Local club trains nationally prominent weightlifters

Rosemount High School student Jared Flannery won his weight class at the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships last year.

Undisputed program works with a number of high school athletes

Two athletes representing Undisputed Weightlifting in Eagan recently competed in the USA Weightlifting National Championships.

Adrianne Haider finished fourth in the 59-kilogram weight class and eighth among women in all weight classes at the May 10-12 meet in Memphis, Tennessee. She lifted 87 kilos (approximately 192 pounds) in the snatch and 109 kilos (240 pounds) in the clean and jerk.

Justin Decker placed seventh in the men’s 102-kilo division, lifting 140 kilos in the snatch and 160 in the clean and jerk.

Haider is general manager of a Twin Cities CrossFit gym when not training for weightlifting competitions, and Decker is a high school teacher and coach in Iowa. Undisputed’s weightlifting program also has a growing list of local residents, including Rosemount High School student Jared Flannery, who was the 105-kilo champion in the 16-17 age group at last year’s USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships. Another Undisputed weightlifter, Nadeen Pierre, will represent Team USA at the Junior Pan American Championships in Cuba.

The club also has trained a national champion, Brian Reisenauer, who won the 61-kilo class at the 2018 USA Weightlifting meet.

The common thread for all of them is Vinh Huynh, who started the Undisputed Weightlifting club in 2014. It’s a branch of Undisputed Strength and Conditioning, a fitness club Huynh helped found.

Huynh has been an Olympic weightlifting and fitness coach for more than a decade and opened his own facility about five years ago. He spends a lot of time helping high school athletes; Huynh is a coach with Burnsville High School’s strength and conditioning and Olympic weightlifting programs after being recruited by fellow coach Lucky Phousirith.

There are about 80 lifters in the Undisputed program, and among high school-age participants Huynh said it’s about a 50-50 split between athletes who do it to cross-train for other sport and those for whom weightlifting is their main sport.

“Olympic weightlifting uses a lot of movements that athletes in other sports use,” Huynh said. “We see that with the kids we coach at Burnsville High School, too.”

Burnsville started its Olympic weightlifting program in 2011. Tyler Krebs, who had been hired as football coach, helped introduce it as a way to improve the football players’ strength and conditioning. Krebs moved on to Lakeville South in 2017, but Burnsville High’s Olympic weightlifting team remains one of the most successful in the state. More recently, the school has added a powerlifting team.

Huynh said a national-level athlete such as Reisenauer might train as many as nine or 10 times a week to prepare for competitions. Young weightlifters will have closer to four to six training sessions. Some of those will have more to do with analyzing technique than trying to lift additional weight.

“Sometimes it’s like a 16-year-old getting his first car,” Huynh said. “The first thing he wants to know is how fast will it go? But a lot of what coaches do in Olympic weightlifting is looking at technique. When does technique start breaking down, and when could it fail? It’s a very technical sport.”

Huynh said he didn’t think it was a high risk to start his own club five years ago, and with crossover benefits between weightlifting and other sports, he doesn’t believe it’s a fad, either.

“I can only see this getting bigger,” he said.

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