Wednesday 24 June 2009

Wednesday's wrestling with the blocks

I only trained once tonight and I was very happy with my positioning in the Snatch Pulls, which were from a 6cm block. I woke up this morning with my hamstrings and glutes feeling the brunt of the training so far, but they loosened out as the day progressed. To warm up at the start of the session we did three circuits, each exercise lasting 30 seconds. The first circuit was sit ups on a swiss ball; skipping; bouncing on a bosu ball; bent over row with bar; incline press with bar. The second circuit was with the bar and were as far as I can remember: Hang Snatch High Pulls; Snatch behind neck press; Overhead Squats; Hang Clean Pulls; Good Mornings. The third circuit was Push Press; Front Squat; Deadlift and I cannot remember the others. This was a comprehensive 12 minute warm up and it got the blood flowing as well as activating and stretching the important muscles and joints. It is also good because it is different and varies from the normal warm ups that we all fall into the habit of using. Different can be good in both a home and an away environment.

1. Hang Power Snatch—I worked up to two triples with 75 and a single with 90. I was focusing on the speed of my pull and extending fully. As Harry and Cathal commented yesterday, I was concentrating on keeping my back locked so that I could get in position to extend fully with my hip. I think this is the focus of what Tom is trying to teach me about the double knee bend, but I may be wrong.

2. Lunges—These were done with 90kg from the Back Squat position. The important points for this exercise was step out enough so that you got a 90 degree angle with the knee and that only after you stepped out and got set, do you go straight down, not forward. We did 3 sets of 4/5 with each leg. We were doing these for two reasons: to strengthen our position in the Jerk receiving position—you have to focus on keeping your back locked with these; and as an assistance movement to maintain and improve athletic strength and balance with both legs. This is a good assistance exercise in my opinion.

3. Snatch High Pulls from 6cm block—I worked up to triples with 80kg. The focus on these was to keep the back locked throughout the pull and to try and avoid the hips rising up before they should. These felt far better than Monday and I think yesterday’s session with the Cleans really helped. I then felt my starting position without the block and it felt the most comfortable in my brief weightlifting career.

4. Front Squats—I did one warm up set of 5 with 80 and then I did three sets of Squats that I really was not used to. There are three parts and they sound really easy on paper but are actually quite difficult. You need to have a person either side of the rack. First you do 3 reps with 80kg. Then you step back while the people beside you rise the weight to 100kg. You get around three seconds rest and then you do another 3 reps. You step back and they put on another 20 kg and you try to do another 3 reps. I could only get one rep in all three sets. The weight is quite light, but when you have hardly any rest and a coach screaming at you to get your knees out when you already have a wider stance than normal, it is very tough. This type of squatting is great for a change and questions your motivation nicely. I think it is a nice addition to an “off-season” period where you are doing more General Preparation.

That was it. I really enjoyed the session and I saw another thing improve in my Snatch starting position. Now I need to maintain this position and really starting extending fully with my pulls—both of which Harry is always trying to get me to do, but the benefit of coming here is that time is not a consideration unlike at home where it is impossible for Harry to spend that much time coaching me individually. Here is a video of some of the action today:


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