Sunday 27 December 2009

A Christmas cracker--a report from Las Vegas: training in Average Broz, by Cathal Byrd

Our favourite son from Cork--or is it Limerick? Even he does not know anymore--trained with John Broz and here is his report. You may or may not have seen my report of training over there. There is another video in this post also. I hope everyone has had a great Christmas and trains smarter and harder over the new Year.

I recently spent a few days holidaying in Las Vegas. Even though the main purpose of this trip was to holiday, I still thought that I should take the opportunity to train in John Broz's weightlifting club as it's always great to train in a new environment, especially in the company of a coach of the calibre of John as well as some of his top athletes. Two 94kg lifters, Taylor and Rob, both Snatched a routine 120kg while both having injured backs. Fighting through the pain or what? I spent four days in total in Vegas, the third day being my session at 'Average Broz', so needless to say I was pretty fatigued from the travel and the general mayhem of Vegas by the time I started my warm-up.
The following is what I did at the training session:

Snatch 80/1x3, 90/1x3
Power Snatch 60/3x2, 80/1x2
Snatch 90/1, 95/1, 100/1
Clean and Jerk 110/1x3
Power Clean+Front Squat+Power Jerk 100/1+1+1x3
Front Squat 110/1, 130/1x3

I was genuinely exhausted during this session so I was delighted to have made 90% (100kg) in the snatch. What was pretty humbling though was that while I was making a not-so-routine 100kg snatch, 105+ junior lifter Pat Mendes was loading the bar to 190kg for an attempt at a new snatch personal best...

Pat was the first of the 'Average Broz' that I met at the gym. He's a big guy, weighing around 130kg at 19 years of age. After some brief introductions and a pretty quick tour of the modestly-sized gym (two lifting platforms, one set of jerk blocks, a few squat stands and a few sets of dumbbells...in my opinion all that a weightlifter needs, nothing fancy, but more than enough for the hard-working weightlifter) we got talking about weightlfting and I asked Pat how his training has been going. He was very upbeat and positive, even though he said he has had some injury problems with his wrist and a very similar knee injury to my own. He then casually mentioned that he was going to snatch 190kg today, to which I humbly replied 'good'. Pat's mental attitiude is fantastic, he realises that to succeed in a sport like weightlifting one has to shed all ego and bulls**t and train hard day after day. Injuries and bad days will come and go, that's a given as an athlete. Giving in to these injuries and bad days however are just not acceptable.

Pat and I began our snatch sessions at the same time and I made sure to keep an eye on him as I thought that I could learn a thing or two. My session was just a run-out to keep me ticking over while on holiday, but Pat was in it for the real thing. A few sets with 50kg, then 100kg for a few doubles, 130kg for a few doubles, 150kg, 170kg, 180kg, 185kg which equalled his personal best. Then 190kg...five times Pat tried this, each time losing the bar out in front. The first attempt was especially close. Pat was clearly annoyed that he could not make 190kg today, he has been attempting this milestone for a couple of months now. It will come though, of that I have no doubt. With 185kg as a 105+ junior, he is already at a top class international level. I'm sure as he moves to the senior ranks he will quickly become a 200kg+ snatcher, with more to come also. Obviously Pat is physically a great athlete, very strong, powerful and with good technique. With a 320kg-edit: now 350kg-- back squat he has the potential to be one of the best super-heavyweights of all time. But for me it is his mental attitude and application to his training that will take him to the level both he and his coach John Broz know he can reach.

During my session I spoke with John Broz about my own weightlifting and training in general. Like Pat I found that John posseses fantastic mental strength. He seems to be a tough but very fair and understanding coach, traits that can only make for top quality athletes. I especially liked his no-nonsense and straightforward training ethos...if an athlete has weak legs, squat. If the pull is weak, incorporate more pulls in training. But the most compelling piece of advice John gave was to build a strong mind, or the 'mind of a champion'. Afterall if the mind is weak, the body has no hope of becoming strong.


You have probably already seen my interview with John, but it is worth watching again because he talks about what Cathal discusses above:

2 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Still impressed with the doping usage at avg broz?

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