Saturday 30 October 2010

Satuday's synopsism

Firstly, here is an amazing video that everyone needs to watch. It is four minutes long.

If you do not have the time to watch it, or your computer in work will not allow you to watch it, I hate you and do not want you to read this blog. Now this might lead me to have all of three or four readers, but they will be the three or four readers that will try and regenerate their mids and actually learn something rather than simply regurgitating what they already know. Perspective is everything and everything we do should lead to new insights into ourselves and our environments. I have nowhere near the knowledge I will have this time next year and in five years time, but I will make sure I continue to improve.

Clearly, you wise readers can see where this post is going. Are we connecting with people to learn more and discussing ideas and concepts, or are we arguing our points of view and refusing to budge from our stance no matter what? I hoped this blog would be the latter but most readers tend to observe rather than interact. Here is a post that got scant discussion and it deserves more. David very clearly states his views and there was little to no discussion of them which I think David deserves for formally putting out his views and opening them up for debate. Let your opinion be heard and have your say!

I find the idea of training twice a week to be great if I need to get fresh for a competition and feel rejuvinated, but I do not find it conducive to building skill and refining technique. However, I think that David is right in that too many people try to train like full time professional weightlifters who are on so much juice that they are a walking advertisement for Tropicana OJ. This is the reason I am only training three times a week for the next 8 weeks. I am mind numbingly busy and I try to train more I shall regress completely.

Different systems work for different lifters and I believe programming needs to vary according to one's long term plan and at what stage of the year you are at. That is my view and what I find works best for me. What my body needs, and what Wayne Healy's (he writes my program) is entirely different. My body type and ohysical requirements are entirely seperate from his. I have flexibility and mobility issues and he does not have any, which means my body's ability to perform a program is totally different. He is also a 62kg lifter with very high skill levels while I am a 94kg lifter who has neither the skill nor the physical capacity to maintain positions that he has--I am getting there though, slowly but surely.

Throughout my last four months of lifting we have learned the following:

1. I was as intelligent as this person in not following my program properly. I injured my hip by not having a download week when I needed one and let my ego do the talking, not the program:

2. I am very happy with my current phase of training because I am working on getting stronger as well as increasing the intensity slowly and taking some of the volume out because I have a few competitions coming up. The focus in still on the Europeans next April and we don't feel it would be conducive to have a full competition period of training yet.

3. I need some flexion exercises for my back and also a lot of mobility work for my hips. Most people are able to lift with an arched or flat back and I am not. This requires slightly different programming to most.

4. Now, I need to shut up; prevent over-analysing and be very proactive in how I recover so that my training and lifting will hit levels like never before. Feel free to do this to me if I do not follow through with this action plan:

What are you learning and how do you like to train? Are you going to read this and simply think "this guy is irritating and has an embarrassing lack of knowledge about our sport" or are you going to start up a discussion rather than an argument. How does YOUR body react to training? EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT There are principles of training and there are programs no matter what. What do you follow?

Saturday 23 October 2010

Saturday's sneer at the previous two and a half month's form

I trained well today and for the first time in two or three months, I felt rested and ready to go. I managed to fit in a nap on Friday afternoon and a decent night's sleep that night; sweet sweet bliss as a result. We had a great atmosphere in ECB today and it was great to have Barry Whelan along and he recieved the inimitabley sage advice from Coach Harry Leech. Killer lifted very well and the one and only John McDaid also kicked ass alongside the man who makes me feel small and insecure: Cathal "Big Guns" Byrd.

I started off doing a few box jumps to kick start my cns and they felt great. I hit a conservative 46 inches and left it there. I worked up to a double with 80kg and because my lifting felt about as smooth as Murph's back, I had a quick five minute break and started off with 60kg again with Byrdie. I hit that for a double and then did singles with 80, 90, 100, 104, 107, 109 and 111kg. This is the heaviest I have lifted since the last week of July and I was happy to get it. My 109kg was by far my best Snatch of the day; the other ones were muscled up a bit and about as elegant as any of the Tiger Woods' scandals. Like Tiger though, I said screw it anyway. My days of obsessing over technique are over. I hope.

Here are some of my lifts. Apologies for how dodgy the video quality is: Harry still is unable to use his iphone properly so that the videos come out straight. It is embarrassing for both of us really.

I took five minutes to eat some fruit, relax and stretch the hips out a bit. I felt reasonably sharp in the Clean and Jerk warm ups and started with doubles of 60, 80 and 100kg. I then worked up to singles with 110, 120, 130, 135 and I missed the Clean with 141kg because I did not finish my hip drive in the Clean. I took it again and hammered it home.

I left it there, determined to learn from my mistakes in the past. I have not lifted near these weights since I hurt my hip and now that it is healed again, I will bide my time. What really counts is that I bring everything to the table when I am lifting over in Scotland in two weeks, in the Northern Ireland Open the week after and then in the London Open on the fourth of Decemeber. I will get my 272kg total in London and that is my focus one hundred percent. I know if I can hit anywhere close to 110/140 in training that I can tear up in competition and hit weights I have never even attempted before. Each week, I need to build slowly and stay patient. The only thing that matters is that I qualify for the Senior European Championships and I believe and have complete faith in my ability to do so.

My program now has me lifting three days a week for many of the reasons that David Woodhouse espouses in his article "The System" a few posts back. I have invested a whole lot of time and volume into my training since the end of June and now it is time to reap what I have sowed. I just need to make sure I avoid screwing it up by letting my ego drive my training, which is what I did by not following the program properly in July. Patience and faith. Let's hope that we have all learned this from our mistakes.

Friday 22 October 2010

Friday's fortuitous change in pace

I have reached the end of my phase of training and started my new phase at nine pm last night. Thank God. Volume is being slashed quite a bit and I am only training three times a week so I will recover far better in between sessions. Thank God. No more fifteen doubles in the squat; no more endless doubles in the Classical lifts. Wayne wrote an initial program that would have been too much so he rewrote it and the new one is awesome and I really enjoyed it last night. Here is what I did:

Snatch: 4x2@40 1x3@60, 66, 77 1x2@85, 85, 90, 92

Power Clean: 2x2@60, 80, 91, 105, 110

Back Squat: 1x2@110, 130, 145--I took some of the squats out because it was ten at night and I had done some medium squatting the previous evening.

In my last phase I was box squatting onto a 17 inch soft top bench and for this phase of training I am using a 14 inch wooden box. I started using the box squats because it limited the chance of me re-injuring my hip and it also allowed me to work on my squatting weaknesses. The progression for after the London Open will be to move down to the 12 inch box afterwards as well as getting stronger obviously!

I have not Power Cleaned in ages and I really enjoyed it. I am really happy I will only be training three times a week and I have no doubt that this boost in energy will result in better numbers in training and in competition.

Random funny video:

Some good news to finish on is that a joint invitational Irish and Scottish team will be facing California Strength in a controlled team competition on Saturday, November 6th. The competition will be run via skype and the Irish lifters will travel over to Kilmarnock, Scotland to Charlie Hamilton's gym. Myself, Sami Dowling, Cathal Byrd and Kevin D'Arcy will be joining forces with Peter Kirkbride, Graham Kane, Craig Caffrey and a fourth member. Wayne Healy might possibly be joining us; we have Sky News on the alert for a possible press conference from Wayne's agent. The competition will be very simple: add up the sinclairs of each lifter (there will be teams of 8) and all lifts will be given the yeah or nay by the group as a whole: the honour system will apply. The competition will be run at six pm Scottish time and ten am Californian time. It has taken me months to set this up, so thanks to Glenn Pendlay for the awesome idea and all the lifters for taking part in what should prove to be great fun.

I hipe everyone's training is going well and that we are all continuing to learn from our mistakes and also learning from what has helped us! People tend to forget the latter.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Sunday's statistics

I had my competition yesterday and I enjoyed it immensely. I was not in a great state to compete, but I enjoyed it none-the-less. Looking back, I am pleased with how I did but at the time I was quite embarrassed. I weighed in at 95.6kg after a breakfast and ample feed the night before.

I opened with 105kg in the Snatch and actually missed it, but got it on the second attempt and then hit 108kg in my third attempt and it was by far and away, my best Snatch of the day despite it being quite rough in reality. In the Clean and Jerk, I opened with 132kg and went on to hit 137kg and I then sailed 150kg which we thought we needed to win the Club Championships. I didn't even go under it. Embarrassing. We actually won the Club Championship though, so all is well. Here are some of my lifts:

The day started out well; I was coaching Gillian who lifted really well considering it was her first competition in a year. This meant I was in the venue from 10 in the morning up until when I competed at three in the afternoon, which was not ideal, but what can you do. Ideally I could have gone somewhere and slept after the weigh in but that was not to be. It was worth it though because Gillian hit a 4kg competition pb in her Clean and Jerk.

Zag came out and lifted really well on the spur of the moment because he was not going to lift at all. He is going on holidays today and his training, like mine, has been stuttering because of his double jobbing. He Snatched a competition pb with 101kg and Clean and Jerked 125kg and his 101kg was pretty much a Power Snatch.

By the time I was lifting in the fourth group, I felt pretty drained and found it very hard to get myself going in my warm up. My Snatch warm up was dreadful and after hitting 100 for two singles before going out, I missed 105kg in my opener which was very, very silly. I hit it in my second attempt, but the lift was as ugly as the face of a bulldog chewing on a wasp. Wayne told me that my hips were shooting up far too early and that I needed to get my hips into the pull straight from teh ground and I focused on this. My 108kg was still didgy, but a far better lift and I hit it when I felt as rough as a badger's a%s*. My legs felt drained and very tight and I had that feeling you get when you stay up too late when you are already tired.

After the snatches finished I started to feel more like myself and like I had woken up. My Clean and Jerk warm up went relatively well, so I put up my opener to 132 instead of 130. Very low figures, but I felt very low. I hit 132kg very easily and then hit 137kg nicely also. We waited out to see what I would have to lift, but we were never told by the person in charge. thinking we would need something big, Harry and Sami put 150kg on the bar and I did a nice high pull and completely sailed out of it. At least I know how it feels now and maybe next time I will borrow someone else's balls if mine disappear like that again.

All in all, I am really happy that my current phase of training is now over and that I got my first warm up competition out of the way. Onwards and upwards! These were the heaviest weights I have hit since the end of July when I first got my hip injury. I will get my 272kg total in the London Open on December 4th.

Thursday 14 October 2010

Thursday's takedown

First, I will start off with this piece. I want to be like this coach:

Here is another video that puts things in perspective:

I am competing in Saturday and I can't wait to get out in the platform. I have not competed in ages and the focus is still on London, so hopefully the Hercs team can overturn UL's dominance over Irish weightlifting. Murph is the man to fear and Eamonn Flanagan has been specially flown over from Scotland as a shoo-in. I am not sure if I agree with this tactic, but what can you do? I love those guys anyway.

My program finished last Saturday, and I am trying to get as fresh as possible for the competition. My next program will take me up to London and I am looking forward to the change of pace. I have a few competitions coming up so I will use this first one as a build up to London. Byrdie is lifting really well, so I will be doing well to beat him. My legs are still recovering from the four weeks of doing fifteen doubles in the Back Squat twice a week, so when I did a few singles in the Front Squat today, it felt like a dream. I only worked up to a single with 150kg, but my legs felt a bit better afterwards. I still have to do a quick and light Snatch and Clean and Jerk and then I should be ready to go. Yeahh buudddddy!

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Wednesday's wrath

I only have half a week left in my current program. The squatting is very tough, but I am getting stronger and that is the important thing. I only have one squatting workout left thank God and I will do it on Sunday. 15 doubles is a lot of doubles, but I am getting through it and more importantly, improving my numbers. I trust Wayne and I will continue to go along with his advice. Last week was a lighter week which proved a blessing because I was very busy all week and was taking the Weightlifting Level Two coaching course on Saturday and Sunday.

I have a competition on Saturday week which I am really looking forward to. I love lifting on the platform and I always lift well in competitions. This comp will be used to set me up for London where I will qualify for the European Championships with the needed 272kg total.

Here is the Clean and Jerk companion to last week's post where John Broz gives his advice to Zag for what he needs with his Clean and Jerk. There is also the latet ECB video, so hopefully you will enjoy all of them and you are enjoying your training.

Friday 1 October 2010

Friday's fruity Snatching.

So. I have made a long term decision. I am now Snatching with a collar to collar grip. Before, it was very narrow and I did not have the flexibility to go wider. I am now more flexible--I still have a ways to go yet-- and I am far more able to get into position. For the first time, I feel like can open up at the start of my pull and although I am not string in the position yet, I will get there.

I worked up to six doubles with 90kg in the Snatch tonight at around 9 in the evening and Murph was there to help me. Without him, I would not have lifted nearly as well. I was too tense at the start of my pull which led to my arms swinging the bar as opposed to pulling myself under the bar. I relaxed completely and then tightened up the scaps while trying to relax everything else. It helped quite a bit. Murph is awesome.

I am also doing my fifteen doubles in the squat twice a week and it is demanding to say the least. Once it gets me stronger, I will be a happy camper. I have another week of my current program left and then I will be on to something different. As I am so busy with my regular job, coaching and alongside Zag, looking after ECB, my training time is limited to say the least. I have to be as productive as I can with the time and cns energy that I have.

Here is something I never published before. This was a present to Sami that I knew he would like. John Broz gave Sami the coaching advice he would offer if he was his coach. Here it is and here is Sami's lift with 105kg that he was looking at.

Here is the man beast that is Chigishev Snatching 210kg and making it look impossibly fast. I have never seen a save like this before and it shows just how strong the man is. He can lift in East Coast Barbell any day.

Here is another awesome lifter. Klokov. Need I say more?