The word “weightlifting” conjures up all sorts of images.
For some, it triggers flashbacks of hours spent in a hot, smelly, cracker-box high school weight room, with screaming coaches, banging metal music and banging metal plates.
Others may think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Dexter Jackson and other legendary body-builders.
And for us boomers, the word weightlifting reminds us of the beloved SNL characters, Hans and Franz, decked out in their classic grey, towel-stuffed sweat suits…ready to…PUMP (clap) YOU UP!
Fortunately for the kids and adults in the new Olympic-style Chaos Weightlifting Club in Pueblo West, none of these images match their experience as competitive weightlifters.
These dedicated competitors, ranging from age 7 to 42, train for up to five months to compete just two lifts, the “Snatch” and the “Clean & Jerk.”
Both of these lifts demand precise technique, and none of the Chaos Club competitors are allowed to work with real weights until they have mastered each step and technique using a broomstick or PVC pipe.
All lifters strictly follow the training guidelines set forth by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), which has its headquarters in Colorado Springs.
Each lifter also receives individualized training, and sets their own personal goals based on their ability.
Dustin Holman and Cory Sullivan, the co-founders and coaches of the Chaos Weightlifting Club, are highly trained and very passionate about helping to revive the sport of Olympic-style weightlifting in the U.S.
Holman and Sullivan bring a tremendous amount of professional training and experience to the Club.
Both coaches have had success in their own right, as competitors in national USA WL sanctioned events, thanks to the guidance of their mentor Allen Hedrick, the Strength and Conditioning Coach at CSU-Pueblo.
The two were hooked on the sport after completing their internship with Hedrick.
Holman headed to Adams State University where he earned his master’s degree in exercise physiology/science, and served as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Sullivan stayed at CSU-Pueblo where he also earned his master’s degree, and served as the Strength and Condition Coach for the CSU-P baseball program.
Holman and Sullivan found a home for their new club at CrossFit Pueblo West/Commit And Conquer Fitness Center on South Purcell in Pueblo West.
The Chaos WL Club officially started last March with two, eleven year old competitors.
It has grown quickly, with more than 20 members currently training or competing.
“The response has been awesome,” said Holman.
“Understandably, parents, pediatricians, and other experts in adolescent health always have a questions about safety, and whether younger kids should be lifting weights,” Holman said.
“There is no question that any weightlifting by kids — and by adults for that matter — must be done with careful supervision, and attention to proper technique and safety.”
Holman’s colleague, Cory Sullivan went on to explain that many of the misperceptions and myths about weightlifting among adolescents, such as the risk of potentially stunting their growth, have been cleared up by modern science and research.
“Core strength training has tremendous benefits for kids and adults,” Sullivan said.
“These benefits include reduced risk of injury, healthy body weight, better cardiovascular health, stronger bones and all around better physical and mental health.”
Many of the kids and their parents would add self-confidence, discipline and fun to the list of benefits.
Diane and Mark House’s son Michael is a sixth grader, and one of the original Chaos Club members.
Michael participates in the Youth/School age division at the Club’s USA WL sanctioned competitions.
“We weren’t sure what to make of it at first,” Diane said.
“But Cory [Sullivan] and Dustin [Holman] really impressed us with their level of knowledge, commitment to safety, and their personal experience,” Diane added.
“This has been a wonderful experience for, Michael.
“He really enjoys football and other team sports, but this has given him a chance to compete as an individual, and set his own personal goals.”
Michael’s father, Mark House, is a youth football coach and a health care professional that cares for adolescents on a daily basis.
“From a coach’s perspective, I see my son and the other lifters in the club getting stronger, more explosive and more confident,” Mark said.
“Athletes in many sports can benefit from both the core lifting, and the cross-training that is part of this program,”
Seven members of the Chaos crew, ages 7 to 13, recently competed in the Inner Strength Fall Classic in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Six team members took first place in their respective divisions (based on age and weight), and five qualified for the 2014 Youth National Championships. Paige Holman (13) also qualified for the 2014 Junior National Championships.
The minimum age for the junior division is usually 15, but Holman was invited to compete as a 13 year old because of her exceptional skill and strength.
There is no question that the future of USA Weightlifting looks bright from the Pueblo West point of view.
For more information about the Chaos Weightlifting Club, stop by the CrossFit/Commit And Conquer Fitness Center at 141 S. Purcell Blvd., Suite 130, in Pueblo West; email Cory@commitandconquer.com or call 252-3595.
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