When it comes to fully embracing a strength sport, Jordan Weichers is the perfect definition. She started as a CrossFit athlete in 2014, then made the switch to weightlifting full-time after meeting California Strength coach Jason Starks. Weichers began formally competing as a 58kg athlete, and has since moved up to compete at 63kg, while becoming an increasingly accomplished athlete on the national scene.
In 2016, she took home gold in the clean & jerk and silver overall at the USA Weightlifting National Championships. Then at the 2017 American Open Final, Weichers walked away with another gold in clean & jerk and finished fourth overall.
Every year, she continues to improve her competition numbers, and with more motivation than ever, we wanted to learn more about her background and future goals.
Background and Recent Competitions
BarBend: Your athletic background stems from track/basketball/soccer, then CrossFit, and now weightlifting. Do you think a lot of your growth in weightlifting comes as a result from your diverse sports background?
Weichers: My experiences in different sports help me be driven, coachable, and athletic.
BarBend: You took home a gold medal at the 2017 AO Finals, what were your thoughts on the finals as a whole, and on receiving the gold?
Weichers: The 2017 AO Finals were very organized, which always makes it easier for the competitors to just focus on their lifting. The injuries I had going into it made me feel unprepared, but sometimes you have to just make it work. I couldn’t really do heavy clean and jerks two weeks leading up to the AO, but somehow managed to get gold in it. I was happy to get first place, yet knowing that my preparation could have been better still has me craving more.
BarBend: More recently, you competed at the Texas State Championships surpassing your AO numbers – was there a difference in your mindset leading up to this comp?
Weichers: The mindset was the same. The preparation was better for the TX State Championships. My legs and back were much stronger.
BarBend: You mention in both posts (AO & TX State Championships) that you had hurt your knee, what happened & how’s the recovery coming along?
Weichers: In the beginning of June, I was just doing a light overhead squat and felt something strain or tear in my quad tendon. I’m still not sure what happened exactly, and I think that was the hardest part about it. Not knowing the problem and not knowing how to fix it. The doctors couldn’t find anything except swelling in the MRI. Walking was hard and going up stairs sucked. I couldn’t do anything with my leg muscles for 8 weeks. I had to pull out of competing at the AO series 2 in Miami. I about lost my damn mind (laughs).
I made myself an upper body program. My bench press increased by 17 kilos, while my pulling strength and shoulder stability increased significantly. I had surgery on both shoulders back in college. They’re always the weakest part of my body, so it was nice to be able to solely focus on making my weak shoulders strong.
After a couple months, I started to try weightlifting again. I was doing light power snatches from high blocks to minimize knee bend. But as soon as it felt like I was making progress it would start hurting again. Eventually with enough rest I was able to start training for real again in the middle of October. I trained for six weeks, then hurt my low back on a warm-up clean two Saturdays before the AO.
I definitely went too hard too fast to try to get ready for the AO. I didn’t have time to rebuild my foundation. I went straight into high intensity lifts with a plan to rebuild after the AO. But you gotta do what you gotta do!
Now that the AO is over, I’m focusing on getting a good foundation of strength. I started a high volume squat program. This is the first time I’ve ever done sets of 10 and 8 on squat, and I love it! I’m three weeks into it now, and I can already feel the adaptations happening.
BarBend: We know you just competed, but do you have a next meet in mind for 2018?
Weichers: Jason Starks (my coach) and I usually do the Houston Weightlifting Championships in April. Then, we will do Nationals in May. We will probably do one in-between Nationals and the AO in December.
On Training and Moving
BarBend: Snatch Vs. Clean & Jerk. Which do you prefer more & why?
Weichers: Clean and Jerk, for sure. I’m still figuring out the snatch.
BarBend: How often do you train a week?
Weichers: I train 6x/week. I take Sunday off.
BarBend: You mention in a previous interview that you liked CrossFit when you started because of its competitive nature, for you, what’s the main reason weightlifting initially drew you in & has kept you hooked?
Weichers: My CrossFit coach, Armand McCormick, had me compete in a weightlifting meet because I lacked confidence. In my opinion, weightlifting competitions are more nerve-racking than CrossFit ones because it’s super quiet and everyone’s eyes are on YOU. You’re the only one on the stage. To gain confidence in competing, I did the most intimidating competition, a weightlifting competition.
Weightlifting has kept me hooked because I bombed out at my first AO. I knew I could do better than that, so I became obsessed with getting better at weightlifting. And I’m still going (laughs).
BarBend: You’re moving to be closer to your coach soon, what was the final straw that initiated this move? What type of sacrifices are coming with this move?
Weichers: Ever since I started weightlifting in 2015, I have ALWAYS trained alone. When I joined California Strength in 2016, I started training with Jason Starks about 2 or 3 times per month. Between Nationals in 2017 and the AO in 2017, my performance did not improve. Dave Spitz really opened my eyes when he told me to either quit weightlifting or move towards a coach.
Next weekend, I am moving to live in the suburb where Jason Starks lives. Right now my commute to work is just a few minutes. Moving will make my commute about 45-50 minutes each way. Also, I love working out in the morning but Jason trains at night. So I’ll have to try to stay awake (laughs). My boyfriend, Grant, also got a new job a few months ago which allows him to work from home and travel to a bunch of different schools and fitness centers. So that job helps us in the decision to move because only I will be commuting to Houston instead of both of us.
BarBend: You’ve said before that you like to write your goals on the fridge. What are some of your goals for weightlifting & personal self in 2018?
Weichers: Yes! There are new goals written on the fridge for 2018. They range from financial goals, to personal development goals, to weightlifting goals. For weightlifting, I have certain numbers I want to hit for snatch, C & J, back squat, and front squat. I also want to compete internationally this year.
On the Growth of Weightlifting and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
BarBend: In your opinion, do you think weightlifting as a whole will continue to evolve over the next few years, especially in lead up to the 2020 Olympics?
Weichers: Yes, I think it will continue to trend upwards. Right now we have some amazing youth and junior lifters who have a pretty good shot at medaling at the Olympics. It’s a pretty exciting time for weightlifting in the USA!
BarBend: How has weightlifting changed since you began as a full-time athlete? Whether it be popularity, public knowledge, and so forth.
Weichers: People still think weightlifting and powerlifting are the same (laughs). But the popularity is definitely growing. The AO in 2015 seemed huge compared to 2014. The weights you have to hit to qualify for these competitions are now heavier, so athletes are getting stronger. Expectations are higher.
BarBend: We’re seeing an awesome amount of growth with women competing in weightlifting, do you have any thoughts on why this is? Do you think CrossFit has helped it become more of a norm for female athletes to pursue niche strength sports?
Weichers: My teammate, Nicole Lim, wrote this awesome article about the growth of women in weightlifting!
BarBend: The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, do you think any of the American athletes have the potential to medal? If so, who & why?
Weichers: Yes! I think Sarah Robles will have another chance at medaling. I also think Harrison Maurus will because he ended a 20 year drought by medaling at the World Championships in December. He’s so young still and has so much potential.
BarBend: Do you have any pieces of advice for women weightlifters/strength athletes who may be on the fence of diving fully into a strength sport? Or beginning to take their workouts a more seriously?
Weichers: Work hard and listen to your coach. Be ready to make some sacrifices if you are going to take it more seriously.
BarBend: What’s something you to tell yourself every day to stay motivated and goal driven? Or do you have a daily mantra?
Weichers: Do my best every day. My goal is to lift with good quality and do what my coach tells me to do.
Feature image from @jordanweichers Instagram page, and shot by @sierra__prime.