Heavy Hitters Halloween: Opening the Closed Door

Triple H: Heavy Hitters Halloween – SCBC’s first in a new series of closed invitational weightlifting meets took place this past weekend at USA Stars in Moore, OK. The event was low key; short and sweet; Oly minimalist theater at its finest.

Why hold a closed meet? Because you can have exactly the meet you want to have. You get complete operational control. You can cap it at 25 lifters, or 12 lifters, or 6. You can invite two rival barbell clubs or crossfits, or only lifters within 20kgs of qualifying for nationals, or only youth or masters lifters. The point is you get to target lifters and control turnout in a way that best suits your facility and goals.

They’re also extremely easy to run. In fact, with a few good people in a few good places they essentially run themselves. No travel, no hauling equipment, no entry fees, no chair rentals, no awards or t-shirts or banners, no marketing campaign, no platform construction, no sponsorships. All the moving parts are gone. Only the fun stuff remains. Warm-up, weigh-in, walk out, weightlift. It’s that simple. Simple is good.

Aside from the clean logistics, we also saw some really nice performances at HHH. Nearly every lifter set PRs. A few state records were threatened and some of them fell. Edmond CF owner Carolyn Napier broke three state records on her way to posting a qualifying total for the American Open next month in Palm Springs.

And, most importantly, Ryan and I finally got to lift in an Oklahoma meet.

Meet highlights for me include a comp PR snatch @ 121 kgs followed by a state record attempt at 127. The current state record in the 105 kg class is 127. It was set by Oklahoma State University assistant strength and conditioning coach Nick Whitmer at the OK State Championships this summer. Nick snatched 127 and CnJ’d 170 to break existing state records in both lifts and for total. I’ve snatched 126 recently and come very close to hitting 130. And, I weigh about 3 kgs less than Nick did at State, so hitting 127 here would break his record due to my lower body weight.

I got a great effort on the attempt, but lost it coming out of the hole. The margin of error on max snatch is so small you literally have to be perfect. Even something as trivial as a 0.5″ deviation in the landing position is fatal. You don’t half-ass a 280 lb snatch; you either stick it — and I mean stick it — or it’s gone; it’s over. As I get more experienced with this style of lifting I’m starting to appreciate those subtle differences and learn to recognize a “good” miss and how it’s different from getting your ass kicked. Ripping the weight off the ground, generating good bar speed and plenty of height, sticking a nice landing position, and having the bar land a little back and buckling an elbow on the way up . . . hey, this is a lift that we can tweak, refine, adjust, and come back and hit, maybe even that day. This is not devastating. Devastating is missing something you hit on the reg because you’re nervous or can’t focus in a competitive setting. Devastating is getting crushed by something that is clearly out of your league. Devastating is an ego check. A big, nasty bite of reality. But, missing the sweet spot by 0.5″ and dropping a valiant attempt at a state record and a PR . . . this is hardly devastating. So, strangely, and for the first time in my budding weightlifting career, I’m actually ok with a miss in a competition. I’ll be back for 127 and more very soon.

Cleans felt strong, too. Opened with an easy 130. Felt nice so I opted to get aggressive. Jumped to 138 and hit a solid clean, but shanked the jerk. Kind of clipped my chin coming off the rack and just landed funny. I felt good though, not overpowered, so I ventured boldly onward to take a stab at a comp PR of 144. Still got a huge pull here, but landed on my toes and lost it forward coming out of the hole.  I’m starting to make a habit of forward landing position and loss of posture on heavy-ish cleans. This needs to be addressed.

So, a bit sloppy, yes, but I can live with it. That is fix-able. Not having enough pull or having a weight crumple you. . . that’s not quite as fixable. I took respectable stabs at comp PRs and a potential total that would’ve landed me north of 270. Even with three misses and some technical goofs, I still finished at 250+. I feel good. I’m uninjured. Big things are on the horizon. I’ll take a breather, adjust the programming, clean up the technique, and come back to crush this in the Spring.

Other  meet highlights include a comp and all-time PR CnJ set by Eli Young with a way-too-easy 145 kgs. He recently switched to a split jerk and has since put over 10 kgs on his CnJ and there is clearly more in the tank. He’s still just 19 and really seems to be figuring this weightlifting thing out. He’s got a 120 competition snatch and a +500 lb competition squat on the books, too. This kid could be scary in a year or two. SCBC brass Brian Shelf (aka Ryan Self) really got in a groove at Triple H, going 6-for-6 with several PRs on the day, ending at 112 + 140 = 252. Soemtimes it’s just your day and anytime you compete and set multiple PRs (four, I believe — wow) without a miss, it’s a beautiful thing.

Our go-to event team of Tom, Christina, and our new hot-shot A/V guy, Cam, all swooped in to do their thing which, as usual, went off without a hitch. These guys are nothing short of fantastic. In 2013 I expect we’ll have at least four or five of these little closed meets. If you’re in the loop and you need to qualify or just want in on the action, make it known. Bet we can work you in.

For your perusal:

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