Choosing an Olympic Lifting Coach

by olyhq on October 26, 2011

There are a number of different trainers, coaches and instructors out there. But as you see in anything, there are good certifications and bad certifications.

Personal Trainers
Let’s start with the bad. Now…These aren’t necessarily bad, but they are just less specific. This This first group are really just personal trainers that have been certified by some organization to train people. Pretty much anyone with a personal training certificate or certification of any kind could “claim” they are in Olympic lifting coach. This could include ACE certifications, ISSA, AFAA, and on and on. Some personal trainers may have a high degree of knowledge in the Olympic lifts, the problem is, they don’t SPECIALIZE in them. It is just a small piece of an overall curriculum.

Independent Coaches
You will also find some big names in Olympic lifting that offer their own individual “certifications”. This could include former big name coaches, former Olympic athletes, or potentially someone who has not real qualifications. It runs the gamut. Some of these can be bad, but some could be very good. You may find a “guru” of sorts willing to educate you individually and they might know the ins and outs of Oly lifting better than anyone else. I would recommend talking to a few past/current clients, checking reviews online, and having a discussion with the coach themselves to judge their abilities.

USAW Coaches (The Winner!)
The biggest and most well-known body of “official” coaches is the USA Weightlifting coaches.
“USA Weightlifting (USAW), Colorado Springs, Colo., is the National Governing Body (NGB) for Olympic weightlifting in the United States. USAW is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and a member of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). As the NGB, USAW is responsible for conducting Olympic weightlifting programs throughout the country. The organization conducts a variety of programs that will ultimately develop Olympic, World Championship and Pan American Games’ winners on the junior and senior level.”
While you could still find a rotten egg in the bunch, you are most likely going to get someone who knows what they are talking about when it comes to Olympic Lifting. The coaches have different “levels” so you can know how much time they have put into their Oly education. Level 1 being the lowest, and level 5 being the most senior and most experienced. This certification requires exams, Some of the higher levels also require the coach to pass background checks and have a CPR certification.

CrossFit Olympic Lifting Coaches
Lastly, there is a new class of Oly coaches from a CrossFit specialty certification. The CrossFit Olympic lifting cert iis a two day seminar that a CrossFit coach is eligible to complete. As of the writing of this article, the CrossFit website does not show any testing requirement for the completion of this course. The class is usually taught by Mike Burgener who is a Level 5 USAW coach.

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