Thursday 25 June 2009

Thursday’s tribute to Teun’s Snatch pr

I trained twice again today; the first session was at 9AM and the second 5PM. The morning session was around an hour and fifteen minutes long and primarily activated muscles and movement patterns; assistance movements were used with light weights and two of the exercises in particular addressed some of the main areas I need to work on.
Session 1
The warm up was different again and involved pushing, pulling and squatting movements with various thera-bands. We also used med balls to induce inward pushing pressure while pulling, pressing and squatting. Like the other warm ups, this was different and was relevant to the skills and movements that we were about to train. Plus, the fact that it was different to the other days means that you cannot sleepwalk through the warm up—I think this is something we can all be guilty of.

1. Front Squat to Push Press—Crossfit call this the thruster I think. I did a set of five with the bar, 40 and 3 sets with 60. This was light, but I was working on getting a wider stance and keeping the knees out in the Front Squat. In the Push Press portion I worked on getting my chest through and not my head—this is a bad habit. These are all things I need to work on for my Clean and Jerk.

2. Lunge High Pull—This exercise is used to activate the mid traps and rhomboids as well as inducing a movement pattern so that you are pulling up and through while going down. You hold the bar in a Clean grip and while you lunge down you begin your pull and finish the pull when at the bottom of your lunge. Squeezing the shoulder blades is important to fully activate the appropriate muscles.

3. Clean grip Romanian Deadlifts—Tom had me doing this movement differently to the more common version of the exercise. There is a set in the video below and you can listen to Tom’s own explanation for this exercise. This variation of the RDL emphasises the flexion of the middle of your back so that you pull the bar around your knees but keep your hips in the same place while flexing with the mid back to get the bar up to mid-thigh level. The idea is to strengthen and activate the lower and mid back and also to help learn the movement pattern for the double knee bend. Whether you agree with the movement part of this exercise or not, this variation is fantastic for my needs because I am starting to activate these muscles for the first time when lifting and therefore, my back and hip lock and my entire pull will benefit. I only did a few sets of 5 with 80kg so that I could learn the movement, but in the future, I need to build up so that I can do five or eight solid reps with the weights I am Cleaning.

That was it for the morning session. I finished off with some foam rolling. The foam rollers in this gym have the middle cut out with a fitted hard pipe in between. It feels far more beneficial than the regular foam rollers. Tom also showed me some exercises to loosen up the hip and shoulder joint which I found very useful. I will try to get a video of these over the next few days.

Session 2
We had very little warm up for this session and I was happier for it because I was quite fatigued. We went straight into bar work and into the Snatch up to 90% for 3 singles.

1. Snatch—I worked up to 3 singles with 100, which was a bit over 90% but I was happier to do it. I was happy with the three reps because they were the first relatively heavy Snatches I have done with my new first pull. My first rep was good except for the fact that I did not finish the pull and the third rep was the best except I somehow decided to look down when squatting up. Have a look at them on the video and any comments are welcome.

2. Clean and Jerk—I worked up to singles with 110, 120, 125 and 130 with the last two lifts being on the video below. I was really focusing on the technique which, like the Snatch, tended to limit the speed of my lift. With the Jerk, I focused on what Harry is always telling me along with Tom: control your dip and drive through the Jerk with speed, emphasising getting the chest through, not the head—which I did with the 125 Jerk. I was happy with the Jerk today because they were far snappier than Tuesday.

3. Clean Pulls—I did triples with 130 and two with 140; my last set is on the video below. My first rep was lazy and slow and the third rep was by far my best lock and quickest pull.

4. Back Squat—I did triples with 100, 120 and 130 and they were slow down, a second or so at the bottom and driven up as fast as possible—except that I could muster hardly any speed. Light weights in my usual style, but this way they feel heavy because of the stop and the attempt for maximum speed back up.

We finished off with a set of Sumo Squats to improve hip mobility and the session lasted maybe an hour and twenty minutes at most. Tom’s 12 year old son Teun Snatched a pr and this is in the video along with a 110 Snatch by Safak.
With the Snatch and Clean, I feel that the only difference between my lifts now and this time last week is: I can keep my back locked more throughout the pull, which is keeping my hips and trunk in line; this keeps the bar closer also; I am also really focusing on extending as much as is optimal—again this is what I try to do at home. Cathal was right when he said I already had a double knee bend. Now I think I am improving it with the back that is only starting to wake up properly which means that my legs and hips can do their job. Tom is really helping me with these factors and the 8 days is going really well so far. As always, if there is anything I can learn from anyone’s comments or opinions, fire away.


snatch_pete said...

Barry, I think your blogs at times are very good and informative. I have no idea how it could be done but the information you, Cathal and Kev get from these camps must be made available to 'the masses'.

I also am always under the impression when you guys go to these camps that the coaching is always somewhat different from Irish based coaches. The coaches seem to have a larger arsenal of movements to develop specific areas of the body or to work on correcting different technical issues.

To me it seems we have coaches who will work within their comfort zone and train their athletes and I do wonder how coaches develop their skills further. Until guys such as you, Kev and Cathal move into coaching after your lifting is over etc will there be a significant change in coaching in Ireland? Aside from getting more coaches in Ireland (which is a worthy cause) is their much of a coaching infrastructure in place to keep improving coaching standards?

Can't remember which video it was but your 100 snatches looked sharper. Keep it up big lad.

Franklin said...

The modified RDL that you demonstrated in the video was really fascinating especially if it can help me smooth out the transition from the 1st to 2nd pull.

Also your jerks looked quite fluid and fast.

neoct said...

Keep up the good work Barry. Thanks for sharing. Maybe you and Harry could make an avi file encylopedia of exercises for download by compiling the material you already have. Classifying the exercises by the area they help address in relation to the main lifts would be good.

bigphathar said...

Cheers Pete, always good to get a ringing endorsement from you!

I like the Clean-grip RDL, looks like one to keep using if it helps you keep that back lock throughout the lift. As always, keep your head up when you lift!

One last thing, you said: "I was really focusing on the technique which, like the Snatch, tended to limit the speed of my lift."

I know that you know what I'm going to say, but you're still, in weightlifting terms, a beginner. Still learning the technique and still trying to get your head around the complexities of the lifts and how they effect our muscles, joints, CNS etc. Still 'thinking' about the lifts rather than the lifts 'happening.'

You will slow down somewhat while you're concentrating on doing the lifts correctly, but when the correct technique becomes ingrained and automatic then you can focus more on increasing the speed. The most important thing for now is to get the technique right on the 'full' lifts and focus on speed in assistance lifts like the Power Snatch, Hang Power Snatch, Power Clean, Front Squat etc.

See you in a few days,


CathalByrd said...

Jerks look very good Barry, much quicker and not as 'muscled' as they sometimes used to be. It looks like the bar is being driven straight into that hole behind your head. Must be the power jerks... Keep it up!

Barry said...

Thanks Cathal. Controlling the Jerk Dip is the major reason for the improvement in the Jerk I think.

I agree with the above sentiments. I came here to improve my technique and learn how to use my back properly, so I won't get too bogged down on speed just yet.

Thank you for the encouragement. You make some interesting points, but I am very happy with how Harry is coaching me and I firmly believe he is as set on devloping as a coach as I am as a lifter. Like everything, this takes time, which of course is very frustrating!
The advantage that Tom has over Harry is that he has been a professional Strength and Conditioning coach for twenty years and is one of the most qualified people in this area in Holland. This adds to his experience with weightlifting, so I am happy to be here but I am also very happy with Harry as my coach because any improvements I may make in the coming months will be down mainly to Harry's coaching and my hard work. Tom's expertise adds to Harry's guidance.

I would not be good enough yet to serve as a model for others to emulate. I do have some videos of other, more skillful lifters.

Let me know how you find the exercise when you try it out.

snatch_pete said...

I fully respect Harry and what I wrote seems to have been misconstrued as a personal attack on Harry.

I am talking about the coaching in general in Ireland. Even when back home I observed differences of opinion within a club. Thats fine, but there was NO discussion about the right and/or wrongs of each approach.

It was something I mentioned when trying to help draft a Strategic Plan. There did not seem to be one hymn sheet coaches sang from, there was no coaching day when coaches got together etc.

It was a general observation I was trying to make rather than attacking one particular coach. I apologise if it was taken this way.

Barry said...

I understand this was not anything personal against Harry, but he is my only reference point in regards to coaching in Ireland. I can understand your frustration and I think that if the IAWLA was better funded, the coaches could go abroad to take courses or maybe even go to a camp with some lifters to learn from the host coaches. If this does not become a reality, I do not see how further education and development of coaching can occur, aside from the experience of coaching Irish lifters and reading etc.
It is also easier for myself and a few of the lads because we do not have the familial responsibilities of many of the coaches. This is definitely a point that could be raised at the next Committee meeting though.

bigphathar said...

Hi Pete,

I meant my response in a tongue-in-cheek way but it doesn't seem to have come across as happens sometimes when communicating online. No offence taken on my end.

I agree to a certain extent about a lot of what you say: We need more people in coaching to stop thinking that at a certain number of years lifting/coaching/ involved in the sport that they 'know enough'. As coaches you should be learning and re-learning stuff until the day you stop coaching. Jim Schmitz and Tommy Hayden are two coaches that have been massive influences in my perspective as a coach and both are very open-minded.

Jim in particular has taken 11 athletes from his club from beginner level to the Olympics, one of whom medalled and he is still open to new ideas and new methods, a remarkable man, so it frustrates me when some coaches here think that they don't need to learn anymore than they already know.

One last thing, I don't think that it's a given that high-level athletes automatically go into coaching when they're finished lifting. In fact, it's usually the exact opposite. I can't think of a top athlete in recent years who is involved in coaching in Ireland and most don't even stay involved in the sport.

I hope that this isn't the case with our current lifters and that they will stay involved in coaching or some of the other areas such as refereeing, officiating, as committee members etc.


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