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GoHeavy Clinic II
Topic: GoHeavy Clinic II (Read 1517 times)
Chris Ⓐ LeRoux
MS, CSCS, Exempt from USAW bureaucrats
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GoHeavy Clinic II
Apr 27, 2005, 05:01 PM »
GoHeavy Clinic II
Question 1: How many exercises do you do per month ...and which do you prefer?
Author: Don McCauley
I know there should be quite a difference between the Bulgarian advocates, the Russian style advocates and the â€œtweenersâ€. I do quite a few exercises myself, including (at different times through the year): Power cleans and power snatches, clean and snatch pulls from different levels, deadlifts, front and back squats, jumps, RDL's, cleans and snatches from floor, blocks and hang, jerks from boxes, after double squats and after double cleans, strengthening exercises for individual needs and a few more. Now, this variation doesnâ€™t occur every month but at different months through the year. I'll have lifters perform most of these exercises, and add as they mature, shorten the list a bit. I will add that as lifters mature the list shortens a bit.
Responder 1: John T. Thrush
A list of exercises that my athletes MIGHT use is as follows:
Seated Good Mornings
There are a few other things I might add in as remedial exercises for PARTICULAR problems or technical errors, but that would be a very rare occurrence. I would be more inclined to do fewer things, especially with my better, more experienced lifters. As we all are, I am searching for the most essential and efficient way to train athletes to reach a high level. It becomes clearer and clearer that that will probably ultimately require a program of fewer exercises done at a much higher intensity at multiple times per day. Of course, this is not the starting point for any athlete. But it appears to be where we're headed as coaches.
Responder 2: Neil Wasserman
The few lifters that I've coached have all been at the local level, so my philosophy may differ from someone who coaches elite-level athletes. I always emphasized the lifts plus squats and core work during the lifting season. If I felt it was needed, I would add pulls, push presses or extra work on a particular lift (i.e. work from the hang for instance). During the off-season (summertime) we work lighter on the lifts and heavier on pulls, back squats, rack work, etc. The daily workload always varied depending on the liftersâ€™ energy and ambition, but the goal was always to lift as heavy as the circumstance allowed. The program seemed to work. Everyone that I have ever coached turned out to be a better lifter than I was.
Responder 3: Chris Wilkes
We use a number of exercises. These include: Snatch, C&J, front/back squats, pulls from 12â€ boxes, overhead press, considerable amounts of abdominal and low back exercise, jumps up (never down), rotator cuff exercises, and something different such as swinging a sledge hammer, pushing pulling heavy objects etc.
We focus primarily on the lifts listed first (such as the snatch, C&J, squats and pulls) and perform the other exercises only after those. We do change this from time to time as well.
Responder 4: Mike Wittmer
We use the following: Snatch, C&J, power snatch, power clean, snatch pull (floor & off blocks), clean pull (floor & off blocks), push press, push jerk, press, bench press, incline press, squat, front squat, abdominals, hyperextensions, and curls.
Responder 5: Mike Rinaldi
I believe that in order to get thorough work from the lifts alone one must have good technique. The better the technique, the more evenly the workload is spread out, and the more can get into the lift (more weight, etc). So, if your technique is good, you can get a thorough workout with just the lifts alone. If your technique is suspect, I believe you need to practice with more than just the two competitive lifts. Include front squats, back squats, possibly deadlifts, lots of pulling, band squats, tempo squatting, etc.
Responder 6: John Cissik
Iâ€™m an advocate for many exercises, but that has a lot to do with my personality. Beyond the classic lifts themselves, I approach all the other exercises as only being tools meant to help us achieve certain objectives. If you look at things that way (i.e. most of these exercises are tools), then that gives you a great deal of freedom with exercise selection. I think variation makes physically well-rounded lifters, makes the training session more interesting for both lifter and coach, and can help prevent certain injuries. It can also work on aspects of the lift that the lifter is weak on. Some things Iâ€™d like to talk about are the power versions of the lifts, pulls, squat variations, core work, and hamstring work.
1. Power variations:
For weightlifters, I donâ€™t like the power variations (power clean, power snatch). Though, with track and field athletes I use these and split variations exclusively. I used to use power variations extensively, but I noticed some things. I noticed that (especially with beginners) lifters would rather do the lifts power-style than squat and overusing the power variations led to difficulty with squat-style form. You all remember that the club coachâ€™s teaching progression begins with power variations, I have not found that to be effective. Iâ€™ve found it easiest to teach the squat variation first and then use power only if there is an injury. Having said all this, I do like doing the classic lifts from the hang â€“ especially to address specific technique deficiencies.
I like pulls, but I agree with a lot of the classic authors about limiting how much weight is on the bar so that technique and speed does not suffer. I like pulls from the hang, I like pulls from a platform, and I like pulls with no explosion (just up to the thighs). I think the key on this exercise is to limit the weight to no more than 10-20% above the classic lifts and to focus on form. I do not like lifts from blocks. I think itâ€™s too easy to build bad habits in terms of lifting form and I think it limits back strength development by doing the lifts from blocks.
3. Squat variations:
I look at squats as an exercise, a tool, and nothing more. You are not interested in squat strength you are interested in leg strength. Can we get the lifterâ€™s legs stronger so that it will transfer to the classic lifts. I have not experimented with bands, chains, and boxes. To me that focuses on the wrong things (i.e. we focus too much on raising the squat just for the sake of raising the squat and not to improve snatch/clean/jerk performance). I like to employ lots of variations of the back and front squat: back/front squats, pause back/front squats (pause for a count in the bottom), eccentric back/front squats (exaggerated descent â€“ usually around 10 seconds). I also like split squats done with the forward leg on the jerk in front. Variations of lunges, while technically not squats, I feel are also important. Can be done with the bar on the back of the shoulders, on the front of the shoulders, or held overhead with a snatch grip. Lunges can be done stepping forward, stepping backwards, or stepping to the side with all these different bar placements.
4. Core work:
Ab/lower back work I feel is important for health, especially after suffering a herniated disk myself. Iâ€™ve found that this (along with lots of hamstring work) has kept me very functional post-injury. This is great at the end of the workout for about 5 minutes. I am not one of these functional training people. I basically have my lifters do about 5 minutes of circuit-type training with 12-15 ab/lower back exercises done non-stop.
5. Hamstrings/lower back:
Another important area for the second pull and more protecting the lower back long-term. RDLâ€™s, back raises, reverse hypers, stability ball leg curls, good mornings, even pulls with no explosion are helpful for developing this area. The focus of these exercises is to train the hamstrings in their hip extension role, rather than isolating them in the knee flexion role.
If Iâ€™m putting everything together in a 3 day/week program, itâ€™ll look something like this (depends upon the lifter though):
Day One: classic lifts, pulls or snatch supplemental exercises, squat variation, core
Day Two: classic lifts, pulls or jerk supplemental exercise, hamstring/lower back, core
Day Three: classic lifts â€“ usually combination lifts (pull + snatch, clean + front squat + jerk, etc.), squat variation, hamstring/lower back, core.
Question 2: Do you plan out sets/reps for each exercise ahead of time?
Author: John Cissik
I would like to further propose a question to the coaches that use a lot more exercises in their program. Do you go through and plan out, ahead of time, how many reps you are looking for out of each type of exercise? For example, do you plan for 100 reps in the squat in the month of June or something similar to that?
The Soviet authors would have this all planned out very precisely in their texts. Lifters at "x" level should do this many reps of this type of exercise, etc. I have a theory about this (and I'd really like to hear from anyone that really knows), my theory is that this information is largely after the fact. In other words, this information is done after observing hundreds even thousands of lifters and the published information is an average of those observations. Perhaps that information isn't meant to be set in stone, but merely guidelines...
What do you all think?
Responder 1: John T. Thrush
That is exactly my sense of it, too. This is the statistical analysis of years of careful compilation of training data. While it's very interesting, and it certainly should give us some important clues of where we coaches should be approximately with what we are doing with our athletes at various levels of abilities, it is not a list of hard and fast "Rules for Training" as some might think. And clearly the weightlifting world, at least the part of it that is winning medals and placing highly internationally, is moving away from a less rigorously planned training regimen towards a more intuitive day-to-day adjusted training environment which is both demanding and flexible in it's approach. At least that's the way I see it.
Responder 2: Mike Wittmer
No, I like to go heavy for that day, whether it's a heavy triple or single. When it's going well, we push it. When it is not, we back off.
Responder 3: Marty Schnorf
I would agree with Mike as far as adjusting the weights and reps to the lifter's condition on that particular day/week. Personally, I seldom see anything that Mike Wittmer says that is off-base. One thing that Mike said earlier this week was that Curt White did not do any deadlifts later in his career. When he was younger we did heavy pulls (maybe 115% of his best c&j), but not deadlifts. These were not easy. I don't know if Curt could have deadlifted 130% of his best c&j. I think that fast lifters like Curt often cannot pull too much over their best c&j off the floor. I would not be surprised if Oscar was not somewhat the same. I agree with what Mike said which is that they test how much you can pull slowly off the floor as opposed to how much you can pull fast.
We mainly work the lifts and the related lifts. We do snatches, power snatches, snatch pulls, c&j, power cleans, clean pulls, jerks, jerks behind the necks, push jerks front squats and back squats. Some of the exercises we do in combination. Also, we do plyometrics and sit-ups. We also do RDL's.
Responder 4: Mike Burgener
Everyone knows that I am an advocate of the AMERICANIZED Bulgarian program that Steve Gough and I discuss at length almost daily. So I will say that the exercises we prescribe will depend on the individual and his/her weaknesses. Now having said that, I also like to use kettlebells, heavy objects, wheel barrows, tires, etc to strengthen the muscular system and get it ready for hard core weightlifting. But I do not plan out in advance the number or reps, the sets the exercises etc....we try to lift hard and heavy all the time, recover, only to do it again and again.
Question 3: How do you plan the training for the final two weeks before a meet?
Author: Marty Schnorf
How do you plan the training for the last two weeks before a meet? We usually plan the training working backwards from the meet. My lifters usually lift Friday and we travel Wednesday or Thursday and arrive late Wed. or early Thursday. We usually train light on Thursday after we arrive. We might work up to around 70% or so in the snatch and perhaps a little less in the C&J, mostly to work the kinks out from travel. We would probably then have worked both lifts on the Tuesday of the week we lifted, perhaps working to a little less than our last warm-up in the snatch and a little less in the C&J. On the Sunday before we would also have worked both lifts, perhaps up to our last warm-up or 2 1/2 in the snatch and maybe 2 1/2 or 5 under in the clean and jerk.
The previous week, we would alternate working the snatch and clean and jerk on different days, maybe up to 95%- 100% late in the week before the meet in the snatch and a little less in the c&j. We would cut the reps down in the lifts, mostly 1's and 2's. Also, we would cut the volume and intensity in the squats the last week or 10 days. No records the last week or so, mainly doing sets of threes.
Responder 1: John T. Thrush
The Calpian WLC has a pretty set way of going about the last two weeks of training before a competition.
To begin with, two weeks out is a regular planned training week with no particular adjustments because of the meet. We train according to what we are trying to get done and according to how the athlete is responding that day. In other words, it is business as usual.
The last week is set in stone.
On Monday, we do 5 singles in the Snatch with 80% (Goal for meet)
and three singles in the C&J with 80%.
On Tuesday, two sets of two in the Back Squats with 100% (of C&J Goal).
On Wednesday, we do five singles in the snatch with 60% and three singles in C&J with 60%.
Then we rest. I feel the benefits of rest outweigh any strength gains that can be made doing any heavier lifting than that close to the meet. I have had some athletes that like to go in the morning of the meet and do some very light lifting and I am all for that if the lifter would like to do it. But many don't want to and I don't see it as highly beneficial, particularly. I can go either way on that.
Responder 2: Peter Stutsiak
Personally I like to push till the end. I donâ€™t like to rest the day before the competition. I usually take the Thursday off (if I lift on Saturday). I max out both lifts a week before. And if I didnâ€™t lift what I expect to lift I lift heavy (to max) on Monday again (if I lift on Saturday). That would be my last training with the heavy classic lifts. I would do heavy squats 3 or 4 days before the lift and the day before the meet (squats to the max, no going nuts, though). I donâ€™t do pulls the last week, but instead do them pretty heavy 2 or 3 weeks out. My last 4 weeks consist only of doubles or singles in the squat almost every day, and I like to max out on them. The day before the meet I like to do at least 75% in my classic lifts, focusing on technique.
Responder 3: Mike Wittmer
I schedule heavy C&J 9-10 days out, and heavy snatches 6-8 out. I required that the weight be at or near the opening attempt for each lift for the meet. Pulls (don't do too many anyway) are dropped during the last two weeks, and decreased 3-4 weeks out. Reps are cut in the squats, a heavy single maybe 7-8 days out. Work up to the last warm-up 5-6 days out, and second to last warm-up 3-4 days out.
By the way, at the junior worlds in Minsk, the Iranians were training the same time as us and a couple of their lifters were actually pulling in cleans that they could not stand with at 2 and 3 days out. And, I saw the two Bulgarian supers doing pulls 175x3 and 215x3 two days out!?! Jeff and I thought they were Russian club lifters in there training.
13 days out: ~92-95%C&J
10 days out: ~95-100% or+ Snatch
Lighter percentages of lifts on Monday and Wed. of meet week.
Last squats usually Mon (not always) before the meet.
50-60%lifts the night before comp.
Responder 4: Chris Wilkes
Two weeks out is the last really heavy over 85 % C&J day, and 10 days out is the last really heavy snatch day. Squatting was stopped long before, and the last two weeks plus we train nothing but the lifts each day working down to light lifts. The Thursday before we lift (Sunday is usually when my guys lift) we do 7 of each lift up to a single of 90 %.
We then do nothing until competition day.
Question 4: What is the rationale behind training heavy right up into the competition?
Author: Bryce Teager
For those of you that lift pretty heavy right up into competition, can you give an explanation of why you do (or if you don't, do you have an opinion on why you think other coaches from here or other countries do).
Is it more important to train technique with heavy loads than it is to recover from the previous week of lifting that are with intensities that are close to competition attempts?
I am thinking that if you are lifting heavy right before competition and the lifter does some big lifts, it will give his/her confidence a big boost, but turn that around and it could also have a negative effect.
Responder 1: Marty Schnorf
I think all of it is relative. That is, some of those who are seemingly training relatively heavy closer to a meet may actually be backing off to their normally even heavier/higher intensity training. So, what appears heavy to some may actually be relatively light or moderate to them.
Question 5: How many days a week do you train?
Author: Peter Stutsiak
I've been training almost all my life every day. I didn't like days off or recovery weeks (I pushed, pushed and pushed). However last 2 months I've been training 3-4 days a week only. I did not do the classic lifts and focused in my strength exercises (a lot of reps). I feel huge difference in strength gaining. I PRâ€™d in every exercise I did, and do 3-4 reps with weight what I used to do for one.
Push press from 130 to 140 (can do more)
Cl Pulls from 210/2 to 220/4
Sn. Pulls from 170/3 to 190/4
B. Squats from 210/4 to 220/5
Now the question. Was I training too much too often all my life? Is it better train less than more? May be we train too much. May be we have to focus more in our recovery to get stronger? Or it just doing so many reps (4-8) made the difference in the strength gaining?
Responder 1: John T. Thrush
I suspect what you discovered is just a temporary effect and that you may eventually go back to training more. What may happen is that you go back and forth between the two things in the same way you might go back and forth between more emphasis on strength work to more emphasis on the classic lifts. The "secret" to the whole thing is the subtle manipulation of all the variables to suit your individual characteristics (i.e. ability to recuperate, demands of your life outside training etc.).
I almost always start my new lifters out with three days per week and move them to four days as soon as they have accommodated to the work I want them to do. Then as soon as their work capacity makes it possible, and time constraints allow, I want to move to five days. Five days I can live with for a high level athlete although I would prefer much more, if possible. Ideally, and I don't have any athletes that are in this situation right now, I would like to have them six days per week with at least three of those days being double sessions per day.
Specifically, you may find that you will want to train fewer times per week for a while, then go back to more times per week for a period of time, then at some point possibly drop back to fewer workouts per week again. This adjusting back and forth may help to continually stimulate your nervous system to thrive.
Responder 2: Mike Wittmer
I don't know your age but, in general, I have found that older lifters do better with 3-4 days per week while I like 5-6 for younger ones.
Responder 3: Mike Rinaldi
I've had similar things happen when I cut back from say 5-6 days to 2-3, but then progress did not continue. Itâ€™s often a matter of change rather than either.
Responder 4: Marty Schnorf
I think your body can adapt to the harder work level. I think the intensity may be more important than the volume, i.e., quality over quantity.
Question 6: Describe the training of Oscar Chaplin
Author: Mike Rinaldi
Could you tell us some of your observations on Oscar's training through the years in Savannah? (I hope this is ok for you to say)
The Milo article stated that he trained at 80% (but not much of a description beyond that vague statement).
Responder 1: Don McCauley
I don't know what the Milo article referred to but I wouldn't describe much of what I saw as 80%. As I remember, Oscar, as most at Savannah, did heavy full pulls, squats anywhere from 2 to 4 days per week, jerks from the rack, classic lifts, hangs and cleans and snatches from the blocks. Most did heavy deadlifts but I can't remember if Oscar did those. Now, Oscar never had a written down program. He consulted with his Dad and Mike Cohen and trained what he thought he needed to do (and I mean that in that he judged when enough was enough and it seemed to work). However, when he was at Savannah, there was always peer pressure to squat a little more or lift a little heavier. I'd say everyone in Savannah then and now probably lifts the classic lifts heavier and more often than most and there's a lot of tendency for the coaches to occasionally let the lifter "go". Mike Cohen has often said (paraphrase)"If their hot, stoke the fire." Even coaches who have workouts written in advance, vary when they see a lifter is chomping at the bit, so to speak. I would say Oscar was very much like this. He would also hold back when he thought it was good for him to do so. It would probably be more informative for Mike Cohen to post about this because he saw most of the training that Oscar did from the start. I came in late and really only saw him train a few months.
As far as I'm concerned the best thing that Dragomir did for Oscar that "allowed" him to win those medals was get him on the plane to the competition. But, that's just one man's opinion.
One of the hallmarks of training in Savannah is that all the coaches have their athletes squat several days per week, pull heavy, go to high percentages (relatively) in the classics more often than most and use blocks and platforms to a certain extent. We all use the power versions of the lifts through the year. We also don't put great stock in the idea of having a single peak per year (or century). We all have our differences on pull line and set-up, some write down more than others, we let the athletes "go off" our written down or thought up program for the day when they look good and we get them onstage more often than most.
Michael Martin did a lot of training in his last two years of competition under Mike Huszka, who was a real percentage guy and a stickler for technique. Mike's programs were also squat and pull heavy and he did a lot of strengthening work with Michael, especially for his back. Another thing we do is group coach lifters in workouts. Just because one or another coach is the "programmer" for an athlete doesn't mean other coaches are quiet when that lifter is lifting. We feel that often a lifter picks up something from one guy that might really help so we've always done this. Also, we aren't real quiet when people are lifting. There is a pretty constant barrage of talking when the sessions are going on. We joke that that's why our lifters like to go to contests. They can finally get some peace and quiet when they lift.
Question 7: Who has the worldâ€™s best technique?
Author: Marty Schnorf
Who has the best technique? I think Pete Kelley and Chad Vaughn seem to have pretty good technique. Doreen Heldt (now married, not sure of her last name - know it starts with F) has about the straightest and longest pull I have ever seen, along with Cal Schake. Teresa Gaume has really gotten quick in the snatch in the last few years.
Responder 1: Bill Jeffries
One thing Pete Kelly does (at least as well as can be seen from video) is he pulls with a wide stance, which eliminates the need to jump his feet out during the squat under.
Responder 2: Peter Stutsiak
Whatâ€™s best technique? I think who ever lifts more has better technique. What do you think about Krastevâ€™s snatch? Do you think it was better then Botevâ€™s? I do think so, because he lifted more! Chemerkin (C&J) or Weller? Of course Chemerkin, he kicked Ronnyâ€™s ass every time they meet each other. Now if you say the better looking, faster, etc technique is different thing. I think Pete Kelly and Shane (Snatch) are the best examples. Their technique is terrific! Pisarenko had awesome clean technique, Kurlovichâ€™s snatch, and Mitrouâ€™s jerk are my favorites as well.
Responder 3: Neil Wasserman
I think that Mike Karchut was the best technician I've ever seen.
Responder 4: Mike Burgener
Pete Kelly has great technique. But, I thought Shane did as well, and I thought Tara had decent technique.
Responder 5: Don McCauley
Kelly, Vaughn, Shane (clean and snatch), Haworth, Wittmer all have good technique.
Responder 6: Bruce Klemens
Iâ€™ve taken hundreds (maybe thousands) of photo sequences over the years and I can tell you that of todayâ€™s Americans picking the best technician is easy: Itâ€™s Pete Kelley. Whenever Iâ€™m asked to provide a good sequence for some publication, I always end up using Pete. He does everything right, including the little things like pulling his body under the bar, not merely diving under. Vaughn has some small errors and does not show up as well in sequence photos. He tends to pull back a little bit and the bar doesnâ€™t stay as close to his body as it should. This is not to say his technique is bad, but it's not as good as Pete's. I agree Shane has very good snatching and cleaning technique for a big man. Doreen Heldt has the best pulling technique of any women. Like Pete, she hits all the correct positions, which makes for a beautiful photo sequence.
But what is good technique? I can think of at least five factors. The obvious, of course, is hitting the correct positions. But other factors that have to be considered are explosiveness, quickness moving under the weight, flexibility, and precision. Can a slow, inflexible lifter have good technique, even if he/she hits all the correct positions?
Regarding precision, what that means is repeating the same technique over and over on every attempt, regardless of the weight. Weâ€™ve all seen lifters with good technique on a first attempt, and then it deteriorates as the weight gets heavier. Neil mentions Mike Karchut. I have sequences of Mike that show some minor technical errors. But he had all of the other factors, especially precision. Every lift was exactly the same. In fact, I used to say he â€œhas perfected his errors.â€ If that sounds contradictory, it simply means he repeated the same small errors exactly the same, every time, thereby minimizing their effect.
The camera sees the things the human eye cannot. A fast, flexible, explosive lifter may look perfect in person, but when you analyze the photos, errors become evident. Rigert bent his arms too soon, but no one noticed because he did everything else right, and of course, he was RIGERT.
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GoHeavy Clinic II
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