Monday 30 November 2009

Monday's maintenance

I had a short training session today. I enjoyed it, but I was tired from a busy weekend and I was also keeping one eye on Saturday so I cut the session short. Zag tried to train but his cns hates him right now and is showing its disdain accordingly. Here is what I did:

5 minutes on the power plate, some pre hab and some bar work

Power Snatch--1x2@40, 40, 40, 60 1x1@70, 80, 90, 94--I pressed out the last rep because I did not finish my pull properly as you will see in the video. Otherwise, they
felt fine so I was happy to move on. My back lock has felt particularly good since Saturday and this is comforting to say the least.

Clean and Jerks--1x1@60, 60, 60, 80, 100, 110--I left it there because I was feeling like I needed to sleep. Usually it is my nervous system kicking my ass, but this was a simple lack of 8 hours a night over the weekend, so I left it there. I will train up to openers on Wednesday with very little volume and have a final flexibility/ very light technique session on Thursday and that should be me ready for Saturday's comp. Have a look at the video and let me know if you have any pointers:

Saturday 28 November 2009

Saturday's start in the morning

Myself and Zag had to train earlier than usual this morning so we had a 30 minute power up session at 09.30; a 45 minute break; Snatch to max for the day/morning; a 15 minute break and then a 25 minute Clean and Jerk session after. It was freezing this morning-- almost more so in the gym!-- and considering how early it was compared to when I usually train and that I was pretty fatigued from the week in general, I was happy with how training went. Here is what I did:

A multi joint warm up followed by glute and scap pre hab and bar work.
Power Snatch--1x2@40, 40, 40, 60, 70

45 minutes later:

Bar work for 5 minutes
Snatch--1x2@50, 50 1x1@70, 80, 90, 95, 100--I missed this by swinging it out front. I then got it, then got 105 and I should have left it there because I knew that was my limit this morning. I had a half hearted attempt at 108.5 and left it there.

15 minutes later:

Clean and Jerk--1x1@70, 70, 70, 100, 112, 122, 132--I got the clean but the bar in the rack position was all over the place so I dropped it. I got the Clean and Jerk of 132 two minutes later and left it at that.

Zag got 95/110 and like me, found the time and weather conditions tough to deal with. But as long as we are getting over 90% early on a Saturday morning, I am happy. Bring on London; I can't wait! The last part of the video is particularly interesting by the way...

Thursday 26 November 2009

Thursday's treaty with Zag

I ended up training quite late this evening for a variety of reasons, but it also ended up being an enjoyable and effective session. Zag represented my lifting conscience and I listened to him tonight. It was important not to go overboard tonight and remember that what really matters is Saturday week in London. Here is what I did tonight:

A 10 minute joint warm up and five minute glute and hip pre hab followed by a hsort amount of bar work.

Power Snatch: 1x2@50, 50, 60 1x1@70, 80, 90, 95, 95, 97--The last few were around parallel. The last three Snatches are in the video below so have a look and let me know of any comments you have. I visualised what I wanted in regards to my back lock and me catching it nice and early and this seemed to help.

Power Clean and Power Jerk--For some reason I wanted to do this tonight, so I went with it. I would rarely perform these movements, so I wanted to see if I could beat my best Power Clean and Power Jerk which was 125. I have Cleaned and Power Jerked 130 before but tonight I Power Cleaned 127 and Power Jerked it with a press out. I did two doubles with 70 and then singles with 90, 100, 110, 120 and 127. They felt fast and I really enjoyed them. Zag wisely stopped me there.

Front Squat--Again Zag led from the front and got me to do doubles with 110, 120, 130 and then an really nice and easy single with 145 that felt great.

Have a look at the video below and leave any constructive criticism you see fit:

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Tuesday's trajectory

I had time to do a little power up session and I also used it to work out the stiffness and soreness from the previous day's training. Here is what I did in the first session:

10 minutes on the power plate doing muscle activation and stretching, followed by bar work and overhead squats.
Snatch--1x2@40, 40, 40, 60 1x1@70, 80, 90
Clean and Jerk--1x1@60, 60, 60, 80, 100

I left it there and although my legs were feeling pretty tired, I felt the better for the session. Here is what I did later that evening:

Snatch--1x2@50, 50, 70 1x1@80, 90, 100, 105, I then missed 107 twice. I was actually happy because I have never made the jump from 90 to 100 before and I made it in this session which is good new for my competition warm ups. Again, the 107's were just too slow, but I did not let it bother me.

Clean and Jerk--1x1@70, 70, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140--I had never made the jump from 130 to 140 before, but I was not feeling like I had much gas in the tank so I made the jump and I was happy to get it. I went through the motions to attempt 145 but I was not in the right state of mind for it.

I was pretty wrecked by this stage so Zag made the executive decision for me to abandon my squats. I was happy to go along with the call and finished off on that note. I have a light session on Thursday and on Saturday I will go up to openers. Have a look at the video below and let me know what you think:

Monday 23 November 2009

Monday's mottled cleans

I had a great session tonight in the Hercs and it was really nice training with Harry, Gill, Laura and Karen again. I was not feeling quite as dandy as last week, but I ended up lifting relatively well. I actually trained on Saturday morning for around 50 minutes but it was a non-session where I Snatched up to 90 and Front Squatted 155 for a single. I was rushed and it was early which which meant that my session was a no go from the start. Today, however, was better. I had a nice warm up using the vibration plate machine which I find helpful in activating muscle, ligaments and tendons and the first set if overhead squats always feels great when I use this machine, weird as it is. Here is what I did:

Power Snatch--1x3@40 1x2@40, 60 1x1@70, 80, 90, 93, 95--The last rep was caught below parallel, but it felt fast and in the groove. I tried going back to the narrower Snatch grip that I used when I first started lifting and this felt far more comfortable and it also felt easier to lock in the back. I will experiment with this for a few days and see how it feels.

Clean doubles--1x2@60, 60, 90, 110, 120, 127, 132--This was an improvement on last weeks pb with 130 and even though my lifting was nowhere near as smooth, I still got them. Looking at the video shows me I have more extension and when I am fresher my catch should be timed better.

Front Squat--1x2@130, 140, 150 1x1@160--It took me around five seconds to get through the sticking point with the last lift, but it got there eventually. I finished my session with more flexibility using the vibration plate machine and I felt pretty good afterwards.

Have a look at the video below and let me know if you have any constructive criticism.

Saturday 21 November 2009

Friday's freewheeling

I had a good session on Friday night. I was not feeling fresh or particularly energetic, but I enjoyed it none the less. When I finished my warm up I did the counter movement jump test and I got 49.4cm which far better than my previous best of 47.6. I consistently jumped 47's and 48's in my 5 or 6 jumps and I was pleasantly surprised to get the pb. After this I did the following:

Snatch Pulls to warm up: 1x2@60, 60, 70, 80

Snatch--1x2@40, 50, 60 1x1@70, 80, 87.5, 92.5, 97.5, 100, I then missed 102.5 three times due to a lack of finish. I had very little speed and it was weird that I got the cmj pb.

Front Squat + Jerk--1+1@70, 70, 100, 115, 120, 125, 130--I had to fight hard to lock out and the weight forced me under more than usual, but I was happy to get it.

Front Squat--1x1@135, 145, 155--I did these few singles to finish off the workout.

I enjoyed my workout and did around 45 minutes of yoga, but I was very fatigued by the end of it. Have a look at these videos of the super heavyweights lifting in the 1999 world championships.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Wednesday's whistling workout

Myself and Zag only had 50 minutes to train tonight and it had to be pretty late in the evening. My legs were pretty fatigued after yesterday's training, so I would not have done much more anyway. Zag had new 5 rep squat pb with 150kg and it looked like he could have done 155kg. I only Snatched doubles and Front Squatted for a few singles.

I did a few Snatch Pulls to warm up

Snatch doubles--1x2@50, 50, 70, 70, 80, 90, 90, 95--I missed the second rep twice, but I did not beat myself up. It simply was not there and I just lacked the finishing of the pull.

Front Squat--1x2@ 100 1x1@130, 150

Short and sweet, but enjoyable. I will train tomorrow and work on my technique with lighter weights and then train on Saturday; I will judge the intensity on how I feel on the day.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Tuesday's titilatingly close Clean and Jerk pb attempt

Training went well again tonight. I should have warmed up my stiff back a little more which would have helped me in the Snatch, but otherwise I did well. Here is what I did:

My usual twenty minute warm up of the joints, the relevant muscles and activating the glutes and hips.

Snatch--1x2@50, 50, 70 1x1@80, 90, 95, 100, 105--I left it there because I was not able to keep my back locked properly. My hips felt pretty loose so I was able to catch the 105 you will see in the video below. I will warm up the area with more care tomorrow.

Clean and Jerk--1x2@70, 70 1x1@100, 115, 125, 130, 135, 140--I missed the Clean on the first attempt because I was not fast enough in the pull or the catch. I then got 140 for a straightforward Clean and Jerk and went for 145 which would have been a new pb. I pulled myself under it, but when I adjusted at the bottom, my elbows dropped and stopped my squatting the bar up with any power. It was a very close miss that I put down to timing and the bar possible being slightly out front. I will get this very very soon and I know I have more in the tank for the London Open.

Back Squat--1x2@130, 150, 160--Short and sharp, I left it there.

Have a look at the video and let me know if you have any pointers.

Monday 16 November 2009

Monday's mighty Clean doubles

I had a nice session tonight in which I had two pb's. Firstly in the Counter movement jump, I got 47.6 which was 2 cm better than my previous best. I did this after a nice joint warm up and pre hab with bar work and some dynamic flexibility to boot. Zag jumped for a new pb also and got 49cm. Here is what I did for today's session.

Power Snatch--1x2@40, 40, 60 1x1@70, 80, 90 for 3 singles. They felt fine and my back was a little stiff from the weekend which did not help my starting position. My speed felt ok after the weekend though.

Clean doubles--1x2@60, 60, 90, 100, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130--This was a new pb as my previous best was 128 and I did that in June. My Cleans felt smooth this evening and although they were not particularly fast, they felt in the groove.

Front Squat--1x2@ 130, 140, 150--3 sets that were short and sweet. My legs were tired from the weekend and the Cleans.

I finished off with around ten minutes of flexibilty. Last week I had 3 yoga session and I definitely felt far looser and more mobile because of it. The more I work on my flexibility, I think my catching position will gradually start to widen which will allow me get my hips through more. This will help particularly in the Snatch. I have decided to focus on certain elements of my lifting without judging them and to go along with how they feel, rather than giving myself instructions, commands and the full meal ticket. I am re-reading The Inner Game of Tennis for the third time and it had changed my perceptions on how I can learn optimally. I do not play tennis but the principles that the book teaches are applicable in any field or endevour. I shall write a proper article on how the book relates to weightlifting in the near future.

There is a new lifter training with myself and Zag called Nicky who has far more potential than either of us. Have a look at his positioning in the video below. He has the speed, power, flexibility and determination to go a long way in the sport if he chooses to do so.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Saturday's steady progression

It was a three hour drive up past Belfast to get to Jordanstown, for the Northern Ireland Open and it proved to be worth the drive. The competition was well organised and the atmosphere was great as always. Sami got a lovely 125 Clean and Jerk which you will see in the video below and Cathal Snatched an easy 106 and got another easy 134 in the Jerk. Neither lifter tapered for this competition and Sami has been training between five and six days a week with around 8 sessions or so for the last three weeks. This training volume affected his Snatch which relies on more delicate timing and subtle technique. Cathal is on the road to rehabbing his battered right knee and treated this as a training session only. I lifted well, and got a pb in the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk, but I did not get quite what I want. Here is how it went:

I weighed in at 92.8kg which is very light for me. I had a big bowl of porridge that morning and a light dinner the night before but little fluids. With the long drive my upper back was feeling tight, but otherwise I felt ready to go. Here is how I warmed up:

Snatch--1x2@50, 50, 70 1x1@80, 80, 90, 90, 97, 102--In the warm up room Cathal was helping me out and kept reminding me to finsh my pull and this really helped. Here were my competition lifts:

1x1@106--This was easy and I should have opened up on my planned 107/108.
1x1@111--This was a new competition pb and it felt pretty sweet and was a far better lift than the 110's I got in Glasgow and Cork.
1x1@113--I pressed out with my left elbow in the bottom of the catch and I just needed a slightly faster and more aggressive turnover. If I was to miss a weight, I am glad I committed to it and gave it a real go.

Clean and Jerk--1x2@70, 70 1x1@95, 112, 122, 132

1x1@138--I Cleaned this really easily and I was too relaxed with the Jerk and ended up pressing it out. More urgency was needed.
1x1@140--This was a fast and solid lift that I was really happy with. It was infinitely more controlled than when I lifted it in previous competitions.
1x1@143--I actually over pulled the Clean, which caused me to go back on my heels in the catch, but I stood up with it easily. My Jerk felt solid, but a little far behind which meant I had to step back immediately to re-adjust. I had planned on doing 138-143-145 but my opener scuppered this. I went up to 140 and I knew I could make the lift with more pep in my step and then I went for 143 in a compromise. I will leave 145 for London.

I wanted 113/145 and I came out with 111/143. I was content with the 3kg increase in my total, but I know I can and will lift more in London in three weeks. I am already eagerly anticipating that competition! Have a look at the vidoe below and leave any constructive criticism that can help.

Friday 13 November 2009

Understanding plyometric training and its application to weightlifting: a guest article

Here is a guest article from the one and only Dr Eamonn Flanagan. He has generously agreed to host some of his ideas on the blog, so here is his bio and I hopes everyone enjoys the article and thinks about how/if it can be applied to our training. I have taken the liberty of providing some videos to support Eamonn's ideas, all of which he suggested of course! Here is a link to his other guest article on the use of creatine for weightlifters.

Eamonn Flanagan is a strength and conditioning coach with the Scottish Rugby Union. He has formally worked with Munster Rugby and in hurling,athletics, rowing and AIL rugby. He is an 85/94kg lifter and represents the University of Limerick Weightlifting Club.

Plyometrics is the term now applied to exercises that have their roots in Eastern Europe where they were first known simply as “jump training” (Chu, 1998). They are exercises involving rapid, explosive movements for the development of athletic power. Examples of plyometrics include depth jumps, hurdle jumps and bounding. Plyometric training has been shown to have a number of beneficial effects for athletes. These primarily include the development of an athlete’s power production. Plyometrics can increase the speed at which athletes can develop force and injury prevention for athletes in sports where there is a high degree of jumping, landing and side-stepping movements. Plyometrics have been shown to be highly effective in ACL injury prevention programs for athletes in sports such as volleyball, basketball and soccer (Hewett, 1996).

The training adaptation to plyometrics takes place at a neural level (Markovic, 2005). Plyometric training does not increase muscle size. It increases the efficiency and speed of muscular contraction by training the body to activate more muscle fibers with better timing during these explosive exercises. It trains the muscles to use the stretch shortening cycle (SSC) more efficiently.

The stretch shortening cycle (SSC) is the basis of plyometric exercises. The SSC is a natural type of muscle function in which muscle is stretched immediately before in is contracted (flexed). This eccentric/concentric coupling produces a more powerful contraction than that which would result from a purely concentric action alone (Komi, 1992). For example, crouch down to a half squat position. Hold this position for one second and then jump as high as possible (without going down any further). This is a purely concentric jump, it can be difficult to get good jump height with such a jumping technique.

Now try a regular vertical jump in which you can crouch down and jump up very rapidly. This is an eccentric/concentric jump. You are sure to jump higher and develop more force, more rapidly in such a jump.

This eccentric/concentric coupling of the SSC is the natural form of muscle function, and it is evident in everyday activities, such as running, throwing and jumping.

There are a number of biomechanical mechanisms that contribute to the SSC. More about these involved mechanisms can be read in this article

All stretch shortening cycles are not created equally. The type of stretch shortening cycle can be described as fast or slow (Schmidtbleicher, 1992). Different biomechanical mechanisms are used in these different stretch shortening cycles. As a result, training in the fast SSC will not improve slow SSC performance, and vice versa.

The fast SSC is characterized by very short ground contact phases, quick eccentric/concentric (“up/down”) movements and limited range of motion at the knee hips, knees, and ankles. A typical example would be depth jumps. Other examples are fast, repeated hops over hurdles or repeated standing long jumps with short ground contact phases.

The slow SSC involves longer ground contact or contraction times, larger ranges of motion at the knee, hips and ankles and slower overall movement of the working muscles. An example would be maximal effort vertical jumps or box jumps. Other examples would be single standing long jumps and single hurdle jumps.

To understanding the application of plyometrics into a training program it helps to have an understanding of the force velocity curve. The force velocity curve dictates that humans can produce their highest levels of total force at very slow velocities and in activities of very high velocity, low total forces are produced. For example, a maximal effort back squat will generally be performed at a low velocity, but one will generate a very high level of total force. In sprinting, with each foot contact, a low total force is produced but the movement speed is very high velocity. The weightlifting movements, most likely, lie somewhere in between these extremes as moderate force, moderate velocity movements – cleans lying a little more toward maximal strength and snatches lying a little more toward maximal speed.

Plyometrics' position on the force velocity curve can be seen also. They are quick powerful movements. Many sport scientists and strength and conditioning coaches suggest that for optimal athletic development one must train across the force velocity spectrum. In powerlifting the conjugate system of Westside training also works from a similar principle with maximal high level loads lifted in the same training block as dynamic, high velocity lower loads. In most weightlifting programs this principle is also included: front and back squats are high force, low velocity. Heavy pulls are next down the curve. Then the weightlifting movements themselves.

Plyometrics could then be used to train faster force production abilities. By training across the whole force-velocity spectrum, the athlete is less likely to be inhibited by a deficiency in any one particular aspect of his performance be it speed, speed-strength or maximal strength. Plyometrics are a highly suitable way for weightlifters to train speed strength. Exercises such as box jumps, vertical jumps, depth jumps and hurdle jumps are all biomechanically similar to the weightlifting movements. They are bilateral (double legged), they use the same major muscles and joints, have similar range of motion at the active joints and similar timings of muscular activation. Uni-lateral (single leg) plyometrics such as bounding and hopping drills are probably not as biomechanically well matched to the weightlifting movements. Dreschler (1996) states that plyometrics can help to decrease the time it takes for a lifter to reach maximum force and improve their power output. But, he cautions that the modality of training is unlikely to produce any dramatic improvements in weightlifting performance.

There are a couple of other specific applications of plyometrics which could be useful in a weightlifting context. The first of those involve very young lifters or very novice lifters. With such lifters, they may not be technically proficient enough to perform cleans and snatches with enough weight to illicit a good training effect. If this is the case then from a force-velocity perspective, their training could be very lopsided toward maximal strength at low velocities. By incorporating simple plyometric exercises such as box jumps, hurdle jumps and standing long jumps the young or developing athletes can get a degree of speed-strength development in their training and also learn control and coordination of their bodies. Here is a video demonstrating this principle with Scottish coach Charlie Hamilton having his young lifters perform dynamic jumps onto plates:

Another very useful application of plyometrics is when weightlifters are suffering from upper extremity injuries such as wrist injuries. Here the weightlifter should still be able to squat heavy and develop their maximal strength capabilities. They are unlikely to be able to perform any cleans, jerks or snatches however. So plyometrics can be used extensively to keep their training volumes up and to develop their speed-strength capabilities while injured.

Lifters should use a variety of slow and fast plyometrics. The slow plyometrics such as vertical jumps and box jumps are good to use first as it is easier with these slower movements to teach good jumping and landing mechanics. Once athletes have mastered good jumping and landing mechanics they could begin to incorporate low-level fast plyometrics like repeated jumps over low hurdles. The degree of difficulty of these fast plyometric exercises could be slowly increased over time. One should exercise caution with fast plyometrics however. They are more intense than slow plyometrics and the strain they place on the nervous system is likely to be higher.

Dreschler (1998) comments on the placement of plyometrics into the weightlifter’s periodized training plan. It should be limited to one or two periods of several weeks per year. This could be one or two 4-6 week blocks of plyometrics in general preparation phases of training. The amount and intensity of the jump training should be carefully limited in the phases. Dreschler (1998) also suggests that once a weightlifter has learned the plyometric movements and begun to express fast force production well and effectively that quite a low amount practice (or the mere practice of the weightlifting lifts themselves) should be enough to retain the benefits of plyometric training. This could be as simple as the lifter performing 3 or 4 sets of 3 in the box jump at the beginning of a training session in his general preparation phase.

Overall, plyometrics offer a simple and effective way to promote fast force production and to train speed-strength capabilities of athletes. Their inclusion is probably most suitable for young or novice athletes and those with upper body injuries which limit their actual weightlifting movements. The benefit of plyometrics may be less for adult, mature lifters but they could still be used to train across the force-velocity spectrum and benefits (or maintenance) of fast force production can be achieved with a low volume of plyometrics.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Wednesday's whupping

I had a really enjoyable session tonight; it was very short and sharp. I arrived at the gym determined to get my final warm up lifts for Saturday and I got them and felt good doing so. Here is what I did:

A short pre-hab warm up with some bar work and flexibilty.

Snatch--1x2@50, 50, 70 1x1@80, 90, 97, 100, 103 x,103--I missed this, but got it a few minutes later. Quite simply, I did not finish my pull or accelerate with any real urgency. Tommy made the point that I was iniating my pull too early and not staying over the bar enough, so I focused on that and the lifts felt far stronger afterwards. He also berated me for being over-analytical with my technique and to just get on with it and lift! Tommy knows what he is talking about so I will keep it as simple as I can over the next few weeks.

Clean and Jerk--1x1@70, 70, 100, 110, 120, 130--I kept it as short and sweet as I could and my lifts felt accurate and smooth; but like my Snatches, they were a little slow and without the pop that I know I will have with two rest days before Saturday's competition. Have a look at the videos below and let me know and constructive comments you may have.

I decided not to squat in order to save my legs and energy and I left the gym feeling far better than when I arrived. Zag trained well despite a very very long day in work. He also lifted up to his final warm up reps and he going into Saturday in great knick.

Monday 9 November 2009

Monday's marshalling of the cumulative fatigue

I had an enjoyable day's training today and I finally got that triple in the Front Squat with 150kg which I have not gotten since early on in the Summer. Again, it was a split session and I deviated from my usual Monday workout as I am competing on Saturday. Here is what I did:

Early afternoon:
A short warm up involving bodyweight movements and pre habs.
Front Squats--2x5@60 1x3@100, 120, 130, 140, 150
15 minutes partner flexibilty with Zag focusing on the hip flexors, groin, hamstrings and internal and external hip rotators.

Warm up followed by the counter jump movement test on the computerised mat. I got 45.5 and Zag got 48.3, with our hands on our hips.

Power Snatch--1x3@40, 50 1x2@60, 70 1x1@80, 85, 90--I was happy with these: they were fast and locked in. Perhaps I could have finished my pull a bit more, but have a look at the video below and see if you can spot anything that needs to be changed.

Power Clean and Jerk--1x1@70, 70, 90, 100, 110, 115--I left it there as I did not have too much more in the tank.

I enjoyed training today and I think I may have turned a corner on the fatigue front--assuming I look after myself over the next few days and sleep really well. I will lift up to my last warm ups on Wednesday with as little volume and as big jumps that I can make. If things do not feel hunky dory, I will nip it in the bud and save it for Saturday.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Saturday's standard fare

I had a busy morning and week in general, so when a double espresso only makes you feel normal, you know it is not going to be a standout session. I still enjoyed it and was happy with getting 100/125 in this state. Here is what I did:

I took my time warming up and I did the following:

Clean grip Snatches--I just did these for fun. I did double with 40 twice, then 50 and singles with 60, 70 and 80. I left it there because I did not want to burn up what energy I had.

Snatch--1x2@40, 50, 60, 70 1x1@80, 90, 95--I missed this, then got it, missed 98 and then got. Both misses were due to not finishing the pull coupled with a cumbersome catch. I finished off with a sloppy single with 100 and left it there.

Clean and Jerk--1x1@60, 60, 80, 100, 110, 120, 125--These were ok. I needed to stay over the bar a bit more in the cleans and punch the Jerks out quicker, but I was happy enough.

Back Squats--1x2@110, 120, 130, 140--They were nice and light and I only did them to keep up the routine of squatting so they will go up eventually.

Have a look at the video and see what you see. I see a tired lifter lacking his co-ordination and I am looking forward to getting it back next week for the competition in Ulster. I am not really tapering too much for this one as the London open on Decemeber 5th is my real focus.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Friday's frightfully inspired sessions

I split my session into two today and in the early afternoon I did my squats and pulls and in the evening I did my Snatches and Front Squat and Jerks. It went well considering it was a Friday. Aside form my tired legs not getting the triple with 150 in the Front Squat that I wanted, I was happy with with how the day went from a technique and strength view point. Here is what I did:

Front Squat--1x5@60, 90 1x3@110, 120, 130, 140, 150--I only got a double in this and then a single. Next week, I will get a triple with this!

Snatch Pulls--1x3@60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 105, 110--I really tried to get my hips and shoulders to come up together and to stay over the bar while transfering the weight from my toes to my heels and back to my toes again. They felt good again today and transfered mostly into my Snatches later that day.

Snatch--3x3@40 1x2@50, 50, 60, 70 1x1@80, 85, 85, 90 x, 90, 95 for three singles. I missed one rep with 90 because I did not finish my pull and I found that was the case for many of my Snatches tonight. I was making sure my first pull was accurate and it felt better, but not perfect of course. Have a look at the video and tell me if you see anything.

2 Front Squats and 1 Jerk--This is always tough after squatting earlier in the day but I was happy enough with how it went. I did this combination lift for singles with 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 125--I just missed the Jerk as you will see in the video below and I had ru out of time to give it another go, but I will get it next time.

I train tomorrow and I will see how I am feeling after working in the morning. Next week I compete in Belfast so I need to get as fresh as I can in a week so that I can lift bigger weights than I ever have before!

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Wednesday's waiting game

I had a late session this evening. I had a quick but thorough warm up and I went straight into:

Snatch doubles--1x2@40, 40, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90--I missed the second rep twice, but then I got both for three doubles with 90. Once I finished my pull and got my back locked it was fine. I find that when I get tired, my back lock and flexibility get steadily worse and the only way I can get them ok, is to focus completely on them.

Snatch Pulls--1x2@90,90, 100, 100--These were not feeling right so I went right back down to basics with 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 100, 100 for three doubles and these last few sets actually felt like they should feel. I focused on getting my lower back locked and curling the weight up with my back while pushing off my legs and staying over the bar. Have a look at the video below and tell what you think. My hips and shoulders come up together on the second set, but not the first.

I left it at that because it was relatively late and I was pretty wrecked. I am looking forward to freshening up for the competition in Belfast on Saturday week.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Tuesday's tightness in the hip flexors

I did my squats in the early afternoon and I finished up my session this afternoon. I was still pretty tired, but the squats definitely helped gear up my system for the afternoon session. Before the session I did the counter movement jump test again and I got 43.8 and Zag got 47.8 which is ok considering his legs are about to fall off and we had both already squatted that day. Here is what I did:

Front Squats--1x5@50, 50 1x3@100, 120, 130, 140 1x2@150, 150, 150--I only got one rep in the last set. My legs were tired!

This afternoon:

Power Snatch--1x2@40, 40, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 85, 85, 85--My Snatches were pretty ropy as well as being slow. The effects of fatigue I am afraid, I just have to accept it.

Clean and Jerk--1x2@60, 60, 60 1x1@80, 90, 100, 110, 115, 120, 125--I missed the Clean and a few minutes later I nailed both the Clean and the Jerk. These lifts were very hard today and I had to give it 100% to make them. I was happy to make them.

I finished off with 10 minutes of flexibility and I had a yoga session that night. My hips have been extremely tight since Saturday and yoga was just what was needed. I have to stretch the hip and back area out every night in order to improve my flexibility so that it shows in the lifts themselves. Have a look at the video and leave any appropriate comments.

Monday 2 November 2009

Monday's magnum

I was pretty tired during training today and looking back, I set my sights too high. I needed to be a little more realistic considering my training volume last week as well as maxing out on Saturday's second session. That's alright though, this is supposed to be a learning process after all. Here is what I did tonight:

A fifteen minute warm up. I was very stiff and warming up took more effort than usual.

Reverse Pulls--1x2@40, 50, 60, 70, 82 1x1@92--I did these as part of the warm up which also worked on pulling skill and back lock.

Snatch--Because I was so stiff, it was hard to get locked into position.
1x3@40, 40 1x2@60 1x1@80, 90, 95--This was awful so I went back to 90 again for a swinging miss behind and then a decent, but slow Snatch. I left it there.

Snatch Pulls--1x2@90, 100, 105, 110, 115

Cleans--1x2@60, 60, 90, 100, 110 for three doubles. These had to be ground out, but each set got a little better.

Back Squats--1x2@110, 120, 130, 140--I was all done in by then so I left it there for a quick stretch.

Have a look at the video below of some of the lifting today from Zag and I:

Sunday 1 November 2009

Saturday's sparklers in UL

Paudie Roche, Sean O Sullivan and Reverend Murphington joined myself, Zag and Cathal for a morning power up and technique session and a max effort session afterwards. It turned out to be an enjoyable day's training and there was a great buzz with everyone egging eachother on.

In the morning, I warmed up with lots of flexibility and bar work. The joints and muscles were complaining, but that was to be expected. I Snatched up to 85kg for a few singles, and they felt very rough. After this I did some Jerk skill with 60kg for ten minutes or so and left it there. The session lasted between 60 and 75 minutes.

Around two and a half to three hours later, we started our second session. Cathal is still rehabing a knee injury so he Snatched up to 95 and did at least ten singles with 90 and some Clean Pulls. Sean Snatched 95 for three singles and Clean and Jerked 125 for three easy singles again. He is returning to heavier training and is being trumped up as UL's third lifter in their quest for a fourth consecutive club title. Murph was also rehabing a knee injury so contented himself with Power Clean and Jerks and Clean Pulls. Paudie Snatched a new pb of 70kg and Clean and Jerked a new pb of 92.5kg for two singles and followed that with an easy looking Clean of 95kg. Zag Snatched 100kg for the second time, narrowly missing with 102.5kg. All this despite his massive training volume this week and work schedule. He followed this with a 155kg pr Front Squat and a 120 Power Clean after failing with 160 twice!

Here is what I did:

Snatch--3x3@40 1x2@60, 70 1x1@80, 90, 97.5, 102.5, 102.5 and then I missed 105 twice. Like Friday, there was no speed in my pull or catch, so I just had to accept it and move on.

Clean and Jerk-- 2x3@50 1x1@90, 110, 117.5, 122.5, 127.5, 132.5, 137.5, 142.5--I got this for a new pb and I was happy with how it went. Byrdie said he would take charge of the loading, so I just lifted what he told me and it was nice having no choice in the matter. This was also a different way of progressing in weight than normal for me. Halfway through my lifts, Murph said I needed to relax more when I am about to Jerk and his outrageous miming of Byrdie in the same position provided me with just the mental and visual que that was needed. Strange but true and helpful. In the Clean I focused on staying over the bar and keeping the arms relaxed.

Power Clean--I was going to Front Squat, but Byrdie said it would be a goo time to get a Power Clean pb so I went with the flow. It was 125kg, so Cathal put 117.5, 122.5 and then 127.5kg, all of which I nailed with a new pb in tow. Good man Byrdie. He smugly remarked he has the great makings of a coach and I had to grudgingly assent.

All in all, it was a great weekend's lifting. We all had a laugh and pushed each other every time. Friday and Saturday were my fifth and sixth days' training and I still got a pressed out 145 Jerk from the rack, and the following day a Clean and Jerk pb and a Power Clean pb. Have a look at the video below and leave and contructive criticism deemed necessary.