Myself and Zag flew over mid-afternoon to Amsterdam and as usually happens when travelling, had far less time than we imagined to get ready for training. It felt great to be back in the Sportquest gym, and although I could feel the three flights in two days in my bones, I was happy.
We started off with an assessment of our quality of movement. We went on to work on some Overhead Squatting but in between we did various soft tissue release work focusing on our shoulders and pecs as well as some dynamic warm up movements such as a jumping squat and lunge movement. Tom then asked us to perform close grip (hand to hand) overhead squats. It’s a exercise/movement that he uses to analyse how mobile his lifters are from time to time. His lifter Safak had an extremely hyper-mobile back & shoulder girdle. Myself and Zag obviously need some work in this area.
We then went on to the Hang Snatch so that we could work on our catch. The main coaching point was to keep the back locked throughout the pull and the catch. Neither myself or Zag were doing this properly; both us of had the habit of keeping it relatively tight throughout the pull, relaxing on the way down and then locking it again. We also both have the habit of jutting our chin out throughout the pull and the catch and this causes the body to be out of line and also makes the catch harder. He was telling me in particular, to adjust the chin at the bottom of each rep so that it becomes automatic. I worked up to four doubles with 90 and Zag worked up to four singles with 80.
The Hang Power Clean and Squat Jerk were next. Again, neither of us were used to the Hang Power Clean and we had never performed the Squat Jerk before. One thing the latter movement is really excellent for is keeping the back tight throughout the catch. Any time I relaxed my back and shoulders at all, the barbell fell to the floor. After 15 minutes of this movement where I worked up to a few singles with 90, my basic movement skills and co-ordination were shot. The workout was pretty late and the travelling had both of us in a slightly altered state.
The last two things we did were an exercise that is like a Good Morning Lunge for a few very light sets and abdominal routine. Tom did some soft tissue work at the end where he rinsed out all around my hip area and my adductors—which are slightly bruised today!—and my hips felt the looser for it. I think it will take another day or two until I am at my sharpest, but we are both really glad we came over as there is a lot to try and learn in five days. Have a look at the video and let me know what you think.