Thursday 10 June 2010

Wednesday's warrior king: Donny Shankle

This was a great day's training and the inevitable happened: I broke. Training like this exposed my weaknesses and there is absolutely hiding from them. So, I did what I could and will try and fight my way through it.

In the first session on Wednesday, for the majority of it, I felt like I was about to get sick. Not good. My battery was empty and I was running on adrenaline. I started off with the Snatch and worked on doubles up to 90kg and I missed the second rep with 100. I went back down to 90 and then missed the second rep with 95 twice. Embarrassing. I went back down to 90 for a double and left it there. I thought I had nothing left to give, but then I went onto the Clean and Jerk.

In between reps, I tried to stay focused and not get sick all over the gym. I worked up to singles with 120 and I missed the Jerk behind with 125kg. I called it a day for the first session and went and had lunch and a double espresso for the second session. I knew this would be tough, but I came here to push myself, so push I did.

The afternoon session was around three hours later and I started off with Snatch singles and worked up to 100 and I got 105 on the second attempt. I missed 107.5 and after looking at the video, a little part of me died inside. Training outside my usual comfort zone and with volume that I am not used to has pushed me beyond anything I have had so far in my brief weightlifting adventure. I have learned a lot and watching these guys push the envelope every day is both inspiring and is also shows what clean lifters are capable of. However, in an environment like this, your weaknesses get exposed and there is absolutely no hiding place—nor would I want one. My back was rounded worse than a five dollar hooker’s. What has always been my weak point was now kicking my ass and there was very little that I could do about it. I had my moment where I looked at the video in horror and was both embarrassed and appalled. Then Glenn had me do Snatches from a block of two 25’s instead and I did what I could; I was now in a position where I could get proper leverages and I worked up to four singles with 105 and had a good workout. I always knew my back was weak, but my weaknesses in conditioning and my posterior chain were so ruthlessly exposed out here that there is no going back to what I was doing. Quite simply I have to strengthen my back, glutes and hamstrings which is of more immediate importance than squats right now because I am not struggling coming out of Cleans; it is rather keeping proper positions is the problem. When I am fresh and rested, it is not really a problem, but when I am tired, those muscles fatigue the quickest and let me down. I need to sort this out and I will.

After my Snatches, I moved onto the Clean and Jerk and I worked up to singles with 100, 120 and 130. I Cleaned 135 and missed the Jerk. I was irritated with my Cleans, so I went back down to 120, Cleaned it and Jerked it three times lowering it down each time. This felt like the most functional ab exercise I have ever done and it allowed me leave the training hall feeling like I had achieved something I had not done before. Around an hour later, I squatted with Donny and Back Squatted doubles up to 150 and then went for 5 reps with 160kg. I only got four though and two on the second attempt. I then went back down to 150kg and got 5 reps with that. Job done and day over; I was as tired as I have ever been in my weightlifting odyssey, but facts that I already knew were hammered home in as blunt a manner as I actually needed. If I don’t work on my weak points, I will remain weak.


Here is an interview with Glenn Pendlay and hopefuly we can all learn something.


snatch_pete said...

Would pulls from below the knee help, I think they have helped my back stay in correct shape, particularly on cleans.

IMHO, you need to bring this intensity to your training in Hercules to realise your full potential. Your lifting is very good but currently I think you are often in cruise control at Herc's.

snatch_pete said...

Pardon me, forgot to mention thanks for putting this all up on your blog, great reading and viewing.



andymurphy said...

genius !!!!
methodical in your approach to everything ....

loved his point about increasing the lifts that you can do with correct technique and not just aiming to increase your maximum but thinking more about long term progress its what i was guilty of for the last year and a half and it got me nowhere

ps glenn should come to limerick and not dublin to the home of the national club champions

garrett said...

great news barry keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Fantastic content you have put up over the last few days. Thank you!

Btw here is a link to the article Glenn is talking about:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you murph......

Unfortunately come this Oct UL shall no longer hold that title........


andymurphy said...

form is temporary class is permanent my redicolously handsome friend

Anonymous said...



Harry said...

"loved his point about increasing the lifts that you can do with correct technique and not just aiming to increase your maximum but thinking more about long term progress its what i was guilty of for the last year and a half and it got me nowhere."

Hate to say it, but I've been banging on about this point for years now. Consistency in training leads to consistency on the platform. And Sami's right (as well as being ridiculously handsome.) Come October we'll have our own Sinclair formula spreadsheet and it'll be curtains for UL!

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