Whether he's eating and training like an IFBB Pro Bikini competitor or tackling a 5,000-calorie cheat day, YouTuber Matt Morsia – best known as MattDoesFitness – is no stranger to a challenge. This week, he's tackling the highly-technical sport of Olympic weightlifting, guided by none other than Team GB's Sarah Davies.
For the unacquainted, Olympic weightlifting is centred on two competition lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. "The winner is decided by the two lifts combined," says Davies. "You get three attempts at snatch, three attempts at clean and jerk, your best from each makes a combined total, and that's how the medals are decided."
In this arena, form is everything. "When guys try weightlifting specifically, if they've already got good gym training and strength basis, they struggle more from an ego point of view," says Davies. "Because it's so technical, you have to do the lighter weights. You can't just slap the weight on and hope for the best."
After donning some knee sleeves, Morsia and Davies run through a series of warm-up drills, including weight-free overhead squats and half-snatches with the bar – "my shoulder mobility is so bad," he grimaces – before tackling the first Olympic move.
Morsia loads the bar with 40kg and gets to work. Soon, he's mastered a full snatch and moves on to a snatch balance. So far, so good – until he slams his hip on the bar on the way down, sending a shooting pain down the nerves on his right leg. (continued below)
Adjusting his technique, Morsia has another attempt. And nails it. "Sarah just said I've got the best snatch she's ever seen, so we're going to work up to a max single," he says. "It Sarah's idea, and she said it's completely 100 per cent safe, nothing bad can happen."
Loading 60kg on the bar, he tackles the move again. To the untrained eye, it looks pretty flawless, but "in competition, that would be a no-lift, because you pressed it out." Morsia loads the bar with 70kg weights, and buckles halfway through the snatch. Twice.
After a successful third attempt, he loads the bar with 80kg, and nails it on the first go. With a shaky but technically sound 85kg lift in the bag, the duo move on the clean and split jerk.
Starting with 90kg, Morsia progresses up to 110kg before taking a break. "I was so aware I'm getting more and more fatigued," he says, reflecting on his last attempt. "That jerk felt super heavy, basically." He readies to tackle 115kg, his heaviest lift yet.
"This is the first point where I'm feeling a little bit scared to be honest," he says. "Actually, that's a lie. I felt a little bit scared when I was in the clean-to-jerk position there. I'd say no one stand behind me for this lift, basically."
After two attempts, he decides to quit while he's ahead. "I'd say you did pretty well," says Davies. "I was concerned at the start about how we'd get on but 85(kg) and 110(kg) are pretty decent numbers."
"I thought I was going to be better than I was," says Morsia. "That was pretty humbling to be honest. Especially with the snatch, for me it's a very small weight but it felt so heavy."
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