In our weightlifting culture we are obsessed with maximum weights. When someone asks how much you squat or how much you snatch they want to know (and you want to tell them) your best-ever numbers. That's all fine and dandy, but this is a competitive sport, and there is a BIG difference between someone who can make heavy attempts only when the stars are aligned just right and someone who has consistent technique at any weight.

Nobody posts their failures
on YouTube.
I say this in the earnest hope that budding lifters will learn that YouTube heroes (myself included) can not always be trusted, and that perhaps they will select role models that are known not just for big weights but also for performing in big meets. You can set yourself up for failure and frustration by neglecting this part of your training - what good are high expectations if you can never meet them??

It's not easy to learn to be consistent. It takes more than just going through your workouts every day. The focus on strict technical adherence takes extreme will and determination. Frustration grows as you find that, at certain points, you just can't do it right. You try, and you try, and you try, over and over again, not just to get the weight up, but to do it the same way repeatedly. You will have habits and weaknesses that you can't overcome in a workout, or a week, or even a year.

The price for failure is high; only after you have dedicated months or even years to the sport will you find that, when it comes to the big meets, you never meet your goals. Assuming you even identify the issues, all that time spent is gone forever.

Many people train without thinking about this problem. Workout after workout they will push the weights higher than they can consistently handle correctly, learning bad patterns and getting used to missing. The negative results reinforce a fearful attitude toward the lifts, which spirals into more negative results. But yet the same person might deify another lifter who posts the one big lift they made in training, not even knowing what good technique looks like and why that lifter may or may not be teaching good things.

Bending the arms means significant
loss of power to the bar.
Even worse, without good technique all lifters will plateau well before their potential. What we call "good technique" is not a wide-ranging set of ways of doing the lifts - it is in fact, with a few variations, a very specific method of moving the bar. The basic rules of thumb are that the weight follows a set path that keeps it over the center of gravity and that force must be transferred most efficiently from the floor to the bar. This is not easy to learn in any case, and as the weight gets heavier the margin for error decreases.

The solution is to choose to focus on technique until you get it right. It's not an easy road, but the dividends are large. And if you have Olympic goals it's the only way.

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