Only Division III program with two full-time strength coaches
PELLA — Central College’s head strength coach Kyle Johnson recently competed in the USA Weightlifting National Championships in Council Bluffs.
At the championships in the 231-pound weight class, Johnson lifted a personal record 297-pound snatch and 341 pounds in the clean and jerk. With a total of 638 pounds, a personal best, Johnson landed in eighth place. Last year Johnson placed 11th with a 591-pound total. But Johnson explained that being a competitive weightlifter takes more than just strength.
“The snatch and the clean and jerk are very technical lifts that require a great deal of strength, speed, power, technique, timing and concentration,” said Johnson. “Visualization and mental conditioning are just as important as the physical training.”
In order to lift at the national championships, competitors have to reach a certain qualifying total based on weight class at a local meet. The qualifying total for Johnson’s weight class was 628 pounds. As the top weightlifting meet in the country, the championships are a qualifying meet for the 2011 Pan-American Games and the 2011 World Championships.
As a passionate weightlifter since his student-athlete days at Central, Johnson was inspired to continue into competitive weightlifting by former Central College strength coach Steve Lewis. To pursue competitive strength competitions, Johnson became a member of the Des Moines Strength Institute and trains as a part of its club team.
“The great thing about the sport of weightlifting is the competition,” Johnson said. “There are no other factors. It’s just you and the weight. Your preparation determines your success.”
Johnson is in his first year as head strength and conditioning coordinator at Central and his fourth year on the Dutch staff, and he knows that his competitive lifting experience will help him train student-athletes as well as inspire others to join weightlifting competitions.
“Through training with other lifters and coaches at competitions, I have learned a great deal that I can implement into our strength and conditioning programs for our student-athletes,” Johnson said. “It also gives me a chance to train with our student-strength coaches and former student-athletes who are interested in Olympic weightlifting.”
Johnson has served as a USA Weightlifting club coach and as a competitive weightlifter has won Olympic lifting titles in the 105-kilogram class (231 pounds) at the Georgia Games, the Chattanooga Open and the Southeastern Regional meet in 2005 and the Emory Open in 2007. He was 11th in the 2007 American Open.
A certified strength and conditioning specialist, Johnson is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He’s an Elliott, Iowa native and graduate of Villisca High School.