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GoHeavy Clinic, posted by Joe Prusacki
Topic: GoHeavy Clinic, posted by Joe Prusacki (Read 1441 times)
Chris Ⓐ LeRoux
MS, CSCS, Exempt from USAW bureaucrats
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GoHeavy Clinic, posted by Joe Prusacki
Apr 20, 2005, 04:29 PM »
I would like your thoughts on how you train beginners. What would you have them do the first day and give some things to look for and maybe list some common mistakes that one sees.
We start from the top down. We would maybe start by having them do some box jumps to help assess their explosiveness and even their courage (or lack thereof). The, we might work on the lifts from the top down.
We would start with power cleans from the hang. Work on keeping the bar close to the body, snapping the elbows high and fast. Those that do this well we might have power clean and drop into a front squat.Often the younger kids and girls with gymnastic backgrounds do this best. If this is OK we might drop down and have them do this from the floor and try to make it into one motion instead of power clean and then front squat.
If they progress extremely well we might work on jerks or push jerks. Most lifters would not get this far the first night. Those with unusual ability we might have do some overhead squats and try some snatches, again working from the top down. We might do power snatches from the hang, then the floor, then overhead squats, then what I call drop snatches (snatch balances?) for those who can get into a good, balanced bottom position and pull fairly straight.
The really talented ones I work with personally and maybe separately and we might cover all of this quickly in one night. Most would take several workouts to cover all of this and doing the full lifts.
I think that there are such vast differences in ability and how quickly they learn, I may separate the "thoroughbreds" from the "plowhorses." We might do some general bodybuilding and core work with all, but the most talented ones would focus more on the lifts and would be brought along much more quickly than those who lack flexibility and coordination.
One needs to keep the weights very light in the initial learning stage. Some of the most difficult to teach are those who are fairly strong and have done a lot of upper body work, but lack the flexibility to utilize their strength and flexibility.
Things to focus on as far as technique are keeping the back arched, arms straight, and keeping the bar close to the body. Start slowly off the floor and keep the back arched and accelerate the bar after it passes the knees.
This is certainly not the only process to use, maybe not even the best, but this is how I do it. I would appreciate any and all comments and questions. - Marty
we squat the first day... learning how to squat makes learning the lifts easier! we do at least one lift first day, which one depends on the kid. we go hang/power, then hang/power/squat, then hopefully the squat version from the hang, then when that is decent go slowly to the floor. usually we get one lift looking decent with light weight from the floor first day. kids love to try to lift heavy, and sometimes don't want to come back if they cant try something heavy... do often after the technique work i let them go back to the high hang and try some more weight, work up to what they can do from that position with halfway decent form. then we usually do things like bench press and glute-ham raise.
i have numerous "assistant coaches"... many of whom do things somewhat differently than i do. one thing i try to encourage no matter what progression they use is to do roughly 15 minutes of the "frustrating" work (like teaching the snatch with empty bar) then switch to do a "fun" exercise... like squat or bench press. we try to alternate like this... kids who are having fun and not frustrated learn a lot faster!
Marty, I'll describe what I did with Jeff. As you know, but for others, I've worked with a few beginners but my experience is certainly limited and doesn't compare with yours and most coaches.
He was eleven. My first concern was positions. He was already fast as evidenced in other sports. I started him with clean style dead lifts and upright rows. I feel these two exercises address the two most common mistakes I see with beginners, raising the hips and rounding the back off the floor, and swinging the bar forward reverse curl style, the so called "football" power clean, a stiff leg dead leg with a reverse curl. The emphasis is on using the legs in the initial pull while keeping the back straight, or extended, hips down. The intent of the upright row was to stress the use of the traps and keeping the bar close to the body. Of course, along with these two exercises he was doing squats.
Then, as positions are learned, I put the clean dead lift and upright row together and made it a high pull, adding some speed to the movement. And, finally, added the finish with the bar properly shouldered. That's it. He naturally took to the squat clean with flexibility that he must have gotten from his mother.
I know this is different from the top down approach that USAW advocates, which I was not aware of at the time. However, it worked well for him and I would do the same thing today.
Glenn Pendley reply to Mike Wittmer;
i bet thats a heck of a good way to teach proper pulling... my problem is that when new kids come in they see everyone else lifting weights up over their head, and want to do it also. so i have to let them do the "fun stuff" as quick as possible, and challenge themselves somewhat, or else they lose interest quickly. but in a different situation, I'm sure your method would work great.
Mike Wittmer reply to Glenn Pendley;
That makes sense to me. I don't know how you guys with large programs do it. It would be nice to have a couple hundred WFWs, Wesley, Savannah, etc.
My approach was just, "Let's teach you how to lift correctly so when you are older you'll know how to do it without getting hurt." Workouts were around 45 minutes. After weightlifting became the focus, things changed.
ON the first day with a beginner I have them try over head squats with sticks or the bar, some front squats and back and then some presses. What I'm looking for first is their flexibility, then their strength. I teach the snatch first unless they just can't learn it. then I may move to the C&J.(this is my preferred progression not on the first day though.)
however some never do a lift till after 3 weeks or more of just fitness training and flexibility work. Partial movements and such to be put together later.
I always try to give the newcomers total individual attention. Sometimes this means scheduling a time that I know will be pretty
slow. This "private workout" does a couple of things. One is that it lets the kid know he/she is not going to be overlooked. It cuts down on the possible embarrassment when a newbie can't do something. And, it gives me a chance to judge how I'll be able to interact with the kid at first. I also introduce the idea that "when you get better, I won't have to be right on top of you and I can give you your own program to have" as a goal the kid will see as positive when I have to back off.
I usually start with having the lifter squat down about 1/3 and place his/her forearms across the thighs. I then tell them to arch their back. (When they arch it up like a cat), I tell them no, stick your hips out the back and make your back flat. I then tell them to look forward and slightly up. Then, I tell them to jump up in the air and land on flat feet and bent legs. I do this several times while talking about a "sort of flat-footed jump" that will make the bar go to their shoulders or over their head. I fade out the idea of a jump when I get the bar in their hands the first day.
I usually only teach hang power cleans or, if their good full power cleans the first day along with back squats with a light tech. bar.
I show them a power clean(or have one of my lifters show them if their around)while explaining that I'm doing it slowly so they can see what happens(LOL). Then I put a tech bar or 15 kg bar(if older and bigger)in their hands. I tell them to stay flat footed and get in the position they were in when I had them jump. I explain to them that I want them to drive the bar to their shoulders using their legs. I also tell them I want them to keep looking across the room and I want their elbows to point across the room when the bar gets to their shoulders. Sometimes I do some along with them with another bar to give them the idea, if necessary. We do this from a mid-thigh hang and, if their good, we proceed to the floor and start doing full power cleans.
I then proceed to the back squat. Sometimes I use a small chair behind the lifter and have him/her sit down in it with his arms stretched out in front of him. I go on to have him do reps of this just letting his butt touch the chair. I talk constantly to the lifter, telling him to go down slowly, sit down straight, don't lean too far forward, keep your back straight, sit through flat feet(through the heels comes later)etc.,etc. If the lifter can do the full squat with his shoes on (or with a 2/12kg plate under his heels), we go on quickly to the tech. bar.
I usually end the session with some sort of jumping, some sit-ups, push-ups and (if the Cosmic forces are favoring me)pull-ups.
I try to not take longer than 40 minutes for this whole thing. I feel like if I give too much info at once, it'll just get lost or the kid might overload and not retain a thing. Usually the lifter will sit around a bit afterwards waiting for his ride and I'll have him watch the other lifters and talk about what their doing and about what he just learned and how he can do what he sees them doing if he stays and works out with us. This is where having a big club comes in handy. A lot of examples can really help. But, nothing replaces that one on one attention the first few times, in my opinion.
I found interesting and useful points made by all the posters who have commented on this subject thus far. My preferred approach to working beginners has a number of elements previously discussed and some others.
I think it's much preferred to provide individualized attention the first day as Don suggested. My first step is to ask about what the prospect has been doing with regard to lifting and other athletics as well as about health status (want to find out about back surgeries before we begin!). The flexibility in the sport specific positions of lifting is then tested (e.g., do a squat, a front squat, an overhead squat, a deadlift, a press, etc.).
The questions about history and flexibility tests give me some clues as to where we can start (obviously can't hit an injured area, can't do power cleans if they can't rack the bar properly and can't do a lot of work if they are way out of shape). Any flexibility deficiencies are noted so that remedial exercises can be given later on the workout.
Generally, the teaching starts as Mike Wittmer suggested, or at least half of it - with deadlifts (of course with correct clean pulling positions). My experience has been that beginners who try to clean or snatch, even from the hang, tend to focus on just getting the bar up instead of doing it correctly. This seems to lead to ripping off the floor or from the knee, arm bending, overextending, etc. Focusing on the deadlift, most beginners have few strong perceptions of how to do one (at least in a clean position) so they don't hurry to lift it, don't bend the arms, can focus on correct back positions and the like.
After a few sets of deadlifts with constant corrections, we move to a simple footwork drill where they are taught the basics of the split position in the jerk. They try several reps with each leg forward to see how it feels (hands on hips or similar position). We then move on to some kind of squatting (back or front) and a few sets of military presses.
I try never to end the first session without a discussion of how to miss and some drills to practice that (dropping a stick in the overhead squat forward and back, the same thing in a split position and from a squat clean/front squat position).
Finally, we finish with whatever remedial flexibility exercises may be required (generally there are at least some).
Glenn Pendley reply to Artie Drechsler;
its interesting to me that you do jerk on first day. i've tried this in the past... every time i try to move into the jerk before having done a fair amount of pulling and squatting under... the kids start to get confused as to when to squat and when to split, and end up doing at least one split clean or snatch! so now i just wait on the jerk till they have some reps going under the bar with a squat... THEN add the jerk a couple of days later. do you have this problem? if not, then how do you avoid it? id love to teach the jerk first day, kids just love lifting that bar overhead and the quicker i can get them to a full lift the more likely i am to retain them!
Artie Drechsler reply to Glenn Pendley;
Agree completely that you don't teach the jerk the first day. My footwork exercise is just to teach the split. The arms are not overhead and no attempt is made to mimic the jerk except to jump into the split with the hands on hips or at the sides. After a few workouts like that they seem to really get the split footwork and positions and then we can almost always move right into the jerk.
Glenn Pendley reply to Artie Drechsler;
guess i didn't read closely enough. thanks for clarifying.
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GoHeavy Clinic, posted by Joe Prusacki
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