Podcast – Ep. 3 – Glenn Pendlay

In this podcast episode, I interview American Olympic weightlifting coach Glenn Pendlay on the good and bad of USAW and American weightlifting. In this podcast you’ll hear about:

– the role of the USAW
– how the USAW is funded
– why USAW doesn’t get more funding
– what they can do to improve
– some ill-conceived impressions about the USAW and how American weightlifters train
– various strong American lifters
– how American and Chinese weightlifter selection compares
– how American weightlifters have to sacrifice for the sport
– Glenn’s experience with international lifters and drug use
what holds the US back
– general training methods Glenn employs
what’s the best way to improve weightlifting in the US

Muscle Driver USA
California Strength
There will be a live webcast of Pendlay’s lifters training today. Be sure to check it out (link in comments).

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53:32 long. Also available on iTunes.

9 thoughts on “Podcast – Ep. 3 – Glenn Pendlay

  1. Awesome, I am really looking forward to hearing Glenn’s perspective on the matter.

    Also, thanks again for the advice on leaving assitance work out of the Novice program. I am excited to start the linear progression next week. After thats through, I will more than likely buy your ebook and try to do a TM type program with oly focus.

    Your the man dude.

  2. This was just great! A few comments…

    I know anecdotally from a guy who trained with them that the Canadian Olympic lifters can’t get the more effective drugs that the europeans and chinese use. They literally just don’t have access to them, and that in part contributes to the results on the podium. Does anyone else know about this? I literally know nothign about this stuff.

    As one of those outsiders that Glenn referred to earlier in the podcast, I’ve always thought that if we could just grab some guys out of the NFL or NCAA D1 football, or somehow convince them to do it, we could dominate at the olympics. Our best guys just aren’t into weightlifting. Too bad that’s never going to happen, but I was pleased to have my preconcieved notion confirmed. I just love it when that happens.

    One thing that seemed a little contradictory is that he said our lack of success all boils down to money, and that the market isn’t demanding weight lifting, but he’s not interested in public financing like more successful countries do it. It seems that we’re left with some wishful thinking, hoping that more people (and I guess corporations/companies?) will eventually start to support weight lifting more. Sure the sport is growing, but we’re not going to get to a thousand coaches or whatever as long as football and other sports are popular. And companies aren’t going to throw down big money if the crowds at the meets are small and the tv audience just isn’t there. Maybe the internet can help solve this? But still, let’s face it, weight lifting just isn’t as fun to watch as football, hockey, etc. This isn’t criticism, I guess I’m just remarking on the shitty situation.

    Glenn said he’d change on a dime if he found a better training system. Here is one. I think this is the answer to the USA taking gold next time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=v4qijyxBV9g

    Again, I really enjoyed this. I’ll do my part at least to keep promoting lifting. Thanks!

  3. Is today’s on iTunes yet? If so my phone is gay. I’m only seeing the first 2.

    I forgot to ping the feed, so it may not have been updated when you looked. It’s up now.


  4. This was a great interview. I think it is awesome that this issue is being examined so critically. I recently read some of Pendlay’s articles and it has changed my perspective and my choice of programming.

  5. Great podcast, guys! My favorite part – “if you like a weightlifting club, go buy their t-shirt!” I have been doing this for quite some time and people are often jealous of my awesome t-shirt collection. :)

  6. Great interview and conversation Justin.

    I think the NFL siphoning off talent is an excuse. Those guys would mostly be in the 105 and 105+ categories anyway, so where are the rest of our world-class athletes in the lower weight categories?
    They are in the NFL — you forget about the 175 defensive back who can power clean 350 and not make it to the NFL. There are exceptional athletes at all positions, and furthermore they would hypothetically cut weight anyway.

    Oh, here’s one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7qtxqJatCA
    Clearly there are strong, top-notch athletes in our sport, probably more than some small countries who win medals (Cuba, Moldova come to mind).
    Again, you’re ignoring the drug issue. Pendlay was told by a Moldovan lifter that he’d have to “take more medicine to compete with the Chinese”. You think small countries care about policing their athletes for drugs when they can achieve fame by medaling?

    The big bucks in Europe and everywhere else is in soccer. Sure, weightlifters get paid decent money, enough to live well and train on in some countries, and some degree of fame in Europe and around the world. Perhaps money is a greater motivator to excel than we currently imagine–
    It isn’t even really about the money; it’s about the fact that the cream of the crop are a) selected to be a weightlifter at a young age and b) enhancing their cream of the crop stock with drugs. Did you not listen to the podcast?

    Or perhaps their ability to cycle on and off drugs makes catching up to the rest of the international lifting community particularly difficult.

    The US has plenty of phenomenal athletes who work hard, are strong and getting stronger. We have good coaches who are really starting to turn the heat on now. It’s simply a matter of time, greater public awareness and luck. Meanwhile hopefully doping will become better regulated internationally.
    I agree with you, yet the last sentence will never happen. American weightlifting should be on a very slow rise, yet might increase at a higher rate with internet exposure.


  7. Definitely listened to the podcast, I’m just not convinced about the cream of the crop argument. Drugs seem to be the big separator but public awareness and social/national prestige play a role.

    We have world class track and field athletes, it would seem those athletes and their performances on the international stage would suffer equally from the NFL siphoning off talent and USADA testing, but we still tend to medal. That said, there’s more money in track & field, and greater public awareness.

    always an interesting topic even without good solutions–to the other badass athletes lifting out there, i’ll see you on the platform. you better bring it.

    It’s a good point about track, but…did your high school have a track and field team? Probably. Did it have an Olympic weightlifting team? Almost always no. That’s the thing. Track and field still garners athletes and has a selection process similar to football while weightlifting does not.


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