Lifting in Exile: Olympic Weightlifting Workshop and Practice Meet @ CrossFit Exile

Last Saturday the SCBC squad descended on Moore, Oklahoma to put on the Oly Oky: Olympic Weightlifting Workshop and Practice Meet at CrossFit Exile. Our goal was simple: usher in a new era of competitive weightlifting in Oklahoma. And with the help of Exile owner Stacy Jennings and an enthusiastic turnout of nearly 30 lifters, I’d say we took a solid first step for the movement and a giant leap for the SCBC crew.

The purpose of this event was to both hype and prep for SCBC’s upcoming Olympic weightlifting meet, currently slated for February 18, 2012. It will be the first open weightlifting meet in Oklahoma in over six years. Partners, that’s tooooo long. So job one is to get this meet on the radar for football guys, crossfitters, garage lifters, and meatheads alike. Job two is to get people informed about how meets work, what the rules are, and what some good strategies are for preparing and competing. Both jobs were accomplished with flying colors at Oly Oky.

The event broke down into three segments: Seminar; Technique; Mock Meet – each roughly two hours in length. The seminar portion was held upstairs in the bonus room at Exile. Our expectations regarding turnout were uncertain due to the lack of any cohesive Oly scene in Oklahoma. But as people continued to trickle in Saturday morning, it became evident that interest in Olympic weightlifting was very much alive and well in the state. The crossfit community was well represented and made up the majority of participants. Our friend and mentor Tom Ward of Edmond Memorial came through and brought a good cluster of high school football athletes with him. We were pleasantly surprised to see the globo gym community represented with a squad of trainers and trainees from Gold’s Gym. We were equally impressed with their aptitude for big lifts. The final tally was 25 participants, two instructors, and three assistants – a full house indeed.

I ran the seminar portion and focused on familiarizing the group with the nature of competitive weightlifting. Loosely titled, “What to Expect when you’re Expecting to Compete”, the talk covered everything from equipment and training to official rules, time limits, and scoring; essentially the A-Z of entering, training for, and competing in an Oly meet. After the seminar we moved down to the main floor to begin the technical instruction phase. Exile recently moved to a new location with a good deal of open floor space, high ceilings, and an arsenal of badass equipment, including a sick sound system, digital timers, power racks, Rogue bars, stacks and stacks of bumper plates, and much more. Having a facility like this at your disposal really makes the job easy. The technical bit of the event was much more organic and hands-on. We progressed lifters through a series of drills to establish a technical foundation for the lifts and for coaching the lifts. Here, the coaches and assistants were able to work with individuals in a one-on-one fashion and guide lifters toward a better understanding of the mechanics and concepts involved. After a short break, we moved into a warm-up for the practice meet. The aim for the meet was to be as realistic as possible and give lifters the feel of the stage, selecting attempts, being judged, and competing with other lifters. Everyone filled out cards with their weight class and opening attempts. Ryan handled ordering and announcing for the meet. Tyler ran the clock. Lifts were judged by three judges and totals were scored. This was as close as you can get to meet lifting without actually doing it; and that’s the whole point. We even had a handful of people get out there and set PRs. More importantly, everyone got a taste of the pressure and intensity that makes meet lifting so exciting, and hopefully they learned something along the way. I know we did.

Stay tuned to SCBC for details on the upcoming meet and future seminars at a box near you.

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