I Tried Olympic Weightlifting and This Is What I Learnt

Hi there, I’m Milly in the team at Fresh Fitness Food. I recently decided to try something new and took up Olympic- style weightlifting and here’s how I got on.

I have always enjoyed trying new sports and have trained in a CrossFit box for a while now, but as a keen runner, I tended to avoid strength training, finding more enjoyment in cardio-based CrossFit classes.

After watching a friend compete in a CrossFit competition, I decided it was time to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself. That week I started Olympic-style weightlifting, I booked onto the weightlifting classes at my local CrossFit Box and signed up for an online programme.

What is Olympic Weightlifting?

British weightlifting describes Olympic-style weightlifting as ‘an incredible feat of both physical and mental strength where athletes often lift more than their bodyweight high above their head.’ The sport concentrates on two main lifts the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk.

The Snatch

The aim is to move the bar from the floor to overhead in one fluid motion finishing in a deep squat.  

Favourite training exercise for snatch: Snatch balance – The Snatch Balance is a movement performed to improve speed under the bar, I found this movement really helpful to increase my confidence in dropping under the bar quickly.

Clean and Jerk

The aim of the move is to pull the bar from the floor to the shoulders whilst squatting under it in one fluid motion & then getting the bar from the shoulders to an overhead position.

Favourite training exercise for Clean and Jerk: Paused hang cleans, I found these really helpful to better understand correct positioning in the movement and to force myself to keep the bar close.

Top tips for anyone starting a weightlifting programme:

1. Enjoy the process

Although weightlifting can feel so empowering when you start to see results, for many including myself, it is a very challenging sport and takes time to perfect the technique. Finding a supportive community to train in makes a huge difference, whether this is a CrossFit gym, a PT or an Olympic weightlifting club.

2. Eat well and eat enough

I used Fresh Fitness Food to match my macros alongside my training, this way I knew I was always eating enough and had lots of energy to smash my training, I could also arrange regular check-ins with a nutritionist to review my macros and offer advice on fuelling around training.

3. Prioritise mobility

Effective warms ups and mobility work are key to improving weightlifting, not only do they decrease your risk of injury but also regular stretching, improves your range of motion, making it easier to move through the explosive movements performed in Olympic weightlifting.

The verdict:

At first, I found weightlifting both physically and mentally challenging, strength training did not come naturally to me and although I had a base to start from there was ALOT to work on, having a coach who could point out my mistakes and make corrections to my lifting positions made a huge difference for me, even with prior experience of weightlifting I started with the basics, perfecting the technique with a barbell and slowly adding weight when I felt confident with the movement pattern.

I learned to love the process and learnt from my mistakes, I found weightlifting empowering and the more consistently I did it the more confident I became throwing weights around. Overall, I have loved my weightlifting journey and will 100% continue to incorporate it into my training.  

  • DOMS –  10/10.  
  • Endorphins – 10/10. I felt amazing after every session, I loved the challenge!
  • Recommendation – 10/10! The endorphins you get from hitting a PB makes all of the DOMS worth it! 
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Published by Milly Church

Milly takes care of a range of FFF's Affiliate Gyms and Partners outside of London. Beyond her role with FFF, she loves being outdoors, and taking part activities including CrossFit and running.

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