by Al Myers
I have often heard this answer in the gym when I have asked guys if they compete or not, “I’m not strong enough yet to enter a competition”. It’s amazing how this time never comes for them. It seems the expectations of what they want to lift in order to enter a competition is not EVER enough – and in the mean time they lose out on having enjoyable experiences challenging themselves in a competitive meet environment. That is one of the great things about weightlifting – your competition is the bar and weights laying in front of you on the platform. You have full control on whether you are successful or not. It’s not like boxing or the UFC, where you may be at the top of your game, and the “other guy” is just better than you, and you end up with your face smashed in! I would understand it, if in those sports, someone says they are not ready for competition! But competitive All-Round Weightlifting – give me a break! The challenges are always there to get stronger, or maybe just get better at a lift no matter what your age is. I have come to the conclusion and accepted that I have probably reached (or passed) my physical peak. At age 43, I know my best years are behind me. But I still enjoy training and “giving it all I have” in competition. All-Round Weightlifting has been a blessing for me – the multitude of different lifts provide unique opportunities to get better at lifts for a long time. I am constantly learning new techniques in particular lifts that make me better. Just at this past World Championships, Frank Ciavattone gave me a tip that put 20 pounds on my Ciavattone Deadlift immediately! Last year at the Heavy Events National Championship, Dale Friesz and Art Montini told me “the secret” on the Neck Lift which has translated into over a 100# increase in my Neck Lift. Bill Clark has given me numerous training advice through the years that has helped me tremendously – which I only got because I went to the meets that he hosts. Joe Garcia has helped me in the Hand and Thigh Lift – I was doing it totally wrong until Joe showed me the correct technique. Now if I was staying home training by myself waiting for the day to enter a competition, would I have learned these things? Not much of a chance.
For those of you that have never tried a weightlifting competition, or just want to try something different – give the USAWA a try! You will find out that the competition is fun. The lifters involved in the USAWA are a special breed – everyone involved is down to earth and just enjoys challenging themselves with weights. Everyone is very helpful and supportive to each other at meets. They are no EGOS in this organization – mainly because everyone involves knows that even though there may be lifts that you can excel in, there are also ones that humble you. But even with those lifts – if you work at them you will improve. Don’t be one of those gym lifters that really would like to compete – but just doesn’t.
Give All-Round Weightlifting a try – and Get Out and Compete in the USAWA.