Saturday 3 April 2010

Thursday's tenacity

We only trained once again today and although it was frustrating working on weaknesses, that is why myself and Zag came here. The focus was on the first pull in the Snatch while yesterday it was on the catch portion of the lift. Tom had me start from the top of the first pull going down and we started off using 25kg bumper plates to raise the height. Within twenty minutes I was able to get down to the floor and get pretty well locked in from the bottom.

The main coaching queues were really forcibly getting the knees out in the bottom; focusing on gettting the scapula down and back, rather than just back which in turn got the chest out; elbows brought back around clockwise to open up the chest and lock up the upper back and the chin tucked in rather than jutting out. Obviously focusing on all these actions and tensing the appropriate muscles was tiring, but if it is turned into a habit and I get more efficient and mobile in those areas, all will be good. I worked up to a few Power Snatches with 80kg.

We also worked on the Power Clean and Power Jerk and the focus points were keeping the back locked a lot more than I had previously and to maintain that back lock in the catch. The principles seem to be the same throughout the lifts and I found this helpful. I worked up to 3 singles with 110 and then went on to his modified RDL exercise that is a great back exercise for me. I find it good for muscle education and also strength in the lower lumbar area. We did a lot of soft tissue work on the upper back and shoulders that we both found very helpful also.

David mentioned a valid point the other day when he commented that the weights we were lifting were too light and that we were doing too much functional work. Firstly, the weights were very light, but I think when you are trying to learn a new skill and also trying to get your body to function in a manner that it never has before, throwing too much weight on is not a good idea. Fatigue is not conducive to learning and what I am focusing on is learning skill for weightlifting technique and I am also trying to teach my body how to move in ways that it is capable of, but it still has to be learnt. When it is time to cement that learning with volume and intensity, then I will go hell for leather and I will enjoy the process.

Secondly, the reason why we do the functional training is for long term physical health. I will be weightlifting 2 years in May and I find that my physical condition is improving all the time. This is because of the time I spend improving my mobility, flexibility, diet and soft tissue health. There are weightlifters I know and their body is a mess. I do not want this. I love weightlifting and I love training. I think that weightlifting should improve one's health, not break down the body and it is my opinion that spending time working on the above factors is necessary for me in order to improve my body's ability to function and in turn, allow the body to lift with the technique that I know I am capable of. I will not compromise my long term health. Have a look at the video below and let me know what you think.


gentledoc said...


Excellent teaching points and as per the weight, when we teach a new skill to anyone, no matter what skill it is, we strive for errorless learning, the weight you are using is reinforcing the new patterns of responding versus using a heavier weight that would not reinforce these correct positions, yet only reinforce technique patterns that were incorrect. Right on mate! A sound lesson for all of us to learn!

Anonymous said...

just have a query from your videos it appears that both your self and zag are way off the bar from the floor and through out the lifts is this being coached ??? if so why ?? second of all if you are using the light weights to modifu technnique would it not be important that the lifter is coached to hang out over the bar through the pull ??? this does not appear to happen ?? and finally i do believe a very handsome young hairy irish weightlifter told you to peform the pulls, deadlifts lifts from ever decreasing heights ie 25kg plate to 20kg plate to 15kg plate and so on about a year ago from conversation you said you practiced these movements and it really helped your back lock ?? why did you stop these movements?? finally on that modified rdl i know it helps you get your back lock but i think its teaching you an incorrect position throughout your pull i.e. pulling your shoulders back way too early i think any drills or exercises that modify the way you pull in any exercise for the worse are detrimental to the learning of the correct pull.....
ps barry i still love you and expect you in limerick before nationals or i shall make the trip up to train
also that cd is the best cd ever direct increase in my lifts from the purchase of that cd coincedence i think not !!!!
also i miss you !!!!

lord murfington

CathalByrd said...

I can't believe you just spelled your own name wrong... Good rant though.

Tracy Fober said...

Excellent post, Barry. Keep up the good work. Your body will thank you for your due diligence. Many others would do well to learn from your words of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

I think D.W has a point if I am reading him right, at a certain point (age) your technique is what it is. We can all look to improve but if getting into positions fom a top down approach with sub maximal weights and doing hang lifts does not transfer into the classical lifts from the floor,is a lifter not better just trying to improve what he has.

bigphathar said...

"You wanna lift big weights, you've gotta lift big weights."

Not sure who said it first, but the first person I heard say it was Schmitz. And, as usual, he's right.

But there's no point in lifting weights, heavy or not, if you're lifting them wrong.

Yes at a certain point you focus on lifting heavy weights regularly, but in Ireland and the U(c)K there are too many lifters who are too lazy to work on the boring stuff (technique, flexibility, rehab and prehab) to ever lift big weights where it matters, on the platform.

Too often you see lifters making ridiculous attempts in competition that they have no chance of getting: the guys who regularly 'bomb big' instead of 'lifting big.' The same guys who miss lots of heavy attempts in training, rather than selecting the weights correctly and making the lift. There is a fine line between pushing the boundaries and 'wishful weightlifting.' Of course, it's not easy getting that balance right.

Does Barry have a propensity to over analyse sometimes? Yes, I think so and I think he would recognise that too. But I'll take a strong-willed, tough, hard-working lifter with an enquiring mind over someone who thinks they can take shortcuts any day.

This sport, more than any other you can't just do: you have to live it.

Would I do things differently to Tom? Yes, of course I would. Would I do things differently to David? Yes, of course I would. Every coach has a different rationale and not all are wrong and not all are right.

But I have an open mind and I don't doubt that I can learn positive aspects from both coaches. As soon as you start dismissing ideas out of hand you're well on the way to being a has been.

Barry said...

Thanks for the feedback folks; it is always appreciated and more importantly, important issues are put on the table.

Murph: everything you are saying is correct and it is a rant par excellence. In the videos I was too far behind the bar and deliberately so as Tom wanted me to get the feel what it was like to lift with a flat back using the legs only in the first pull. It felt awesome and the following day those same principles were applied to a proper lifting position where I was far more over the bar. This is his teaching style so I went with it. Sometimes different approaches can help, and Tom's is helping me. You are also right about your previous suggestions and I blame my ignorance for that one. I know you are making these points to help me and I really appreciate that. Woodso is also trying to help and even though I think differently, your points get me to examine my own approach and obvious biases and influences.

Harry is simply a genius.

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