1. Not properly stretching- Most beginning weightlifters will only take a few minutes loosening up before they begin their workout. Most likely a person who has been playing sports for years and developing habits and posture related to those sports will be very tight when it comes to Olympic weightlifting. For a beginner the shoulders and hips will be the areas that will be the tightest, and stretching, rolling, and activation exercises should take 30 minutes on this area alone. Naturally women will be more flexible and have less muscles that are tight than men but stretching is as just important to prevent injuries because of the amount of weight that will be lifted.
2. Starting from the floor- In any sport there is technique involved and if you do not develop those skills correctly it will make your chances of success that much harder, or even worse; frequent injury. USA Weightlifting’s club coach course teaches the top down approach, and this is the correct way to teach a beginner the Olympic lifts. There are four different points coaches use in teaching the lifts, and they are from the hip, above the knee, below the knee, and from the floor in that order. If perfection is what the coach and athlete are seeking they will take their time at each of these positions, and if time is not an issue it could be over a month before a beginner has even lifted the bar off the floor.
3. Jumping- In sports coaches always stress to an athlete that when they are in the air they lose control and gravity takes over. For example, in football once you jump for that pass or attempt to hurdle a defender and lose contact with the ground you have lost control because the defender can then take your body in a different direction. When doing the Olympic lifts you do not want to jump to catch a snatch or clean because you are more powerful and have more control when keeping contact with the floor because when the bar gets away from a lifter it is hard to control. So when coaches tell athletes to jump when doing the lifts, they are programming them to go vertical when in reality a lifter should only be extending at the top of the pull and sliding their feet back down on the platform as quickly as possible.
4. It’s better to have a coach- There seems to be a growing trend that weightlifters beginning to do the Olympic lifts may take a weekend seminar and learn from Youtube videos. The best way to perfect technique is by having an watchful eye from a coach at all times so bad habits don’t develop which can lead to injury. Olympic weightlifting is arguably as skilled a sport as any other sport out there, so in other sports the most successful athletes are those that are working with top caliber coaches. Coaches not only help to better a weightlifter’s technique, programming and implementation of the workouts, but coaches offer advice and moral support through those tough workouts.
5. Programming- Beginning weightlifters search the internet, journals, and articles for workouts to help them in their pursuit of taking up the sport of Olympic weightlifting, but this should be cautioned. In most cases coaches and athletes adapt to their surroundings, and make adjustments to their training based on those factors. Most successful weightlifting teams will have a combination of resources like saunas, ice baths, hot baths, massage therapists, doctors, chiropractors, supplements, dietitians, nutritionists, and great equipment to train with. So by following a program from another coach or team may yield different results if you are not doing exactly what those lifters are doing including eating, sleeping, and the time you rest in between. Another thing about some of the workouts online is that coaches post some of their programs intended for more advanced lifters, and a beginning lifter is unable to handle the workload, and or technique involved at that level.
Olympic Weightlifting Coach