Article written by Travis Jewett I travel to a lot of gyms and talk to a lot of coaches and athletes. As a part of the MobilityWOD staff and the CrossFit Mobility Seminar staff I get asked all sorts of questions regarding exercise performance and selection. As someone who has been putting a bar on his back for over twenty years, I feel I have a lot of experience in training. I have made a long lifting career of performing the basics and constantly refining my skills and every now and then signing up for a powerlifting meet (my competitive outlet of choice) and putting myself on the platform. What I have found is lifters with relatively less experience and training age are always looking for that one extra exercise someone who is stronger and more famous or from a different country is doing that will take their performance to the next level. I am here to tell you it is a fallacy and a pipe dream.
Depending on what you are training for, there is a big question to consider when looking at that new cool exercise Klokov or the North Vietnamese and Chinese weightlifting team is doing; does it make sense with my goals and what I am looking to accomplish in my training. Many new trainees fall into the trap of what the elite are doing and never consider the difference in training age. Lifters on the international stage are typically in their early to mid-twenties and have been lifting, starting with a broomstick, since between 8-10 years old. This gives them a training age of 10-12 years. Most people who ask me if they should include the Klokov press or pancake good mornings after they witnessed it on Instagram are in their thirties and started lifting weights 6 months to 2 years ago, giving them a training age of 6 months to 2 years. This is an extremely important distinction to make as not only an athlete, but a coach.
Let us back track a minute and discuss this concept of training age. Training age is best described as the time from the first time you decided lifting weights should be part of your life until now. If today is the first day you ever walked into my gym and you say to me, “Travis, I have never lifted weights on a barbell in my entire life,” your training age for all intents and purposes is zero. If this is the case, the last thing on my mind is teaching you how to snatch. I need to see if you can even create a stable spine and hinge at the hip or push your hips back and