Watch Rob Blackwell’s Snatch Go from 90kg to 160kg (In One Video)

In strength sports you need three things to be successful and those are strategy, strength, and most importantly, consistency. A lot of athletes can’t remain consistent for long periods of time, which inevitably slows their progress, or causes an injury.

California Strength’s weightlifter Rob Blackwell is the perfect example of a strength athlete who’s been patient and consistent throughout his career, and is now performing (consistently well) at a competitive national level.

Check out the video below California Strength shared four days ago on their Instagram, which gives you a glimpse into Blackwell’s snatch progress over the years. He started as an 85kg weightlifter and was hitting 90kg when he started (a weight familiar for a lot of athletes). He’s now lifting in the 94kg weight class and is crushing 160kg snatch PRs.

70kg is a crazy increase, especially for a technical lift such as the snatch. Blackwell has been with California Strength for the last six-plus years, and is currently the longest standing member on the team.

[Love progress videos? Check out 74kg Giorgi Kavtaradze bring his bench press from 100kg to 240kg.]

Blackwell’s best clean & jerk to date is 185kg, and he hits 180kg+ attempts routinely, as shown on his Instagram page. Check out the video below Blackwell shared five days ago of himself crushing a 182kg (400 lb) clean & jerk.

Additionally, Blackwell has had success competing in the National Pro GRID League, which is a strength sports based team competition. He was drafted as the first male in 2015, and was picked third overall to the LA Reign.

Blackwell also has an impressive back squat. Check out his 240kg PR back squat he hit earlier this June.

Blackwell is a perfect example of perseverance and hard work in the sport of weightlifting. A lot of athletes get frustrated with the sport and end up jumping ship, but Blackwell has proven that he’s in it for the long game.

California Strength Head Coach Dave Spitz had this to say about Blackwell’s progress:

“Rob is the epitome of what can be achieved in the sport of weightlifting if people trust a program, stick to it and accumulate enough hours, you too can become a successful weightlifter. Rob’s number one asset and arguably his greatest talent is his ability to endure training both mentally and physically.

Rob’s greatest contribution to Cal Strength is loyalty and his commitment to advancing the sport of weightlifting. Often I am asked whether Wes Kitts has had a negative impact on the other team members who have been with us for so long given his spot light, but what people need to know is that Rob was the first to identify Wes as a talent and was critical in recruiting Wes and selling him on our system. If Cal Strength were the Golden State Warriors, Rob is our Steph Curry and Wes is Kevin Durant.

Rob has also developed into an amazing coach in his own right; from teaching the movements, to programming, to managing athletes to a successful competition as he has done so with Jaden Washington (2016 Youth National Champion). To put it simply, Cal Strength would not be what it is today without Rob Blackwell.”

Feature image screenshot from @robblackwell Instagram page. 


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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.