Why America Sucks in Weightlifting..

1. Most of our athletes “Fall” into weightlifting after their other goals/dreams/hopes fail…(usually at around age 18-23, or older)

2. We are like 1/3 countries who have  strict out of competition drug testing.

3. It is not like wrestling/baseball/football where you start playing in K-1st grade. In other countries it IS like those sports where you do start to learn it very young. Our schools simply don’t have the programs, in other countries kids get exposed to it at a very young age.

4. “Most” of our best athletes choose to play other sports (I said most so I don’t offend anyone). They are extremely good football players, wrestlers, fighters, baseball players, basketball players, track stars, etc. Generally, if an athlete like that falls into weightlifting it is because they couldn’t make it in their sport (3rd to 4th string), in which generally you’re talking a whole different level of talent as well. Lifters hate hearing this argument…but it is what it is (true).

5. You can’t underestimate the age at which people learn new things. It’s like learning a new language, it’s MUCH easier to learn it at a very young age because your brain is going through phases that allow for new learning much easier (There is a while scientific basis for this- I don’t necessarily know it but do know it’s way easier to learn things such as new languages when you’re young). WE DOMINATE AT BASKETBALL in the olympics, yes. Our best kids also start playing it when they;re SUPER young. Do you think we’d dominate it if the majority started when they were 18-23? NO. We would get spanked.

6. Lack of a “unified” feeling in our country. Each individual training center needs to find a way to come together/compete with another to try to band together. [B]We are at the bottom of the mountain looking UP at the mountain where the sun is directly behind it (we are blinded it seems)[/B]. We need to bond together and make it ONE solid effort to move forward and try to make weightlifting in the US a priority and strong. When we are all separate and bickering on the internet/not unified at meets, etc, it makes the climb to the top that much harder. Many hands make light work.

7. I just made this a #7 because #6 was too long. We are in the [B]TECHNOLOGY[/B] era.. My gosh. How can’t we set it up so all of our main training centers run mock meets say every 3 weeks? ([B]Olympic Training Center, Average Broz, LSU-Shreveport, California Strength, ECG, Lindenwood, N. Michigan[/B], etc etc). Or, even just the top 4 clubs (so it makes it an extremely big deal to make it to one of those clubs so you can have access to that type of technology/competition all the time).

8. Our TOP coaches are all on OPPOSITE ends of the spectrum. [B]Kyle Pierce’s program is tons of strength exercises with snatch/cj throw in there[/B] (and he has the #1 lifter in the country). If you want a copy of his program I have it. [B]Pendlays program is snatch/clean and jerk to a maximum every single day with squatting sprinkled in[/B] (and he has had several successful lifters on this). [B]The OTC program (Zygmunt Smalcerz) is right between those two programs[/B]- Lots of accessory work- but different accessory work (more of a russian/polish style). Block work, hang work, lots of pulls, lots of squats, many positional type of exercises. Not much maxing out on the FULL lifts, but a lot of work at 85-95% consistently. It is really right between the two. Quite a bit of lifts, quite a bit of accessory type exercises.

Pendlays = be efficient. Pierce’s = Be strong. Smalcerz’s = Be a combination of the two

9. Our coaches won’t come together to discuss differences/reasoning (it seems). Because they have found that their programming has worked for them, they are hesitant to listen to any feedback. Why fix what ain’t broken they probably feel? Maybe they have come together, but just agreed to disagree? Every other country does have a “system” so it seems, that works fo rthem because the coaches can talk to each other and give constant feedback/critique/advice to each “personal” coaches based on their experiences with the SAME program with a different athlete. There is decades of experience with these coaches on the programming, whereas ours all have different programs so they can’t really communicate for advice when you’re comparing apples to oranges.

10. Lack of government/financial support. Their athletes are FULL TIME WEIGHTLIFTERS. Massage, ice bath, chiro, physical therapy facilities, dorms, full dining facilities, etc etc. Many of our athletes work full time jobs and do weightlifting after work. We don’t have the access to that type of schedule/facilities like they do. They live, breath, eat, sleep weightlifting. We spend 3 hours of our day weightlifting, and the rest on our other “job.” Think of how much time a professional football player spends during the week preparing for the game on sunday. They’re at the facility at 7am and don’t leave until 9pm often times during the week. Our BEST weightlifters spend anywhere from 2-5 hours a day in the gym. Other countries spend 2-5 hours a day on RECOVERY alone a day (chiro, massage, naps, cold tub/hot tub/sauna/more massage/stretching), let alone TRAINING.

11. Athletes hear all these reasons and EXPECT to suck and to lose. Because we always have just lost. Low expectations because of these excuses could be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) reasons. It’s that “big fish in a small pond” mentality that I hear great coaches such as Steve Gough talk about. They become content with being the best in the US…But never get hungry enough to make a legitimate splash in international competitions.

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10 Comments

  1. Jared,

    I totally agree with everything you’re saying. Not to sympathize with the program we have here in the US but there is some sense in it. Percentage wise, how many Russian, Chinese, and other countries athletes actually end up on the podium. I read somewhere that there are close to 300,000 athletes in Russia that compete in weightlifting. Here in the US we might have 7,000. We have a long way to go to be able to compete with these countries. Exposure is a must.

  2. Good article, I think the biggest improvement would be to have more communication between gyms and collegiate level sponsored teams. CaliforniaStrength seems to be leading the way with video streaming and such, AvgBros is doing well too, but there also needs to be an environment to soak up all of this knowledge and use it. The problem with getting sponsored by schools is a lack of audiences and stuff, I guess…?

  3. Thanks for commenting guys!! That is a tremendous point Kaleb…Just the sheer # of athletes they have competing is insane. That is a crazy number by the way…300,000!!!! Both of you guys bring up great points- I might discuss some more in-depth reasons in a part 2. Although, some people got a little mad over this post haha!! OH well, THE TRUTH HURTS.

  4. hey im from poland,

    according to this:

    “In other countries it IS like those sports where you do start to learn it very young. Our schools simply don’t have the programs, in other countries kids get exposed to it at a very young age.”

    We (In Poland) do not possess even a half of your weightlifting centers and clubs. Our country is rather poor and there is no WEIGHTLIFTING AT SCHOOLS NOR UNIVERSITIES ! AT LEAST YOU HAVE THESE , our universities and schools dont have money for this since it is all public education. Yeah, of course! You can sign up to a club or Weightlifting oriented gym, but it is extremely rare and mostly too far away ( there are, unfortunately, not many of them around). We are 38 million nation and there are maybe 2 (or 3 at best) reliable and not amateur-basement clubs which prepare contestants for WL. WL sections are REALLY RARE HERE MAN! You have to search a lot to find one. It’s better in RUSSIA though, but you still have LOTS bigger means and man potential in comparison to THEM. I lived in the U.S. of A for 4 years and worked in Russia as well, so i know sth about the real situation! I had literally no problem to find a WL gym in approx 5 kilometers in most places in the USA, here in Poland i have to drive by my shitty car for about 400-500 kilometers to train or find some competent coach. Its not CHEAP, DUE TO THE FACT THAT GAS IS MORE EXPENSIVE HERE ;/

    The country which really prepares weightlifting athletes since childhood is China. End of story. I think you are quite misinformed (in case you still dont believe it) come here and see it for yourself ! I mean it!

  5. ” I read somewhere that there are close to 300,000 athletes in Russia that compete in weightlifting.”

    Russians are pretty damn stubborn at strength training for centuries but do not exeggerate… Otherwise show me THE reliable source, please.

  6. Jared,

    I would love to see a copy of Kyle Pierce’s program that he used for Kendrick. I’ve seen a few things but not a full program, I would be very interested to see how crazy it looks. Thanks!

  7. i run a p.a.l in jersey.
    i think if you need technique work and you’re strong, do the lifts!
    if you need strength work and your technique is good, get stronger!

    kyle p. workout sounds perfect for those athletes who have been beaten up by other sports. i have a female lifter who would be a perfect subject for this!!!

    please get back to me.

    mark cohen
    cliffside park, n.j.

  8. […] Why America Sucks in Weightlifting.. | Jared Enderton's Blog – Most of our athletes “Fall” into weightlifting after their other goals/dreams/hopes fail…(usually at around age 18-23, or older). 2. We are like 1/3 countries who have strict out of competition drug testing. 3. It is not like … […]

  9. […] Why America Sucks in Weightlifting.. | Jared Enderton's Blog – Most of our athletes “Fall” into weightlifting after their other goals/dreams/hopes fail…(usually at around age 18-23, or older). 2. We are like 1/3 countries who have strict out of competition drug testing. 3. It is not like … […]

  10. In order to catch the biggest fish (gold, silver, bronze medals) you need to cast the line out ’til you’re tired of casting…then do it some more. Since we’ve only got about 7k “casts” it’s no wonder that other countries land the big fish (300k casts = better chance of landing the big one). Our best lifters are spread around the country; We need to stuff them into a facility that can meet their needs (food, recovery, equipment) and let them go at it. Competition between lifters will weed out the psychologically weaker ones (and the physically weaker ones) and give the cream of the crop the mindset to lift big weights and not respond negatively to the pressure cooker of expectation. It sucks that I’m getting back into this sport at 43 years of age, but you can’t deny the allure of it.


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