Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The King of Lifts

The King of Lifts
by Donnie Shankle
(A free pdf of this article can be found in the CrossFit Journal library)

My favorite parts:

This is what the clean and jerk looks like in training: you go into the gym and put a new personal record on the bar. You begin to pull the thing, and in the back of your mind there is a little fucking gremlin that convinces you it is too heavy. With style points, you just pick it up slowly into your hips, but you are too chickenshit to go under the bar.  
A week goes by, and this time you make up your mind not to look like a nob-head. You get set, pull, finish hard and move under. No chance! The bar shoots your ass back about five feet, sending you crashing into the wall behind you. A few more crashes like this and you are likely to bring the whole damn gym down. 
Another week goes by, and this time you pull it, finish hard, and receive it with your elbows up, but you fail to stand up.  
Two more weeks go by, and this time you pull it, finish hard, receive it and stand up with a struggle. You are so excited at this point you begin to get dizzy, and as you try to jerk you have nothing left in you, so you just dump it off of you and collect yourself as you sit down.  
Another week goes by and this time you clean the weight beautifully. You dip and drive the bar to lockout but fail to gain control in the split.  
Another two weeks go by, and this time you clean it and jerk it like a champion. Your coach says, “Down,” and with a sense of pride you give the air a double fist pump. The last time you felt this good was when your girlfriend whispered vehemently in your ear, "You are an absolute god in bed.”  
Now put on another kilo and do it all over again.
There is something raw about the clean and jerk or just weightlifting in general. There is a great satisfaction in picking something heavy up off the floor and putting it over your head. This satisfaction is intensified if you manage to do it easily. People will come up to you and ask, “How do you make that look so easy?" 
In your mind, you know there were no easy steps.
“Hard work and I am really fuckin’ strong,” is what you say back to them. 

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