Myself, Andy, Byrdie all trained once this evening in Charlie Hamilton’s gym in Kilmarnock. Our first session was technical but challenging. We were exposed to some of Chick’s coaching methodologies, and Cathal has written an account of the most important facts, some of which include:
- Keeping the hips and backside down as much as possible during the pull in order to improve leverage when exploding at the top of the pull
- Using the traps at the top of the pull rather than the deltoids and arms in order to keep the bar path as straight and as close to the body as possible. This in turn will help the lifter to catch the bar more efficiently and reduce the possibility of the bar being out of place, be this in front or behind
- The benefit of doing hang work below the knee as this replicates the full lifts much more than above the knee
- The importance of keeping the tempo high during training in order to stay mentally and physically focused and to also increase work capacity
Another training approach of significant interest that Charlie instilled in us was the importance of a technically sound pull. He had us perform two different types of snatch pull. The first one involved performing one pull from the floor immediately followed by two pulls from below the knee. At the top of each pull Charlie taught us to explode powerfully from the hips and shrug hard with the traps while simultaneously rising up onto the toes. We were taught to hold this extended position for a second or two before lowering the bar. We all went to about 80% of our best snatch in this exercise. The second type of pull we did was a slow speed pull with about 20kg more than the aforementioned pull. Charlie had us focus on pinning the hips down throughout the pull, keeping the shoulders over the bar as the bar reaches knee level and then shrugging at the top of the pull while simultaneously rising onto the toes. Again we held this extended position for a second or two. The main difference between this second pull variation and the aforementioned is that we didn’t explode through the hips; we simply shrugged at the top with the traps. Also the pull was much slower, deliberately so, in order to ensure technically sound positioning throughout the pull.
Thanks to Cathal for writing that. We all did the same exercises but with different weight. I did the following:
1. 1 Power Snatch + 2 Hang Power Snatches—1x3@ 40, 40, 60, 76 for three triples for 80% of Power Snatch and then back down sets with 74 and 72kg. Chick got me to change my pull slightly by continuing to control the bar on the way up and only begin the second pull once it reached the top of my quads, rather than what I was doing which was initiating the pull around the middle of my quads. He also got me to widen my stance a good few inches. I will see how that goes over the week.
2. 1 Snatch pull + 2 Hang Snatch Pulls from below the knee—1x3@76, 86 for three triples. With this exercise he really got us to engage the traps at the top of the pull and to keep our arms and shoulders as relaxed as possible.
3. Snatch Deadlift with shrug—1x3@ 80, 90, 100 for four triples. Like Jim Schmitz’s Clean deadlifts, they are done in slow motion and are done like this to improve strength and positioning.
4. 1 Front Squat, 1 Jerk + 1 more Front Squat and Jerk—1x4@60, 80, 90, 100, 110 for three triples of this weight. This was demanding physically and for some reason my Jerk was better each time on the second Jerk when I was the most tired. I really focused on a quick lock out.
All in all, this was a great session which we all really enjoyed. It was a great learning experience and hopefully each session will continue to be as productive.