On the “right” to lift

This post was inspired by the lovely Pocket Rocket Fashion’s post on the “right” to be a fashion blogger. See, I read a lot of stuff on Tumblr & elsewhere about whether the less good lifters (like me!) have the “right” to compete, or post their lifts publicly, or even call themselves powerlifters. 

One comment I often see is along the lines of “Make sure your lifts are proportionate – there’s nothing worse than seeing a 200lb guy who can’t deadlift 300lbs” or similar. 

Here’s a thing: that guy deadlifting <300lbs has every right to talk about his lifts, to post a video of his lifts, or even take his lifts to an open competition. Why wouldn’t he? 

Sure, he’s not going to win any competition he enters with that lift, but is winning all people compete for? Should we only enter competitions if we have a hope of winning? I understand that for some people, the prospect of coming last is upsetting, but for others it’s not; I’ve come last or second-last in almost every competition I’ve done, but I don’t regret a thing. 

Why would someone watching a competition object to a lifter entering when he doesn’t have a chance of winning? What harm does it do the spectator; or, for that matter, the other lifters? So it might add 10 minutes to the flight, and that’s 10 minutes of your life you won’t get back. Is that REALLY such a hardship? 

If you object to people posting videos of their non-elite lifts, or talking about them: just scroll past, seriously. Don’t watch that video, Unfollow that person. It’s no biggie. 

Maybe that person posting the non-elite lift is a novice, or an older master, or is recovering from injury, or is just someone who lifts for fun, or has a disability you can’t see. They have every right to post their lifts publicly. What harm does it do to the viewers? 

At my first competition I was a complete novice. Even though I’d been lifting for 18 months at that point, my progression had been pretty slow. I think I lifted 62.5kg / 37.5kg / 105kg at 75kg bodyweight, which is a poor result in the grand scheme of things but which was all PBs for me. I came last, naturally. 

Here I am with my squat opener at the GBPF SE Open – 55kg (10th April 2011)

Should I have not bothered, stayed at home, spared the audience the ‘upset’ of seeing my amateur lifts? Did people boo? No, they did not – they clapped and cheered and made me feel great. If I’d been booed, I probably would have gone home & never lifted again – is that what competitions are about? No they are not. They’re for competing against yourself, as well as other people. Local competitions (which this was) are for learning the ropes, figuring out how to compete and getting practice in. And personally, I think lifters should start competing as soon as possible if they want to compete, not once they’ve reached an elite level – competing is a skill that needs to be learned, along with lifting technique. 

Sorry if this seems ranty (which it is!) but I’m just sick of seeing others implying that novice or less-good lifters should just hide in the shadows until they’re good enough to come out. Bobbins. Lifting is great, lifting is for everyone, and it would make me really sad if lifting became an elitist, snobby sport which you have to be “this good to partake in”. Everyone has to start somewhere, and no-one has to aim to become elite. 

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  1. Pingback: Pre-competition nerves | Laura Lifts

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