I was first introduced to Olympic Weight Lifting at UNC-Chapel Hill my freshman year. I was at the University on a baseball scholarship, meaning the only real lifting I had done was some push-ups, sit ups, and standard bi’s, tri’s, back and legs.
And then, we started lifting.
Oly lifting is not something you just pick up and start doing. We weren’t even allowed to touch a barbell until we had underwent nearly two weeks of training. Form is critical, in not only protecting from injury, but helping to optimally develop your power from the bottom to the top. I am not a big guy–5’9”–and entering my freshman year I was 155 lbs. After the fall of my freshman year, Oly lifting put me at 165lbs. The explosiveness and power that came with the total body functionally explosive lifts was truly amazing and I was seeing results.
Hitting a total 10 home runs during my entire four years of High School baseball, college ball proved to be different.
During my freshman season at Chapel Hill, I hit 8 home runs, posted a batting average of 386, and earned Rookie of the year honors for the ACC conference. When I injured my hand my sophomore year and wasn’t able to lift, my season statistics suffered: two home runs, and just over a 300 batting average. Lo and behold, I was back at Oly Lifting my junior year and the best season of my college career followed: I was drafted by the Chicago Cubs.
When I was in professional ball, Oly lifting was not taught–or in most cases, not allowed–in the weight room. Rightfully so, my priority was baseball. I could tell I was missing out during spring training, with the absence of Oly Lifting in my regimen, and it spilled over into the season.
Enter CrossFit: it was like I was back at home. When I first walked into Shoreline Crossfit, the music was deafening and people of all ages were working out at the same time; Oly Lifting, dropping weights.
I had found a place where Oly Lifting was not only accepted, but taught, and I was going to take full advantage of it, determined to get back to my top-performance for Major League Baseball. I instantly joined, getting stronger, faster, and more explosive. I had my best power output of my professional career–10 home runs and stealing bases. In 2012, while Oly Lifting during training, I played for Team Israel in the WBC Qualifier. That year got called back to the Major Leagues with the Miami Marlins. It was when Oly lifting truly re-entered my life that I saw my ultimate potential shine through.
Now that I have stepped away from baseball professionally, I have continued my Oly training four days a week. I love how functional the movements are and how much it translates into day to day life. A little crazy, but a couple examples of how Oly Lifting has translated into my now everyday life are moving and landscaping.
When I moved into my new house, lifting furniture, carrying heavy objects over my head, utilizing proper form as to not injure myself was second nature because of lifting. Also I built a pond by hand in my backyard for my chickens and ducks and utilized clean and jerks to move massive stones to lay around the pond. Crazy things you would never think about however so many functional things around the house, both inside and out.
In case you missed it, here’s Adam’s review of Harbinger & HumanX gloves.