Get really strong with Olympic weightlifting, soon in Kapaa

There’s excitement in Kapaa in anticipation of a new enterprise opening the weekend of Nov. 6. There will be a grand opening that weekend and classes starting on Nov. 7. The new enterprise aims to help college athletes, those playing football, basketball, volleyball, track and field athletes, or even golfers who want to develop explosive strength, especially in the hip region, to maximize that potential. The dream child of two certified U.S.A. Weightlifting coaches, Altius Athletics is a new style of fitness club that will host official Olympic Weightlifting competitions and develop a registered team. Because the gym will be an official site of competition, these meets can be used to qualify to make National Qualifications.

So why would athletes in other sports consider adding Olympic weightlifting to their regimen of training? Obviously the exponential increase in explosive strength and greater power per pound of body weight is one benefit, but Olympic weightlifting also confers other important benefits such as flexibility, balance and co-ordination. These fitness goals have broad application to many sports and even functional fitness pursuits.

The Olympic lifts in competition are the “snatch” which you have likely seen if you follow the Olympic Games. This is where you pick up the bar and thrust it overhead in one fluid motion. There is also the “clean and jerk” wherein you pick up the bar and raise it to your shoulders in one motion, pause and then press it overhead. The idea is to maintain control of the weight throughout the movement. Usually in this type of sport the training is programmed in 12-week cycles.

The classes offered by coaches David Johnson and MacKenzie O’Neill will assist beginners in technique and building exercises as well as nutrition for performance and competition. Students will initially be able to join the classes to determine if this is something that they would like to pursue and then gradually focus on competition in the sport.

Classes will be limited to about 10 participants, with both coaches in attendance so everyone has a chance to lift under the guidance of a coach. There will be three lifting platforms in the facility and the class will consist of warm-ups, the lifts, a demo of the lift properly performed and adjunct skills training.

Age ranges begin as young as 12 and go up to masters level which is 32 years and older. Women as well as men compete in Olympic Weightlifting, ever since women’s Olympic style weightlifting made its debut in 2000.

Body weight classes for competitive lifters ranges between the 123-pound class and goes up to the 231+ class for men. For women, it starts at the 106-pound body weight class and goes up to the 139-pound weight class.

Weightlifting is a relatively inexpensive sport because like running, the most important piece of equipment is a good pair of lifting shoes. The rest of the gear, like a belt and wraps, etc. ,are secondary to good lifting boots, which are pivotal.

The new facility will be loosely affiliated with KAC Kapaa and classes will be held in the adjunct gym at the Kapaa KAC gym. Therefore, to get more information, you can ask at or call KAC Kapaa, or phone David at (425) 327-7410 or Mac at (630) 450-1794, or check out Altius Athletics on Facebook or Instagram. The Olympic motto is “Citius, altius, fortis,” which is Latin for “Faster, higher and stronger.” Olympic style weightlifting is a way to make all that happen.


Dr. Jane Riley, EdD, is a certified personal trainer, nutritional adviser and behavior change specialist. She can be reached at (808) 212-8119,


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