What did you get for Christmas? New clothes, the latest piece of technology, smellies and underwear?
I got something a bit different – an Olympic Lifting for beginners course. Run by Sally Moss of Strength Ambassadors the course was four weeks long – 90 minutes each Saturday afternoon in January at CrossFit Evolving in Holloway.
I’d done a free taster session back in October last year and had tried my hand at both the snatch and the clean and jerk so I had some idea of what to expect. I knew how complex the moves were and how much there was to think about – it’s as much mental as it is physical I think. I also knew how amazing it felt to lift the bar over my head and was excited to start learning more and to see how much I would progress in the four weeks.
Each session started with a warm up and mobility session. My squat form needs some work as I suffer from tightness in my hips so this was really important from my perspective. Starting off with a plastic bar we mobilised shoulders and hips getting our bodies ready for what was to come.
There’s a lot to each of the Olympic moves but Sally broke them down into smaller drills which we practiced, initially with light weights to really learn the form and build our confidence. Bit by bit these built up until suddenly there I was Olympic Lifting!
I definitely find the snatch the most difficult of the moves – there’s so much going on and I really have to concentrate to keep my form correct. For the first couple of weeks I felt like I was struggling with it but then in week three something clicked and I felt a lot more confident. In week four we worked up to a session where we did a snatch a minute on the minute for 10 minutes and I absolutely loved it. I PB’ed at 30kg which I was delighted with since in week 1 I’d started with 10kg.
The clean and jerk came far more naturally to me. The fact that it’s two moves with a break in the middle might help but the movement patterns were more familiar to me. My favourite part of Olympic Lifting is the jerk – raising that bar over your head fees amazing and I think it looks pretty cool too. Again I got up to 30kg on this move and felt that I could have done more. But at the end of an intense 90 minute session I was really pleased.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course. It’s really well taught and builds up your confidence in stages. You’re encouraged to challenge yourself but it’s in no way competitive and if you didn’t feel comfortable to add more weight then Sally wasn’t forcing anyone to. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve signed up for the Intermediate classes which run each Saturday as well. I’m looking forward to returning next week and seeing how much more progress I can make.
Olympic Lifting for beginners courses run each month. Find out more here