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Olympic Lifting at 300+ Pounds?



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Hi Everyone,

I'm pre-op with my expected surgery in late summer or early fall. I'm reaching out to see if anyone started olympic lifting before losing some weight or being a more "normal" size. When I was a little thinner (like 230 at 5 foot 7) a few years ago I did olympic weightlifting for a few weeks before I moved abroad and had to stop. I LOVED it. I know strength training is important as you lose weight, and since I'm already losing, I'm wondering if a way to start up again from nothing would be olympic weightlifting. Did you have flexibility/mobility issues that prevented you from having good form? If you started while obese how did you start, how did you find a receptive community to start in, and do you regret it?

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I've been a powerlifter even when I was over 400 lbs. Lifting is a really size friendly community and there are lifters of all sizes. Go to an actual lifting gym, not crossfit. People who are seriously into it won't judge based on your size and some of them are probably large people anyway.

For flexibility, I've never had a problem but I think some of this depends on how you carry your weight and your overall fitness. Just make sure you focus on form and not lifting heavy as you get back into it so you don't hurt yourself.

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30 minutes ago, LaoDaBeirut said:

I've been a powerlifter even when I was over 400 lbs. Lifting is a really size friendly community and there are lifters of all sizes. Go to an actual lifting gym, not crossfit. People who are seriously into it won't judge based on your size and some of them are probably large people anyway.

For flexibility, I've never had a problem but I think some of this depends on how you carry your weight and your overall fitness. Just make sure you focus on form and not lifting heavy as you get back into it so you don't hurt yourself.

Thank you so much fo the insight and encouragement! I think the only reason I was thinking crossfit was because of the olympic lifting focus, but maybe powerlifting is the way to go. I'll broach the topic with my PT next week and see if she thinks I'm ready!

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I lifted but nowhere near the Olympic level. I love it and used it to get in shape before and after my surgery.

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Posted (edited)

I’m pre-op, 365 lbs, and I do Oly lifting as part of CrossFit. I did powerlifting (squat dead bench) and a little strongman but there’s something about weightlifting that is just… elegant and impressive.

Find a place with an actual Oly lifting coach, and preferably one who’s figured out how to teach large people. As an example, I have to move a lot faster after hip contact on both cleans and snatches so I don’t take a barbell to the gut. Your weights will be lower because it’s hard as a very large person to a) reach full extension and b) move under the bar effectively. But I am here to tell you it can be done. Mobility is huge so if you have issues, try something like GoWOD or ROMWOD and use props as need be.

I cannot WAIT until the fat is not an issue and I can just wear a compression shirt and lift “normally”. I’m already driving my team crazy asking when I can start doing it even if it’s with a freaking PVC pipe.

(PS for anyone else reading: “weightlifting” is clean & jerk and snatches only. Powerlifting is back squat, deadlift, and bench press. Everything else is “strength training”.)

Edited by vikingbeast

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