Weightlifting is hard. It gets even harder as you get better. It seems to be the notion with a lot of athletes that you don’t need a coach or a coach isn’t worth the money.
I think that some of this comes from how Americans start in the sport of weightlifting. Most people come into the sport later in life with a background in other sports and plenty of strength training. This means that most beginner weightlifters are plenty strong enough to save lifts without even realizing it. This is in part how that thought of ‘’I don’t need a weightlifting coach’’ gets into some people’s heads even though the Snatch and Clean and Jerk are the most complex movements you can do in the gym.
Tailing on that, I don't think most people realize just how complicated training for weightlifting is.
Sure it's only two movements but the amount of detail that goes into being highly successful at those two movements would amaze anyone.
Ideally a weightlifter has a coach from the get go. This helps the lifter to have guidance and direction and to not engrain any bad habits. A coach can mold a new lifter in whichever way they deem best for that individual.
As a weightlifter continues to improve (or if they decide to get a coach after the beginner stages) a coach becomes even more important to continue progress. To demonstrate this, watch this video:
This is a video of Chase, one of our 77kg lifters leading up to 2015 USAW Nationals. Obviously one lift was a miss and one was a make. Of course his technique isn’t perfect and there are some fixes that need to be made, but both are very makeable attempts. Everything was there: a good pull, a good catch position, plenty of strength and mobility, but he still missed the lift. A coach with some background with this athlete would know that this was a mental miss.
This is the kind of thing that only a coach would be able to see. Without one, the lifter might continue to grind through training without addressing what was wrong in the first place.
Now let’s take a look at these two videos of one of our 69kg lifters who hasn’t been lifting quite as long:
Both lifts looked very similar, right? While both lifts aren’t perfect, there are some slight differences that made the first video a make and the second a miss, despite only a 3kg difference.
The biggest thing that Zach did well on the make was "pushing’’ through the top of his lift with his whole foot. When he attempted 83kg, his weight shifted forward and instead of pushing through the top, he pushed forward shifting to his toes too early. Consequently, he drove the bar forward and missed. These are the kinds of things a coach can help you identify and fix.
These videos were taken about 6 weeks after he started training with us, where he was Snatching around 75kg and Clean and Jerking around 100kg. 5 months later, his best lifts are a 93kg Snatch and a 115kg Clean and Jerk.
The purpose of this post isn’t to gloat about the progress our lifters have made, it’s simply to state what is so obvious to the members of our (or any) weightlifting gym. If you want your lifts to continue to improve, you need a coach. They will help objectively guide you through the training process managing not only the physical side, but the mental side as well.
The best thing you can do is find a gym and a coach that you can train with in person. USA Weightlifting has a great tool on their site to aid you with this (http://www.teamusa.org/usa-archery/coaching/find-an-instructor-or-coach). If you don’t have a weightlifting coach nearby (good weightlifting coaches can be scarce), feel free to check out our YouTube channel (www.YouTube.com/c/LiftLabCo1) where we have tons of video giving you coaching cues and demos of different exercises we use.
You can also check out our store at LiftLabCo.com/store. We offer 6 month beginner and intermediate training templates as well as Individualized Online Training for any type of athlete!
If you'd like to come into Lift Lab for a free movement assessment and free trial session(s) of any of our services, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org!