THE HIGH POINTS
The Olympic Lifts are relatively easy to learn but to master the Snatch and Clean and Jerk requires a serious commitment to patience and persistence. Success is measured quantitatively in the form of Personal Records commonly referred to as PR's, where progress is marked by the achievement of heavier weight. In the earliest stages of an athlete's weightlifting career PR's in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk come often and are attained with relative ease. That is, the physical and psychological low points that are associated with the first few months of training represent little more than minor inconveniences.
THE LOW POINTS
As progress continues, the time between PR's tends to grow longer and the low points in an athletes journey start to become more significant hurdles. Whether low points are marked by physical challenges like injury and stagnation in strength or psychological challenges like motivation, fear or boredom; they become more meaningful and have a greater impact on an athletes progress. As an athlete progresses through the sport of weightlifting, the lows inevitably become lower and the highs, while taking longer to achieve overtime, become higher and are ultimately more satisfying.
Understanding the PR Paradigm should provide those who pursue the sport of Weightlifting with some comfort during the low points of training, as long as the athlete recognizes that the long term upside is a much bigger and more profound reward.
A CYCLICAL MODEL
While there are no perfect models to predict how and when athletes will rebound from physical or psychological adversity, if they remain in this sport long enough, the progression will inevitably be cyclical in nature. When telling an athlete to trust the process, it is easier to do so when there is visibility into the journey by those who have traveled the road before them.
YEAR BY YEAR BREAKDOWN
THE START > 1 YEAR: PR's come often and weightlifting is fun and fairly pain free.
1 > 3 YEARS: Technique and specific strength improve dramatically and our PR's become more meaningful. It is during this time that we begin to know the true meaning of 'Extreme Discomfort'.
3 > 6 YEARS: Competition PR's become the definition of success in training and we have to train at the ragged edges of our ability in order to achieve sustained progress.
6 > 10 YEARS: To achieve new PR's, we must rely on our mental strength and seek new areas of improvement.
Dave Spitz is the owner of California Strength and has over 15 years of programming experience coaching multiple National Champions and International Medalists in Olympic weightlifting, top CrossFit Games Athletes and runs an NFL Scouting Combine Prep Class that has produced over 20 NFL Draft Picks including Superbowl Tight Ends Zach Ertz and Austin Hooper.