I found the sport of Weightlifting like many other athletes in the U.S. have, through CrossFit. After almost 3 years of doing CF, I realized that every time a workout came up with either Snatch or Clean & Jerk, I was always scaling the workout or changing it completely. That’s when I realized I needed to make a change. For the next 6 months to 1 year, I really focused on the lifts and even did two workouts a day; one would be a strength workout that emphasized the Snatch or Clean & Jerk and the other would be a typical CF style WOD. This is where I fell in love with Weightlifting.
At the beginning of the summer of 2013 I found myself spending more time doing my Weightlifting and strength training and less actual time doing CF. Although I was getting a ton of extra work in I realized that my Snatch looked something more like a sweeping deadlift into a hitch followed by a hip bang that left my arms stiff as a board as the bar looped over my head; it was a wonder I didn’t kill myself. I’m not even going to comment on the horrific hunchback clean I had at the time. Anyway, that summer I thought long and hard about what I actually wanted to commit to and eventually I landed on the idea that I needed to do a Smolov Jr. squat cycle followed by a complete transition to Weightlifting. Boy was I in for a surprise.
That July I was in a world of hurt!! The 4 weeks of the Smolov Jr. cycle definitely got my legs stronger but it was endless pain in the process. When August rolled around I picked out a basic training program I found online and dedicated my training to Weightlifting. At that time, I’ll have to guestimate here, my Snatch PR was around 80-85kg and my Clean & Jerk was in the neighborhood of 105-110kg at a bodyweight of 82kg. I followed that general program from August to October and I had some great gains on the bar. At my first competition ever in October I hit a 95kg Snatch and a 120kg Clean & Jerk at 77kg bodyweight. I was so happy, I thought man I really am going to be good at this stuff. Now although that was a big jump in only my first few months in the sport, it was NOT a sign that I had gotten any better.
All of my weaknesses and flaws still existed and the weights on the bar were simply numbers that I hit because I was strong. I was never consistent above 80%, my back was weak as a noodle, and my hamstrings basically had no idea they were even supposed to do anything in the lifts. I knew I had a problem, so what did I do? well naturally,
I fixed all of that I continued to make it WORSE. I switched to more of a Bulgarian style template and continued to gain kilos with terrible technique and major weaknesses. Over 10 months of this type of training I worked up to a 105kg Snatch and a 128kg Clean & Jerk. Although the weights were again heavier, I knew I wasn’t a better lifter and that’s when I had had enough!! It was time for a coach who could correct me and that’s when I found Jean-Patrick Millette, the writer of First Pull
It’s been a long journey since last October when I first started working with my coach to fix my technique and correct my weaknesses but I am really starting to see some progress. Even though I always try to fight him still to add kilos to the bar, in the back of my head I know that I’m becoming a better weightlifter. My current numbers are 106kg Snatch and a 132kg Clean & Jerk; however, maxing out and singles are not the name of the game. Becoming a consistent lifter with strong technique and a better overall Weightlifter is the goal. After training under a coach who develops individualized programs for me I have hit numerous Snatch doubles at 98-100kg, Snatch triples at 95-96kg, Clean & Jerk doubles at 122-125kg, and numerous other big training lifts that I know will translate over to the platform when the day comes that I am a more consistent lifter.
The biggest point to this story of my beginnings is to show you that an individualized program is always best. A lifter can increase the kilos on the bar very quickly with a Bulgarian style template and that may be what the lifter needs. Also, a lifter can follow any general online program that’s based more on volume and the exact opposite of a Bulgarian style program and that may also be what they need; however, this sport is not general or linear. Following a generalized program does not specifically meet the individuals needs as a lifter. You will always be finding and correcting weaknesses and an individualized program and coach, like here at Long Weightlifting, can do that. If you are broken like I was, then adding weight does not make you a better lifter and at some point the strength can’t carry you any further. I am of the firm belief now that strong technique, consistency, GPP, and overall strength should be built before kilos are added. Once those things are a priority, the kilos will follow!!! For more information about the services I provide click here or fill out a contact form here