Long Weightlifting, the Beginning!

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


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