Why I Love Olympic Weightlifting

I’m approaching a year of CrossFit…and you know what I’ve learned? I really…REALLY love Olympic Weightlifting (“Oly” for short). Love it to the point where I’ve actually stopped participating in CrossFit wods at my box and have been Oly training exclusively. Hadn’t thought I’d get this into the sport, but yes…I am a big fan.

Where CrossFit builds workouts (wods) around several different types of sports (gymnastics, powerlifting, oly, running, strongman, etc) with the goal of building athletes that are functionally fit, Oly focuses on two lifts. The clean & jerk….and the snatch. Both lifts are very explosive and require a great amount of control – both of your body and of the weight on the bar.

Both sports produce amazing athletes. Both demand you to face your fears and dig deeper.

Oly just speaks to me more. I’ve tried to deny it. To ignore it…nope, I’m a CrossFitter!!! But let’s be honest here, I spend more time thinking about or looking at Oly vids than I do anything else. When I go into the gym I get annoyed when there are guys deadlifting on the only pad where you could actually do Oly lifts – meanwhile there’s a perfectly good deadlifting area in another part of the gym that is hardly ever used.

I like lifting heavy things…while being smart about it, of course. I learned several months ago that I need to “respect the bar” at all times – I dropped a bar with about 160 lbs on it and let it roll away…and right onto my shin. It wasn’t a major injury, just a little blood. But I’ve got the scars as a reminder of the importance of respecting that bar and minding the bar at all times.

With that said, if you’re thinking about getting into lifting…I would say to give it a try. Make sure you’ve got a good coach to teach you the basics and make sure you are safely progressing along. It’s not as scary as it may seem, but it is something that does take a certain amount of time, dedication, and attention. If I can do this…YOU can too. If it’s your thing – of course. šŸ™‚

Here are some clips of some of my fave ladies from across the globe kicking ass. Various ages. Various nationalities. Various body types. Same level of awesome. Be inspired.

Tatyana Kashirina – Russia

Lidia Valentin – Colombia

Zoe Smith – UK (she’s only 20!)

Holley Mangold – USAĀ 

Breakthrough Days

I had a breakthrough today in Oly practice…

I’ve had this mental block around this ONE particular lift…the snatch. Considering there are only two lifts in olympic weightlifting (the clean & jerk…and the snatch), I’d say the mental block has been pretty significant. For whatever reason, just could NOT get my head around this lift. I know it was a block.

A block caused by fear. This lift just scares me. Which is funny, because I think it’s one of the most beautiful lifts. Can I call a lift beautiful? Mmmm…yea, I think I’m gonna do that. But yes, it’s just a really REALLY amazing lift to behold. It’s power, speed, balance…all in a movement that is done in a matter of seconds.

See what I mean?

Tonight one of my box mates declared it a breakthrough day for himself. I guess some of that good vibes trickled in over to me, because when I got good and moving with the workout…I was hitting weights for the snatch that were damn close to my 1 rep max…like 5-10 lbs away. Doing heavy work, under fatigue, and coming so close to my 1RM with better form and more confidence than in the past?

Breakthrough, I tell ya.


*giggle* Cracks me up every time.

But yes…breakthrough tonight. And it felt good. Better than good, it felt GREAT. I feel the fear diminishing. I know I can do it. Seeing the proof of that belief just makes it all the more real.

The Next Challenge

I wrote the following yesterday, and wanted to share as it was written…


I’m at my very first weightlifting competition. No, not as a competitor, but as a spectator. I’ve had a nervous giddiness about attending since I first found out about it. Admittedly, I’m new to the world of weightlifting, so I didn’t know and still don’t know the protocol for attending things like this. I hemmed and hawed all day…asked a couple of friends and even my sis if they’d come with me. Lol, no luck on any front so finally I just went alone.

I arrived just in time to see the women in The 75kg+ category compete. Now, from my estimation and super sucky metric to American conversion, I believe this would be the weight class I’d be in. So it was cool to see what the competitors looked like and what kind of weight they were moving. Gives me an idea of what I need to do, learn, and prepare for.

Oh yea, mama wants to be a competitive lifter.

Back to the competition though. I kinda slid in the back, super late, and found a nice solitary chair to observe from. In the audience, you could tell there areĀ friends, family, and other Ā supporters of Ā the competitors and maybe some lifting enthusiasts too.

The ladies all went through their weights with the snatch being first. Then, they went right into the clean and jerk. It was interesting to note that not all went into a full snatch, some just did a power snatch (where you land in about a quarter to a half squat vs the full squat you do when performing an actual snatch). Good for me to know, since I didn’t know that was allowed in competition, but cool! The clean and jerk portion was interesting to watch as well. Everyone really has their own style and way of getting under the bar…you can tell what was a struggle and was seemed like light weight for the ladies.

Random thoughts going through my head right now…

  • Heart pounding…this is amazing.
  • I can totally do this.
  • I’m appreciative of my coaches for their instruction so far. I can definitely see the difference in the competitors technique and can see where a lift might go a lil screwy vs looking solid.
  • They hit the bottom rather nicely on snatches…I’ve got work to do on that one.
  • Oh…so THATS why I muscle snatch and overhead squat so much.
  • The hold is as important as the drive itself.
  • The push press is my friend.

Yea it was a great time at the open, even though I didn’t see the other weight classes compete, I saw enough of what I needed to see to solidify my desire to compete. The next couple of months will be just learning all I can, practicing on skill work, and getting my mind right. There’s the 2014 American Weightlifting Open Competition which will be in DC this December. It’ll be both powerlifting and Olympic lifting. I want to compete in both, and fates willing – I shall so just that.