So why would I not join CrossFit City Road for my first try at weightlifting and expect to ace it?!
Housed in the Old Street branch of Gymbox, the club offers classic CrossFit classes and gymnastic-based sessions as well as the barbell class I tried. As expected, the two instructors and handful of committed regulars who gathered for a Friday evening class were pretty hardcore – there were muscles popping out everywhere and very limited faffing (in fact, the only messing around was from me wondering around not knowing where to grab equipment).
Reassuringly, though, they seemed equally friendly and welcomed me into the class, offering mirroring faces of pain as we were taken through our intense warm-up. It turns out weightlifters need flexible hips and my runners’ legs are pretty stiff but I didn’t get stuck in any bendy positions, so it was time to grab a barbell from the stand.
*S**t! I can’t lift the bar!*
I’d always assumed the heavy bit was the black disk at each end but the bar is quite hefty on its own. I quickly realised I was going to struggle in this class. I finally managed to haul the bar up out of its stand and thump it onto the floor. Already feeling slightly defeated, I grabbed the bar and battled it into position for my first lifts. It felt completely alien to me and the idea of sending a heavy metal object flying towards my head for a 'clean' seemed suicidal!
Again, I was completely new at this!
Why did I expect to just waltz in and be great at something I’d never tried?! Weightlifting is like nothing I’ve ever done before and requires a lot of technique to get right. Angrily arguing the bar into position with a tense body was definitely not the recipe for success. Armed with a better attitude, I tried again.
Weirdly, as soon as I was more open to failure, I seemed to succeed. I guess I was less worried about doing it right and more motivated to just give it a try and enjoy myself. Soon I was 'cleaning' and 'jerking' without wingeing and even lifting the heavier bar. The instructors were on hand to help tweak and improve my technique until I was performing fairly convincing lifts.
All too soon, the class was over. Despite the jelly arms and legs, I really wanted to carry on. I'm excited to go back with my beginner head firmly screwed on.
If you fancy giving weightlifting or CrossFit a go, CrossFit City Road offer a free trial class. Sign up here.