There’s a new sport at Weber State University, and it’s Olympic weightlifting.
Earlier this year, Weber State became the first university in the state of Utah to host a weightlifting club. Club President Matthew Barker said that when the club was first started, he was worried it might not succeed.
“We actually trained at 6 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday when we first got the club going,” Barker said. “That was the only time that the Human Performance Center in the Swenson Gym was available, and I thought for sure nobody was going to show up.”
Several months later, the weightlifting club is up to 20 members, and has already held its first competition.
“I think for our first practice, we had 14 people show up,” Barker said. “And it has gone up every day since.”
Olympic weightlifting consists of two exercises: the snatch and the clean and jerk. The snatch is performed by starting in a squatting position to grab the weight Then the weight is raised over the athlete’s head, and the athlete rises up from the squatting position to a standing position.
The clean and jerk is performed in a similar method as the snatch. The athlete grabs the weight, and raises up to roughly chest height, where the bar rests across the shoulders and the collarbone. From there, the weight is lifted straight up over the athlete’s head, with both arms fully extended.
“(Olympic weightlifting is) obviously a strength building exercise,” Barker said. “But there is also a lot of speed and coordination involved with weightlifting.”
The weightlifting club meets three times a week in the Swenson Gym, where they practice for competitions. Barker and several other weightlifting club members will kick off the fall semester by competing in the 2014 National University Championships taking place from Sept. 25-28, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.