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Monday, June 5, 2017

TRAINING TIP: BLOCK MINDFULLY

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Adjustable blocks can be constructed in many ways and are very useful.


Here is some nice, concise advice from Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics, whom we quote often. As I have used blocks at times in my own training and with my athletes over the years. I find as I continue to gain experience (get older) that I ,personally, use blocks more and more. Snatches, Cleans, and pulls from various heights off of the floor can be much more forgiving on aging knees and lower back and still provide a lot of benefit in power development. Greg, below, gives a nice explanation of what to be aware of when deciding how to incorporate blocks into a program. 

TRAINING TIP: BLOCK MINDFULLY

Training snatches and cleans from blocks can be very effective for improving things like rate of force development, aggression, better movement under the bar, etc. - but often some of this benefit is reduced by the way you start the lift.

When lifting from a hang position, you're under tension and are using some degree of stretch reflex unless you hold the hang position for about 3 or more seconds (unusual). When lifting from the blocks, the bar is supported by the blocks, not you, meaning that tension and stretch reflex are absent. This means that your body has to create force far more rapidly and with less assistance than it does in the hang or during a lift from the floor.

However, this difference can be significantly reduced by starting a lift from the blocks with a dynamic start like you might from the floor - because the purpose of a dynamic start is to create additional tension and a stretch reflex to make initiating the lift easier.

This doesn't mean the lift is necessarily as easy, easier, or useless - but pay attention to what exactly you're trying to accomplish with lifts from the blocks and start them accordingly.


Check out our huge weightlifting exercise library with demo videos and information on execution, purpose, programming and variations.
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Another style of blocks

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And another
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