Date: 5th October 2013
Location: Hamiltons Fitness Centre, Colchester
Cost: Three lessons; first free, then £7 per lesson.
Rules: The women's event first appeared in Sydney 2000. Weightlifting consists of two moves, completed in order. First the Snatch and then the Clean & Jerk. Each athlete can have three attempts at each movement, and their best performance in each are added together to give an overall score. The Snatch lift sees the athlete lift the barbell from the platform to locked arms overhead in a smooth continuous movement. The barbell is pulled as high as possible (typically to mid-chest) at which point it's flipped overhead. The Clean & Jerk consists of two movements; the Clean park sees the barbell lifted from the floor to a position across the chest. The Jerk involves lifting the weight above the head until the arms are straight and the bar is stationary.
London 2012 Olympic Gold:
Gold medal combined weights range from 205kg-333kg for the various weight disciplines.
Sarah: Combined weight lifted: 28kg
Ellie: Combined weight lifted: 28kg
Sarah: Whatever you do, don't look at the weights we lifted compared to the Olympic Gold weights. No, really, please don't look. I'd like to think that we're not as weak as those numbers make us look! We had no idea what to expect when it came to weightlifting, and went along to our first lesson feeling a bit nervous about stepping in to the unknown. We were quickly put at ease by our coach Tom, and had three brilliant lessons. We were taught the techniques required for the lifts (including a spot of bench-pressing where Ellie pressed a whopping 30kg and I managed 25kg), and the movements were broken down and practiced in parts before putting everything together in our last lesson. I can honestly say that the achievement I felt when I did the Clean & Jerk was the most victorious so far during our challenge! We both loved our lessons and learning the disciplines of this event. I found that if I over-thought the moves; which I did regularly, then I would start getting nervous about the weight. It's best to just throw yourself in and attack the weight. Tom was full of facts, incite and knowledge that really broadened our understanding of the sport, including lots of stories featuring various dislocated body parts. I came away feeling that we've been given such a thorough introduction, and it's really changed my perception and understanding of weightlifting.
Ellie: So, another event ticked off the list and this is one of the first were the feeling of accomplishment is lessened by the fact that I’ll really miss these training sessions. My impression of weightlifting really changed when we first started. Alongside the sheer power of the athletes, the balance and technique needed to compete is staggering; which is funny seeing as we staggered around a lot while trying to lift these weights! Our coach, Tom, was really enthusiastic and our sessions were amusing as well as energetic. Weightlifting certainly gets the gold medal for best erminology- snatch, jerk - brilliant. But seriously, these are skills that you must be spot on with as referees can disqualify competitors for small inaccuracies.
Clean & Jerk - my trouble started straight away. Although my upper body strength is good, if I say so myself, I have zero balance and the beginning position is a very low squat with both heels on the floor. I am totally unable to do this. However, we were able to get my bar started on higher blocks and so I didn't need to start so low down. The first and second movement brings the bar up to your chin and this is best as a swift, smooth motion keeping as close to the body as possible. Then it gets scary. You have to split your feet, one back and one forward, and use the momentum to get the bar above your head- without smashing your chin or nose. It's terrifying before you do it and then elating once it's done.
Snatch - This is an even scarier method. It is one fluid motion from floor to above the head with a low dip in the middle to help propel the bar up. Again I couldn't manage the starting stance and also struggled with the dip but even using the training bar the sense of achievement when you stand with the bar held high is amazing!
Huge thanks to Tom at Hamiltons for making the lessons so much fun. We'd really recommend their gym; especially for the massive tyres you can try to shift in the outdoor training area. www.hamiltonsfitness.co.uk