I love weightlifting. By weightlifting I mean snatch and clean and jerk, not body building with 10 versions of curls, not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not what I’m interested in. I do have to admit I love squatting, but my body’s always been wired to squat deep. I’m not great at it, but I love doing it, recording myself and picking apart my technique and trying to improve it.

Really, I have wanted to get into it since seeing weightlifting in the Olympics when I was little, but didn’t have the means to learn it back then. I thought you’d have to a bodybuilder to do it, which is a shame. I was always pretty strong, I think.

Fast forward 30 years and I came across Crossfit which as everyone knows among other things includes some weightlifting. I was fat, old and out of shape, so I started that to not wind up dying young like my dad did. Actually, I like Crossfit itself a lot for fitness because it’s always varying, but that’s another thing.

Being that snatches and cleans and jerks are used in some Crossfit WODs and honestly those are my favorite WODs, they were taught. It took me a long time to “get” it. There was a special coach who came in for an Olympic lifting class, and he was outstanding for that. I think he was able to see the whole movement instead of parts of it he’s focusing on, and was good at making you realize what you were doing wrong. Sadly, for us, he’s moved on to other things.

After that and general practice, I feel like my form has gotten consistently good on clean and jerk and power snatches. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the occasional “What the fuck was that” rep. I need to be more patient with cleans and I know that yet at one point I cleaned 95 percent of my front squat. I’ve added quite a bit to the front squat now, but not too much to the clean because of the early pull and being spooked by heavier weights.

Snatches with a full squat are a different thing altogether. Until a few months ago whenever I over head squatted I had a weird little shift in body weight right around parallel which also happened in snatches. This really destroyed any stability I had. If I can’t do something in correctly in a controlled manner of course I feel it would be better not to do it in a more dynamic setting. I’ve done a couple of full snatches when I was thinking too much and my body did what it was supposed to do but not consistently.

A few months ago, after a long hiatus from overhead squats due to an unrelated tweak in my shoulder, I tried them with just the bar and felt stable. Recorded myself and watched the video, and that little shift is gone. I can do it correctly not mostly consistently with overhead squats but haven’t yet tried snatches. I want to nail the good movement pattern because I know as soon as I try snatches, bad old muscle memory will creep up. I have done a few snatch balances, and they were pretty okay considering where I was coming from. They’re not where I’d like them to be, but it was an improvement. They say it takes thousands of reps to improve.

Hopefully, once I am happy with my snatches, I will be able to find a weightlifting meet I can make it to and push myself. That’s my long-term goal anyways. I want to do it for fun. I won’t win or anything. I’m too old and cautious for that.

I generally don’t miss lifts unless it is close to my max anymore, or I just have one of those rare what the fuck was that lifts, so I guess that’s a good thing.

My current maxes are low power snatch at 140 freedom units. Clean is 210 freedom units and jerk is 200 freedom units. I really haven’t gone heavy at the jerk in quite a while since I do it at home and the ceiling can be barely touched at lockout. No need to have a mishap and drop a heavy bar on myself being distracted by that. I’ll work on those when I can take my bar outside.