Our first session was very early and we were warming up at 8.45AM. It turned out to an incredibly demanding session, but it was extremely worthwhile. The video below shows how our session was structured but here is what I did:
Bar work to warm up
Clean triples up to 85% for three sets—1x3@40, 40, 40, 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120 for three doubles. I missed my last Clean in the first set, got all three reps on my second set and on my third set that is on the video below, I missed the first rep by overpulling and I got the following two reps. This was very difficult because this was all happening around 9.15 am. None of us had ever trained this heavy this early.
Clean singles to max—I got a single with 125, missed 130 and then got it. This was demanding because my brain was telling me it was too early. At no stage of the pull or catch did I feel in any way fluid, but we had to go through with the Cleans anyway and improve our mental strength and our ability to switch off the negative sides of our brains. I then did a single with 135 and I was unable to focus enough in order to Clean 140.
Power Clean and 3 Jerks—Myself and Byrdie worked up to 110kg. Again, it was the co-ordination—or lack of it—that made the exercise tricky. I really focused on driving under the weight and moving as quickly as I could. Because the weight was light, it meant my split was very close, but I could really feel myself getting under the bar. It is quite strange that when we did the max Jerks with 100kg the previous day, it was the 6th, 7th and 8th Jerks that were my best and the first real time that I drove myself under the bar in the split Jerk.
Power Cleans—We did three or four singles with 110kg to work on keeping the bar as close as possible by focusing on the top of the pull.
Session two—7 pm
Snatch—I did doubles up until 90kg and then went onto singles. Throughout the warm up and all my Snatches, I tried to make my lifts as fast as I possibly could and to finish the pulls. This is very tricky with 60kg, but I have to learn to do it.
1x1@95, 100, 105—The 100/105 felt very smooth and close to the body, but there was no pop in the pull in order for a fast finish. I then missed 110 three times which was very frustrating as the bar was high enough, but I lacked the final zip in the finish of the pull and my hips were not opening up enough to get down at rock bottom. I have a good bit of flexibility work to do over the next few weeks. My hip flexibility really improved but since I have been away for the last month, it has gone to the dogs.
Snatch 80% for five reps in a row—Murph and Byrdie were able to get their five singles, but I could only get four. Like out earlier session, Chick was really trying to change the way our mind works and shake it out of our comfort zones. This set felt like an equivalent of a weightlifting brawl and I got knocked out in the final round.
Back Squat—We worked up to a max triple. Murph got 140, I got 160 and Byrdie got 168. Chick really emphasised having your foot spacing and back angle in the same position as you would the Clean receiving position.
That was it. A tough, but exhilarating day’s training where we really pushed the limits of what we were used to, and comfortable doing also. We can always do more than the mind tells us. Peter Kirkbride came into the gym around 8pm and was clearly shattered form a day working on a building site. He was still able to lift some outrageous weights that were very close to his max lifts. This shows how mentally strong he is and how Chick coaches lifters to ignore the mind and to trust his coaching awareness that he has developed over the years. When I come into the gym after a tough day’s work, my mind tells me to take it easy and have a light session. This is fine if one does not want to improve, but rather stagnate. Sometimes one is forced to rest, but there are also times when one has to transcend their previous limits and put everything they have and more than they think they have into a session. This is the biggest thing I have learned off Chick that goes beyond the technical details. I have more mental strength in me than I realise and I need to work on building up this strength and it will come into play on the days were in a tough session or in a competition, I can compose myself, ignore the doubts and simply grip and rip. Here is the video below. I have only included myself, Muprh’s and Cathal’s lifts and in a few days I will publish some videos of Chick’s younger lifters and Peter that will bring a tear to the eye. I also got a great interview with Chick that I will post when I am able. Comment on any aspect of the video that interests you or include any constructive criticism you may have.
As a bonus feature for this post, I have added the third part of Jim Schmitz's interview. It is on how he structures his programmes and also on competition strategy, so enjoy.