Diane Fu on Developing a Weightlifting Club

Starting a weightlifting club.

Weightlifting is a growing sport. In fact, Diane Fu said she envisions lifts like Snatches becoming a household term.

“I would love for it to be just something people do, where you can talk to your mom and be like, ‘Mom, what are you doing?’ and she’s like, ‘Oh, I’m just going to go to the gym. I’ve got to get my Snatches in,’” said Fu, the founder of FuBarbell.

Starting a club in a CrossFit Box has its benefits. Fu said there is already a membership base. And by kicking off the club with one day on the weekends, there will be no conflicts with CrossFit classes.

This, however, takes time and the growth of weightlifting clubs at Boxes. In order to start a club at your Box, Fu said it begins with expectation. “What kid of club are you looking to start?” she said.

Fu listed some questions to ask:

  • Are you looking to develop a competitive club?
  • Are you looking to take athletes to USAW-sanctioned meets?
  • Are you looking to develop weightlifters that can make it to nationals or compete internationally?
  • Is the club going to be more community-based and more for recreation?

Often, she has found that those who start weightlifting programs are looking at the end results of other clubs that have been around for years. Instead, an Affiliate or Coach needs to focus on setting parameters based on the direction he or she decided upon for the club.

Currently, Fu’s weightlifting club sits at five days a week, with most of her athletes on a four-day program. Very few, said Fu, are able to handle five days a week.

It took a lot of extensive reading and a structure attributed to Fu’s first Coach, Jim Smith, to establish her club’s programming. She said creating very generic template for the flow of the club and being flexible with it is key.

As her club evolved, Fu also found there became a clear distinction between experienced weightlifters and beginners. So, she opted for a one-on-one option to those initially joining the club, pairing new members with a Coach. “They would essentially teach you the basics of Olympic lifting, Olympic lifting technique and give you a very, very baseline foundation so that when you got into the club or when you started joining the club athletes, you at least had an idea of what you were doing,” said Fu.

She explained that FuBarbell Club grew organically. The first year, she only had one class a week for a handful of members. Year by year, she added one day to her programming. “It wasn’t necessarily that they asked for [the extra days],” she said. “As a Coach, I felt like they were ready for the extra volume.”

Ultimately, Fu said clubs should be organic and allow the demand to push the club. “Every business should have a mission statement, right?” said Fu. “Why would a club be any different?”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.