I’ve noticed lately that many presumably uncoached athletes are posting videos of themselves lifting on a variety of social media forums/platforms asking for feedback. This is excellent in that they are asking for help and they are honest enough with themselves that they are in need of improvement. I have to give them credit for taking advantage of what is available.
While the intent is laudable, I’m afraid that the results may not be so. It’s a bit like asking an audience made up of a varied collection of expertise. Certainly there are a number of platitudes posted as responses that are not especially helpful, but they help the posters feel as though they are being supportive. Primarily it creates more clutter to be sifted through.
While many of the problems presented in these videos are the result of less than optimal technique, a good number of them are not problems generated by a lack of technique. In many cases the difficulties are the result of a lack of strength or muscular bodyweight.
The posted responses, however, overwhelmingly provide technical correction suggestions. Very few of them encourage strengthening or increasing muscle mass.
An example might be a failed or difficult jerk that is caused by a collapsing torso during the drive. This will often elicit a number of postings about keeping the elbows higher during the drive when the best remedy would be to increase the torso musculature and to perform more front quarter squats and overhead supports.
What Happened to Strength?
In the not so distant past the sport of weightlifting attracted participants who liked to solve problems through the exertion of physical force. It was a mindset that now seems to be ebbing.
While most of the introductory instructional materials emphasize the development of proper technique and rightfully so, technique is just one of the first stepping stones in the training of a lifter. Athletic development, strength building, training capacity, athletic hygiene, psychological preparation are all components in the training of a weightlifter and teaching those components is a task for coaches or at least some items to consider by would-be coaches.
Many problems that are plaguing new lifters can be solved by getting stronger and emphasizing strength development in their training. Anyone offering remedies should keep this in mind as a possible solution.
If you were a weightlifter
Anyone aspiring to be a coach and intends to offer coaching advice should be aware of the various tools available. While we cannot discern very much about a lifter’s training history by watching a video, we can determine whether the problem is a technical one or one of lacking strength. Coaches with an extensive background as a weightlifter should be aware of the variety of tools that can be employed to solve problems.
Strength is not a dirty word. If you see a situation that can be solved by getting stronger, offer that solution. All problems are not technically solvable.