For ters, mastering the art of the barbell (i.e. the snatch, clean, and jerk) is an arduous process.  So much to learn and so little time.  That’s probably why many of us find the the Olympic lifts so appealing.  But what happens when you can only train three times a week?  How can you quickly improve that first pull or those sluggishly shuffling feet?  While there is no substitute for increasing the volume and frequency of your training in the gym, there is one thing you can do outside of the gym that pays big dividends to your lifting:  watching YouTube videos of elite level weightlifters lifting.

I have been training alone for the last three years, but yet all of my lifts have continued to improve.  Along the way I have talked with a lot of great coaches and attended some very worthwhile seminars that have added to the toolbox that makes me a better weightlifting coach and athlete, no doubt.  But how can one improve without the constant supervision of a coach to give you that immediate feedback that is so essential for continued success?  I credit a lot of the daily success, the small improvements, to devouring a crap ton of videos from the World Weightlifting Championships, daily training from MDUSA, and a host of other online sources and then comparing that to videos I record of myself lifting.

There is some science explaining how watching technically sound lifters lift can help improve your own lifting.  It all stems from our mirror neurons.  Mirror neurons are a system of motor cells that fire within our bodies when we observe someone else moving.  It was an evolutionary advantage to our early primate ancestors as knowledge had to be conveyed without the use of language.  We learned then, and continue to learn now, by watching and doing.

So if you have been bitten by the weightlifting bug and are looking to slowly improve your lifts outside of the gym, head to YouTube to see how the elites lift.  Take certain styles that you think would be appropriate to your own body type and combine them with the foundational principles and mechanics that you have learned here at Steelworks .  Observe.  Experiment.  Retest.  Record videos of yourself lifting.  Become a student of noticing the minutiae of your lifting.  Where is your bar path?  How quickly do your feet move?  Are you reaching full extension, etc?  How does your lifting compare with the elites?  Use those things that improve your lifting and discard those that do not.  Understand that it is a process and, most importantly, don’t forget to have fun along the way!