifting does. It does requires mobility, but not as specifically as weightlifting. I may ease them into the change by suggesting that they take a break, nothing permanent…

Deadlift

Lack of proprioception, or the ability to correctly judge how one’s own body is moving through space, is a huge issue, too. Weightlifting is like dancing or gymnastics in this sense. Some people just don’t have the proprioception or coordination to truly excel at it.

Yes, it is up to a coach to give the lifter cues that help the trainee understand what to do. She may have to try different approaches. But if a lifter is never able to comprehend what their body is doing, they are not a good fit for weightlifting. They shouldn’t struggle against the inevitable. Please think about your coach, too!

More importantly, I look for a strong mental and emotional game in weightlifters. In other words: attitude. In this case, warning signs of a problematic mindset/approach include:

  •    Lack of focus
  •    Impatience
  •    Self-deprecation
  •    Lack of cooperation with the coach
  •    Sense of entitlement
  •    Apathy, lack of enthusiasm, decreased interest or passion

A negative outlook is the biggest reason, at least in a dedicated lifting gym, to move from weightlifting to powerlifting.

On the other hand, a strong positive attitude can trump a lifter’s physical limitations!

Weightlifting requires patience, the ability to make micro-adjustments, and the capacity to replicate a pattern over and over (and over) again. The setup has to be methodical and specific. Then the lift needs to follow with a clear mind. This all takes focus!

Impatience can take the form of constantly moving, doing excessive reps, or jumping ahead before being cued. The only thing that’ll be achieved is a reinforcement of bad habits. It creates a negative loop.

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Getting angry or anxious about the previous or next attempt only makes things worse. I see people shaking their head in the middle of a lift or give up halfway through. I watch them freeze. I cringe as they berate themselves afterwards. None of this self-deprecation works. It shuts everything down. There’s no room to learn. Also, it doesn’t impress your coach.

Allowing oneself to be coached is, of course, extremely important, too. This goes hand-in-hand with being patient, listening, and checking one’s ego at the door. A lot of high-powered, intense, smart people want to weightlift. They are used to being great at everything, or getting what they want by pushing hard enough for it. They aren’t used to getting corrected or being unsuccessful.

Those people will question everything, or not believe the feedback they receive. They will scoff and be condescending. Anyone chronically acting this way is wasting time with coaching. On the other hand, they may be able to manage powerlifting, which is comparatively less intense in the need for precision. This alone could work out better for everyone and make them happier.

Finally, the reason that someone is lifting is important, too. One of the first questions I’ll ask someone walking in is why she is doing it or want to begin, and what she knows about it. Depending on the answer, I may need to dissuade them from starting or continuing weightlifting.

Powerlifting Plates

Why? If someone is weightlifting only because they “think it looks cool”, they could be in for a surprise. Yes – it does look cool when lifts are executed correctly, and that’s inspiring! The reality for a new lifter, though, is that it isn’t going to be fun or rewarding or that an individual will not be suited for it.

Additionally, I’ve seen people lose their passion for weightlifting, or I’ve noticed that they never had it in the first place. This can be temporary. But sometimes it simply is. And that’s okay. Admit it and move on. Someone can get strong with powerlifting, still be in the gym, interact with a lifting crew, and feel healthy. Who knows? Maybe the lifter will want to go back to weightlifting in 3-6 months. That’s fine, too.

Nothing is written in stone. Sometimes, down the line, weightlifting clicks. Other times, it’s best to remember that, as the saying goes, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Be honest about how and why you are training. Trust your coach and don’t be afraid to admit that something else may be better for you. Whatever you do, approach weightlifting with a clear mind, integrity, and a positive attitude.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post Should You Switch from Weightlifting to Powerlifting? appeared first on BarBend.