Be a Better Weightlifter
OK, just kidding ABOUT NASA.
But any great weightlifting coach will confirm this, and here’s why.
I hear it all the time in the gym. “I wish my weightlifting was better. What can I do?” Or more to the point, “Man, I love the lifts, but I suck at them!”
My first response is always the same. “Well, are you seriously practicing your weightlifting technique?” The answer is almost always no, but there’s no shortage of excuses…
- I just don’t have the time.
- I don’t have anyone good to coach me, and I can never tell if I’m doing it right.
- My mobility sucks!
- I would focus on weightlifting, but I just don’t know where to start.
- I want to get better at the lifts, but I also want to do improve my metcons! Why can’t I improve at both?
- I get frustrated because I know my lifts suck.
- I know I’ll never ever be as strong as some of the athletes I follow.
I want to focus on the two most common barriers. You CAN become a great weightlifter, you just need to change your approach to training, your focus, your overall mindset.
Let’s start there.
@alexqmaclin is the hardest worker we know. Inside and outside of the gym. Glad to have him on our staff! ・・・ Never back squatted 400lbs before today and did it for an easy triple! 400 has been a goal for so long! No idea what my max is… #squats #strength #thatbarbend #weightlifting #olympiclifting #gym #fitness #gainz #barbellshrugged #mashelite @barbellshruggedpodcast @masheliteperformance @thebarbelllife @barbellbuddha @mcg_faction @faction_sc
Why are you so afraid to step away from the Metcon?
Many folks have this giant fear that if they step away from their Metcons to focus on weightlifting, they will immediately get fat and drop off the whiteboard. They’re scared they won’t be able to go as prescribed any more, which seems like a huge step backwards. Where does this fear come from? Where is the logic behind this?
Just because you stop blasting your lungs daily to the point of inducing vomit and blackouts, that doesn’t mean you will get fat, or out of shape, or slow. Actually, the opposite type thing usually happens. Most great lifters avoid heavy conditioning sessions, yet they’re some of the strongest and physically fit people in any gym.
Have you seen Klokov lately? That dude couldn’t be any more jacked. Hell, I am in the best shape of my life, mostly because I’ve been able to accumulate so much work and muscle mass from my heavy weightlifting training.
Weightlifters are strong and fit.
I’m not saying the Metcon is evil, far from it. If you’re trying to compete in fitness you have to have excellent conditioning, that much should be obvious. But even if you want to make the top of the whiteboard in your box, you’re better off getting used to the suffering. Condition hard, and often…But there’s a catch.
Performing high-rep snatches, cleans and jerks as fast as possible during a WOD will undermine your ability to properly learn the movements. Unless you’ve built some level of movement mastery in the lifts, it’s very likely that your WOD technique will breakdown often. Every failed rep, rushed pull and sumo style catch will push you further and further back from your ultimate goal.
To maximize your performance in weightlifting, as well as your ultimate Crossfit performance, take the time to master the lifts. Be a Weightlifter first. Learn to move weight well and you’ll crush WODs forever.
Commit to working on the lifts. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of work in. The snatch, clean and jerk are probably the most physically and mentally difficult movements to learn in all of sport. So, you’re not going to learn them by practicing once or twice a week with a PVC pipe is just not going to cut it. It’s not enough work.
You’ve got to devote some serious effort and time to learning the movements. You’ve got to constantly work on getting stronger and more mobile through the key ranges of motion and positions required for weightlifting. And you know this!
Here’s what you need to do.
First, accept that the brutal Metcons are holding back your lifts. Let it go, let it go, at least for a 6-month block of time. You have to commit and move the needle with continuous work, so keep your focus. Change your approach to training a little.
Put everything you’ve got into getting stronger and improving your snatch, clean and jerk technique. You will move better. Your strength will take off. You will add muscle (#GAINZ). And the best part, you’ll perform much better once you go back to pushing the Metcon.
Ditch those fears of getting fat, losing your gymnastics skills or conditioning, not going Rx, or whatever else your excuse may be. They are only hindering your athletic growth.
Not sure where to start?
There are a ton of really great places online that offer solid weightlifting programming. Many of those programs already include strength and conditioning workouts to help you get stronger while maintaining your conditioning and gymnastics skills. Some even offer remote coaching as well.
Just commit. When you focus on weightlifting and strength training – surprise, surprise – you will get stronger. You’re technique will improve. You will put on some lean muscle mass, which is what you wanted from your workouts anyway, right?
If you have any questions about programming or finding coaching, just leave them in the comments below. I’ll do my best to help you out.
Why do you compare yourself to other lifters?
Next to conditioning too hard, too often, constant comparisons to other lifters is sure to limit your performance and happiness in the gym.
Look, I’m super competitive. I understand how it goes, the need to be the best at something. This is a highly competitive environment and it’s frustrating to get beat by someone else. But competition is supposed to be something that makes you focus on YOU and not someone else. This is how we improve our training and grow stronger.
Many times I see people emulating and copying the training methods and styles of other lifters and athletes, believing that if they do as they do they will achieve similar results. But that’s false.
As an athlete you are an individual, with individual needs. Those needs are likely much different and exclusive of the needs of any other athlete. Only by addressing YOUR individual needs will you see progress. Again, deep down you probably already know that this is true.
Stop the Comparison
Stop comparing yourself with other people with different body types, training histories, genetic profiles, etc. I had to learn this lesson the hard way a few years ago. I was thinking, “Man all the best lifters in the world are maxing out snatch, clean and jerk every day. Bulgarian method, Baby! Hell yea! I’m gonna do the same damn thang!”
I stopped addressing my technique, following my program, and started only maxing out on the snatch, clean, and the jerk.
I squatted a lot.
If I got too beat up from maxing out (which happened quite a bit) I would just find some random workout online that had movements that I liked doing.
There was no direction. It was no surprise when I hurt my back. In the end, I was out 3 months. At least I learned the lesson. It’s something you don’t have to repeat.
The minute you start trying to focus on someone else and what they are doing you will lose sight of what is important to you.
Your progress will stop.
As an athlete you have to be a little bit selfish.
If you stop focusing on yourself and your needs, it will be very hard to become the kind of lifter that you want to become. Maybe you won’t ever get there, but doing what YOU need to do is going to help you become the best athlete you can possibly be, and that’s what it’s all about.
I’ve made every one of these mistakes in the past, and I’ve used every excuse. But you don’t have to repeat all of those mistakes. You CAN shorten the learning process, that’s exactly why we created the FLIGHT program. It’s everything we wish we had known and done when we first got into Olympic Weightlifting. If you need coaching and programming help, check it out. It might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Got questions? Just leave them in the comments below. I’d be happy to help out.