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What is Weight Lifting, And My Journey So Far.

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

Nova Performance Weekly Blog

by Adam Smith on Jul 20, 2021

What is Weightlifting?

Weightlifting or Known as ‘Olympic Weightlifting’ (just to clarify you do NOT have to compete in the olympics to compete in this sport or even incorporate it in to your own training)

It is made up of 2 lifts.

1. Snatch

This is a lift from floor to overhead in one continuous movement.

How would you fail a snatch? - Good question, so there can’t be any pressing motion in the elbows, the lifter may not stand up and the bar falls forwards or backwards. (I'll explain how to fix these mistakes in another blog. So stay tuned!) The Athlete hasn’t waited for the down command from the judge.Therefore releasing the weight too early.

The athlete can't touch the bar with their foot at any time. If this happens before the athlete has started the lift they will be shown 3 red lights and asked to leave the stage. When dropping the bar the athlete can only let go once the bar is below shoulder height.

2. Clean and Jerk

This is a lift from floor to shoulders, then a clear pause/rest at the shoulders. Then from shoulder to overhead in 1 motion.

How would you fail a clean and jerk?

Again good question - so the rules are the same as a snatch, however there are a couple of extra rules that are the following. Your elbows can’t touch your knees when catching the clean. There must also be a clear pause between the top of the clean and the start of the jerk. You can’t create an extra whip in the bar for your jerk as this would count as a double bounce. resulting in a no lift and being shown 3 red lights even if they complete the jerk. (We will go into what whip is and how to use it in lifts in another blog!)

Why do I enjoy coaching weightlifting so much? And how did I start the sport?

Let's start with my training and how I got into weightlifting, And why I am the coach and the lifter I am today.

So I have been weightlifting since summer 2018. I think it was June that I started me and a fellow coach wanted to dabble into the scary world of crossfit. What was holding us back was the ability to “Olympic” weightlift.

I learned a little bit of weightlifting when I was in college after the rehabilitation of my ACL that I tore playing rugby when I was 17 years old. This meant a full reconstruction of the ACL and about 9 months rehab before even stepping on the rugby pitch again.

After this rehab my S+C coach at college did try and teach me how to clean. So Anyway getting to the point my friend Josh saw this dude on the classic INSTAGRAM called Khrys Speed Shifting some FUCKING heavy weight about and making it look easy when he would just dump that shit on the floor. I mean i loved the look of that and thought, do you know what i wanna go for a session and get you to coach me.

So the following week we went to see “Speedy” at his first gym he co-owned in Bedford called Tribe strength. I quickly got the buzz for weightlifting. Soon enough all I wanted to do was weightlifting and focus my whole training around that.

So quite quickly I binned off all the cardio and the shitty burpees that come along with crossfit. Since then we have had many chats about where I want to end up and what my goals are. (How khrys has coached me and helped me get the the position i am in now is definitely another blog all by itself)

Since then I have done a handful of comp and March this year I was crowned the u23’s 102kg English Champion. This was a target of ours and I was so happy to achieve this goal.

Our goals now are to win the british and get into the 2026 commonwealth squad.

Enough about me and my lifting.

More about why I love coaching and why I do it as my job! So I own a weightlifting and powerlifting gym in St.Ives Called NOVA PERFORMANCE.

We are based on nuffield road, enfield court, unit 9. I have a great team of coaches and even better athletes who are also pushing for great things in their lifting career.

I’m sure we will go in about these athletes in time and why each athlete I train is special, even if they are wanting to compete and they just take up the sport for recreational purposes.

So I hold weightlifting and powerlifting classes. And we have around 17 classes a week. I also coach athletes on a 1-2-1 basis and on a remote online basis.

So usually we start with complete beginner or novice lifters who want to learn or start getting that extra edge to compete and get to that next level.

I love seeing the progress that each individual lifter will make and how much it means to them to improve, (even if they don't believe in themselves) my lifters range from ages currently 13 to 60 years old. (or shall we say years young!) All the principles stay the same.

So technique and movement patterns come first then load second!!! Yes there will be days that the athlete may move poorly compared to other days and I will encourage them to hit the set percentages or get them to move heavier loads and this can create a better session for the athlete and 9/10 times they will be forced to move better due to more load on the bar.


I hope you enjoyed the read and stay posted for the next one, I aim to get one out weekly so stay tuned.

If you have any questions just shoot me an email on

If you want to see some of my training logs and videos follow me on Instagram

See you all soon!

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