USA Weightlifting Features Masters Learn From t...

Masters Learn From the Best at OTC

By Kevin Farley | Aug. 19, 2016, 3:27 p.m. (ET)

Earlier this month, 18 men and women left their jobs, spouses and lives behind and traveled to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Their sole focus: weightlifting.  For 5 days, the campers learned from a coaching team with nearly a century of weightlifting experience. 

"The enthusiasm of these athletes have been great,"  Masters Camp Coach and 1992 Olympian Paul Fleschler said. "It's a great group. They have so much enthusiasm and are so willing to learn. It's just been a privilege to be part of the group."

The campers worked side-by-side with some of the most experienced athletes in the sport. For the coaches, they couldn't be happier to help out these dedicated athletes.

"It's always an honor to coach at the Olympic Training Center and all the history that's here," Head Coach Wil Fleming said. "I work with a lot of masters in my gym so I just like working with that group, how hard they work, and the progress we can make in just a couple of days. It's really cool."

"I really like working with the Masters because they're really driven to improve," coach Jackie Black said."They work really hard, they have really great attitudes, they just want to learn something. It's really rewarding to work with the Masters group."

The Masters Camp program included six training sessions as well as education about anti-doping, nutrition & recovery and stretching & mobility.

"One thing I like to do working with Masters is that I understand them," 3-time Olympian Fred Lowe said. "I am 69 years old and I still compete in the Masters. I was telling our two elder participants that I'm going to really enjoy working with you guys because I feel your pain."

Masters are USAW members who are 35 years of age or older. Masters make up an important segment of the USA Weightlifting membership. 

"It's great to see so many people so passionate about the sport and so ready to improve their skills," 2008 Olympian and Associate Executive Director of Business & Development of ‎USA Weightlifting Carissa Gump said. "This is my favorite camp of the year." 

The stretching & mobility portion of the program was led by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). 

"We taught them some new stuff to take home, mobility, flexibility, dynamic stuff and take that to incorporate into their workouts," NSCA Performance Center Assistant Coach Aubrey Watts said. "The athletes are doing great. They definitely were challenged with some of the moves that we did, but they said they can't wait to incorporate some of the stuff into their workouts and warm-ups."

The NSCA's involvement in the camp highlights an important partnership between USAW and the NSCA.

"Just being able to be involved and running the warm-ups was a great opportunity," NSCA Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Scott Caufield said. "It's awesome to see this many people for a Masters camp to come out and be interested in weightlifting."

For the campers, the experience was invaluable to their weightlifting endeavors, whether they've been lifting for years or just weeks.

"I am 61 and just started weightlifting about 6 weeks ago," Charles Hamm said. "The coaching was outstanding and prepared me for the Ohio State Weightlifting Championships this Sunday."

"I loved every minute," Maria Fudala said. "The atmosphere was great. I loved seeing people go for it and supporting one another whether they made the lift or not. It was just awesome to be around other Masters athletes that love weightlifting as much as I do."

If you want to get involved in weightlifting in your community, become a USA Weightlifting member and find a local club.