This past weekend, Andy, Kayser and I spent two full days at a weightlifting seminar put on by Coach Don McCauley and Travis Cooper of Team MDUSA. This was two days of nothing but specifics on the Olympic Lifts and we all walked away with a wealth of knowledge on how to further fine-tune these ever challenging movements. Much of the seminar consisted of time working on our lifting under the eye and guidance of the coaches. I’ll spare you the wordy descriptions of tweaks in lifting mechanics that we learned (until you’re in one of our classes!) and instead share some of the more universal pieces that I walked away with.
First, there is no magic programming that is going to get you results without you putting in the work. You can browse online forums and blogs looking for that special program to get you as strong as you’d like to be, but nothing breeds success like hard work. Find something that works for you, and stick to it. If you’re too quick to discount the program that you’re using without allowing an appropriate amount of time to see the results you are looking for, you’re never going to find something that will work. Make a plan, and stick to it!
The basic idea behind both the clean & jerk, and the snatch (the bar goes up, you go down) are going to be the same from athlete to athlete, but the way the mechanics might look can vary greatly. Depending on your mobility, experience, and how you are built (long arms, short arms, longs legs, etc.), your setup, and even catching position might not look exactly like the person’s next to you. Listen to what your coach says about how you look during the lift, and don’t sweat it if it’s not exactly what someone else is doing.
Sometimes you’re not going to make your lifts. It happens and it’s not the end of the world, but see the experience as an opportunity to examine your flaws and work on them. You’ll only be stronger for it.
Use drilling to practice, so you can just go to your happy place and lift when you’re testing your maxes. There is a difference between time training and time competing, and it’s important not to confuse the two. You are not competing every time you work on a skill in class. That is your time identify problems and improve your weaknesses. Get the kinks ironed out during training, so when it counts, everything is smooove like buttah.
Olympic lifting obviously requires strength, but much more than that, it requires finesse, patience and practice. The staff at the seminar were quick to point out that working on these lifts is more similar to gymnastics that to any other form of lifting.
Ok, now a fun one. At the end of day 1, Travis was kind enough to demo some of his lifting skills and I got a couple of his lifts on video. Here he is snatching 315# like it ain’t no thang. Enjoy!