Monday, November 12, 2012

My Love Affair

For the last several months I've been involved in a torrid love affair with a bitch of a mistress. No matter how often I tell myself that I'm going to leave her and get on with my life, I keep going back to her. To quote Tony Gentilcore "If I could, I'd run away with her to a small cabin in the New England backwoods and raise our two young children, Ivanko and Elieiko."

No big deal, just 233kg. That's 512 pounds.
For about 10 months, I've been in love with weightlifting (not weight lifting, weightlifting). Why? It's just fucking savage, that's all. How can you not appreciate and respect someone who is taking a weight that most guys are proud to deadlift and throwing it up over their head. I can't even deadlift 500 pounds and Illya Illin is cleaning and jerking it. I used to think weightlifting was something that I didn't need and had no relevance to me; I was wrong.

Weightlifting is all about force production. How fast can you be strong? I still love lifting heavy shit (squats and deadlifts), don't get me wrong. But, more often when I hear about someones exploits in the gym, I'm more impressed by a guy who can snatch 300 than a guy who can deadlift 500. Chances are good that the guy who can snatch 300 can also pull 500. 

I keep telling myself that I'm going to leave weightlifting on the backburner and just focus on getting strong; but I can't. The best analogy I can make to weightlifting is golfing. You go out on the course all day and wait for the one perfect swing. You pure your driver on the 16th tee and crush it 300 down the middle of the fairway. Even though you shot 36 over par,  you talk about that one perfect swing for the rest of the week. That's how weightlifting is. I'll go lift with my buddies on a Saturday and snatch for 2 hours. You get your one perfect pull and won't shut up about it. 

Olympic weightlifting is a sport; make no doubt about that. Powerlifting relies heavily on technique, but also on brute strength. Olympic lifting is very much a skill, and if you don't practice it you won't be good at it. It doesn't matter how strong you are if your technique sucks. I get as frustrated as anyone else does, but it feels so good when you finally just smoke one. At my skill level, my PR's come simply because I un-fucked something technique-wise. My old snatch PR was 155 pounds and I'd hit it several times, yesterday I hit 165 only as a result of me changing something about my technique. At this stage in my ability, PRs should be coming on a nearly weekly basis, because I'm so far below my actual ability as limited by strength. 

It's tough to argue with the physiques of a lot of the elite level weightlifters. Especially as compared to the elite level powerlifters. 

Lu XiaoJun
Ivan Stoitsav
And, of course, the most Savage Alpha of them all...

Dmitry Klokov
The other great thing that I found about weightlifting is pretty similar to what Tony just wrote about: high volume squatting. When you're doing the full versions of the Olympic lifts, you're squatting every single time. A full clean results in a front squat, and a full snatch results in an overhead squat. These end up being a sub-max effort when compared to what you could lift out of a rack. So, you end up doing a ton of full-range squats with a sub max intensity, and then follow it up with some squats for strength. Suddenly, your knees feel better than they have ever felt before. Sweet!

Strong is strong, regardless of the type of lifting you do. But it's hard to deny the awesomeness of weightlifting. Go be strong today, and lift something heavy!

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