If you’re reading this because of the title, I’m here to tell you that that statement is an oxymoron. Hate to break it to you but Olympic weightlifting takes years to be decent at. I’m not here to sugarcoat anything; these are probably the most difficult lifts you will ever do in your life. I cannot count the amount of times these lifts alone (snatch and clean and jerk) have upset me, discouraged me, disappointed me, and humbled me. However, the beauty of these struggles is that the ways you overcome them will not only help you keep your sanity, but can be applied to any aspect of your life.
Okay, so I lied a little bit. While this blog will not teach you how to snatch or clean and jerk, I will lay out a few pointers for those of you in a hurry to aid you with your weightlifting woes.
During Barbell class, people tell me all the time, “This is so frustrating.”, “I’m not getting it.”, or the worst one, “I can’t do it”. Always step back and think, “What’s the rush?” Unless you’re going to the actual Olympics, there is no need to get heated over some missed lifts. Nothing in life comes easy and that principle holds true in and out of the gym. While it is good to set standards for yourself, we all come to the gym to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Things take time to learn and get comfortable with and this is especially true with weightlifting. Always keep the bigger picture in mind and do not get hung up over one bad day.
TAKE YOUR TIME. I cannot stress this enough. Too often while lifting, I see people going zero to one-hundred real quick. The Olympic lifts are not a grip-it-and-rip-it movement. Many problems stem from lifting with 100% speed off the floor. Proper positioning is such an important requirement for these lifts. Rushing through them is actually detrimental. One quote I heard that describes this perfectly is “Go as slow as you can but as fast as you need to.” Instead of getting anxious, approach the lifts like any problem in life. Break it down and slowly work on it piece by piece. When practicing these lifts, go through the movements in a fully controlled manner, while hitting every single position properly and in order. More speed (and weight) will come later, I promise you.
I say this all the time when coaching: “It just takes practice.” You may be surprised at how much your lifting will improve by just doing PVC work for just a few minutes a day. Before or after a WOD, taking 5-10 minutes to slowly go through the lifts will pay dividends. This is really easy to follow and is almost impossible to be frustrated by.
Just remember that when it feels like nothing is improving, everything feels like garbage, and you feel like stopping, know that each rep, each session, each week, month, etc. are like drops you’re putting in a bucket. It may feel like you are not making any progress, but one day that bucket will fill up and spill over and things will being to click. Keep grinding and chipping away and you will be rewarded