"OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING IN THE HUMAN WORLD" OR, WHAT CAMP OPENED UP FOR ME
In 2013, the Weightlifting Federation of Ukraine conducted a social survey among ordinary passers-by on the street. We asked the simplest question: what is weightlifting? As much as it might sound strange, 99% of those we talked to said that Olympic weightlifting is bodybuilding, that it is powerlifting, or that it is a sport in which big men carry large stones and push cars. These were the images people conjured up in response to the idea of weightlifting despite the fact that this sport in my country has more than 120 years of history and a dozen Olympic champions and legendary athletes. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger himself was a fan of the Ukrainian weightlifter Leonid Zhabotinsky, for him he was an example of real strength and competitive courage.
At the same time in the US, functional training was gaining in popularity at full speed, spreading across the country with the virus. Of course, I am personally grateful to functional training for at the very least teaching the whole world that Olympic weightlifting involves the SNATCH and the CLEAN & JERK, and not lifting the ez-bar on the biceps for 12 reps. Functional training teaches that you need to develop your body harmoniously and pay attention to all of your motor skills.
I often encounter a similar attitude toward weightlifting in my coaching practice. I see sincere surprise in the eyes of athletes when they realize that a massive surge of muscles does not accomplish every task in Olympic weightlifting, that the technique of exercise is not formed in one session, that flexibility and mobility are important for an athlete’s safety, that strength endurance is important for working out all the basic elements, and that patience and discipline bring much better results than a crazy and unjustified sense of confidence.
Also, over 10 years of active interaction with functional training, we saw such a unique phenomenon where people would find their niche after trying all the challenges functional training had to offer -- some started running marathons, some loved the barbell, and some chose weightlifting as their passion.
I am amazed by the fact that so many people who have chosen Olympic weightlifting for pleasure come to our Camp. They come from different professions, and many of them are from the IT field. Back when I started lifting a weightlifter and a computer programmer were from opposite ends of the universe -- they never existed in the same space. Now the idea that someone can be both is just an accepted fact. What is most interesting to me is that having one vacation a year, these IT professionals choose to spend it in a training camp instead of at a seaside hotel.
Everyday life crowds us until we often cease to listen to our body, and sometimes even our head or our heart, the single greatest gift that we have. When we stop paying attention to our bodies, our bodies start to break down and fail us.
Why is CAMP so fulfilling to those who come to us? In my opinion it is because it becomes a way of life. In this environment we all become close, like family, for 2 weeks. During that time you find the ability to disconnect from your everyday worries and dedicate yourself to Olympic weightlifting. You begin to really feel, see and live it.