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Monday, December 12, 2016

Some Thoughts From a World Champion on What is a Rep and Using Straps

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                       Joe Dube doing pulls at the 1970 World Championships

On another site, GOHEAVY.com, there was a discussion recently about what constitutes a repetition and also the use of straps in training. Many lifters who claim to be doing reps with a weight, actually take significant pauses between each rep, adjusting the bar, resetting,...etc. as compared to consecutive non-stop reps. I think both methods have their place. Obviously Squats, benches, presses and general strength/bodybuilding type lifts are best served by consecutive reps, although the "cluster singles" as I term them have a place also when the goal is maximal strength. When the "quick lifts" such as snatch, cleans, jerks, and their variations are involved, I am not a fan of consecutive reps. I believe that singles or "cluster singles" are the only way to go. Trying to do those types of lifts non-stop fashion is counter productive in my opinion, although many "strength coaches" prescribe such lifts in higher reps. Joe Dube, who was a world champion in weightlifting in 1969 weighed in on the discussion this way,(Although my credentials pale next to his, I will insert some commentary in blue)"I viewed the video of Kendrick (Kendrick Farris whom we have featured in earlier posts)doing the Jerks from the boxes and must say he is a very strong young man. Not to be taken away from his exceptional strength and abilities I would say those were, in my opinion, three quick singles. My definition of reps would be that a lifter would do reps, 2 or more, without releasing the bar back to the racks or boxes from the shoulders. Also, I have viewed many video's of lifters doing snatches, cleans, pulls, etc., bringing the bar back down to the platform after doing a rep then stop and re-adjust the plates, step back then approach the bar and re-grip the bar for another supposingly rep. These are not reps in my way of thinking! My definition of reps would be to continue each rep (whatever movement your training) without releasing the grip and bar back to the platform or racks, doing each rep one right after the other.(I am in agreement) This is the way I did reps back many years ago when I was training, mostly in my earlier years. (Joe trained mostly in a small shed in his backyard in Florida and became one of the world's strongest men) Although I did do many reps in the squats. I am a firm believer in doing many many singles attempts in training on the actual O/L's and any other assistant movements is the best for the lifter to develop explosive speed and power. The problem with continued rep afer rep only slows down that explosive speed and which is not in the best interest of the lifter. ( or thrower, or almost athlete for that matter) It can also throw off the lifters technique and cause possible injuring of the lifter. (I agree, injuries are usually the result of too many reps, not maximal effort, reps lead to fatigue, which leads to technical breakdown, which leads to injury) I do believe that doing reps just to warm up with the lighter weights is alright to do but when the weight increases significantly stop doing those reps and do singles. (great advice)
While I am on this subject I have another issue to bring up. I continue to see from video's I view all the time lifters using straps all the time in their training. Does anyone use their hook grip anymore in training? To me this is not a very good practice! I think it is very important for the lifter to use their hook-grip as much in training as they can. Also, doing some extra gripping exercises to strengthen their grip would help considerably. (Tommy Kono recommends doing lifts without the hook grip also, to strengthen grip ability) To finish this post I have must say that all lifters who compete in competition DO NOT use STRAPS on the competition platform nor do they DO NOT do REPS on that platform.
Anyway, this is just my thoughts on this and would like to hear other peoples views on this subject."
Joe Dube

Many top lifters use straps more often than that nowdays. Mainly because they are training frequently and want to save their hands. What about throwers or other athletes? I believe that straps can help one to learn to relax their arms and focus on the explosive extension movement. This can be valuable for throwers, although grip strength is also important. I advise my athletes to use straps for pulls, but not for the full lifts. I hate seeing athletes who use straps for everything, from lat pulldowns to dumbell lifts. Like belts and gloves, some think straps are a fashion accessory useful in trying to look like a lifter. A strong grip allows more force to be applied to the implement. Don't allow your grip to be the weak link in the kinetic chain as force flows from the ground, through the feet, through the core or torso, to the implement. Don't become "strap dependent." 
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Joe Squatting

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Joe Dube World Champion 1969

Joe squatting at the same meet in 1970

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