Sunday, February 15, 2009

My First Olympic Weightlifting Meet Experience

Sunday February 15, 2009

Today was my first ever experience participating in USAW sanctioned Olympic Weightlifting meet called the "North Atlantic States Open" held at the YMCA in Lynn Massachusetts . We may be in a bad recession, but it certainly has'nt had an adverse effect on the local lifters who participated today. To the contrary, there was a record turn out of over sixty lifters and gym full of lifting enthusiast to cheer everyone on. I had the priviledge of lifting for the "Excel Sport and Fitness Team" out of Waltham, Ma, whose members I train with three to four times a week. And a priviledge it was we came in first team place.

The mens 85kg and heavier class weigh-in was at 11am. I weighed in at light 82.7 kg .. and this was after a large breakfast. More important than making the weight was that I had maintained a very high level of clean, nutritional eating for several weeks .. and I plan to continue on it.

Because of the high turnout, I didn't start lifting until 3:45pm. No problem as I really enjoyed cheering on all the women and lighter class mens lifters. After doing my Z-Health Dynamic Joint Mobiliy warmups, Coach Theresa, had me warmup with:

Snatch Warmups (kg)
30 x 1 x 3
35 x 1 x 2
40 x 1 x 2
45 x 1 x 1
50 x 1 x 1

This went very well .. all power snatches with very high pulls. My first snatch attempt was 57kg and I missed it with a partial pressout .. I pulled it so high it shocked me that I froze completely erect and pressed it up a bit. Coach Fuller (who incidentally ran away with 1st place in the super-heavy class while coming off a back injury and very extremely light for him) asked me to squat a little bit on the next attempt to correct the problem. That's what I did and made my 2nd attempt. For my third and final snatch attempt, he asked me how I felt and I told him that although I had made 65kg once in practice and missed it several times since then, consequently I felt that a more conservative attempt with 62kg was more realistic given this was my last chance. It turned out to be my best snatch .. with an around parallel squat snatch.

Of late my jerk had regressed somewhat as I had placed much more emphasis on my squat clean. Several times in practice a few months ago, I had done 80kg with small press-outs but recently had been unable to even match that. As a result, I was not surprised when Coach Fuller settled on an opening lift of 75kg. Here are the warmups Coach Theresa had me do:

C&J Warmups (kg):
40 x 1 x 3
50 x 1 x 2
60 x 1 x 1
70 x 1 x 1

I missed my first clean with 40 in the warmups and realized I was still in snatch mode! The subsequent lifts went well as I really focused on pushing myself under the bar during jerk. My left shoulder was still a bit sore from the Military presses back on Tuesday so I put a towel under my T-shirt during the warmups and this really help minimize the discomfort on the catch.

During the first attempt with 75kg, after the clean catch and recover I did too much readjustment by bouncing off my feet and although the subsequent jerk was solid I got three red flags for a no-lift. Coach Fuller ask me to focus on keeping my chest out and to only re-adjust my grip without bouncing after the clean catch and recover. I did what I was told and nailed it. He asked my for my input on my third attempt suggesting 77-78kg and I said lets be conservative with 77kg. I went out, power cleaned it and hit the best jerk ever with this weight. So summarizing:

Competition Snatch (kg):
  • 57 No-lift
  • 57 Good
  • 62 Good
Competition C&J (kg):
  • 75 No-lift
  • 75 Good
  • 77 Good
I was and still am very pleased to have met my goals of non-zeros in both lifts. I came very close to my best lifts in practice and realize as a novice this is only the beginning of long journey. As a plus, although I placed out of any class awards by a long shot , I did earn my team a few points towards first place and had the honor of joining my teammates in the award ceremony and photos .. I will post these as soon as they are available. I also went out of my way to congratulate as many lifters as I could for doing their very best and putting it out there on the line for all to see.

Finally I want to say special thanks to fellow bloggers, Martin Schap, Colin, Ed Pierini, Franz and Aaron for all the extra encouragement and support they provided.


Martin Schap said...

Very cool Franklin. Sounds like all the makings of a great time. Congratulations to you and your club. Any word on your next opportunity to compete?

pierini said...

Congratulations on your first competition and thanks for taking the time to share the details. I've been waiting for that read and just not finished. It was so much fun reading the details and vicariously living through you. I was biting my nails wondering if you made your first snatch attempt.

For me, it sort of felt like going to my first high school dance and asking the first girl to dance.

Now you've got some stats to work with. I don't know what your plans are but a week off would probably do your body and mind some good.

Time to eat big!

Franklin said...


Indeed a fantastic experience. There is another meet in April in Conn which isn't too far .. it would be worth it just to work to improve a kilo on each lift.


Thank you sir for blazing a trial for me to follow! I probably read your post about your first competition ten times! We middle age fitness dudes have to continue support each other.

Well sorry I didn't make either of first two attempts as it certainly did put pressure on the subsequent ones and therefore limited the strategy .. so new goal .. make both my first attempts in my next competition!

Colin said...

Nice job Franklin. Did yourself and your team proud there. It sounds like you had a fantastic day all round, which was well deserved from all the hard work you put in.

Aaron Friday said...

Franklin, your dedication to training and your sportsmanship are admirable. I'm proud to know you.

Great job, as usual.

Mike T Nelson said...

Awesome work on doing the competition! Many talk of competing, but few step up and do it so congrats to you!
Rock on!!
Mike T Nelson