Everyone knows Olympic weightlifting is hard, technical, and darn right scary for some individuals. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not as hard as you might think. Honestly, there are only three things you need to do to become a successful weightlifter. Do you know what they are? Go on youtube, watch some Olympic weightlifting videos, and see if you can guess the three.
The three qualities weightlifting coaches look for in athletes are flexibility, speed, and strength (in that order).
The first one, flexibility, is by far the most important. Why? Easy – if you want to lift as much weight as possible, you must be able to get into a full squat with a straight back and armpits facing forward. You can still lift a significant amount of weight if your are unable to perform a full squat with a vertical chest or if you let shoulders internally rotate (armpits facing down), but if you want to lift the maximum of your potential, then you MUST become flexible enough to hit these essential positions.
The second must in Olympic weightlifting is speed. I always hear my dad say during our seminars, “I’d rather have an athlete that is fast and weak, than an athlete who is slow and strong.” The reason for this is because you can always make the weak lifter strong, but it’s difficult to make the strong lifter fast because the strong lifter normally wants to revert back to his strength when trying to move heavy weight fast. Everyone has a weight limit on how much they can lift with their arms; when you reach that weight limit, you MUST learn how to become fast, so you can pull or press yourself under the bar.
The last must to become a great Olympic weightlifter is strength. It is kind of obvious – if you want to lift a large amount of weight, you have to be strong. Becoming strong is definitely a grueling task to complete, but weightlifters aren’t sissies. They need to be as strong as humanly possible, and the champions are willing to dedicate everything they have to develop that strength.
Those are the three essentials of weightlifting. Do you have all three? Are you good with a couple and short on one? If you’re interested in learning more about how you can reach your potential in weightlifting, feel free to ask me or any of the Invictus coaches.