I’m making a formal apology to all the weightlifters out there. Up until now, I’ve been calling it ‘Olympic’ weightlifting. It seems that the influences of CrossFit have been well ingrained. In the world of CrossFit we refer to most things performed with the barbell as ‘Oly’ movements (aside from your traditional squatting movements).
The Clean, Clean & Jerk and Snatch and all the pulling variations of them have been commonly referred to as the ‘Oly lifts’ in my world of CrossFit. I only assumed the term ‘Oly’ was part of the description. If you delve into these barbell movements a lil’ more you come to find out that it’s simply weightlifting (something my CrossFit coach has kindly pointed out to me). This particular coach also has an extensive background in powerlifting and has been around the ‘sport’ of coaching for the better part of his adult life.
So my sophomoric mistake was calculated, but spawned out of sheer ignorance. I mean, let’s be honest here. Before I drank the kool-aid and finally dove into CrossFit with a full-body splash, I never really had my hands on a barbell much. I think I may have done a few squats here and there. And I bashfully admit to curling the barbell in the squat rack (yes, I was one of THOSE guys).
But did I ever perform any weightlifting exercises???
I was ‘Captain Upperbody’. I did the same thing that all the other wannabe bodybuilders did:
- I watched myself do reps in a mirror
- I did one, maybe two body parts a work out
- My idea of sweating, was walking on the treadmill
- At one point in my career I wore workout gloves (yep, I was THAT guy)
Then CrossFit introduced me to a whole new world….. of pain (heh heh). My eyelids were peeled back to reveal what a full body workout was really like. And my hands touched a barbell every day.
Until CrossFit, I thought:
- a ‘Clean’ was something you did when you made a mess
- a ‘Clean & Jerk’ was something filmed on 8mm
- don’t even ask me what I thought when I heard ‘Snatch’ – especially being spoken in the gym??
- front squats? Wait. What? I thought the bar only went on the back of your shoulders?
- I do remember seeing someone hold the bar with their arms crossed in front of them (The Austrian Oak)
I still remember that first time I tried the hook grip. I remember thinking.. why the heck would anyone do this on purpose??? I still remember the first couple times I did a front squat – watching the bar fall forward because my wrists couldn’t take the pain. And, wow. I remember the first time I ATTEMPTED the Snatch. What a disaster. I only had the bar, with no weight. I remember falling flat on my rear. What a hot mess.
Those early days of learning CrossFit on my own were quite horrific.
Two years later I’ve competed in a handful of CrossFit competitions, met some amazing people from the community and now I can call myself a Weightlifter.
Yep, a Weightlifter. At the beginning of January I, with a handful of my fellow CrossFit FBO athletes, competed in a USAW sanctioned Weightlifting meet. We all registered as novice competitors.
Our coach caught wind of the competition in mid-December and a few weeks later there we were.
It was quite the surreal experience. I didn’t realize how nervous I was until I got up on platform. In CrossFit, we do one rep max effort all the time. One lift, one try, done. But never on a ‘stage’, and never with a crowd of strangers watching you.
I was so nervous that I ‘power’ lifted everything. I power snatched, I power cleaned. I was deathly afraid of dropping the bar, or worse, falling flat on my ass. It was quite humorous after the fact – although my coach couldn’t understand who showed up in my shoes.. because I never power clean or power snatch. I’m one of the few who (normally) always does a full squat.
Yeah. You could say I was nervous.
The bad part about all this?? I caught the weightlifting bug. I can’t wait to do it again.