When Nick Abbott tries to encourage middle school and high school students to get involved with weightlifting, the questions he poses are hard to say no to.
Want to run faster?
“When I ask the kids if they want to run faster, move quicker, jump higher, hit harder, be more explosive and be less prone to injury,” Abott said, “they usually nod yes.”
Now, after working in the Little Falls high school with Jack Marmon for several years as a strength and conditioning coach, Abbott has helped start the Little Falls Olympic Weightlifting Club, which competed in its first-ever competition at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Dec. 14.
“The Little Falls strength program has progressed to the point where the athletes wanted more, so I started the club because it is a great way to bring competition into training,” Abbott said.
Olympic-style weightlifting involves snatch and clean and jerk lifts, which help with sports performance and athleticism.
“Olympic weightlifting is a great way for the athletes to showcase their talent and hard work while taking the benefits into the other sports they play,” Abbott said.
The high school club trains after school four days a week, working on technique and strength for about 45 – 60 minutes.
While the majority of the team has reasonably seasoned lifters, new members are encouraged to and have joined in.
“Most of the lifters this year have been working with me for a few years, but we also have some that are just getting started in learning technique,” Abbott said. “We have a mix of males and females making up the 12-person club.
“It would be very difficult and unsafe to go to a meet without some volume of training under the belt,” he said.
There are four open meets for all team members to compete in, along with a state championship for those who qualify.
The grueling nature of the sport doesn’t allow for frequent competitions due to needed recovery time, leading to meets taking place every three or four weeks.
Little Falls already had two lifters, Jalen Wuchko and Jake Novotny, qualify for the national meet in their age and weight group during its first meet and is still looking for new members.
“I am always looking for out of season athletes and students not currently involved in sports to get involved,” Abbott said.