Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Training Progression: Week 1, Day 5

Back Squat
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 70%
3 Sets of 3 Reps @ 80%

1 Set of 4 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 70%
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 80%
1 Set of 3 Reps @ 85%
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 80%
1 Set of 2 Reps @ 85%
1 Set of 3 Reps @ 80%

Clean + Jerk
1 Set of 1 Cl. + 3 Jr. @ 60%
1 Set of 1 Cl. + 3 Jr. @ 70%
4 Sets of 1 Cl. + 2 Jr. @ 80%

Daily Volume: 61
Weekly Volume: 436

Man, is my body starting to get sore and tired easily.  Oh is the life of a weightlifter - time to suck it up! Once again, squats feel heavy as hell, but I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable with my new starting position.  I still need to receive the bar a tad further back.  I also need to stop jumping backwards.  Add one more thing to the list!

I cut today's workout short, so I will add another day of front squats and finish the rest tomorrow!

One of My Reps @ 85%.  I Jump Back a Bit and Receive the Bar a Tad Forward.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Training Progression: Week 1, Day 4

Back Squat
1 Set of 5 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 5 Reps @ 70%
1 Set of 5 Reps @ 75%
2 Sets of 4 Reps @ 80%

Power Snatch

1 Set of 4 Reps @ 60%
5 Sets of 3 Reps @ 70%

Power Clean + Push Jerk
1 Set of 4 P.Cl. + 2 Pu.Jr. @ 60%
3 Sets of 4 P.Cl. + 1 Pu.Jr. @ 70%

Snatch Pulls
2 Sets of 5 Reps @ 80%
3 Sets of 4 Reps @ 85%

5 Sets of 5 Reps @ 80%

Daily Volume: 112
Weekly Volume: 375

The theme of this week continues to be minor adjustments.  I widened my starting stance on the snatch as well as moving the bar over my big toe as opposed to over the front of the foot.  This seemed to make the world of difference when it came to shifting my weight too far backwards too soon.  I hope that this problem is fixed the more I get used to it.  Feeling really excited for big gains to come in the lifts!

Final Set of Power Snatch

Final Set of Power Clean + Push Jerk

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Training Progression: Week 1, Day 3

Front Squat
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 70%
3 Sets of 4 Reps @ 80%

Hang Snatch
1 Set of 3 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 3 Reps @ 70%
1 Set of 3 Reps @ 80%
1 Set of 1 Rep @ 85%
1 Set of 3 Reps @ 80%

Hang Clean + Jerk
1 Set of 3 Hg.Cl. + 1 Jr. @ 60%
1 Set of 3 Hg.Cl. + 1 Jr. @ 70%
4 Sets of 2 Hg.Cl. + 1 Jr. @ 80%

Clean Pull
4 Sets of 4 Reps @ 80%

Daily Volume: 79
Weekly Volume: 263

The 4th rep of front squats were significantly more difficult, and I ended up having to bail on my very last rep of doing front squats.

On the lifts, I was still coming too far back on my heels.  For what it's worth, I ended up hitting 87kg on my hang snatch, which is a PR.  The cleans felt really heavy, but the jerks felt strong.

Starting in December, I might switch around my training to focus on strength and block work.  I need to get strong and find that loving feeling again for proper weight distribution on the feet.

My First Set of Hg.Sn. @ 60%

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Training Progression: Week 1, Day 2

Back Squat
1 Set of 3 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 3 Reps @ 70%
5 Sets of 3 Reps @ 80%

Power Snatch
2 Sets of 4 Reps @ 60%
2 Sets of 4 Reps @ 70%

Power Clean + Push Jerk
2 Sets of 3 P.Cl. + 2 P.Jr. @ 60%
2 Sets of 3 P.Cl. + 2 P.Jr. @ 70%

5 Sets of 5 Reps @ 80%

4 Sets of 5 Reps @ 80%

Daily Volume: 102
Weekly Volume: 184

The theme of today was about making minor adjusts.  Squats felt a little easier today.  Still heavy, but not as much of a struggle.  I made a minor adjustment to the bar placement on my back, lowering it a tad from my traps to ridge of my scapula since I have such a long torso.  It seemed to help.  Amazing how physics work.

I didn't feel that comfortable with the snatch today, and it had to do with my first pull.  I've picked up the habit of coming too far back on my heels right off the floor, which brings my shoulders back too much.  I need to focus on driving straight up and bringing my shoulders out in front of the bar slightly.  It's something I'll have to focus on more as I progress with training.  I was able to feel this more easily when it came to the cleans.

I even had some tweaks to something as brainless at the RDL! Not only were my knees coming forward slightly, which unloads the lower hamstrings, my toes were coming off the ground - they should be planted on my floor.  To help make this adjustment, I would think about stretching my neck forward as I lowered the weight.  It worked.  If you're not feeling your lower hamstrings scream, you're not doing it right!

Today reaffirmed the importance of having a skilled coach watching your lifts DAILY.  When you think you're dialed in and solid, there is always something you're doing wrong and that needs improvement.  Find a coach.  Trust me, it's worth the time and financial investment.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Training Progression: Week 1, Day 1

I'm taking a new direction for my blog.  I'll still be posting about topics and video's that I find useful, but in addition, I will now be posting daily about my training sessions.  My intent with this is to give you a look into the daily training of a weightlifter.  I will post the daily training, a brief commentary, and daily and weekly volumes.  So, without further ado, here we go:

Back Squat
1 Set of 5 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 5 Reps @ 70%
4 Sets of 4 Reps @ 75%

Hang Snatch
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 70%
3 Sets of 4 Reps @ 75%

Hang Clean
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 60%
1 Set of 4 Reps @ 70%
2 Sets of 4 Reps @ 75%

Power Clean + Push Press

1 Set of 1 P.Cl. + 3 P.Pr. @ 60%

4 Sets of 1 P.Cl. + 3 P.Pr. @ 70%

Daily Volume: 82
Weekly Volume: 82

This is my first day back to an organized training program in about four weeks after I tweaked my back.  Needless to say, I was beat from today.  This was by far the most volume I've done in one session in a LONG time.  I had another 5 sets of 4 reps of snatch pulls, but had to call it a day.  Squatting first really forces you to DRIVE the crap out of your legs on the lifts.  In addition, I was able to make a couple of tweaks to my hang position which felt good. I was toast, however, by the time I made it to the hang cleans.  75% felt WAY too heavy.  Regardless, it felt great to get back on a steady training program and I'm looking forward to making some big jumps in my lifts!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Importance of Olympic Weightlifting for Athletes

There is now significant research that suggests that the Olympic weightlifting movements are second to none in the development of force production, power and explosiveness, the ability to safely and effectively absorb force or decelerate, and kinesthetic awareness.  All crucial components for potential athletic improvement and success.

I came across this article thanks to Sean Waxman.  It discusses the Clemson S&C program, which implements a Westside Barbell/conjugate/powerlifting method as it's foundation, and compares it to programs that use a Hatch System, which implements the Olympic weightlifting movements as it's foundation.  The author goes into great detail in providing examples of why a S&C program with the Olympic movements as it's foundation is far superior.  When compared to the "gold standard" of LSU and Alabama, conference rivalries and "over performing" teams (based on their poor talent pool) that implement the Olympic movements, Clemson was not as dynamic, slow and "under performing".  Arguably, this is because the team is training for slow strength, not explosive power in the weight room.

What was striking to me is that out of the last 10 BCS National Champions, 6 of them used the Hatch System.  These teams (USC, LSU, Alabama, Florida, Miami) all had common denominators on the field - DOMINATING offensive and defensive lines and linebacking corps.  Those positions all require power and explosiveness, and their ability to exert those traits at the point of attack was glaringly noticeable on the field.

Even though the Clemson article is primarily used to show the transferability for football, it can transfer to ALL sports.  The Hatch System isn't just a "football" program, it's a sports program because the system helps to develop overall athleticism that should translate into the field of play.  For example, the USC Men's Water Polo team has won 4 straight national championships and 6 in the last 10 years.  The program has always been a top contender, but the implementation of the Olympic lifts in their S&C program (circa 2006) has helped make them the most dominate program for the last decade.

Brian Urlacher Uses Olympic Movements in His Training

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Weightlifting Montage for Your Motivation

Nothing like a montage with '80s music of Russian weightlifters to get you amped up during the middle of the week!  Get out there and lift!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm Overtrained

October was an extremely busy and fast paced month for me every weekend - a bachelor party, CF Oly Cert, ACL Music Festival, Unground Strength Cert., hosting and entertaining family from out of town, and a wedding.  I've also been distracted with some big changes coming up, which I'll post about soon.

With jammed packed weekends and distractions, I had to bunch my training together during the week.  Our volume has been relatively low, but intensity VERY high, so by the 4th day of training in a row, I was toast.  My weekends of "rest" consisted of eating like crap, LOTs of drinking and not a lot of sleep.  Needless to say, less than ideal training situations.  Don't get me wrong, I love to have a good time, but I haven't partied hard like that 4 weekends in a row since college.  My body definitely can't handle that anymore.

The end result is that I started missing lifts I should've easily made, strained my back, am absolutely exhausted, and am unmotivated to do much.  What does this mean?  I'm overtrained.  My body couldn't adapt to the stress I was putting it through with the lack of quality recovery and insufficient rest, leading to injury and exhaustion.

Most of the time, it is very hard to detect overtraining before it's too late.  Some people, however, don't realize when they are overtrained and keep pushing through, which can be very detrimental.  So, how do you know if you're actually overtrained versus just tired?  According to Mel Siff and his book, Supertraining (1), here's a list of variables and what happens to the body if you are overtrained:

1) Blood Pressure: Slight increase.
2) Coordination: Impaired, with increased reaction time.
3) Bodymass: Decrease.
4) Endurance: Tendency to tire easily.
5) Sleep Requirements: Increase.
6) Resting Pulse: Elevated.
7) Body Temperature: Slightly increased.
8) Appetite: Reduced.
9) Metabolism: Altered, with increased tendency to sweat; abnormally increased breathing rate under stress.
10) General Muscle Soreness: Mild to pronounced, with tendency to muscle stiffness and pain.
11) General Resistance: Tendency to headaches, colds, fever blisters; prolonged recuperation.
12) Recovery Time: Increased.
13) Psychological Changes: Nervousness, poor motivation, inner unease, eventual depression.

You have to be careful (unlike myself), so that once you start noticing any of the above, you take a rest from training.  If not, it can lead to overtraining injuries that may be the result of too many repetitions or sets, regular training with near maximal loads, training the same muscle groups too frequently, inadequate recovery periods, and insufficient rest.

Ultimately, the program I was on was not the cause of my overtraining, it was how I managed my recovery periods and rest.  My major point with this post is to stress this: you MUST be smart when it comes to your rest and recovery.  If you're not, you're walking down a road with lots of bumps and dead-ends.

I found the graph below that is a great illustration of overtraining from Sprint Malta.  This page also goes into greater detail about the specifics of overtraining, so definitely check the link out.

Source: Sprint Malta

1) Siff, Mel C. Supertraining. Denver: Supertraining Institute, 2004. Print.