Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
March 26, 2018
Over the past year, I would have to state that getting into Olympic weightlifting has been an overall good experience. When you think about the movements and see the countless fails that are on the Internet, actually getting out there and doing them yourself makes for some clearances of misconceptions. For one thing, it has illustrated just how hard the stuff can be and how seriously you should take it, and it is also a good way to learn about your limitations. We all want to be that bad-ass that can blow up massive weights and impress the ladies at the gym, but that should never be the case when it comes to doing this stuff. The first and most important aspect of olympic weightlifting is learning to control your body and also strengthening all of your body parts. Either way, I’m not gonna go all nuts and start putting people on blast for not doing this stuff, but I will certainly say some stuff for people that need to do this sort of working out.
Anyway, I guess I can talk about myself for the time being, give you some insight into how I am doing with my working out. Well, for one thing, I am definitely much better at the clean and jerk. When I get the chance sometime within the next couple weeks, I am going t start working on getting over 200 pounds (my max right now sits at roughly 185…still have not tried to go heavier just yet). Now for the most part I will probably not attempt that weight this week, mainly because I am still coming back from a small back injury. Oh, by the way, I slightly injured my back. I would have recovered a little quicker if I had managed to get to a chiropractor, but unfortunately my little pup Scarlett has been sick the last couple weeks, so I am concentrating on her and making sure she gets well. Typical dog parent, yes I am. Anyway, my back is feeling much better right now and as long as I warm up properly on the GHD device and I am good. So this week will really be all about getting back into the groove and making my body strong again. Should not be too hard to do but I will generally keep the weight low this week and then go for it next week. So yes, my clean and jerk is doing quite well. Now I am a little frustrated with my snatch. You see, I have been dealing with a tightness in my left arm that has made it tough for me to sling around weights. When I have my right arm to help with the stabilization aspect of a lift, I can deal with the injury pretty well. The thing about the snatch is you need both arms to carry the weight, especially when you are getting the bar above your head and standing up fro the crouching position. I haven’t seen much improvement in my weight but like I said, I need to get that back worked on. For all I know, me being unbalanced has aided in this tightness on my left arm and is causing the problem. We shall see in the upcoming weeks.
Now here is the next question for you? Do you feel like you have maybe hit a wall with your lifts? Like you really want to get into this stuff but the weights are starting to get harder and you find yourself failing more often than succeeding? Well, here are some tips to overcome those setbacks that might be hurting your confidence. Olympic weight lifting is like a relationship, and a lot of times you want to go back to the usual gym bro lifts like you would when a toxic ex is trying to re-enter your life and you have hit a snag in your loving, current relationship. Well, this is when you have to make some assessments and improve in other areas. First of all, if you have hit a wall, this means you have to start working on two areas. 1) start improving your companion lifts and 2) start working on your technique with more comfortable weights. The first part should be pretty simple in this respect, for if you are having problems getting the heavier weights on your clean and jerk, this expresses a couple problems….you don’t have a strong enough front squat. So what do you do? Improve your front squat!! Equipping your body to take on the strenuous movement of lifting heavy weights in the clean position is essential. Pushing yourself in the front squat will certainly aid in this movement. Then you have the overhead portion. If you are struggling with that, just simply work on your jerks and forget about the clean part. If anything, compartmentalizing the lifts and working on them separately on different days will help you improve as well as not tax your body. The same can be said for the snatch. If you are having issues with getting the bar up after after the initial movement, you might need to strictly work on your overhead squats. Also be sure to work on other areas like shoulder shrugs as well barbell rows and dead lifts.
Now here comes the second part, the part that Jon always gets on me about…work with lower weights. When you start struggling with your olympic lifts, it means you are possibly going too heavy or you are breaking your technique, which could lead to failed lifts and also lead to potential injuries due to overcompensation. Get this into your head now in case you do not remember the previous time I talked about olympic weight lifting. http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com/blog/olympic-weightlifting-and-you You will fail, and fail a lot. The combination of too much weight and losing technique is the number one culprit. Some days you just don’t have it, and that is when you have to make assessments in other areas. A couple weeks ago I stunk it up because I had worked outside all day, working my back a little too hard, didn’t drink enough water and did not eat all day. So yeah, that was not a good day. I also did not go nuts on the lifts and when I noticed I had nothing left, I called it off. Ego is not your friend with these lifts, so adjust accordingly. I will have to make sure this upcoming week that I work on technique rather than weight. You see, I was out for a week, so trying to go back to what I was doing two weeks ago might aggravate my back again and might injure myself again. Plus, the other thing I will really need to do is make sure I have warmed up properly, because yes, that is a huge deal when doing these kinds of lifts.
Okay, so this is just a primer in regards to what you need to do to get better at the olympic weight lifting. Improve in other areas that utilize moments within the olympic lift, and also adjust your expectations and attitude accordingly. Yup, you need to stay safe out there and not hurt yourself n the process.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.