Weightlifting

Ignorance Speaks

Australian Tia Clair Toomey is truly extraordinary athlete. For the second year in a row she was named the Second Fittest Woman on the planet, by her placement in the Crossfit Games, a grueling five-day, 17-event test across numerous fitness domains. Then, a couple of weeks after this competition, she represented Australia at the Olympics in the weightlifting competition. How enviable is her achievement? So much so that some wanker at The Sydney Morning Herald, in a fog of foolishness, ripped into Toomey for being “only the 14th strongest” woman in the 58kg class. Consider that when America’s Morghan King placed sixth out of twelve competing in the 48kg class, it was roundly considered a triumph. Yet King–a fantastic athlete–trains only for weightlifting; she does Itwo lifts: the snatch and the clean-and-jerk. To be a Crossfit athlete, Toomey trains an insane array of movements and modalities, from track and field…

Performance vs. Training II

On April 1, I competed in the 2016 National Masters Weightlifting Championships in Savannah, Georgia–and came away with a silver medal. Not a bad showing for my third weightlifting competition and my first national-level comp, but I must admit that I was still disappointed. Where I fell short was in that overlap between training and performance. I made an 88kg snatch, but failed my 116kg jerk, a weight I’d not ever failed previously. So what happened? The short answer is that I simply dropped the ball mentally. I suspect that one reason this occurred is that our session had been delayed by more than an hour, due to an injury in the previous session. It was pretty gruesome: a man dropped a bar hitting first his head and then his knee, which he dislocated. He was taken away in an ambulance. That said,weightlifting remains one of the safest sports you can…

Performance vs. Training I

I’m beginning these notes a few days out from the 2016 National Masters Weightlifting Championships, where I will be competing. A major first for me! In my age (45-49) and weight class (77kg), there will be several people seriously contenting for the top spot. All have about the same training lifts, so who wins will depend entirely on mind and emotions–on who performs on the platform. It seems to me that weightlifting is an especially powerful magnifier of the difference between training and a performance: you’re alone on a platform, facing three judges, and trying to execute at the limit of both your strength and technical ability. Anyone who has competed on the platform knows that it is an entirely different experience from what goes on in the gym. If you miss a lift while training, you just do it over. If your head isn’t right while training, you can…

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