Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mr. Olympia

This past weekend I went down to the Mr. Olympia expo with my brother and some friends. This is the third year we have been traveling down to Vegas to see the show. We were able to meet a lot of cool people and we did get a lot of free swag :) Some people we were able to meet include- Victor Conte, Jay Cutler, Pat Mendes, Ronnie coleman, Derek Poundstone, and Mark Bell. I was able to try the sling shot and there is a video below of that. Here are some other pictures from the expo and also posted below is a video of Derek Poundstone pressing a 315 lbs. block!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Zheng Gu Shui

I am a firm believer in homeopathic medicine and holistic forms of health. It may be due to the fact that I lived two years in Taiwan and was exposed to many different types of medicine and treatment while I was there. I had my back and other parts of my body worked on and treated there and had some pretty funky stuff done to it that worked. Before I went to live in Taiwan I had very experienced doctors from America tell me I would never be able to throw again or do labor type jobs. Well I proved them wrong and a lot of it has to do with homeopathic type doctors I saw in Taiwan. Since then I have always kept an open mind to different forms of therapy. Anyways, I'll be sure to share more of that story another time.... My wife's grandma is really big into essential oils, liniments, drink mixture and other natural medicine. She came down from Canada to visit this week and brought some medicine for me to try. She introduced me to Zheng Gu Shui (it means correct bone water) which is a liniment widely used for topical therapy of injuries. I have had chronic patella tendinitis for many years and jumped at the opportunity to try some of this magic Chinese water on my knees. Well I've used it four times in the last two days and my knees feel a lot better. I would recommend giving it a try...it works for me. I plan on writing more in the future about other non-traditional forms of therapy that I believe can work for the pains and aches associated with training.

Here is some more info on Zheng Gu Shui- http://www.itmonline.org/jintu/zhenggushui.htm

Top 10 signs you are a dweeb that does not belong in the weight room

Top 10 signs you are a dweeb that does not belong in the weight room

Written by: Charles Poliquin

10. You slap each other across the face before you do your rotator cuff lifts.

9. You take your fat burners with your weight gainer shake

8. You chalk up your hands before leg curls

7. You wear a tank top at your sister’s wedding.

6. You yell “all yours” as your training partner begins doing crunches.

5. You think your thighs rub against each other because you squat so much…NOT, it is the Krispy Kremes and the xeno-estrogens from your moisturizer that got you there.

4. You do curls in the Smith Machine

3. Your squatting depth and technique portrait to us that what a penguin have a Grand Mal seizure would look like.

2. You and partner spot every set and reps, including the warm –ups..

And finally number one…
1. You go online between sets.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pressing Revisited, Over Your Head

Quite awhile ago we posted a comment on over head lifting as opposed to bench pressing. We commented a little on the history of the bench press and the sport of powerlifting.Prior to the 60's when powerlifting began to grow into a competitive sport, "How much can you lift?" meant over head. Not, "What can you bench?" We made clear the benefits of over head lifting as compared to lying on your back, although bench pressing does have it's place. We just think that benching should not be the exclusive upper body exercise, nor even the main one. Having said that, there are several ways of pressing the bar overhead.
Seated presses are common with body builders. They allow isolation of the upper body. This can be good in some cases, such as injury or for a change of pace. (Although be aware that if you have lower back problems, seated pressing creates greater pressure on the lumbar discs than standing) We believe that standing is the best type of press for an athlete. Barbells or dumbells both have their plusses. While dumbells usually require a lighter total weight; I.E.; If your max press with a bar is 100 kg., it is unlikely that you could press 2- 50 kg. dumbells. Dumbells require more stabilization as they must be controlled from drifting in all directions, where as a bar only needs to be stabilized from front to back. Kind of like the difference between riding a bicycle and a unicycle.
In the early days of weightlifting competition the press was performed very strictly with little lean back. Thus the term Military press, meaning straight up as in attention. Over the years the competitive press evolved (deteriorated) into a much different lift. The lifter above is using a pretty extreme back bend, although others of the era were even more exagerated. Below is Norbert Schemnasky, one of the all-time greats whose career spanned several decades and 4 olympiads. His style was fairly strict. When using the press as a training tool there is no reason for excessive lean. Stay straight as possible and drive the bar in front of your face. As you cross your forehead, then drive it back over your ears to lock out driving your head forward under the bar. This style protects the lower back and maximizes shoulder and upper back strength. Indeed, in 1972 the Press was dropped from weightlifting competition as it became too difficult to judge because of the excessive back bend. Since then, lifting meets include only two lifts, the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk.I have to admit that my first competition included the press. That dates me quite a bit.

In the post below entitled "Filming During Weight training?" Oliver demonstrates the correct technique for overhead pressing. We recommend this as a great upper body exercise for throwing athletes.I am not sure what Oliver's best presses are currently, but when he was training at home in Kayenta, I saw him do 110 kg. with a barbell in strict military style and do 2- 110 lb.(50 kg) dumbells strictly standing. He has push jerked 180 kg. This is good overhead strength.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Finding Strength in Numbers?

Following is an article by Vern Gambetta that I got off of the "Training and Conditioning" site.We have posted some of Vern's articles with comments previously and I really think he hits the nail on the head with this one. In many of my earlier posts I have made the point that coaching is as much art as science. A good coach doesn't need alot of scientific gadgetry to be effective. In fact, too many young coaches are too dependent on these gadgets and lose sight of the importance of the coach athlete relationship and how using your eyes, ears, and intuition can tell you most of what is really important to know. I am not against technology, but I am against forgetting the fact that athletes are living organisms and their training can't be programmed like that of a machine.Enough ranting, Vern says it well....
"You have max heart rate, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability. You have total distance moved in a practice and blood lactate calculations for in- and post-workout activity. You have spreadsheets filled with so many numbers that the question becomes, "How do you translate all these numbers into useful information?"
That is the million-dollar question. It is not a matter of what we can monitor--it is about which numbers we can use.
The explosion in technology has enabled us to monitor virtually anything we want, but before we go further down this path, we need to ask ourselves, "Why?"
On one level, the answer is very straightforward. We need to get accurate feedback to guide and shape the training process. We need to understand our athletes' response and adaptation to various types, volumes, and intensities of training.
On another level, we need to determine what kinds information will help us accomplish those objectives. Monitoring more factors is not the answer, because measurable isn't always the same as meaningful. We need to examine whether the data is helping our athletes improve.
I love data, and I enjoy the challenge of finding meaning in statistics. But--and this is a big but--I wonder whether we're losing sight of the forest for the trees.
We can get so caught up generating numbers that we take our eye off the ball. We need to see our athletes as individuals, and carefully observe how they handle the stress of training and competition. Watch their body language. Ask how they feel. Train them to read their bodies and understand how they react to training stress. Put the focus squarely back on Hu--the human element--not on the technologies.
Don't be a mad scientist--be a coach. Use technology to measure what is meaningful and appropriate. Before becoming inundated with numbers, focus only on what you need to significantly impact training.
Look closely at the tools available to help: How much time do you have? How much help do you have?
Carefully choose how and what you are going to monitor. Then use that data to modify your training for meaningful results."

Well said. I have no further comment.
Vern Gambetta, MA, is President of Gambetta Sports Training Systems in Sarasota, Fla. The former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox, he has also worked extensively with basketball, soccer, and track and field athletes. He is a frequent contributor to Training & Conditioning. Vern also maintains his own blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jon Pall Sigmarsson: True Viking Warrior

Jon Pall Sigmarsson is one of the strongest men of all time. He was a 4x World's Strongest Man winner and also won the Strongest Man in The World competition held in 1987. He was a European powerlifting champion, highland games champion, and held many powerlifting and strongman records. I would highly recommend watching his video biography Larger Than Life - The Story of Jon Pall Sigmarsson - The Icelandic Viking. Jon Pall is one of my heroes and someone I really look up to and respect. He truly had a warrior mentality and I'm sure his viking ancestors are proud :) Here are 2 links to pages that have his bio and info-
Here is the link to the video- http://www.amazon.com/Larger-Than-Life-Sigmarsson-Icelandic/dp/B000VOR0AI

Monday, September 20, 2010

Filming during weight training??

We all know the benefits of filming ourselves throwing and looking at our technique etc. but is are there any benefits of filming ourselves while we lift? I think so....in fact I love filming every part of my training whether it is throwing, lifting, competitions, or even just doing sprints or plyos. Lifting is very technical and not only do I like to critique my lifting technique and compare it to others, but I also like to document my training and keep a record. I always loved watching old super-8 films of my dad competing and training...and I still do! I want to have videos of myself doing the things I love(throwing,lifting..) so I can show my children as well. Posted below is a video of Oliver doing shoulder press that I took last week. Our strength coach had told us a couple of times that he didn't want us to film while we were lifting. One practice while I was filming Oliver lifting he sort of got mad at me for filming him. He said how I don't need to film, and I don't need youtube videos, and filming wouldn't help me get stronger, and that I'm wasting time. I wonder if anyone else has had problems like this, or if they have any thoughts on the topic??

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Mental Attitude

Here is another excerpt from Tommy Kono's new book, "Championship Weightlifting, Beyond Muscle Power-The Mental Side of Lifting." It is actually about the mental side of competing and would be valuable for any athlete, especially throwers as the competitive enviroments are so similar. Here Tommy is quoting Vasily Alexeev as he speaks about his battles with Serge Reding, a man whose physical development far exceeded his own. In Vasily's own words....
"If i want something, I will definitely achieve it. No matter what I have to sacrifice. The more complex the situation, the more threatening my rivals, the more I spread my wings in defiance of everything."
"You see, the questions is not one of strength, not one of talent. It's a matter of what's in the head. In the physical sense you should, you need to work very hard,...but with the nerves......less."
"I remember at the time of the championships in Lima, that Reding (of Belgium) in training lifted record weights. He had aquired terrific strength and huge muscles, but he lost to me, even though he was physically stronger. Why? Serge and I had different ways of training. Others thought for him. He carried out the suggestions of his coach, Dupont. Roughly speaking, Reding took in the science of winning through his ears and this showed when he was on his own with the barbell. But, as for me, I thought for myself. Serge also lost because he wanted to beat me. That's all he thought about. He worried constantly and burned himself out before he even got to the platform."
"Here they have put up alot of mirrors in the gyms. They're good for furniture but not for training. When an athlete looks into the mirror, he gets away from himself, instead he should be totally focused. In the mirror you'll see nothing but your image. This means that you won't understand and won't pick up the technique of the exercise, you won't make sense out of the method. My advice during training is to think, think, think!"

Despite his unimpressive rotund appearance, Alexeev had the mental strength to maximize his abilities when it counted most. Reding on the other hand, despite his awe inspiring physical presence, was never able to put it all togather in the biggest meets.There are a lot of great lessons in Tommy's book. I would most highly recommend to anyone who wants to maximize their potential. In the future I will include more excerpts. Get a copy for yourself at Tommy's site listed below under favorite links.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Much Water Should You Drink?

Here are a couple of articles and some thoughts on water consumption for athletes.

How much water should you drink?

by Charles Poliquin

Hydration is the greatest determinant of strength. A drop of 1.5% in water levels translates in drop of 10% your maximal strength. The leaner you are, the worse it is. Make sure you weigh the same or more at the end of your training session. High water levels = more sets & reps= greater changes. Have a great workout.

Here is how much you should drink:
0.6-0.7 ounces per pound of body weight
39 ml per kg of body weight.

Therefore, 120 to 140 ounces for a 200 lbs man.
3.55 to 4.14 liters for a 91 kg man.

A recent study showed that men drinking 5 glasses of water a day vs 2 glasses a day, had a 54% lower risk of dying of a heart attack.


Water is the most critical nutrient for life. Your body needs water for:

* Hydration. Strength training causes water loss through sweating. You’ll prevent dehydration by drinking enough water.
* Recovery. Your muscles needs water to recover from strength training. If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll limit your muscle gains.
* Digestion. You need 25g fiber per day for optimal digestion. But since fiber binds to water, it’s useless if you don’t drink enough water.
* Satiation. An empty stomach will make you think you’re hungry. Drinking water will fill your stomach and make you feel less hungry.
* And More. Water regulates your body’s temperature, prevents kidney stones, improves skin health, lubricates joints

According to http://build-muscle-gain-weight.com/ here are some of the other roles adequate water intake plays in relation to building muscle:

* Maintaining peak strength - Significant hydration will actually make you stronger. Even slight dehydration (3-4%) can decrease your strength by upwards of 15%. In order to maximize the intensity of your weight trainingWater needs of a bodybuilder workouts and break down as many muscle fibers as you can, it is important to be at your strongest each and every workout.

* Protecting the joints - Synovial fluid is the only form"lubrication" of the joints in your body. And guess what? It is comprised of mostly water. It is important that you are well hydrated so your body can produce all of the fluid it needs. If the body cannot produce enough synovial fluid due to chronic dehydration, you could be compromising your joints each time you workout.

* Aiding in digestion - Eating a well balanced muscle building diet will not help if your body can't properly digest the food you consume. Water helps the digestive system function, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients it needs to help your body recover from your workouts, and build muscle.

Now let's take it a step further and take a look at three symptoms of dehydration that will affect the progress of your muscle building program.

Here are the symptoms in no particular order:

1). Fatigue - This one is a no brainer. If your energy levels are low, your weight training workouts will suffer. You may not even feel like training at all!

2). Digestion Problems - You body will not have enough water to secrete as much digestive juices as it should, resulting in difficulty digesting foods. This will make it more difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue.

3) High or Low Blood Pressure - If the volume of water in the body is too low, it can lead to both high and low blood pressure. Both will make your weight training workouts difficult, and in some cases unsafe.

Drinking enough water is hard for most people. I have always found it hard to not only remember to drink lots of water but also to find time in a busy schedule to get around to it. I have found the easiest way for me is to carry around a water bottle with me wherever I go. I found the best bottles around Provo are found at a Buy Low Market but have also found some good ones at Walmart. The Bottles I like have a handle and our hold enough water so that I have a goal every school day to drink it all. I have also made goals to not drink any soda or juice when I go out to restaurants but instead order water. I have noticed the positive changes in my body when I get the correct amount of water I need and I know you will too.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mental Training

Tommy Kono has a new book out. We plugged his first book here awhile ago, and his followup book is also a must-have for anyone who is interested in maxmimizing their potential. His first book is entitled "Weightlifting, Olympic Style." His new book is "Championship Weightlifting, Beyond Muscle Power." It's focus is on the mental aspects of lifting.In his own words, "I won two Olympic gold medals, one silver, was eight times world champion, set 26 world records spread over 4 bodyweight classes, was not subsidized, did not have fancy training quarters, coaches, or any of the things of today. How did I do it? How did I beat the world? I knew that lifting is more than muscle power. It is mental power." While I believe that any thrower, or indeed any athlete would benefit from his teaching the similarities between competitive lifting and throwing make this particularly valuable to throwers.

Some quotes from the book...." In the beginning years we never did great volume of work (training) but rather, stressed getting a good workout. It was common knowledge that if you become fatigued, you quit. There was such a thing as "diminishing returns." for extra training you spend beyond the normal scope." "The stress nowadays is to toughen your body by building up the capacity to do more training." "The whole lift (or throw) is executed in a matter of a few seconds at most. Does doing this require a great volume of work and numerous sets and reps? Or has tonnage (or volume) been overstressed?" "If you start performing various exercises just to take up more time in the gym (or ring) make certian they are going to help your competitive lifts (throws) If not you are just wasting time, energy, and maybe actually reducing your chance of improvement." "For me it wasn't the volume of work, but the quality of training that was important." "Do not let volume of work or tonnage developed in your training be the criteria for improvement." "Always remember that the bottom line in Olympic weightlifting (or throwing) is what you can Snatch and Clean & Jerk (or throw) in a contest." Tommy discourages the use of high reps in the competitive lifts as he says this teaches submaximal effort. The motor recuitment patterns and technique is different for submaximal weights as compared to maximal and record attempts. The contest is who can lift the heaviest weight, not who can lift a heavy weight the most times. Interestingly, I had a similar conversation with L.J. Silvestor last spring at a track meet. In a similar vein he basically said he thought that high volume throwing was counter-productive. Taking a lot of throws teaches submaximal patterns and then when a thrower goes to the meet and trys to "let one rip" they haven't conditioned for that. He expressed the opinion that attempting to "build a conditioning base" with a high volume of throws was a waste of time and led to overtraining. Tommy would be in agreement. There are also sections in book on goal setting, visualization, and the attitude of a champion. No one is more qualified to teach these skills than Tommy Kono who always came through with his best performances when it counted.

The philosophy in the books often runs counter to what many "modern" programs try to promote. Read it with an open mind. Do yourself a favor and invest the $45.00 it costs for this book. You can order on Tommy's website which is listed on the favorite links on this site. I promise it will be one of the best investments you'll ever make.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Few Words with Weightlifting Coach John Broz- Pat Mendes 240kg clean

I read this article last night off of Poliquin's website and found it interesting. The parts about lunges and strength and conditioning coaches I also thought were kind of funny. (I hate lunges as well) At the end of this post there is a new video of Pat Mendes(coached by John Broz) cleaning 240kg.

here is the link to the article- http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/449/A_Few_Words_with_Weightlifting_Coach_John_Broz.aspx

Under Coach Broz’s guidance, junior lifter Pat Mendes has snatched 200 kilos (440 pounds), clean and jerked 220 kilos (485 pounds), and cleaned 230 kilos (507 pounds).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weight Room Absolutes

Something I found and modified. Just some commonsense parameters for those who like to train for real....
• Squats are walked out.
• Lift-offs are not given on the bench press.
• If you're going to overhead press, it will be done standing.
• No straps unless you are hurt or doing a hang variation of a lift.
• You don't debate about organic/non-organic, or about milk.
• Squats are done all the way down, thighs to calves ; this is assumed and are not called "Full Squats."
• No need for music or training partners or "the right atmosphere" to train hard.
• There are no 8-week plans, rather yearlong goals and decade long achievements.
• All you need is a rack, barbell, platform and some weights.
• You realize physical strength can develop mental and spiritual strength.
• You never fall for gimmicks; principles last forever.
Now there are quite a few more of these, but you get the picture. The point is this: training has become over run with people telling US how we need to think, how we need to train, and what is functional or even acceptable.
Don't bring your gimmicky elements onto my platform. And please, don't try to sell us on how hardcore you are or how dedicated to strength you are. Your lifts and your silence do more talking than your Internet chatter and bravado. And please, leave your lifting gloves at home.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Personalization of Exercise Programs

This semester I am taking an Exercise Physiology class that is pretty advanced. Because school just started we are still in the introduction and basic chapters. While reading one of the chapters in preparation for class I came upon a section about exercise programs and prescriptions. I was reading the section about the Eight Principals Of Training with the first one being about Personalization. After I finished reading the section I was kind of put back a little and surprised by what I read. Many of you have read posts on here and know about some of the problems we have had here at BYU with regards to training programs and lifting programs etc. I felt as if I had forgotten what correct training principles and programs should be. That is while I was reading I kind of felt enlightened again and I felt like shouting "EUREKA" at the top of my lungs...haha. My exercise physiology teacher is not a famous athlete or coach but knows enough through his years of study what proper training programs should be like. Here is a paragraph from the section I am talking about-

"Safe and effective training programs are designed to meet the specific needs and expected outcomes of each individual. A training program should be based on a clear set of measurable goals. When writing an exercise program, one must consider age, gender, current level of physical activity and physical fitness, time available, motivation, purpose for exercising, preferred mode of exercise, social support, injuries, health history and status, medications, desired outcomes, goals, physical or other limitations, commitments, resources and facilities available, etc."

I have never had a strength coach ask me before he wrote up my program what my health history or status was. I've never had someone ask me about past injuries or if there were any problems with my time schedule. I have never even had a coach ask me the purpose of my training or what my preferred mode of exercise is. It just surprises me that someone that doesn't have C.S.C.S. at the end of there name in their resume understands the importance of individualization of exercise programs when those that do, sometimes just don't.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Some sweet youtube training videos...be sure to take a look

I found some cool videos on youtube that I thought I would share. The first 2 were posted by throwfarther and contain some old German javelin and discus training sessions. The third is med ball training with jurgen shult and the fourth is oliver's huge 180kg push press he did today. Seriously take a look though...there is about 30min of video here but it is totally worth it....I hope you all enjoy!!

Back Care for Throwers and Lifters

In the heavy events like lifting and throwing a strong, healthy back is essential. The human back is a miraculous creation and very complex. In this short post we can't begin to address all of the issues that are pieces of the total back care regimine. We'll just touch on a few points and probably follow with more later. Books have been written about the structure and functions of the spine. Some of the best are by Dr. Stuart McGill. He is a Canadian scholar who has made a life's work of studying the human spine. His writing is detailed, but comprehensible to the non-scholars like me.

I highly recommend these to any serious trainer or anyone who has had low back pain. It is beyond the scope of this post to go into great detail, but one of the important take home messages I got was that the spine is designed to resist compressive forces, not twisting or shear forces.Therefore do not do exercises that push the spine beyond it's normal end range of motion. Do not exagerate or overstretch the natural range of motion. In an earlier post, we designated the difference between twisting and rotational exercises and drills. Twisting is when the hips and shoulders are turning in opposite directions like a discus wind for some or driving the right foot pivot while keeping the shoulder back for separation in the middle. Even these examples do not really require a violent twist as the hips and shoulders still drive in the same direction. (So why do twisting exercises like a seated twist with the bar on the shoulders?) Rotation is when the hips and shoulders are turning at the same time. (such as hammer turns) Twisting can be very hard on the spine if the supporting musculature is not used to keep the stress off of the discs and connective tissues at the beginning and end of the range of motion. Rotation is most dangerous at the endpoint if follow-through is not controlled.

In the videos below Glen Pendlay and Donnie Shankle of California Strength demonstrate the difference between the misnamed Hyper-extension exercises (you don't really want to hyper-extend beyond straight) and Back Raises. Both are important in developing spinal stability. Note that neither are done to the complete end range of motion and there is certainly no attempt to stretch beyond the end range. This is important in preserving disc integrity. Having suffered a serious back injury over 30 years ago after falling two stories in a construction accident, I have used these exercises extensively myself. The "hypers" work the back isometrically (which how it is used in keeping us erect all day) and hip stabilizers togather while the Back Raises work the spinal muscles that extend the spine concentrically.

This second video is a very interesting segment showing some Chinese lifters doing various spinal stabilizing exercises including 1 arm presses and hypers in the back round along with a suspension devise and some spinal walking with a partner. Take care of your back so you can train hard and train for a long time. While there are few genetic animals out there who can break the "rules" and still thrive, most of us will eventually pay a price if we ignore proper back care.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Developments

Lately we have been brainstorming and working on some stuff. We are planning on making some t-shirts and posters which we will have for sale. Also we have talked about making a training video for throwing, lifting, and general fitness. We have created a facebook group and also have a twitter page, so be sure to join those and be sure to check back often.