Building High-Performance Muscle™
Olympic Lifting
 
Olympic LIfting in USA vs. Europe
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goose64
Level

Join date: Sep 2012
Location: Sweden
Posts: 48

I see much on this forum about beginners wanting to get into the sport but have a hard time finding a facility or the knowledge to get started. I know there is much written out there about the demise of American Olifting so I wont waste real estate here pontificating on it, although it does make for interesting debate.

I am of the age where I remember watching Vasily Alexeev of the Soviet Union shatter Olympic records on TV during the 72 and 76 Olympic games. Soon my friends and I were mimicking the lifts in our garage using broomsticks and other implements half in jest knowing that this was really a sport that belonged to the mysterious corners of eastern bloc countries and was nothing for American youths to pursue.

No, a more appropriate relationship with the USSR for us was to be seated in the cockpit of an SR71 spy plane.

But anyway, this lingering curiousity persisted, and while well into my 40's I began to seek out instruction in the O-lifts. I found a private personal training gym that had an instrutor on its staff who used to be an American Army O-lifting champion back in the 60's while stationed in Europe. I booked about 6 sessions with Big Joe and I think it was a nostalgic trip back in time for him.

I think he was thrilled to have someone call upon his knowledge to teach a sport that had been relegated to the dust bin. Learning from Big Joe gave me a good foundation to learn the basics. See, the gym was not outfitted properly (no bumper plates, lifting platforms, etc) So we did tons of broom stick drills, dumbell snatches, cleans, and presses, speed deadlifts, ATG Olympic squats, empty bar hang snatches & cleans, plyo drills, ab work, and flexibility movements.

See, we never got to do the full lifts due to the lack of equipment...but Big Joe told me that hopefully some day I will find a proper O-lifting gym and I can continue with what he taught me.

Well, I live in Sweden now where I work for a major Swedish car manufacturer and I did manage to find a gym that focuses on O-lifting and some powerlifting. It is not a commercial gym but a foreningen or sport club that is not a commercial gym in business to make a profit but rather a 100+ year old sport club with a long tradition (if there are any Scandinavian readers out there of this post you'll know what I mean).

They have two lifting platforms, plenty of bumper plates, and the usual assortment of dumbells, bench presses, and squat racks and stuff for assistance work and the general lifting crowd. I dont think places like this exist in the US. It is staffed by a couple volunteers, old pros like Big Joe, who volunteer their knowledge of the sport to those who care to listen.

You wont find any Crossfit types here, this is a weightlifting club of the old school. Many of the members are in their 50's and it is refreshing to see plenty of younger guys trying the sport at the hands of the old pros. And the best part is, the place is cheap as hell to join.....about $250 per year.

Now I wonder, is this club an anamoly or is O-lifting more popular in Europe than in the US? I realize little Sweden is not representative of all of "Europe", but for lack of a better comparision, I'll start here.

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oly-ali
Level

Join date: Jan 2012
Location:
Posts: 71

This was an interesting read. I'm from the UK and although the Olympic lifts remain obscure They seem to be making an increase in popularity. I think this is partly down to a general increase in people who go to the gym partly due to the Olympics and partly due to crossfit's influence.

A lot of people seem interested in how/why i perform the lifts and also my progress. There's nothing like a strong back squat to interest the powerlifter types.

Although saying this I train at a uni gym and was recently told by other gym members to 'stop dropping the weights and stamping your feet'. This was from the kind of gym user who spends 2 hours a day sculpting their poorly formed bodies for 'aesthetics' so I don't take any notice.

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goose64
Level

Join date: Sep 2012
Location: Sweden
Posts: 48

Thanks. I suspect the situation is the same in the US as the UK.....O-lifting is still an obscure sport save for its niche followings. The rise of CrossFit has brought it more attention, which probably isnt a terrible thing. I remember when I attended the uni and there was an O-lifting man and woman couple who trained there...they brought in their own bumper plates.

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NikH
Level 1

Join date: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 500

oly-ali wrote:
Although saying this I train at a uni gym and was recently told by other gym members to 'stop dropping the weights and stamping your feet'. This was from the kind of gym user who spends 2 hours a day sculpting their poorly formed bodies for 'aesthetics' so I don't take any notice.


Sadly I feel like many gym-goers who havent O-lifted feel really annoyed by this.
I mean it's not like you see it in any "muscle fitness sixpack in 4weeks" magazine.

Atleast now that this crossfit is becoming more popular, maybe people will understand.

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NikH
Level 1

Join date: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 500

goose64 wrote:
they brought in their own bumper plates.


Are you sure? bringing 200kg~ of bumper plates everytime seems quite troublesome...

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goose64
Level

Join date: Sep 2012
Location: Sweden
Posts: 48

I kid you not...they hand carried in their own bumper plates. They didnt need to bring in the full range of plates though, I think it was just two 20 kg plates then they just stacked smaller regular plates on the bar to add weight.

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Koing
Level 4

Join date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Posts: 3601

Loads in the surrey area...

Woking Weightlifting club : Brian Hamill
Surrey Uni has 6 platforms, 6 Eleiko bars and bumpers, no one cares if you drop weights there, just watch out for the rare student who has no f0cking clue, but no one walks across the platforms like they use to at the start, 2yrs ago.
Weybridge has 27 Locker with about 8 platforms : No Oly coach, but it has some S&C guys
Crystal Palace in London : Keith Morgan
Brunel Uni : Mike Pearman
St Marys College: Kazem
Epsom has a weightlifting club : Phil Nourse
Putney has a gym with bumpers and a Eleiko bar : No coach
Bethnal Green in London : Giles Greenwood

8 Oly facilities, 6 with Oly clubs, 3 with no coaches but at least with facilities.

I train at Woking and Surrey. I moonlight to Brunel every so often to mix it up with the Brunel crew. I trained at St Marys along with another mate on occasion as well.

Koing

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mgbyrnc
Level 4

Join date: Mar 2013
Location:
Posts: 31

im in southern california and i would love to find oly lifting instruction outside of ridiculously priced crossfit.

only decent place i can find is 1-2 hour drive depending on traffic

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NewWorldMan
Level

Join date: Apr 2009
Location:
Posts: 400

It may be an anomaly but Pittsburgh Barbell Club is very much like this. It IS a weightlifting club and not a crossfit box or commercial gym. We have some older men who still lift and coach and many younger teenagers/college students coming in and learning. Then there are hack like me (40s and not very good). In our case the club is very well funded by one individual in particular, so the financial pressure is off and we can just be a club (though he does let a lifter 'train' clients in the facilities rent/royalty free so the kid can make some money).

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BCP27
Level

Join date: Mar 2013
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 91

I think a large part of the problem with the O-lifts is the absolute need for a coach. Also, the biggest incentive for doing them is competition, which you will never be good at unless you start young. This eliminates a lot of potential interest in the sport. People don't consider them a real test of absolute strength, even though they are arguably the best test of power. People would rather do lifts they associate with strength that they can attempt without a coach.

In my area, there is only one gym that teaches the lifts (excluding crossfit gyms of course) and it's private with a focus on powerlifting. They don't even have a website, finding out about it is tough.

Everytime I look at the Cal Strength or Broz Knowz videos, I am filled with jealousy, I would love to get some instruction/equipment on that level.

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Koing
Level 4

Join date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Posts: 3601

BCP27 wrote:
I think a large part of the problem with the O-lifts is the absolute need for a coach. Also, the biggest incentive for doing them is competition, which you will never be good at unless you start young. This eliminates a lot of potential interest in the sport. People don't consider them a real test of absolute strength, even though they are arguably the best test of power. People would rather do lifts they associate with strength that they can attempt without a coach.

In my area, there is only one gym that teaches the lifts (excluding crossfit gyms of course) and it's private with a focus on powerlifting. They don't even have a website, finding out about it is tough.

Everytime I look at the Cal Strength or Broz Knowz videos, I am filled with jealousy, I would love to get some instruction/equipment on that level.


Bros lifted at cal strength and been on a live stream and at John Broz.

I guess i'm very lucky with 6 facilities within 30mins of me. And my coach taught me to lift so I know wtf I'm doing.

Koing

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chyoung
Level

Join date: Mar 2013
Location: Michigan, USA
Posts: 39

NewWorldMan wrote:
It may be an anomaly but Pittsburgh Barbell Club is very much like this. It IS a weightlifting club and not a crossfit box or commercial gym. We have some older men who still lift and coach and many younger teenagers/college students coming in and learning. Then there are hack like me (40s and not very good). In our case the club is very well funded by one individual in particular, so the financial pressure is off and we can just be a club (though he does let a lifter 'train' clients in the facilities rent/royalty free so the kid can make some money).

@NewWorldMan I have trained at Pittsburgh barbell club a few times over the past three years competed in the open twice, I would recommend this gym to anyone for a few huge reasons. A) great group of guys, some beginners and some are some really iron giants B)the comps are run perfectly and bring in a great crowd. C) people are so open to teaching technique to newer guys. Love PBC!

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karydas91
Level

Join date: Nov 2012
Location: Greece
Posts: 25

Hey, here in Greece there are lots of weightlifting clubs around the country: 23 in Athens, 25 in Thessaloniki and some more around the country. All of them are part of the Hellenic Weightlifting Federetaion, everyone is welcome to join the clubs (free of charge, coach included). For example, where I train there are 3 coaches, all of them former athletes, one of them participated in the 1988 Olympics, placed 8th with a total of 300kg at 67.5kg.
I posted an image of our training space, all of the bars and weights are 20 years old or more but they are in a good condition (eleiko ftw).

Then the question is: Why has Greece stopped producing weightlifting champions?
The answer here is pretty simple: The sport here is not as much popular as it should be, hell we had a Pyrros Dimas competing for our country! The government doesn't give any funds to the weightlifting clubs and all the professional clubs invest their money to more popular sports

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goose64
Level

Join date: Sep 2012
Location: Sweden
Posts: 48

Sweet gym!

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PB Andy
Level 100

Join date: Mar 2006
Location: Illinois, USA
Posts: 9476

karydas91 wrote:
Hey, here in Greece there are lots of weightlifting clubs around the country: 23 in Athens, 25 in Thessaloniki and some more around the country. All of them are part of the Hellenic Weightlifting Federetaion, everyone is welcome to join the clubs (free of charge, coach included). For example, where I train there are 3 coaches, all of them former athletes, one of them participated in the 1988 Olympics, placed 8th with a total of 300kg at 67.5kg.
I posted an image of our training space, all of the bars and weights are 20 years old or more but they are in a good condition (eleiko ftw).

Then the question is: Why has Greece stopped producing weightlifting champions?
The answer here is pretty simple: The sport here is not as much popular as it should be, hell we had a Pyrros Dimas competing for our country! The government doesn't give any funds to the weightlifting clubs and all the professional clubs invest their money to more popular sports


Nice... are these places people can just drop in and lift? I travel to Greece a lot so it would be nice to have someplace to lift. When I'm in the mainland I stay at Ilioupoli and Porto Rafti.

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karydas91
Level

Join date: Nov 2012
Location: Greece
Posts: 25

All of the clubs are listed here: http://www.weightlifting.gr/...neriohi/?pcid=3 . Find a place that it's close to you and give them a call for further information.

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Koing
Level 4

Join date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Posts: 3601

karydas91 wrote:
Hey, here in Greece there are lots of weightlifting clubs around the country: 23 in Athens, 25 in Thessaloniki and some more around the country. All of them are part of the Hellenic Weightlifting Federetaion, everyone is welcome to join the clubs (free of charge, coach included). For example, where I train there are 3 coaches, all of them former athletes, one of them participated in the 1988 Olympics, placed 8th with a total of 300kg at 67.5kg.
I posted an image of our training space, all of the bars and weights are 20 years old or more but they are in a good condition (eleiko ftw).

Then the question is: Why has Greece stopped producing weightlifting champions?
The answer here is pretty simple: The sport here is not as much popular as it should be, hell we had a Pyrros Dimas competing for our country! The government doesn't give any funds to the weightlifting clubs and all the professional clubs invest their money to more popular sports



Looks so sweet and thanks for the info.

I'm going to Brunel tomorrow with 4 mates.

Koing

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