Mental Fortitude: Challenges Weightlifters face Training independently or remotely.
With the influx of athletes getting their feet wet in weightlifting, there has also been a surge in online coaching/remote coaching options being offered. When we originally branched off to open the Wilmington Weightlifting Club solo, Coach Walt was not fond of the idea of remote coaching because it went against the way he favored to coach: thoroughly, individualized and in-person. With living so close to a Marine Corps Base and University, we had a lot of people having to move/travel, and eventually, we opened the gates to our remote team.
It opened a lot of opportunity for our athletes and for our coaching staff to get to help our teammates abroad. There is one very common theme among athlete moral: Training the Olympic Lifts can be very lonely.
While finding a weightlifting club or gym can be hard, it is the most ideal. If you are able to find a club through your LWC that you can follow your team programming and drop-in to train, I HIGHLY suggest that. Being around the weightlifting movements can help develop your own abilities as a weightlifter. By watching others perform snatch or clean and jerk you can begin to develop your own eye and understanding of how the movement works, or doesn't work. As ideal as the scenario of finding a club to be involved in is, I know that it doesn't always work out (Not a single club in the city where I live that I've found).
Let's think about barbell/strength sports in general.
In barbell sports, the most popular are powerlifting (main lifts: Squat, Bench and Deadlift), Crossfit (a mixed bag of barbell movements), Strongman (Squat, deadlift, clean and press, loading, carrying, flipping and pulling events)
Powerlifters share the love of the barbell and relate to the difficulties of training and being tired and sore and going through the ebs and flows of perfecting their technique and getting stronger. In addition, many train using power cleans to help generate power as an accessory; In relation, weightlifters train squats heavy, but as accessory, so there are some overlaps and ways that developing a training relationship with powerlifting athletes which can act as a positive light for the remote athlete.
Strongman (and strongwoman), has become another popular area of strength sport - which many of the events involve a barbell (though be it a thicker bar). Training for strongman can also involve snatch and clean and jerk, to help develop more explosiveness that transfers into their sport. Strongman can seem intimidating and like there is a huge disconnect, but the strongman community has absolutely been a great group to be around and be motivated by. No one screams louder when it comes to giving never-ending support!
Crossfitters are at the very least, familiar with the words "snatch" and "clean" and "jerk"; they generally know the difference between the three... they may not speak in kilos, but it can be refreshing to hear the struggles from someone who has attempted the lifts. Frustrated by their 400lb front squat, but puzzled in the difficulty putting more than bodyweight overhead. Many Barbell Clubs are run out of CF gyms, so that community can often blend; and there are cycles where the CF communities work on harnessing their inner WLer, which can be high times for the remote athlete training their lifts out of a CF Box... but it can be a high followed by a low when the weightlifting training cycle ends and their friends move on to the next series of skills; prepping for the Open or find themselves knee-deep in metabolic conditioning.
I think that feeling of alienation can be a very steep mountain to scale, but I do think it's better to have other barbell athletes you can train around than being alone (at least for those who feel beaten up and might benefit from having others to train around). I highly encourage remote athletes to find themselves somewhere to train where there are other people, even if it's just a couple of times a month - training alone in a garage can become cumbersome and very defeating when you get closer to hitting that wall before a big breakthrough.
In closing, I want to applaud those of you training remotely. I have just picked my training back up.. for the first time remotely since being pregnant 5 years ago, but it has not been easy at all to get motivated to go work out.
Before, I had my social life and my work out life melded into this perfect little mold of balance - where I felt happiest training. Now, some days I have to listen to infinite motivational videos on my way up to the County College to study and train, knowing I will be mostly alone with side-eyes when I start doing "that weird thing" with the barbell.
Keep on rolling with it, establish your community - even if it's just every once in a while to test your maxes! There is a huge benefit to being physically around others who understand your drive and purpose.