Too Jacked to Olympic lift: Olympic lifting Mobility

Fixing your  Olympic lifts can happen in one of two ways, typically. Fix your Olympic lifting technique (improving the way to do the movement), or Olympic lifting mobility, improving your ability to do the movement. There are also strength fixes, but they are longer term and we all know how to do those (squat if you can’t stand up with it, deadlift if you can’t pick it up).

There is a game that I play called underrated, overrated, or properly rated. I stole it from Bill Simmons, but I have adopted it as my own game. Having trouble picturing it?

Arnold Schwarzenegger movie: Terminator- Overrated

Arnold Schwarzenegger movie: Commando- Underrated

Arnold Schwarzenegger movie: Twins- Properly rated

When it comes to Olympic lift fixes, mobility fixes are definitely underrated. There are certain problems that most people encounter that cannot be influenced by technique or strength, unless the underlying mobility fix is addressed first.

The Lazy Man’s Guide to Olympic weightlifting

People like the bare minimum. Instinctively we want to know what’s the least we can do to get a result.  Yes there are some that would say “if one ibuprofen is good, then 10 must be better” but those are the same people that end up with liver problems.  It could be laziness, but it’s more than likely intelligence.

Training is no different, we should strive for the minimum effective dose, when delivering it to our athletes or to ourselves. Becoming great at a skill like Olympic weightlifting is a different beast, but for most that is not an issue until after we have tried out the minimum effective dose.

This is the bare minimum Olympic weightlifting program you should be doing to be a good Olympic lifter.

Olympic Lifting 1st Pull: You might be doing this all wrong.

IMG_3072Chances are you have messed up the Olympic lifting first pull in your clean before. The chances are so good, in fact, that I would be willing to bet my collection of rare 70’s weightlifting photos (a stunning collection really), that you have messed up the 1st pull of your clean.

The snatch too, but I don’t want anyone to make anyone feel like they’re inadequate and “do EVERYTHING wrong.”

The first pull is where most errors occur, and a big reason why I teach my athletes to get really good at the hang power clean before we even attempt to move the bar to the floor. I have spent most of my time on the platform working on making a better first pull.

Pull Party: Why you need to be pulling more.

Olympic lifts are renowned for their ability to create more power. I am sure you have heard stories of Olympic lifters with extremely high vertical jumps, short sprint times faster than those of Olympic sprinters. (if not then you are likely hanging out with the wrong people).

You and your athletes aren’t leaping out of the gym and haven’t won a race against an Olympic sprinter in months (or longer), but you’re doing Olympic lifts 1, 2, or 3 days per week. So what gives?

One of the secrets of great Olympic lifting programs is the Olympic lift pull. These movements are the plateau busters, making your technique on point, and forcing you and your athletes to move bigger weights around with perfect form.

Can you Olympic lift without a Coach?

Olympic lifting is highly technical, of that we can be sure.  We can also be sure that Olympic lifting is one of the most beneficial things that you can do to become more athletic and powerful.

The problem with Olympic lifting for most individuals is that it is extremely coaching intensive. Typically you need an eccentric, track suit wearing fellow in the

Ivan 2background, watching each lift, diagnosing your technique and providing you with your next weight on the bar.

But what if you don’t live in a training hall, in Europe, with a plethora of Bulgarian experts? Then what can you do?

Heck what if you don’t even have a guy with any knowledge at all about the Olympic lifts within an hours’ drive?

Can you even still Olympic lift safely, let alone well?

I say you can, but you have to have a plan, and here is the plan that you can use to Olympic lift without the benefit of everyday coaching.

Choosing the right weights in Olympic lifts


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Left to their own devices, athletes can be there own worst enemy. Actually, I am going to expand that statement.

Left to OUR own devices, most people make some really bad decisions in the weight room. Not “bad” like mid 1990’s Mike Tyson, but definitely getting in the ball park. It’s one bad decision after the other. This problem isn’t just one for novice weightlifters, and athletes, I, and you are just as guilty.

Sometimes we have no clue how to pick weights in our Olympic lifts.

If it were up to us we would just work up to a weight, do it, then pick another weight and maybe miss it, maybe make it and then repeat.

Most athletes that I work with for the first time miss weights like it is part of their job description. They have no clue what weight to use to get the effect they need.

I have 3 solutions that I use regularly:

The bodyweight method, for novice and first time lifters.

The work-up method, for everyday use and just past novice lifters.

The percentage method, for some serious training goals.

Partial Reps: The RDL

“Dude, I squat 500 lbs,” that was how he first addressed me. “Dude” and then the statement that he squats a weight that not many people on the earth can imagine. FIVE hundred pounds, ¼ of a ton.

Most people would actually crap themselves under that amount of weight. I don’t think this guy, or most others are much different. My immediate response to the monster squatter was this, “Okay, but how low.”

I imagine it would be the response of anyone that spends much time in the weight room.

If you hang around the right people you know that not squatting to full depth is for low level bodybuilders, guys who “exercise,” and any other form of low life that walk into the local gym. Full range of motion on everything

“Talk is cheap, squat deep”

Right?

I want to establish this first, I love full reps. Hell I love reps from a deficit. I have my weight room credentials and have seen enough lifts to know to always squat deep, do push ups to a full range of motion, and I always do chin ups until my sternum touches the bar.

In short, I do not cheat in the weight room. Lets get that idea off the table, because I am about to break all the rules and tell you that sometimes you need to cheat.

You probably need to cheat when you are doing the opposite of the squat: the hinge.

I do partial Romanian deadlifts (RDL) all the time and I coach my athletes to do partial RDL’s.

O Lift Alternatives: Basketball Edition

The following post is a guest post from Shelby Turcotte. Shelby is a basketball strength coach and was kind enough to share some awesome ideas on how to train for power without the Olympic lifts (GASP!!!)

I love the Olympic lifts (snatch and clean & jerk).  I’m as much of a fan of the O-Lifts as I am of Chuck Norris’ facial hair – and the greatness that surrounds him.   As an intelligent coach you have to realize that not everyone is ready to start throwing hundreds of pounds overhead from day one.

For those basketball players who aren’t able to O-lift, I’ve got your power solution.

Did Teen Wolf Olympic Lift?

Some things are just so simple that they all logic says they won’t be awesome. Experience those simple things and you make the discovery that some of these simple things are freaking bad a$$.

The cinematic classic Teen Wolf  fits that description.

Here’s the clif notes version for those that have not watched the movie (shame on you btw).

High school athlete turns into a werewolf when “excited”,  as opposed to normal stress responses, and rather than face almost assured shaming and humiliation, he uses this affliction to become the most popular kid in school and to do impossible dunks.

Simple premise: Werewolf movie.

Interesting twist: He is actually popular instead of being called the “hairy kid.”

It’s weird how things like that happen. All logic would indicate that this movie has too simple a premise and be a waste of time. As anyone that has ever watched Teen Wolf knows. This movie rocks..

Sometimes the most complex problems like movie scripts, require the simplest solutions.

Special Strength and the Conjugate System: Interview with Martin Bingisser

Martin Bingisser is an awesome dude. While not well known in the strength and fitness world, he is well known in the world of track and field as one of the world’s best hammer throwers and a great ambassador of the sport of track and field.

Coming from the world of hammer throwers myself, I have “known” Martin for longer than I have actually known him. He started and ran some awesome websites (HShammer.com, and collegehammer.com) that promoted the hammer throw to a national audience.  I finally met Martin at the 2006 NCAA championships when we first competed against one another.

Martin is a multiple time Swiss national hammer throw champion, an NCAA All-American and an all-around good guy.

Of most interest to the readers of this site is the fact that Martin has been training for the past several years with renowned coach, Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk.

Dr. B, as he is known, is the world’s greatest hammer throw coach. How great is he as a coach? Imagine a Bill Belichick, crossed with John Wooden, add in some yoda like wisdom, and throw in an awesome European track suit and you are getting close.

Dozens of Olympic medals have been won and world records have been set under his guidance. Dr. B is also one of the foremost authorities on the topic of special strength.

If you want to familiarize yourself with some of Dr. B’s works, Martin has an awesome piece about training with Dr. B at EliteFTS , and also in Modern Athlete and Coach

I asked Martin to be here today to share a little insight into his training with Dr. B and how it might relate to the training of everyday athletes.