Monday 28 March 2011

Monday's mission

Last week was like an episode of the Twilight Zone: it was surreal, passed by in a blur; and a few crazy things happened. As some of you who read this blog already know, Glenn Pendlay and Jon North of California Strength were over in Ireland and ECB for a few days, and then Edinburgh for the weekend. ECB hosted a seminar with Glenn on Wednesday evening and then the awesome Sport's Performance gym in Edinburgh hosted a two day seminar with Glenn and Jon on the Sturday and Sunday. To say both seminars were awesome would be an understatement. When I have the time, I will make a video of the last week and include some of Jon's lifting as well as comment on what I learned from Glenn in both seminars.

Here is what I lifted last week:

Monday was day one of my new program,I which I shall write about soon. I Snatched, Clean and Jerked and Front Squated and kept all weights at a medium intensity in order to accomodate what I knew would be a big lifting week and a stressful organisational one also.

We had our seminar in ECB on Wednesday and along with everyone else, I did all the learning progressions that Glenn coaches and I Snatched alongside everyone who attended. Jon North hit 155/180kg and just barely missed 161kg. Wayne hit a sweet 105 as did I. Considering how tired I was, I was happy and I left it there. I did a few Cleans with the progression that Glenn reccommends, did a double with 100 and left it there. When 100kg feels heavy, that is when you should stop!

On the Thursday, most of our ECB lifters trained with Jon and Glenn. They gym was buzzing to say the least. I was tired from the week's exertions and from the very little sleep the night before, but if you can't get up for training with these boys, you deserve to be shot! I Snatched 114kg and then missed 116 twice. I tried to hit a double with 110kg four times, but I missed the second rep each time. There was simply not enough in the tank. This was the most I have ever hit during the week, though, so I was happy. I then Clean and Jerked up to 136kg and I was proper spent. Happy, but wrecked. Everyone trained really well and watching Jon Power Clean and then Full Clean and Jerk 160kg is always inspiring to watch.

We flew over to Edinburgh on Friday evening and the seminar was really well organized by Cedric Unholz. Again, I did all the learning skill progressions and I was looking forward to lifting. In the Snatch, I went up to 105kg but I was feeling a bit off, so I went back down to 90kg and then 97.5, 102.5, 107.5, 110, 113.5, 115, and once I hit 117.5kg, I left it there. I knew that my final single was dragging me out of position quite badly and to be honest, I could feel it from the beginning of the session. It was a tiring week and whenever I am fatigued, my positioning suffers quite a bit. I accepted this from the beginning and just got determined to use every last inch of my pull and hip explosion to get the weight up. 117.5kg is the most I have ever lifted in training, and I know that if I can hit that in training when tired, I can hit over 120 in competition when I am more rested. I dropped back down to 110kg and went for a double which has eluded me since I tried it in California Strength last June. It took two attempts, but I got it. It was as ugly as sin, but I got it. I felt immense relief to finally get this double.

I Clean and Jerked after the seminar was over and I hit 140kg on my second try. I missed the Jerk in the first attempt because I rushed it. 140kg has been my voodoo weight for the last few months despite my pb being 147. No idea why, but I was genuinely scared of lifting the weight; my mind was desperately telling me not to go under it despite my rational self completely disagreeing. Sami gave me a few choice words and thankfully I hit it. The following day I Clean and Jerked up to 135kg and I was not able to put the doubt out of my mind and I ended up missing the Clean with 140kg. Oh, well. I don't have all of my lifts as I was too busy lifting and coaching:

So, I got home late last night and I think this week will be a deserved lighter week. I know I am looking forward to it. More than likely most of you reading this are only interested in funny videos and not my inner dialogues, so I shall oblige accordingly. I will put up reviews and reports of both seminars and all will be well.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Saturday's sincerity

Today was one of those sessions to get through. I enjoyed it, but it was lacking in any glamour or inspiration. I was tired and at the end of my download week; my legs were not working right; my hip was sore all week and stopped me training on Wednesday. So I decided to Power Snatch because catching the bar low was tagging my hip. I decided to Power Clean for the same reason and worked up to 120 and then did three singles with 130kg which felt hilariousy heavy. It was not even embarrassing. Just damn heavy. When 130kg feels heavy you know it is going to be a conservative day.

I finished up with some squats, a few sets of posterior chain work and I toasted it all off with a massage. Very happy to finish the day.

Here is a video of the squad session last weekend:

Thanks to Stephen Kinsella for making an awesome video. I need some inspiration, so here is some:

I also need a laugh, so here is one:

And another:

Finally, I need an injection of adrenaline, so here it is:

I am really looking forward to Glenn Pendlay and Jon North coming over to ECB to give a seminar. There are two spots left for the ECB seminar on Wednesday the 23rd of March, starting from 6-10pm. Email to book a spot. There are also two spots left fro the Edinburgh seminar, so email me if you are interested.

Monday 14 March 2011

Squad sharpshooting

ECB hosted the Irish squad training camp this weekend and it proved to be a resounding success.It was great fun and there was some superb lifting. I got some footage of the lifting but only from my group on the first day. Everyone lifted well and the camp was very well organised by Wayne Healy. Here is a video of some of the top lifts from my group:

EDIT: After watching the video, I realised I put in Sami's miss with 106 not his success. I must be sub-conscious jealousy.

As for my own lifting, I did ok. On the Saturday morning I did a little wake up session forty five minutes before everyone started. I worked up to a Power Snatch with 90kg and a full Snatch with 100kg and I left it there. In retrospect I should have stopped at 90 but it did not make much of a difference; I felt strong but not particularly fast.

In the full session with my group I worked up to singles in the Snatch with 110, 115 and then I sailed to of 120 and only pulled it. A bit embarrassing. I dropped back to 100 and then hit 107.5 and promptly missed 112.5. It simply was not there so I left it. I was feeling a little tight and not as fast as I would have hoped, but 115 is the most I have Snatched in training in a year, so I am happy enough. If I can hit 115 or so in training then I now I can hit over 120 in competition. In the Clean and Jerk I was tired, but all felt fine. I worked up to 137.5kg and then for some reason, I could not Clean 142.5kg. Very frustrating and for the first time in quite a while, I threw a bit of a wobbler on the platform. On reflection, I put too much pressure on myself and I was also not in the state needed for record weights. Unreasonable expectations and fatigue are not ideal bedfellows. I finished my session with a single with 180kg in the Box Squat and I left it there. I got an awesome massage and followed this with a stretch so that I would be ok to lift the following day.

On Sunday, I was far more relaxed and I Snatched 110kg well. I missed 113 twice and I did not mind really, because, as Wayne correctly pointed out, I was "not going after it." I worked up to 130 in the Clean and Jerk and I could feel I was drained, but for pride's sake, I had to hit 135kg. An embarrasingly small weight to psyche oneself over, but it is what it is. I wanted to get a squat pb so I worked up to 160 and I got 5 reps with it on the 14 inch box.

When I got home on the Sunday, my entire back, legs and hamstrings in particular, traps, shoulders and abs were really feeling the exertion. I felt like I used to feel after a rugby match: battered and bruised. I was happy enough that a sub-par performance could yield 115/137.5 but a few issues were highlighted and I will write about these later when I have had some time to think about them. Everyone lifted particularly well, but I have to mention Sami for his Snatch pb. It was a brave lift considering he was as tired as I was; I just did not have his mental strength!

Thursday 10 March 2011

The Reverend's recital

Here is a guest post from the legend that is Andy Murphy. His post flies in the face of traditional weightlifting dogma, but it is the result of observing how he responds to training in the sport of weightlifting for the last five or six years. Andy's ideas are what works for him by the way, not how he would train other lifters who respond differently to the same stimulis.I respect how lifters like himself and David Woodhouse put themselves out there and find alternative methods that work for them and also allows them to enjoy their lifting. Whatever works for you, do it regardless of whether people agree with you or not. Results don't lie and if you lift heavier weights training in a completely different style to the general lifting population, wh ogives a flying fiddler's f!%k? Anyway, enough of my ramblings, here is the article, so enjoy and leave any comments below:

A happy weightlifter = a strong weightlifter

Before I go into much more detail, I would like to preface with the following my best lifts are 102 and 122 at 77kg far from amazing lifting, but I have worked hard and learned a hell of a lot along the way to these lifts.

My most important discovery on my weightlifting journey was a number of weeks ago. My epiphany was repeated heavy maximal lifting in my training does nothing for my lifts. I know this can be seen as sacrilege, saying heavy maximal lifts don't improve my lifts. Every year I make progress in my training when I am in a traditional preparatory type phase of training, lots of lifting between 75-90% and the odd very few lifts around the 95% mark. I have always set personal bests in these times of the year when strength type exercises are abundant and the volume of lifts quite high. I then follow what I believe would result in an increase in my lifting a reduction in volume and an increase in intensity with more maximal attempts in my training. What then follows is a period of frustration where I am unable to hit weights for a single that I was doing multiple doubles and even trebles with a few weeks previously in the preparation phase. This frustration period continues for a long time until I get injured and then I start again in a preparation phase and the viscous cycle repeats itself. What happens as a result of this is a lifter that is making incredibly frustratingly slow progress.

When I look back through my training diary and results from competitions/ squad sessions, I can't believe I have not come to this realization sooner. I firmly believe I need to stick with what works for me and what works for me is lots of lifting between 75% and 90 % with doubles, trebles, combos and bucket loads of variation. This training has always brought me back to the 100 and 120 region and it is around this mark that I usually become an idiot and attempt maximal weights far too often and end up below the 100 and 120 regions and crocked. I am in no doubt that the best way to train for weightlifting is a methodology based around heavy maximal attempts in the classical lifts supplemented with heavy squats; unfortunately, from experience, it just doesn't do it for me.

I believe this type of training does nothing for me for a number of reasons:
1. My technique gets worse when I am repeatedly attempting and missing maximal lifts
2. Maximal weights hurt me cause of how weak my legs are (best front squat= 142.5 best clean= 130)
3. I hate missing lifts
4. I don't find attempting repeated maximal attempts enjoyable. I am unfortunately never going to make a living or even a few quid from weightlifting. Weightlifting is my hobby so if I don't enjoy the training whats the point? I enjoy going into the gym and bursting my ass on the platform with multiple heavy doubles and trebles, pulls, squats and more variation than anyone can dream of.

It's like I always say a happy weightlifter = a strong weightlifter.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Fortune favours the brave

I had an interesting week's training in which there were vastly varying energy states to work off. More importantly, here is something to help you enjoy life:

Even if you can't view these clips in work, please watch them later. They are impossibly funny; and yes, they are more interesting than anything I have to say.

For Monday's session, I had was feeling good but not particularly sharp, I warmed up with the Clean and Jerk up to two Cleans and one Jerk with 100kg and then Snatched 105kg. I moved onto the RDL and worked up to a very strict triple with 125kg which I was happy with and then did three triples with 150kg in the Box Squat. There were no impressive numbers in my session at all, but I was happy enough because I was not feeling too hot.

I spent most of Wednesday in a car or sitting down which was not ideal for training the following day. I had another good session with trying to get myself fixed and the following day I was knackered. I worked up to a double in the Hang Snatch with 95kg and missed the third behind. I then worked up to 130kg in the Clean and Jerk and it felt far too heavy for the actual weight. I got it, but it as ugly as sin. I left out the Front Squats and did my Pendlay Rows working up to 90kg for five reps.

On Saturday, I worked up to 100kg in the Snatch but they felt very slow and I was feeling a little feint, so I started up again from 60kg and did singles with 95kg, 102.5kg, 107.5kg and 112.5kg which was the most I have lifted in training in quite a while. Since April or May I would think. In the Clean and Jerk I worked up to 135kg which was disappointing, but I accepted it and am determined to turn it around. My squats did not go to plan. I wanted three reps with 170 and I only got one. Annoying but I will get it next weekend. Here are my Snatches from Saturday:

Next weekend, the Irish weightlifting squad is having a training camp in East Coast Barbell on the Saturday and Sunday so I will be sure to train accordingly as I want to lift some big ass weights when it counts.