Bite Your Tongue

I haven’t done that in years!

Olympic weightlifting is such a complicated sport. They say that even elite lifters should only be given one direct cue at a time by a coach. There is so much to consider when you are under heavy load. Any incorrect pull means you could miss a lift and leave kilos on the floor.

I watched all the videos of how to lift. At the time, I was in CrossFit and I learned primarily a triple extension style lift. I’ve modified since then, but most of the cues remain the same. It was still a lot to remember. And you had to get your muscles to remember that too. I took videos of myself and compared them to elite lifters. Coach’s Eye became extremely useful in breaking down my lifts. I could see things in stop motion or slow motion. Then I’d read about how to fix problems with each phase of the lift.

The jerk, as in the Clean & Jerk, is a complicated lift in that it can be an endurance event. It can be an eternity to get through a clean. Its like telling someone, do a really heavy squat…now put it overhead. That’s easier said than done. You are exhausted when you get to the jerk. Then, you have to bend your knees and dip the bar so that it creates a downward oscillation. Then, as it elastically recoils into the air, you launch it upward all the while your feet are flying into a split. And your feet have to land perfectly.

The problem (one problem) is your head. You start with you chin up as you jerk the weight up. Then you have to move you head forward as you lock out your arms overhead. Then you press the bent front leg and step back and then step the back leg forward.

But when I was first beginning, this “problem” was painful. Sometimes, I was concentrating so hard on my cues, I would slam the weight really hard into my jaw in the jerk. I did this a handful of times. Each time scared me more than before. I don’t even know how that’s possible. But it happened to me. I heard of others doing it too. But I can’t say that its very common.

So last night, I was doing kind of speed sets. I would grip the bar without much setup and clean the bar without any hesitation. Just grip and rip. Then, instead of re-settling and taking a breath, I’d dip and go straight into the jerk. That is, until my last set. It wasn’t my intentional last set, but I wasn’t doing any more after that. I was jerking the weight up and hit my jaw….HARD!! So I don’t even remember dropping the weight. And I had to think clearly if I had knocked myself out or not. That is quite an upper cut when you bash a 200+ pound weight into your jaw at full force. I leaned over with my hands on my knees. I immediately felt and tasted blood rushing out of my tongue. So my next thought was to search in my mouth to see if I bit off my tongue. Maybe a mouthpiece isn’t a bad idea?!

In the end, it was just a lot of embarrassment. Like, how did I do that after all these years of lifting? And my tongue was intact though a little bloody and broken. Live and learn.

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