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.


Anonymous said...

Nice one Andy. Barry i would love you to do an interview with the legendary Laurence McConnell for us. I mean he goes against the grain, yet he is multiple world champion. I confess to being his biggest fan, and proud of it!

Zag said...

Well said Murph!!!

You make perfect sense to me!!!

I wish athletes in both weightlifting and other sports would mirror your perspective on using a training philosophy that works best for them as an individual.

Yours truly,


Babcia Joan said...

I wish I had your mental stamina. I get constantly weak during exercise and constantly give up - until the next time. I am trying supplements at the moment which I hope will help. I'm happy to continue my workout, but my body says NOOOO. I'll keep trying and believe it or not, my strength has increased a little.

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