In every sport there is a physical and mental developmental process that each athlete must go through. For some the physical aspect is easier while the mental takes time as they mature and develop a stronger understanding of the sport/position.
Think of an NFL rookie quarterback, most have to go through the growing pains, if miraculously they do well they eventually fall apart once the defensive coordinator has more film on him (RGIII).
The game adapts, it’s no longer just reading what’s shown in front of you but it’s anticipating beyond what the defense is showing you, it’s no longer your just eyes looking off a DB but your body, instinctively knowing your receivers route time and read, it’s adapting to what the opponents coaches believe you’ll do and so on…
While weightlifting isn’t as complex as this, it does take time to:
- Develop bar awareness.
- Conceptualize the movements your coaches want you to execute.
- Understanding your body and how you’re adapting versus being injured.
- Competition Prep: learning to control nerves, when/how to drop weight without losing strength, and what foods you can tolerate for a competition.
And much more…
My long winded point, is that there are many pieces to the whole for the development of athletes, weightlifting is no different. Your numbers will wave up and down but hopefully when you put it all together the wave will be greater than the previous.
Let’s take a look at the numbers of a few lifters:
Looking at Luis’ numbers it incrementally increases, with waves, however you can see that he hit a semi- plateau through the 2012-2014 season but then it all came back together for him toward the end of 2014.
This has more to with Luis having to balance working to support his family while training as a professional weightlifter. Despite not having optimal circumstances to train, Luis didn’t give up, his numbers stayed “stagnant” yet he didn’t quit, he believed in himself and pushed through.
Luis is an extremely humble and driven athlete, if you missed our interview with him check it out HERE.
If you notice there is a gap between the 2005-2008 year. Lu Xiaojun suffered, I believe a shoulder injury and decided to go back to his home town to recuperate. I’m not quite sure what happened in the 2011 year where he dropped off in body weight and his numbers plummeted but then sky rocketed back up.
However, if you notice that in 2009 he hit 174/205 then in 2014 he hit 175/200. I’m sure he has more in him for the 2015 season but notice the numbers go up, down, and then back up.
More waves from Lu Yong (85kg), Hiromi Miyake (53kg), Wilmer Torres (94kg).
The point of looking at these numbers and charts is to explain that weightlifting is NOT linear. Just because you put in your time training doesn’t mean that your numbers will automatically move up.
Weightlifting is a sport of patience, for the special few the numbers will sky rocket up, but for most the numbers will wave up and down or stay stagnant for a while. It’ll teach you a thing or two about humility and commitment. This is also over a matter of months and/or years not weeks or days.
Having the physical tangibles doesn’t mean you’ll last in this sport either. The drive to succeed, the discipline to focus on each rep time after time can be monotonous, the humbleness to know when to take a step back and re-work, all can be taxing on a weightlifters spirit and mind .
This is where I see many people fall off and where successful weightlifters rise. It’s easy to jump into this sport, all you need is a bar and some weights. But if you want to develop beyond the “beginning” stages and tap into your potential you’ll have to go through the growing pains, the dark period, the number waves, whatever you want to call it and persevere. There are a lot of talented athletes that can succeed they just may not have the right attitude to fully tap into their potential.
As you can see even the elite have to got through the dark times, in fact every athlete has to go through this in some way.
The point is that weightlifting is no different from any sport, there is a physical, mental, and technical skill sets that needs time to be developed for the athlete to succeed.
It’s inevitable that your numbers will go up and down, but with the guidance of a qualified coach and your feedback the picture will become clearer and clearer. Hopefully then everything will click and you’ll be working on all cylinders. But this will take time as you and your coach develop a better understanding on what works and doesn’t work for you- cues, programs, exercises, communication with each other etc…
It’s also important to note that the higher the level the athlete the more difficult it will be to see their numbers climb, as seen in the numbers/charts above.
If you’d like to take a look at the spread sheet or use it for whatever reason the document is below. All information is taken from the IWF result site as of 9/12/15.