Falcon Strength helps make students strong


Kellianne Lopez

A Falcon Strength member does a clean at practice.

Mitchell Liermann, Reporter

The Falcon Strength weightlifting team has begun its fall training season.

Started by Mike Jasiczek, sociology teacher and coach, the team trains and performs in competitive Olympic weightlifting.

The team meets four days a week and practices from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., focusing on improving technique and increasing strength.

According to Jasiczek, Olympic weightlifting is far more beneficial than normal weightlifting exercises like bench presses or bicep curls. The exercises are designed to take advantage of many of the body’s muscles to lift heavy weight.

“A lot of [exercises] are single joint movements,” Jasiczek said. “These involve the entire body. It mimics playing sports. It makes you more explosive, more athletic and more coordinated.”

The team is open to anyone who wishes to participate, regardless of age, gender, or prior weight lifting skill.

“Actually if you’ve never lifted a weight in your life, it’s even better,” Jasiczek said because then it is not necessary to “unteach bad habits.”

The program helps improve strength and flexibility very quickly.

“The flexibility issue is immediate. We will make you more flexible,” Jasiczek said. “I had a guy that was four inches away from dunking a basketball, and I had him dunking in a month using just an empty bar.”

According to Jasiczek, students should see improvement within a month.

There are two official Olympic lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk.

The snatch involves a lifter using his entire body to lift a bar over his head as they fall into a squat position. This allows the lifter to move more weight less distance.

The clean and jerk has a lifter use his legs to help pull a bar up into his chest, hold the position for one second, then bring it over his head into a lunge position.

Despite the benefits of these weightlifting techniques, they are very skill-based and need to be taught by a qualified instructor to prevent incorrect form or injury.

Tom Cross, weightlifting coach at MidAmerica Nazarene University, said that it takes “about seven years” to master the technique.

The team also competes in weightlifting events, some of which involve traveling around the country. They have competed in Florida, Denver and Hutchinson, to name a few, and will compete in Dallas this year.

As part of the program, members will also participate in a “Lift-a-thon” near the end of each season. The Lift-a-thon involves members lifting increasingly heavier weights in order to raise funds for the program.

Those interested in joining Falcon Strength can contact Jasiczek for more information.