Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Part 1: The Annual Risto Sports Olympia Cup - 20 years a Lifter
The Risto Sports Olympia Cup made history. It bridged a 50 year gap between bodybuilding and weightlifting, being the first time weightlifting appeared at the Olympia and was welcomed enthusiastically by the crowd. And, the competition and expo exceeded expectations-we're already invited back for next year.
Part 1 - 20 Years a lifter
The Olympia Cup also marked a big milestone for me-- nearly 20 years ago to the day, I competed in my first ever weightlifting competition. And, 10 years ago, I started seriously training with my coach and husband, Ivan Rojas.
As a very nice anniversary gift to myself, I broke the 200kg barrier with a snatch of 92 kg and clean and jerk of 108kg at 66kg. You can see the full sequence of my 92kg snatch below and the video on the Risto Sports youtube.
Before delving into the awesome details of the Olympia Cup, I'd like to celebrate by sharing with you some heuristics from 20+years of experience.
Weightlifting is a cheap sport, invest in great equipment
Buy the best shoes you can afford. Use the best bars you can afford (fortunately Klokov and Again Faster are bringing an option here, more on this in my next post). Sports like hockey, football, equestrian cost thousands of dollars per year in equipment ---as a weightlifter you're lucky all you need is a pair of shoes and a weight set.
Know the difference between technique and personalization
There is 1technique for the snatch, two techniques for the clean, and 3 types of jerks (there is on,y 1 technique for each type of jerk). Everything else -if someone's toes are pointed out or straight, the width of their grip - is personalization. That means- don't use personalization as an excuse for Bad technique, and don't change your personalization to be like someone else's. In short, keep your bar path and acceleration as close to ideal and position your body to achieve this.
Personal anecdotes, in 2013 , I went through a painfully annoying period of missing really easy cleans. I mean one day I'd miss 90kilos! This was due to a failed change of personalization. Lets just say a well respected person who wasn't my coach, and worked with some world elite athletes, urged me to keep my toes pointed straight. I tried it cause my lifting was improving slowly- what a mistake, talk about negative gainz on my cleans. I was getting stronger and my lifts were not going up, that never happens. So, I listened to my coach and we went back to my natural toes pointed out. Almost immediately my lifts improved, and, now, I'm reaping the benefits of sustained gains and easy cleans!
Be weary of anyone who "invents" new techniques for the classical lifts
Newton was the first to write a theory of gravity -- every time an object falls, someone else doesn't get to discover gravity again and call it by some other name. If we did that , we'd never advance to theories of flight, space travel... So, why would you trust anyone who comes up with a spiffy name for weightlifting technique that was already "discovered" in the 60's and 70's. unless theyve read all the literature on Olympic lifting and performed experiments, anyone trying to coin their own name for something that already exists is just trying to sell a gimmick.
Free articles on the Internet do not replace paying for knowledge
There are tons of free weightlifting articles on the Internet. Some are great , some are dribble , neither replaces going out and buying a book, seeing a coach, going to a seminar. Trade secret--The best information is never freely sitting on a web forum . Use resources, like this free blog , to lead you to the next level of information.
You gotta believe
When I believed in myself and stopped waiting for others to believe in me, magic started to happen. If anything believing in yourself will cause others to believe in you. When you approach a lift, you just need to know that you will do it.
Getting more metaphysical...
In order to just know you can do a lift and to materialize goals, you need to be able to see it, feel it, be it before actually doing it. basically, you're on some sort of spiritual journey and will need to fall, succeed, learn, along the way.
There is no supplement for a good program. Your journey and belief in yourself, should lead you to a great coach. Just by choosing to read this post is another little sign to get a good coach or even more educated as a coach
Learn, learn, learn
Just about anytime. If a great coach is going to be passing by your area, seize th opportunity. Example, we hosted the Kazakhstan Federation--if I were someone else and I lived within 300miles of Risto Sports , I would have driven my butt there on a moments notice. Many of our attendees did in fact do this... Some were from double that distance away.
Do anything a thousand times, and you'll be good at it
Yes, weightlifting makes you faster
Potential to get faster is dependent on composition of fast twitch and mutant fibers with which you are born. Everybody has some. So, even a person with average composition will get faster from training Olympic lifting consistently. Yes, world champions probably are blessed with way more fast twitch and mutant fibers,and they still have to develop their speed through training frequently and consistently. So, sorry Mark Rippetoe, you are wrong, Olympic lifting does make people faster! So, do some damn power cleans if you're lifting to get powerful for another sport.
The average weightlifting coach is a poor judge of talent
Most coaches just focus on lifters who are already strong from other sports, like a new shiny penny. They don't look deeply at their potential for explosiveness and speed.
I just remember not getting a lot of attention as a kid for my potential ( ok, excluding a few coaches). People told me I had determination and not what I wanted to hear, that I had "it". It was probably because lifting was the first physical activity I ever did and most coaches don't understand how to evaluate potential. It wasn't until I met my husband and, again, when I was 28 and , again, when I was 30 that I met international elite coaches who told me that I have "it". Of course, by then, my husband had developed my fast twitch fibers, my explosiveness, and he sought out experts woth whom to absord and exchange knowledge. So, if you're fast, can do an overhead squat, rack a bar, and lock out a bar, seek out someone who knows talent evaluation... Which brings me to my next point
You choose whether you succeed or hide behind excuses
I got a full time technical job fit for an MIT rocket scientist - like literally. I have every excuse to be just average, to quit. And -- I have every reason to succeed, and to be the best. Improving faster is a matter of not buying your own excuses, it's a matter of believing in your reasons to succeed. and, you have to take responsibility for your own success or lack of success- when you do this, you take back your power to succeed vs being at the mercy of others allowing you to succeed. I choose to believe in myself. I choose to focus on the multitude of reasons I was blessed with to succeed.
When you have good excuses, Eliminate them, make it an advantage
Sooo... Ive had some pretty impassible obstacles to getting the recovery I needed to succeed. First, I had a job that didn't pay me market value and had a long commute-so, I got another one. That job screwed-up my relocation and that commute was even longer, and a few of the people I worked with were borderline maniacal. Do you think I was going to let these hurtles stop me in my Olympic journey? Hell no! So, I got a job that was even cooler (ie more high tech), closer to my gym, more pay, nicer people... So, I quit whining about being exhausted from commuting, and focused on what a great recovery I was going to have.
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