Friday, October 30, 2015

Exercises as Tools

Chinese lifters have a variety of tools in their tool boxes.

There is a saying, "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." In other words, if we are not careful, we can find ourselves inside of a self-constructed box of our own creation. We can get into a rut of allowing our enviroment to limit our training. While there are certainly more machines, gadgets, and devices available than ever before, in many ways these become limitations. We tend to think, "If only we had.......(some piece of equipment), then I could really make progress." To me, the great challenge and satisfaction of life is not so much what I can accumulate, as it is what I can do without. Having had the privilege of living on the Navajo Nation since 1976, I have been able to experience that attitude personified. The tenacity and creativity that allowed the Navajo people to survive and prosper in this harsh enviroment is still very much evident today. It is often manifested in how everyday mundane problems are solved. I love the story of how a family was traveling to town from a remote area of the reservation when a tire on their truck went flat. With no spare, they removed the valve stem and patiently sifted sand through the hole until it was full enough to drive on. This story was related to me by the suprised mechanic who removed the tire to repair it in Farmington, NM.He also told me about the truck that he worked on that was driven in with horse tail hair woven into the universal joint to keep it from vibrating while they drove into town for the parts. I remember my wife and sister-in-law getting stuck in the mud while delivering food for a funeral and digging themselves out with serving spoons. I could tell hundreds of more stories of finding a way to get the job done. Many of my former students choose military service as a post high school option that allows them to get out from between the Four Sacred Mountains and see the world while earning some money and benefits. Many of them have been decorated during the Gulf wars because they knew how to solve problems. Especially in the desert.
What does all this have to do with training? No "Land Mine" unit? Tilt a bar up in the corner. No back raise or glute-ham? Mount an old car seat on a saw horse or duct tape pillows or other foam padding. No reverse hyper unit? Use the same sawhorse and hold onto a loaded barbell for balance. Manual resitance or rubber bands or tubing can be used to work any plane of motion and are especially useful to improvise workouts when traveling.No barbells? I've had alot of fun lifting, carrying, and throwing big rocks in various ways.Try pushing a truck for some leg and lung work. We have a nice well equipped weightroom now, as illustrated in the last post. But I can honestly say, we are not doing anything now, that we did not find a way to do before. It is just more convenient now. We never quit looking for better ways to do things and never let our resources dictate our program.
Improvisation is not limited to the weightroom. Can't afford a Denfi trainer? Attach a 2&1/2 or 5 lb. plate to an old hammer handle with heavy gauge wire or even rope. Awhile ago I had a discus thrower who couldn't get a good trajectory. No matter how we drilled from stands, to right leg pivots,...etc. when we put it all togather out of the back we got line drives. Finally I got two bungy cords and a tarp. Using the cords we suspended the tarp across the front of the cage. Now the discus had to clear the tarp or the tarp would catch it and drop in front of the thrower. (Don't attach the bottom corners or it will throw it back) A few sessions with the tarp fixed the problem.Don't let your current toolbox limit your approach to finding solutions.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Athletes are best judges of whether they’re overtraining

Oliver has learned to listen to his body rather than blindly follow routines.

Over the years, we have had many posts on the importance of communication between coach and athlete. We believe that this is best way to insure optimal progress. Programming with percentages, computer printouts, and designed increases and variations in volume and intensity are valuable. But only with constant coach-athlete communication and daily adjustments. To blindly follow a predetermined program is both lazy and ineffective. The article below gives support to the idea that athlete input is vital to optimal results. Listen to your body and communicate.

Athletes are best judges of whether they’re overtraining
(Reuters Health) - Compared to objective measures, like heart rate or oxygen consumption, an athlete’s own sense of wellbeing may be a better predictor of whether they’re headed for burnout, suggests a research review.

The Australian team analyzed past studies to see how objective measures like muscle function and blood proteins responded to rises and drops in athletes’ training load or to chronic heavy training. They also looked at how athletes’ psychological stress levels and overall mood tracked with training load.

Subjective sense of wellbeing followed training load more closely than physiological measures, making it an important factor to monitor, researchers say.

Subjective measures are already widely used to monitor athlete response to training, said lead author Anna E. Saw of the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University in Burwood, Victoria.

“Training imposes a stress on the athlete, to which they can either respond positively and increase their performance capacity, or respond negatively with reduced performance capacity,” Saw said.

“A negative response to training may also result in an athlete experiencing overtraining syndrome, athlete burnout, injury, or illness, potentially compromising their season or even their athletic career,” she told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers reviewed 54 studies that included objective and subjective measures of athlete wellbeing during times of brief, intense training and of chronic intense training.

The studies compared measures like blood work and heart rate response to an athlete’s reported mood, perceived stress, anxiety or other personal measures.

The researchers found that subjective measures were more sensitive and consistent in 22 of the 54 studies – athletes consistently reported a dip in wellbeing during acute training loads or a chronic training load, while an acute decrease in training load improved wellbeing.

There was some evidence that reduced training load was associated with better maximal oxygen consumption, but in general objective measures were not strongly tied to athlete wellbeing, the study team reports in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

“Subjective measures provide insight into how an athlete perceives their physical and psychosocial wellbeing,” Saw said.

Subjective measures are relatively simple and inexpensive to collect compared to objective measures, and they provide more meaningful information on how well the athlete is responding to training, she said.

Generally, subjective measures of wellbeing were not associated with performance, so athletes with objectively better performance could also have subjectively better wellbeing, she said.

“Wellbeing allows athletes to flourish in both sport and life outside of sport,” Saw said. “Hence it is important that wellbeing is supported so that an athlete may achieve optimal performance, and also sporting longevity.”

Subjective measures may detect a negative response to training early on, allowing for training modification, which may potentially mitigate the risk of injury, she said.

“The findings of the review serve to justify the use of subjective measures across any sport and participation level,” Saw said. “This may lend to more emphasis and resources being directed towards subjective measures.”

They may also improve the “buy-in” of athletes and staff, which is integral to effective implementation, she said.

SOURCE: bit.ly/1VJznyC British Journal of Sports Medicine, online September 9, 2015.

Orrin also listens to his body and adjusts his training.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Is Twisting the Best Way to Develop Rotational Force?

Stabilizing heavy weights over head requires the "rotational" muscles to be strong.

Awhile ago I read an article in the BFS (Bigger, Faster, Stronger) magazine that I really agreed with.
It was titled, “Secrets to Developing Rotational Strength”. While I don’t believe there are any “secret” training methods and I generally disregard articles claiming such, the opening paragraph hit home with me. The author, Kim Goss stated, “Over the past decade there has been a trend in the strength coaching profession to distract athletes from getting stronger.”
I couldn’t agree more. Commercial fads and trends seem to have pushed out common sense in many programs.
He went on to state,”I’m not talking about training that is augmented with complicated periodization programs that require a slide rule or at least a basic knowledge of Excel 2007 but about training regimes that require athletes to spend a lot of time on worthless exercises. Our gyms are full of kettle bells, elastic tubing, medicine balls with ropes – tools that are supposedly the best way to develop the athletic quality known as rotational strength.”
His next statement really made me feel we were on the same philosophical page,
“The problem is that many coaches mistakenly believe that basic multijoint movements such as squats and power cleans will not improve rotational strength. After all, most exercises occur in the vertical and horizontal planes, but in sports, as Chubby Checker would say, “There’s a whole lot of twisting goin’ on!” As such, some coaches think that traditional weight training workouts are simply not good enough and that special functional exercises that work those important “core” muscles must be included in every serious athlete’s workout.
Nice try.
Much of what is being preached about core training, especially about the topic of developing rotational strength, is nonsense. Most of these exercises don’t do what their proponents claim they can do, and don’t even make sense from an anatomical standpoint. The result is that athletes often spend a lot of time on inferior exercises and even on exercises that place the spine at a high risk of injury.”
Many S&C coaches seem to think that twisting exercises are essential for developing the so called rotational strength that is exerted when throwing. This is not only a waste of time, but a great way to herniate a disc. Discs are not designed to rotate individually. The cumulative micro trauma that results from repetitive twisting exercises breaks down the disc wall. The greater the twisting force, the faster the breakdown.
An analysis of the torque produced in the trunk when throwing shows that it is not the spine that is twisting, but the rotational movement occurs as the hips are driven forward. Yes, there is a separation between the hips and shoulders, but it is a limited range of motion and does not come close to the end point. Exercises where the hips are held stationary and the trunk is twisted to the full end point of it’s range is a recipe for injury. Such exercises as seated twists with weight or high speed walking twists while swinging a weight are not necessary and are dangerous. Rotational strength depends first and foremost on trunk strength and stability. The standard squats, pulls, and presses are effective in developing this. Controlled twisting within the range of motion can be of some benefit, but probably is about as effective as doing toe raises to increase vertical jump. The power comes from the hip extension. The toe raise is more of a follow through and adds little to the jump.
In the same vein, the trunk torque is the natural result of a throw, not the major power generator. Work your core, but do it under control and within it’s natural range of motion. Throw long, and throw for a long time. Don’t ruin your back in the weight room.
The full BFS article can be read at: http://www.biggerfasterstronger.com/home/MagDetails.asp?id=1689&previd=40&MagCat=_NovDec

Power is not generated by "twisting" the waist, but by driving the hips forward.
Twisting with a bar or broomstick has no value in contributing to the throw and causes disc deterioration. Don't fall into the "twisting" with resistance trap unless you have great insurance and enjoy spinal surgery.

Monday, October 19, 2015

How a Big Mac affects your body in 1 hour

Image result for big mac images

I am not on a mission against fast food. I don't have a vendetta against McDonalds. I think this is a fun article to think about. Like the article says, we don't have to avoid Big Macs like the plague, but, like with anything, a wise person will use moderation and remember that "exercise covereth a multitude of sins" (to badly paraphrase scripture) If we are training hard and physically active, I believe that we can get away with eating good about 85% of the time and leave the rest for other stuff.

How a Big Mac affects your body in 1 hour

With more than 36,000 restaurants around the globe, chances are you have eaten at a McDonald's at one point or another, and many of you are likely to have indulged in one of the chain's most popular offerings: the Big Mac. It goes without saying that, although tasty, the Big Mac is not the healthiest food option. And now, a new infographic claims to show exactly what this world-famous sandwich does to our body within an hour of eating it.
According to the new infographic, a Big Mac takes 3 days to fully digest.
A Big Mac contains 540 calories and 25 grams of fat. Consuming this sandwich alone - without the fries and soda that often accompany it - makes up more than 25% of an adult's daily recommended calorie intake and over 40% of the recommended daily fat intake.

The sandwich also contains 940 milligrams of salt - the majority of the 1,500 mg daily salt intake recommended by the American Heart Association.

While most of us are aware that eating this sandwich is unlikely to be good for us, the nutritional values of food are often put to one side in favor of taste and convenience; around 50 million Americans each day visit fast food restaurants, with more than a fifth indulging in fast food twice weekly.

But would you be deterred from opting for such foods if you knew what they did to your body after consumption?

The website Fast Food Menu Price has created an infographic claiming to show how a Big Mac affects the body 10, 20, 30, 40 and 60 minutes after eating it.

A Big Mac 'takes 3 days to digest'
Within 10 minutes of eating a Big Mac, the high calorie content begins to increase blood sugar levels to abnormal levels, according to the infographic. Talking to The Independent, however, dietitian and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association Priya Tew says that while blood sugar levels will increase, they are unlikely to reach abnormal levels.

The sandwich - like other "junk food" - will also trigger the release of brain chemicals such as dopamine, which activate the brain's reward system and provide a feeling of pleasure. The infographic says this is comparable to the effects of cocaine.

After 20 minutes, addictive ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup - present in high levels in the Big Mac bun - and sodium will set in, making us crave more, according to the infographic.

After another 10 minutes, the high salt content of the Big Mac begins to take its toll on the body, leading to dehydration. Because symptoms of dehydration are similar to those of hunger, the infographic warns that you may want more food at this point.
This infographic explains how a Big Mac affects the body within 1 hour of consumption.

However, Tew disagrees with this fact. "I just converted 970 mg in sodium and it works out as 2.4 g of salt," she told The Independent. "It's not enough to cause dehydration in my opinion. But it is a salty food so it's good to be aware."

If you often feel hungry just after eating a Big Mac, this may be due to body's inability to control blood sugar.

"The first time you consume a high-calorie meal, your insulin response can reduce your glucose levels making you want to eat more," the infographic explains. "The high-fructose corn syrup in the Big Mac bun is quickly absorbed by the GI [gastrointestinal] tract, causing insulin spikes and even greater hunger pangs."

Possibly the most shocking claim the infographic makes about a Big Mac's effect on the body is that it can take more than 3 days to fully digest because of its fat content; the body normally takes around 24-72 hours to digest food.

However, Tew believes that while fatty foods do take longer to digest, the 3-day time frame for a Big Mac is likely to be an exaggeration.

While nutritionists and health experts have questioned the accuracy of this infographic, there is one thing they all agree on: a Big Mac should be consumed in moderation.

"If you want to enjoy a Big Mac, try to keep it an occasional indulgence," the infographic concludes. "The burger's ingredients can cause serious harm to your body, especially when you consume them on a regular basis."

Last month, Medical News Today reported on the creation of an infographic that revealed how energy drinks affect the body within 24 hours of consumption, while another infographic showed how Coca-Cola impacts the body within 1 hour.

Written by Honor Whiteman

Leif Arrhenius, NCAA Champion and one of BYU's best throwers ever as well Swedish National champion claims to thrive on Big Macs.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

More Chinese Elite Level Training

In my heart, I am a world traveler. Unfortunately my body hasn’t gotten much farther then Toronto and Tiajuana. Randall Strossen’s Ironmind training hall tapes and the internet has been a great opportunity for guys like me to see how athletes from around the world solve the problems of how to lift the greatest weight over head. We have been able to see the Bulgarians train until they bleed, going to the max in the competitive lifts and not much else multiple times each day, day after day. The Soviets, who use a greater variety of exercises and periodize the volume and intensity over the long range. Their system plans loading over a multiple year cycle.
Anyone who follows lifting at all today cannot help but be impressed with the success of the Chinese. Their women weightlifters have dominated for over a decade and now their men’s team has reached a similar level of performance.

They are strong and they are deep. Obviously they have huge population numbers to support their programs. They are not “inhibited” by moral concerns such as freedom of choice and of course there is always the spector of “medicinal support.” But given all of that, there is still a great deal we can learn from their methods. Below is a nice segment that takes about 30 minutes that is understandable to us who only speak English and Navajo. Lol It shows a wide variety of exercises and also the Warrior Attitude that it takes to compete at the highest levels. Is this the way the rest of should train?
Probably not. Almost certainly not.
As much as we wish we were, most of us are not in the genetically elite category, however, until we have strived over a period of years, even decades, we’ll never know what our ultimate potential is. There is much we can learn from these elite athletes if we keep in mind that we may not be as genetically robust or have the support system, including “recovery medications.” It is my opinion, and mine only, that these athletes would still be winning most of the medals even in a 100% “clean” competition environment.
-Ollie Whaley

Monday, October 12, 2015

How Much Do You Want It? The 4 Levels of Motivation for Lifters

Orrin Whaley enjoys the journey, even more than just focusing on the outcome.
I was just talking with my son, Oliver, recently about motivation. I told him it was my opinion that I could not motivate anyone to lift or to lift intensely. It is my philosophy that I can supply a great program, great equipment, and a great lifting environment, but it's the lifters responsibility to bring the motivation. This article does a nice job of proposing some of the levels of motivation that trainees bring with them. I admit that over the course of my lifetime I have progressed through these levels and have seen others do so as well. When I started, I was focused on the outcome rather than the process. For awhile, I actually dreaded the workouts, but I persisted because I had faith that the results would be worth it. In time, as I made progress, I began to see the workouts as a vital key to reaching my performance goals. In time, I actually began to enjoy the journey and at this stage of my life I love the feeling of being able to challenge myself even though my days of setting personal records are decades behind me. The author quotes some of our greatest lifters and coaches who have enjoyed great longevity in the sport. I believe that it is worthwhile to examine your own reasons and motivations for training.

How Much Do You Want It? The 4 Levels of Motivation for Lifters
Dresdin Archibald
It is always interesting to ask your fellow trainees why they lift weights. The answers will usually range from simply wanting to stay in shape to becoming a champion weightlifter, powerlifter, bodybuilder, or a better athlete at another sport. These are all good and noble motives, and will suffice if you just want a superficial answer. The discussion becomes more interesting when you uncover the intensity of the motivation behind the reason.

Edward W. L. Smith asked that question in his book, Not Just Pumping Iron – On the Psychology of Lifting Weights. He has uncovered four levels of intensity with regard to motivation. From lowest to highest they are:

1. I Should

Those who lift with this reasoning are merely complying with some external directive to work out because it is good for them. An example is a doctor’s suggestion to a dedicated couch potato to get in shape. Like most things that are “good for you,” there is likely to be little enthusiasm shown by the trainee. Often he or she just works out and does not train (there is a difference). There are no goals set, or any plans on how best to get there. There is compliance, but no enthusiasm.

"Like most things that are 'good for you,' there is likely to be little enthusiasm shown by the trainee."

Usually this type of trainee will use any excuse to skip his or her workout that day. The rest will drag themselves to the gym. Most of these trainees eventually drift back to no training at all. They “should” lift.

2. I Have To

These people may not like lifting any better than the “I Should” crowd, but they are one step ahead just the same. What gives them their leg up? You guessed it - goals and plans. They often weight train according to the demands of their favorite sport. They hit the iron only because they know how necessary it is to keep up with their opponents. They head to the gym with little enthusiasm but with enough determination to become the best athlete they can be. That carries them through. They know for success to happen they have to get a lot stronger. They “have to” lift. 

3. I Want To

Those individuals who have reached this stage have undergone a significant metamorphosis. Lifting feels physically and mentally good. The strain of effort, the pump of the engorged muscles, the rush of endorphins, the lactic acid stiffness, and the sleep-inducing fatigue after a good workout are now welcomed. The lifter also feels the elation of breaking a personal best with the knowledge that they are stronger today than yesterday, and will be even stronger tomorrow. These feelings become the siren call back to the gym for such trainees. They now “want to” lift.

"The strain of effort, the pump of the engorged muscles, the rush of endorphins, the lactic acid stiffness, and the sleep-inducing fatigue after a good workout are now welcomed."

That is where it ends with many trainees. They become competitive lifters or elite athletes, earn their kudos, are satisfied (or not), and eventually retire. Even the “”I want to” lifters may decide to end their training once their goals have been accomplished. Often you never hear from them again, until one day you run into one of them on the street. They no longer look like the athletes they once were. They have moved on. And for them, that might have been the best choice. Others though, do not go so gently into that good night.

4. My Path

Finally, there are those who see lifting as their pathway in life. Lifting is their means to a higher end besides the familiar “I wanna get big” or “I want to keep in shape.” They get to know their sport and become students of it for the rest of their lives. Some may turn to coaching, officiating, or administration. But most importantly, they lift in order to know themselves better.

"The weights are no longer the opposition. They are old and true friends."

As you might guess, these trainees never seem to retire. They may have to call an end to serious competition due to family and professional commitments. But you still see them going to the gym, following their path, and discovering how their body and mind react to the stresses of training. The weights are no longer the opposition. They are old and true friends. Each training session is a renewal of acquaintances, in the same way that old high school friendships are renewed decades after last seeing one another.

In short, those who have taken weight training as their path are the training elite. They are the lucky ones who never quite grow old as long as they can feel that knurling. My fellow Breaking Muscle writers Terry Hadlow and Bob Takano are two of the best examples.

Find Your Path

As you proceed along your chosen path in weightlifting you will learn there are many mental attributes to discover about yourself. Perhaps the main one is finding out your relationship to success. Put another way, how hard are you willing to work in order to accomplish goals? In weightlifting, you have to learn to overcome your fear of the barbell and the discomfort of heavy training.

United States Olympian Fred Lowe once told me that weightlifters can lift a lot of weight because they are willing to train beyond the comfort level of the average person. That pretty much sums up success in our sport. We all have a different comfort level or point where we decide we cannot continue this activity at a higher level. With elite lifters that level is quite high. Conversely, lower-level lifters peak at lower levels of discomfort.

"You need to take an honest look at what kind of trainee you are. Do you train because you have to, because you want to, because you like to, or because you have found your one true path to self-development?"

How a lifter comes to terms with that peak-out level is a mark of his or her degree of maturity. This maturity does not depend on how high your lifts are, but how well you can live with your own level of motivation. Not all of us can be champions, but we can all find something of value in the practice of lifting weights. You can see how your efforts have been rewarded over time. This is especially true if you have planned our own training programs based on what you have learned about your sport, and more importantly yourself.

I remember my early training days when I was cast adrift by my first coach and told that I had to now plan my training programs. I did so, and while the results might not please me today, they certainly worked then due mostly to the novice effect. I increased my total by fifty pounds, and I was quite pleased with myself.

If I were planning a program today, I would probably not prescribe what I did then, but the important thing I took away from this was I achieved success through my own planning. This revealed my self-efficacy, and would enable me to design better programs for myself in the future. That initial knowledge became the guiding light on my path’s journey.

Lifting Is a Lifelong Journey

You need to take an honest look at what kind of trainee you are. Do you train because you have to, because you want to, because you like to, or because you have found your one true path to self-development? Did I just drag myself to the gym, or was I just busting to get there? This will require some truthfulness on your part. You will have to monitor how you think about training.

The path to inner self-development never ends. Weightlifting can continue to the end of life. As for me, I will rage against the dying of the light.

(Belated apologies to Dylan Thomas.)

Oliver Whaley considers training a must for coping with the stresses of law school.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jerk Recoveries, A great Basic Strength Builder

We have a pretty large family with 6 children. Five are now married so we have 4 sons-in law, a daughter-in-law and 17 grandchildren with more on the way so far. When we all were together in the 1800 sq. ft. house the school district rents to us in Kayenta, Arizona, it gets pretty crowded. Luckily, or maybe because of that, we get along pretty well. On the reservation you can’t own land, so schools provide housing for employees. It is usually adequately comfortable, but not fancy. Given that, we spend a lot of time outdoors and in our state of the art weight room.
On Saturday night about 7:00pm we decided to go to the weight room and do an exercise that is largely unknown and unappreciated, Jerk Recoveries, also termed Overhead Supports although there is a subtle difference. To do the exercise you need a very sturdy power rack that will allow the bar to be placed an inch or so above the forehead. Many modern racks or so called “squat cages” as they are termed, do not have holes or brackets at a sufficient height to allow this. I suggest when buying a rack, make sure it will allow for heavy overhead work.
After a general warmup, the bar is placed on the pins above the forehead as described. The athlete stands under the bar with a full grip about shoulder width or slightly wider. Care is taken that the core is tight and the mind focused. Drop explosively under the bar pushing to arms length. The feet can either be split fore and aft, split jerk style or kept in line, power jerk style.
There are some who say that split style may be more relevant to shot or discus throwing as the legs are staggered on release.(note the picture posted in December of Anders Arrhenius) If you feel this is important, then a right handed thrower would split with the left leg forward. In reality, I recommend alternating the forward leg to keep balanced development. In the power jerk style you get more vertical lift, perhaps more applicable to hammer or weight. That aside, either style will build great strength and stability from the fingernails to the toenails.
Once the athlete has driven themselves under the bar they need to immediately drive upward maintaining an absolute rigid core along with extended arms. As lifting great Tommy Kono says, “Bone on Bone.” Meaning that arm lock is maintained, shoulders pushing up, body aligned. If the weight is not locked out over head, it will come back down. Start with a relatively light weight (less than your best jerk or push press) then progress in big jumps to a weight that exceeds your best overhead lift by 100 lb. or more. You must be focused and drive hard under the bar staying tight. Drive upwards driving the bar off of the pins and support it overhead for 1-5 seconds.
If you loosen up or flinch, the bar will not stay up. You have to maintain the upward thrusting sensation throughout the movement. If you are not aligned, the bar will merely slide forward or backwards on the pins, but it won’t go up.
What are the benefits? Besides the tight core and total body tensile strength, it promotes shoulder strength and balance, it teaches concentration and focus, and it’s a lot of fun to hold super heavy weights over head. As you develop strength in this position, your jerks and presses will feel like toys overhead.
The subtle difference I mentioned between Jerk Recoveries and Overhead Supports is this:
Recoveries are done with bar above the forehead as described, which requires dropping lower under the bar and more leg strength.
Supports are done with the bar higher above the head and only a slight drop under. The focus is on the over head support and not as much leg work. Both have their benefits depending on the goals of the athlete.
Below are some examples we recorded that night in our weight room. My daughter Deezbaa, a former thrower at BYU demonstrates a jerk recovery split style with 275 lb. (125 kg.) Her best jerk is about 200 lb.(92.5 kg.) right now. She weighs about 160 lb. and threw her bodyweight in the discus and over 190’ in the hammer. My son Orrin, currently a BYU undergraduate, does 345 lb. (157.5 kg) in power jerk style. He later did 405 lb. (182.5 kg) but we didn’t get it on camera. When this took place he weighed about 70 kg. (154 lb.)He now weighs about 180 lb.  and has cleaned 150 kg. (330 lb.) He is training for all around strength and power right now. Oliver is shown doing 500 lb. at a bodyweight of about 230 lb. (105 kg.) He also threw at BYU and hit over 65 meters in the hammer. The narration didn’t come out very well, but if you listen close there is some explanation. Even without the sound, it is easy to see what is happening. It was a fun evening.
-Ollie Whaley

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Determining Volume, Intensity and Load for the "Olympic Lifts" While Training for Other Sports

By Oliver Whaley

I think we sometimes beat ourselves up in the weightroom doing these lifts, not necessarily because of doing the lifts themselves. But more so because we tend to push ourselves to go too heavy, or too heavy too often when doing them. Any lift done too heavy or done too heavy too often will result in some bodily breakdown and eventual injury. Volume, load, and intensity are highly individualized, but I think throwers especially have the tendency to push to the limit more often than not (what can I say we are competitors and its fun).

Here are some suggestions:

It would be better to work in a 60 to 80% (positive gains can be made at these percentages) range and focus on moving the weight quickly when these lifts are performed. Heavy singles can be mixed in periodically, occasionally heavy doubles or triples. But the majority of the time your doubles and triples should be done at lighter percentages and the heavy percentages done with singles. For a thrower there is no real reason to hit a total max single lift or attempt, when doing heavy singles it would be best to keep them in a 85 to 95% range and never miss a lift (it can be hard to control yourself though). Sets should best be kept to no more than six, excluding any warm-up and the repetitions no higher than three. Unless you’re working out of the hang position or doing pulls off the ground. Then going as high as five repetitions can be beneficial. If you’re trying to build a strength base, sets of higher rep pulls can be good.

Primoz Kozmus doing hang snatches at 125K

Mixing up sets between rapid sequence and clusters is also best. The quick lifts are done quickly and we should finish with them quickly also. It really shouldn’t take more than 20 to 25 minutes to finish with this part of your workout. If it takes longer than this, then either the intensity or volume, or both are probably too high.

Here is one last thought to take into consideration.

Most of time people base their percentages for doubles and triples off their single rep max. I think it would be better to base it off your best set of doubles or triples when doing doubles and triples rather than your best single. And if you don't know what that is, then just guesstimate.

How often a week your perform the lifts is highly individual and often comes through trial and error as each person recovers at different rates. I know some throwers that do them every lifting session, as for me, once a week I have found to be sufficient. But often the frequency in which they are performed is another area where people tend to weigh in on the "over doing it" side. Doing them less frequently when combined with all the throwing volume will probably leave you feeling fresher, more explosive, and with more reserve in the tank.

I think keeping these things in mind will help prevent ourselves from becoming overtrained, from over taxing our nervous system in combination with throwing volume, and help keep our bodies feeling fresh and avoid that beat up feeling that can sometimes come as a result of what we do in the weightroom.