How Much Weight Would you Need to Lift to Earn an Olympic Medal?

  Male

 

 

Body Weight in Kilos

 

Data based on medals earned at the 2000-2016 Olympic Games and the 2010-2014 Youth Olympic Games.

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Is There a Viable Alternative to the NCAA for Weightlifting?

I recently wrote an article entitled: “Is Weightlifting Losing Its Best Athletes to NCAA Sports?”  The article exposes a problem facing the sport of weightlifting in the U.S. today: Thousands of youth weightlifters enter the sport of weightlifting, but the majority of these weightlifters leave the sport before they reach maturity, making it difficult for the U.S. to produce elite, world-class weightlifters.

One explanation for the loss is that college weightlifting programs—and scholarships—are not as readily available as those in other sports.  Plus, plenty of other sports offer scholarships to weightlifters, reducing the pool of athletes from which the U.S. could generate mature athletes.  While it is wonderful to have child superstars within a sport, the true measure of a country’s dominance in a sport is its ability to produce world-class athletes in their prime.

One solution to this problem would be to petition the NCAA for membership and continue working with the organization until it adopts weightlifting as one of its regulated sports. The NCAA and its member colleges and universities together award $2.7 billion in athletic scholarships every year to more than 150,000 student-athletes.  Membership in the NCAA could open doors to more college weightlifters, encourage youth athletes to remain in the sport, and bridge the gap between the developmental years and maturity within the sport.

According to Phil Andrews, CEO of USA Weightlifting, however, membership in the NCAA is not likely to happen in the near future.  Andrews explains: “USA Weightlifting has been working on establishing a relationship with the NCAA for a number of years.  However, the NCAA has zero interest in adding men’s weightlifting and only a small amount of interest in adding women’s weightlifting.”

NCAA membership also would come with a cost.  Vance Newgard, head coach of the Olympic Training Site at Northern Michigan University points out:

  • The NCAA imposes numerous requirements on the schools, athletes and coaches that receive funding from the organization.
  • The NCAA regulates financial aid, eligibility, recruiting, athletics personnel, playing and practice seasons.
  • Under NCAA regulation, coaches are limited as to when and how much they can train their athletes.
  • Athletes are limited as to how much they can train.  An athlete desiring to reach the Olympic level can not simultaneously receive NCAA funding and train as much as needed to achieve success.
  • Coaches are limited as to program promotion and recruitment of younger athletes.
  • In short, the benefits of NCAA membership—namely scholarship money for student athletes—may not be worth the costs.

Given that NCAA membership may not be desirable—or even available—for the sport of weightlifting at this time, there may be other solutions for retaining youth weightlifters through their college years including the following:

A Private Scholarship Fund

USA Weightlifting could create a scholarship fund to help collegiate weightlifters continue with the sport while simultaneously getting a college degree.  This is, in fact, something that USA Weightlifting is currently considering.

PROS:

  • USA Weightlifting has the right membership demographics to support a college fund.  Of the 27,000 members registered with USA Weightlifting, the majority are Masters lifters.  Masters lifters (age 35+) presumably have some disposable income—otherwise they wouldn’t have the luxury of participating in the sport.  These members may be convinced to support talented weightlifters in their college years.
  • Giving specifically to a college weightlifters has “donation appeal.” People are more likely to give money to individuals to achieve specific goals than to blindly hand money over to an organization.  If donors know they are helping certain weightlifters with college expenses, it would personalize the process and encourage larger donations.
  • Giving to education charities is popular.  According to Giving USA, 15% of charitable donations made in 2016 were used to fund education.  This made education second only to religion in receiving charitable funding.
  • Control of the sport could be maintained by USA Weightlifting.  Without accountability to the NCAA, coaches and athletes could train to maximize athletic success.  Presumably, athletes would be required to meet some academic standards to continue receiving their scholarships.  However, both coaches and the athletes would have more flexibility in their training.

CONS:

  • Not as many athletes could be funded by a private scholarship fund.  A private scholarship fund might be able to assist a dozen athletes with college expenses, but an NCAA affiliation could assist hundreds of athletes.
  • Scholarship amounts may not be as large.  A private scholarship fund could not match the resources of the NCAA and its member schools.  Coach Newgard, however, points out that most college athletes receive only partial scholarships anyway.  So, athletes may be equally benefited by private scholarship funding—especially since it would not bind them to NCAA compliance.

Centralized Training Sites

Centralized training of college-age weightlifters could also solve the problem of athlete retention.  Coach Newgard is a proponent of this solution and offers the following points in support of the idea:

PROS:

  • Optimal Coaching: If a handful of experienced coaches could devote themselves full-time to grooming and developing a group of elite athletes, they could maximize the athletes’ performance.
  • Competitive Environment: When elite athletes work together, they push each other to work harder.  So, bringing elite athletes together for training would also enhance athletic performance.
  • Economies: Paying for a single facility and group of coaches could be more cost effective for USA Weightlifting than awarding stipends to individuals.

CONS: 

  • Money.  Let’s be honest, if USA Weightlifting had the money to fund a central facility, pay the salaries of a team of elite coaches, and pay the living expenses of the athletes, they would probably do it.  USA Weightlifting was afforded this luxury with a resident training program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs until September 2016.  However, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has since stopped offering a resident program for the sport of weightlifting at the Olympic Training Center.  Procuring another central training location may not be feasible for USA Weightlifting.
  • Finding the right location may be difficult.  For most individuals in their early twenties, their first priority is getting an education or job training.  Weightlifting is fun, but athletes know that it likely will not support them in later years.  So, any central training facility should be located in an area with numerous job/education options for these athletes.
  • Coach Resistance.  Coaches who have developed elite weightlifters from a young age may not want to turn these athletes over to another team of coaches.  After all, these coaches have invested much energy and time into the athletes and want to continue building upon their success.  Similarly, elite athletes who have developed good relationships with their coaches may not want to terminate these relationships.

In conclusion, youth weightlifters should not feel discouraged about the NCAA’s disinterest in our sport.  Weightlifting is a rapidly growing sport, so future inclusion is always a possibility.  In the meantime, lifters and coaches can enjoy the sport free from the demands of NCAA compliance.

For more information on opportunities for developing athletes, see:

Understanding USA Weightlifting’s Stipend System

Youth Weightlifting Scholarship Opportunities

Photography by Matthew Bjerre of Lifting.Life at 2017 USAW National Junior Championship.

 

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German Youth Weightlifting Competitions: Rules and Scoring

This article contains the specifications for Germany’s youth weightlifting competitions, as seen in “Youth Weightlifting in Germany.” For the original source of the rules and technical charts in German, see here and here.

Youth weightlifting competitions in Germany have two parts: (1) weightlifting and (2) athletics.

WEIGHTLIFTING
Youth weightlifting competitions in Germany emphasize the correct execution of the lifts by including a technique evaluation score for youth up to age 14.   

A maximum of 10 points can be achieved for technique.

This chart breaks down the technical score: Technical Scoring for Weightlifting in Germany

Points are calculated using the following formula:

Snatch—
[(Amount of weight lifted in kg x 50) ÷ Bodyweight] + (Technique Score x 10)

Clean & Jerk—
[(Amount of weight lifted in kg x 50) ÷ Bodyweight] + (Technique Score x 10)

Weightlifting Score = Best Snatch  + Best Clean & Jerk 

Best Snatch/Clean & Jerk = Attempt with the Highest Point Value

ATHLETICS
German youth weightlifting competitions also include an athletic portion to promote the general athleticism of children. The athletic portion includes three events: Ball Throw, Triple Jump, and Star Sprints. Sometimes other events are substituted for these events (e.g. a 30-m sprint may replace the Star Sprints). However, these are the usual exercises tested at the competitions.  Athletics are tested up to age 16.

Athletics Score = Ball Throw Score + Triple Jump Score + Sprint Score

Ball Throw Rules:

  1. Each athlete gets 3 attempts.
  2. The athlete begins with his back facing the throwing field.
  3. The athlete must throw the ball over his head backward with both hands.
  4. A starting line is established at the edge of the throwing field.
  5. Athletes may jump from any point behind the starting line.
  6. Athletes may not jump backward over the starting line. If an athlete lands over the starting line, the attempt is invalidated.
  7. A measuring tape is attached to the side of the throwing field.
  8. The first ball impression is measured, i.e. the distance from where the ball first lands.
  9. The throw is measured in centimeters.
  10. Measurement can be taken in two ways:
    * Right Angle Measurement: Follow a straight line from the first ball impression to the measuring tape.
    * Center Point Measurement: Attach the measuring tape to the center of the starting line. Measure from this point to the first ball impression.

Ball Weight:
Boys Age 16: 5 kg
Boys Age 14-15: 4 kg
Boys Under 13: 3 kg
All Girls: 3 kg

Recommendation: Establish a safe zone around the jumping area, and do not allow spectators or other athletes into this area for safety reasons.

Ball Throw Score = Distance of Best Throw (cm) ÷ Bodyweight

Triple Jump Rules:

  1. Each athlete gets three attempts.
  2. The jump begins from a standing position, i.e. no running-starts.
  3. A starting line is established at one end of the jumping area. The jumping area is about 2 meters wide. A measuring tape is attached to the side of the jumping area.
  4. Athletes must jump from behind the starting line. Touching the starting line invalidates the attempt.
  5. Athletes may not touch the floor with their hands or any other body parts—other than the feet—between jumps.
  6. Athletes must execute three consecutive jumps without noticeable stops between the individual jumps.
  7. The feet must be parallel and touch the ground at the same time during the first and second jumps.
  8. Taking steps between the jumps is not allowed.
  9. Falling forward on completion of the final jump is allowed. Supporting with the hands is also allowed on the final jump, provided it does not change the position of the feet.
  10. The impression closest to the starting line (feet, buttocks, hands) is measured. So, if an athlete falls backward onto his hands after the last jump, the measurement spans from the starting line to the hand impression.
  11. Measurement is taken by following a straight line from impression closest to the starting line to a measuring tape on the side of the jumping area (Right Angle Measurement)

Recommendation: Establish a safe zone around the jumping area, and do not allow spectators or other athletes into this area for safety reasons.

Triple Jump Score = Distance of Best Jump (cm) x 0.2

Star Sprints:

  1. A sprint course is set up as follows:
    * One medicine ball (Ball 1) is positioned on the start line.
    * One medicine ball (Ball 3) is positioned in a straight line,10 meters from Ball 1.
    * Two medicine balls (Balls 2 and 4) are positioned 7 meters from the start line, and 2 meters from the direct line between Balls 1 and 3.
  2. An athlete begins either to the left or the right of Ball 1, with his hand on the ball and his feet behind the start line.
  3. At the command of “On Your Mark, Get Set, Go,” the athlete touches the balls in the following order: 1-2-1-3-1-4-1 or 1-4-1-3-1-2-1.
  4. The athlete’s hand must touch each ball.
  5. False starts are not allowed.
  6. The sprint is completed when the athlete touches Ball 1 for the final time.
  7. If Ball 1 is pushed out of position at any time, the athlete must return the ball to its original position before proceeding.
  8. Before each athlete begins, all balls should be aligned to their original positions.
  9. If an athlete trips or falls during the sprint, he may still complete the sprint.
  10. An attempt is invalid if an athlete does not touch all of the balls or does not otherwise complete the sprint.
  11. Up to 3 timekeepers may be used to record the time of the sprint. If multiple timekeepers are used, the middle time is used for scoring.
  12. Use of spikes or adhesive material on the shoes is not allowed.

Ball Sprint Score = 400 – (Sprint Time in Seconds x 20)

SCORING

An athlete receives two scores for the competition:

(1) A score for the weightlifting portion and

(2) A score for the athletic portion.

The athlete’s final score is the sum of the two scores.

Weightlifting Score = Best Snatch + Best Clean & Jerk

Athletics Score = Ball Throw Score + Triple Jump Score + Sprint Score

FINAL SCORE = WEIGHTLIFTING SCORE + ATHLETICS SCORE

 

 

Finding Youth Weightlifters: 8 Sources of New Athletes

One of the biggest challenges of running a youth weightlifting program is . . . finding youth weightlifters!  While competitive weightlifting is growing in popularity, many parents still regard weightlifting as conditioning for another sport.  Generally, these parents will sacrifice weightlifting training in favor of the other sport or activity.  And too often, coaches of the other sport will pressure athletes to give up weightlifting so they can focus solely on their sport.  So, how can a coach find serious, dedicated young athletes to mold into the next generation of weightlifters?!

Here are 8 possible sources of youth weightlifters:

1. Children of Adult Weightlifters:  If you currently train adult weightlifters, ask those weightlifters if they have kids!  This is, in fact, how my son entered the sport.  I began weightlifting with Coach Boris Urman in Kansas.  Boris knew that I had a 9 year-old son, and he asked me EVERY day for a month to bring my son to the gym.  My son was a competitive gymnast, and he had no interest in weightlifting.  However, because of Boris’s persistence, I brought Hutch to the gym.  Hutch enjoyed weightlifting, and Boris had a new lifter.

ADVANTAGE:  When you train the children of adult weightlifters, you won’t have to convince the parents that weightlifting is a real sport.  Plus, children are more likely to make it to practice when their parents are training alongside them.

2.  Gymnastics Clubs:  It is no secret that gymnasts make fantastic weightlifters.  Gymnasts have great flexibility and body awareness, which transfers well into the Olympic lifts.  Coach Kevin Simons, of Alpha Strength and Conditioning in Washington, offers strength and conditioning training for a gymnastics center.  Some of the gymnasts enjoy weightlifting so much that they begin to lift competitively on his team.

ADVANTAGE: Gymnasts are disciplined, fearless, and accustomed to long hours in the gym.  Getting them to train hard will be no problem!

3. Parks & Recreation Programs:  Consider partnering with your city’s Parks & Rec department to offer a strength and conditioning program for kids.  Coach Dennis Espinosa of Reps & Sets Weightlifting finds his many of his youth weightlifters this way.

ADVANTAGE: If you are in need of training space, the Parks & Rec department may offer you a space to train your competitive team in exchange for running a strength and conditioning program.   This is one of the benefits Coach Espinosa receives for running a Parks & Rec program in Salina, Kansas.

4. CrossFit Kids Programs:  With 1793 CrossFit Kids locations in the United States, there is sure to be an affiliate near you.  Make friends with an affiliate owner, and offer to teach a Kids’ Weightlifting class.

ADVANTAGES: The affiliate owner will probably let you use the CrossFit gym to train your youth athletes, which will give you a training space if you don’t have one.  The parents of your athletes are likely to be supportive, since they have seen the benefits of Olympic weightlifting first-hand.

5.  Middle School & High School Sports Teams:  If you know a middle school or high school sports coach, offer supplemental weightlifting training for team members.  Coach Boris Urman discovered some of his best lifters, including Ian Estopare, when he developed a relationship with Estopare’s father, a high school football coach.

ADVANTAGES: Working with a whole sports team will give you a large pool of athletes from which to identify talented, interested weightlifters.

6. Friends of Current Youth Lifters:  Host a “Bring Your Friend to Practice Day.”  Encourage your current youth weightlifters to bring their friends to the gym and introduce them to the sport.

ADVANTAGES:  Youth weightlifters are more likely to stick with the sport if they have friends on the team.

Photos courtesy of Lifting.Life

Is Weightlifting Losing Its Best Athletes to NCAA Sports?

Did you know that Olympians Morghan King and Sarah Robles both received NCAA athletic scholarships to attend college?  Neither, however, received a scholarship for weightlifting.  In fairness, both King and Robles began weightlifting later in life, but they clearly would have excelled as collegiate weightlifters if it had been an option for them.

Youth weightlifting is experiencing an unprecedented boom in popularity.  Between 2012 and 2016, youth membership in USA Weightlifting grew 181%.  There are now more than 2,500 weightlifters under the age of 18 in the United States.  But what will happen when these weightlifters leave for college?

Will weightlifting lose its most promising talent due to a lack of college weightlifting scholarships?

The reality is that college is expensive, and scholarship money is valuable.  A well-groomed youth weightlifter has many athletic scholarship opportunities.  Unfortunately, most of these opportunities are outside the sport of weightlifting.  Sports such as rowing, football, wrestling and track and field welcome weightlifters, with their strong legs, explosive power and lean muscle mass.

Weightlifting scholarships, however, are very limited.  Talented youth weightlifters often are forced to choose between continuing the sport they love and switching to another sport that will pay for their education.  For instance, Coach Dennis Espinosa, of Reps & Sets Weightlifting in Salina, Kansas, admitted that two of his most talented youth weightlifters accepted NCAA college scholarships for rowing and track and field.  Similarly, Omar Cummings, an elite U.S. weightlifter who secured two bronze medals at the 2015 IWF Youth World Weightlifting Championships, exited the sport when he received a college football scholarship.

This phenomenon is especially unfortunate given that weightlifters do not peak until about age 25.  When talented youth weightlifters leave the sport in their college years due to a lack of scholarship opportunities, it depletes the sport of its most promising talent.  Specifically, it reduces the pool of athletes from which the United States could generate an Olympian or World Champion.

It is a tragedy for the sport of weightlifting to develop youth weightlifters until the age of 18 and then lose these athletes to other sports in their college years.  Fortunately, there is a viable solution to this problem . . . become a NCAA sport.

The NCAA is the biggest source of athletic scholarships in the United States, so it just makes sense to partner with them.

What is the NCAA?

The NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, is a non-profit association that regulates athletes in 1,123 colleges and universities.  It helps govern the athletic programs of these colleges and universities, including organizing competitions and championships.

The NCAA is particularly interested in organizing championship events because these events generate the revenue of the organization.  Each year, the NCAA generates almost $1 billion in revenues.  About 96% of this is redistributed back to student-athletes, largely in the form of scholarships.

About 81% of the NCAA’s revenues are generated by a $10.8 billion, 14-year agreement from CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting for the media rights to the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.  Championship tickets and merchandise sales account for the remainder of the revenue.

The NCAA and its member colleges and universities together award $2.7 billion in athletic scholarships every year to more than 150,000 student-athletes.

The NCAA currently regulates 23 sports:

Baseball                    Golf                    Softball

Basketball                Gymnastics         Swimming & Diving

Beach Volleyball     Ice Hockey           Tennis

Bowling                    Lacrosse             Track & Field

Cross Country         Rifle                      Volleyball

Fencing                    Rowing                 Water Polo

Field Hockey           Skiing                    Wrestling

Football                   Soccer

Each college or university regulated by the NCAA falls into three membership divisions—Divisions I, II, and III.  Divisions are based on college size, budget for athletic programs and number of scholarships offered.

Each year, the NCAA hosts 89 championships across these 23 sports and three divisions.

If weightlifters can receive NCAA scholarships in other sports, why should weightlifting become a NCAA sport?

College is time intensive.  So are competitive sports.  An athlete can simultaneously attend college and participate on a competitive sports team.  However, adding additional obligations—such as multiple competitive sports—may present too large of a burden, especially when the second sport requires year-round training, such as weightlifting.  At worst, the athlete will drop weightlifting in favor of the scholarship sport; at best, the athlete will not devote an optimal amount of time to developing as a weightlifter.

According to data from the International Weightlifting Federation, in the last five Olympic Games (2000 – 2016), the average age for male weightlifters was 25 years old, and the average age for female weightlifters was 24 years old.  The average years of training to win a medal in weightlifting at the Olympic Games is 10.72 years.  So, the majority of medal-winning weightlifters begin around age 14 for women and 15 for men and train continuously for 10+ years.

If the United States wants to produce medal-winning world-class weightlifters, it should promote programs that create youth weightlifters and then enable these weightlifters to remain in the sport with college scholarship opportunities.

How can weightlifting become a NCAA sport?

Perhaps the best way to enter the NCAA is to examine the most recent sports allowed into the organization and follow in their footsteps.

The most recent sports embraced by the NCAA have entered the organization through the door of the Emerging Sports for Women program.

The Emerging Sports for Women program, created by the NCAA in 1994, provides a way for eligible female sports to develop into NCAA championship sports.  The program is managed by the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics and is intended to help schools create more athletic opportunities for women.

Since the Emerging Sports for Women program was established in 1994, five sports have earned full-fledged NCAA championship status: rowing in 1996, ice hockey in 2000, water polo in 2000, bowling in 2003 and beach volleyball in 2015.  Other sports— archery, badminton, synchronized swimming, squash and team handball—fell short of the program requirements and were removed from the emerging sports list.  Finally, three sports are currently striving to gain NCAA championship status: triathlon, rugby, and equestrian.

Triathlon is the most recent sport added to the list of emerging sports.  In 2014, all three divisions voted to add triathlon to the NCAA’s emerging list for women.

In support of its request, USA triathlon presented the following:

  • Twelve letters of support from schools in all three NCAA divisions stating that they already sponsor triathlon as a varsity sport or would consider it if it was approved as an emerging sport.
  • Evidence of 150 club programs that already exist on college campuses.
  • A large national collegiate event, which in 2013 included more than 400 participants from 46 states.
  • 40% female participation in national collegiate events.
  • A large national membership (40,000+ members in USA Triathlon) with a strong base of young athletes (one-third of the membership is under the age of 20).
  • Strong support by USA Triathlon, including extensive certification programs for coaches and a grass-roots program to introduce more participants to the sport.

USA Weightlifting could present a similarly compelling case:

  • Colleges in all three NCAA divisions already offer weightlifting programs.  Of the 10 colleges and universities with programs registered with USA Weightlifting, four are Division I schools, two are Division II schools, and one is a Division III school:

Division I
East Tennessee State University
California State Sacramento
West Virginia University
Texas A&M

Division II
Northern Michigan University: US Olympic Education Center
Lindenwood University

Division III
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

NAIA (non-NCAA schools)
Louisiana State University at Shreveport
Oklahoma City University

  • In addition to the 10 colleges that currently have weightlifting programs, an additional 146 U.S. colleges and universities have strength and conditioning programs recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.  Since weightlifting is used as a form of strength and conditioning by many sports, it is likely that some of these universities would be willing to offer weightlifting as a varsity sport if it was placed on the NCAA’s list of emerging sports.
  • Like triathlon, USA Weightlifting also already holds its own National University and National Under 25 Championships.  In 2016, 585 athletes participated in the event.
  • 40% of the athletes who participated in USA Weightlifting’s 2016 National University and National Under 25 Championships were female.
  • USA Weightlifting has a large national membership, with over 27,000 active members.  Of these members, 3600+ athletes are under the age of 20.
  • Female athletes already represent the United States at the top levels of the sport.  Of the four weightlifters who represented the United States in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, three of them were female (Morghan King, Sarah Robles and Jenny Arthur).
  • Weightlifting is rapidly growing in popularity as a sport.  Between 2012 and 2016, USA Weightlifting membership grew by 168%!
  • USA Weightlifting also offers a number of coach certification programs, including Sports Performance Coach, Advanced Sports Performance, National Coach, International Coach, and Senior International Coach.
  • Also, USA Weightlifting recently partnered with the National Federation of State High School Associations to promote weightlifting at the high school level.
  • Finally, USA Weightlifting has created Athlete Development Camps, designed to identify and recruit new talent into the sport.

In short, weightlifting offers an even more compelling case in favor of inclusion in the NCAA than triathlon.  With the right presentation, there is no reason for it to be denied.

BUT  . . . What about the Men?!

Clearly, securing NCAA status for women collegiate weightlifters is not enough.  Male athletes are just as important to the future of the sport.  However, gaining entrance into the NCAA for women could establish a relationship with the organization that could later be used to admit male weightlifting.

Of the five emerging sports that have successfully gained NCAA championship status, two of the sports were already NCAA sports for men (men’s ice hockey since 1948; men’s water polo since 1969).  Of the five emerging sports that fell short of gaining NCAA championship status, none had male counterparts in the NCAA.  So, it is possible that establishing a link to the NCAA with women’s weightlifting could open the door for men’s weightlifting.

How Would Women’s Weightlifting Move From a Emerging Sport to Full-Fledged Championship Sport Status in the NCAA?

If women’s weightlifting is selected by the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics as an emerging sport, it would have 10 years to gain championship status by building 40 or more varsity collegiate teams.

However, given the rate of growth within the sport of weightlifting, it is likely that it could meet this target much earlier.  Beach volleyball ascended from the emerging sport list to championship status in a mere six years.

Interested in starting a weightlifting club at your college?  Consult Barbend’s Ultimate Guide to Starting a Weightlifting Club at College

This post features photos taken by Matthew Bjerre of Lifting Life at the 2017 USA Weightlifting National Junior Championship.

Kyle Martin, Jr. – July 2017 Featured Athlete

Please let us introduce you to our July 2017 featured athlete: Kyle Martin, Jr.  Kyle is ten years old youth weightlifter competing in the 44 kg weight class and is from Oley, PA.

When did you get started in this sport?

At age 8

What (or who) got you started?

I would go to the gym with my dad and climb the rope until I watched Dane Miller’s niece compete online at youth nationals in 2015. The next day I started training Olympic lifting to get ready for the 2016 youth nationals.

What do you enjoy most about weightlifting?

I like the competitions and hanging out with my teammates at Garage Strength.

What does your current training routine look like?

I train 1-2 hours per day when I am not playing baseball or wrestling. I train at Garage Strength under the supervision of my coaches Dane Miller, Jacob Horst, and DJ Shuttleworth.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that has been impactful?

I always listen to my coaches and do lot of squats to help improve my clean and jerk.

What do you carry around with you in your gym bag that has nothing to do with weightlifting?

Nothing. Dane Miller will not let me bring iPads or toys into the gym.

What is your diet like?

Cereal in the morning, protein and pasta for lunch, and chicken or PB&J for dinner. Dane does not like it when I eat a lot of sugar.

Who do you look up to in the sport?

Jenny Arthur

Why?

I have meet Jenny a couple times during training. She has always been inspiring and helpful when we have meet. I like watching her and other weightlifters compete online.

What friendships has this sport brought your way?

At meets I see a lot of familiar faces and we get to support each other. I also train with Connor Pennington, 12u lifter, we help push each other to new PRs.

Are you coachable?

Yes. I learned how to take direction from my coaches at a young age when I was in Karate.

What are your long term weightlifting goals?

I want to make a world team and represent the United States! I also want to continue to train  to improve my performance in other sports like baseball and wrestling.

What qualities do great coaches possess?

Patience. My coaches are patient and teach me how to lift with good technique even when I am not having my best day on the platform.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Learn how to lose.

Did you take it?

Yes. I’ve learned winning is fun but not the most important thing about training and competing. My main focus is on learning good form and technique first before winning. Learning how to lose is just as important as winning.

What characteristics do you strive for (on and off the platform)?

I always try to do my best and focus on my form and technique.

When you have random free time, how do you spend it?

Most of my time is spent at school, training at Garage Strength, or playing baseball or wrestling. My free time is spent catching up on homework and playing Minecraft.

If you could master anything (besides weightlifting), what would it be?

To be a great baseball player.

What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?

Weightlifting helps me become a better athlete and to do better in other sports. My strength training has help me with wrestling.

What are you most grateful for?

My family for supporting me with weightlifting and taking me to my meets.

Where does your strength come from?

From the awesome programming of my coach Dane Miller and not my Dad 😊