Whether you performed it during a CrossFit WOD, early on in pre-season before the shoulders were too busted to put your own arm overhead, or because your training buddy saw Klokov do 100KG Muscle Snatches during a Tabata workout on YouTube - you most likely can’t remember how that first snatch felt.
However, I guarantee you just about all weightlifters can tell you about their first sweet snatch, the first one that hit the groove and felt perfect, that floated above the head feeling weightless, sat perfectly on top of the shoulders and you stood it up like it was an empty bar.
I remember mine like it was yesterday. Set up at the top of the stairs at fitness first Innaloo, I had no business throwing 90KG around in a packed-out gym, thinking I knew everything (but really having no idea what I was doing). That one rep was the bait for me. From there the journey started. I wanted to re-create that feeling, master the technique so all reps felt that way. I wanted to push the boundaries of what I could actually lift, not just muscling the weight up in the fashion typical to most gym-bros trying their hand at weightlifting would.
Fast forward 5 years and completely and utterly immersing myself in the world of weightlifting, I feel like I know less now than what I thought I did back then. It is the classic case of the Dunning-Kruger Effect – the more you learn, you realise the less you know. But this is what weightlifting is about, it is truly the long game. Unlike basic gym movements you cannot master the snatch or clean & jerk in a session, a couple of weeks, months or even years. You will progress, and new issues and weaknesses will appear at heavier weights, injuries and set-backs are inevitable but the good athletes will persevere and push through these.
The ability to be successful in weightlifting requires you to put in the yards, to train unemotionally and perform rep after rep. It requires you to not only show up and do what’s programmed but look for technical improvements every time, to make every set and rep better than the last. To take the good with the bad, you will have purple patches and progress KG’s week after week, then you will go months without going near your best. This is Weightlifting.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I have all the answers, I’m still a complete baby in weightlifting years, but in my 5 years of weightlifting enlightenment, I have crammed in more than most will learn in a career, and I will never sit back and think I know enough. At 32 years this July and after putting my body through 15 years of torture on the rugby field, I know my Weightlifting potential as an athlete is limited, but it won’t stop me on quest for whatever that potential may be.
When starting out in this amazing sport, don’t be disheartened, don’t get frustrated, don’t think because one coach told you something different that it was wrong, or you have been wasting your time. Take it all onboard, learn from everything and everyone. Then chip away, build your strength, improve your technique, compete as much as possible! Immerse yourself in the sport and you will get the results you want!