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#3 Lessons for Olympic Weightlifting Beginners

Posted on August 4th 2021 by

#3 Lessons for Olympic Weightlifting Beginners

#3 Lessons for Olympic Weightlifting Beginners

Today marks the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the return of athletes from countries you have never even heard of lifting obscene weights over their heads wearing lycra suits and heeled shoes to your television screens.

I recently started my Olympic weightlifting journey. I have really enjoyed the process of learning something new and challenging my body, and more so my patience, with new exercises and focus. I would like to share my top three lessons for anyone in a similar position to me at the start of their Olympic weightlifting journey.

If you would like any further training or nutrition advice you can email me at banton@ledleisure.co.uk or alternatively speak to a health and wellbeing coach at your local leisure centre and ask for a FREE 30-minute session.


Lesson #1. Low expectations, high standards

My first tip is something I have spoken about before in my blog “Top 3 Tips for Returning to Exercise Safely”. I cannot take credit for this saying and unfortunately cannot remember where I first heard it to pass on credit, but I think it’s such a powerful message to any beginner.

“Low expectations, high standards” is a two-part mindset. The 1st half, “Low expectations”, is about developing patience.

In any Olympic event whether it be the javelin, gymnastics or diving you would be foolish to expect to perform at Olympic standards on day one. Olympic weightlifting is no different.

On day one beginners should accept that the barbell may not move well, and you certainly won’t be close to World Record weights. You may not even touch a barbell at all and instead focus on developing the correct movement patterns using a PVC pipe instead. These early lessons are small but important steps that when repeated soon add up to a marathon of progress.  

The 2nd half, “High standards”, is about accepting that if you are limited in what you can do today to improve then you better do it to the best of your ability.

This mindset is about accepting that if I am only using a PVC pipe today, I am going to listen to the coach and move it as best I can. It is about coming in early and giving mobility work the proper time and energy it requires. It is about committing your best every single time again and again.

If you find yourself getting disheartened during the early stages I urge you to remind yourself of the “Low expectations, high standards” mindset.


Lesson #2 Progress is not linear

My second tip for any LED member starting their Olympic Weightlifting journey is to understand that progress is not linear.

Some days you will come to the gym and the stars will align. The bar will move that little bit smoother; the timing of your movement will be on point and the weight you used last week will feel like an empty barbell. You will feel like you are on the platform at Tokyo 2020(21) with the confidence that you could lift any weight put on the bar with perfect technique.

On other days though, you will come in and things will just feel, off? Your hips may not extend as they should, your overhead position may feel lopsided, and you will not be able to lift with the speed and precision you could yesterday.

By living a healthy and stress-free lifestyle athletes can help ensure they tend to have more good days than bad. Athletes should focus on getting enough sleep, consuming a rich and balanced diet, ensuring mobility needs are addressed and consider guidance from an experienced and qualified coach.

Athletes should also learn to recognise a bad day and implement strategies to mitigate their effect. Instead of pushing through a bad workout like a stubborn mule consider spending the time to address mobility needs or focusing on light technique work or even something completely different like cardiovascular work inside or outside of the gym. You can always come back and try again tomorrow.


Lesson #3 Become a student of the sport

My third tip for anyone who has started Olympic Weightlifting is to become a student of the sport. I genuinely believe the more time you can dedicate to “studying” as an Olympic Weightlifter outside of the gym, the more you will benefit inside the gym.

Firstly, I strongly recommend you make the most of the resources available to you as an LED member. Speak to a member of our qualified and experience gym team about strength and conditioning programming or how we can support you with nutrition and lifestyle advice for FREE. Take a look at the Pure Stretch, Pilates or Yoga classes available at your centre and consider making this a part of your rest day routine.

Pure Stretch

Pilates

Yoga

Follow this up by spending a little time regularly doing your Olympic Weightlifting homework. Find the spare time to read blogs like this, watch Zack Telander videos on YouTube and listen to the Juggernaut Training Systems Podcast.

If you want to go a step further and give back to those who have helped shape the Olympic Weightlifting community consider downloading eBooks from leading coaches in the industry and take time to carefully understand their teachings.

And finally, if possible consider attending a local Olympic Weightlifting meet. Here you will meet like-minded athletes and coaches. Developing relationships with other members of the community will provide an opportuntiy to bounce ideas off each other, discuss your success and failures and may even lead to you meeting a training partner. 


These are my top 3 lessons for anyone just starting their Olympic weightlifting journey.

If you would like any further training or nutrition advice you can email me at banton@ledleisure.co.uk or alternatively speak to a health and wellbeing coach at your local leisure centre and ask for a FREE 30-minute session.


 

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