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.

Are you teaching the Olympic lifts the wrong way?

Picture the first time you went into a weight room. Maybe it was 10 years ago or 15 or 20 years ago.

The smell of stale sweat, the guy in the too-short, short shorts , and the coach or guru (likely with a sweet mustache) of the gym telling you what you should be doing to get strong.

Got it?  You remember that picture don’t you?

The first time you were introduced to the Olympic lifts, the mustachioed guru told you that the big three lifts were the squat, the bench, and the power clean. Straight from the books of Bigger Faster Stronger.

Pick that weight up and put it to your chest.”

It’s as easy as that.

Since then you have been following the same protocol. Sure you are teaching the goblet squat before the back squat now, and balancing your bench presses with some TRX rows, but the power clean is still the staple of your program.

Well my friends this is the wrong way to do things, and teaching the Olympic lifts in the wrong order is like going to the bathroom before you eat, S#*t’s just no going to get done right.

Here’s the right way to teach the lifts

When you start with the power clean you are asking athletes to fail. Now maybe you like to be a heel and show your athletes how easy something is that you have had years of practice doing. If that’s your thing then skip the rest of this post.

If, on the other hand, you like to help your athletes succeed, and want them coming back eager for more then you need a better place to start than the power clean.

You need a progression of movements that helps athletes build on their skills, helps them improve as an athlete, and lets them see success in being a part of your program.

You need a better order to teach the Olympic lifts. Start here….

Snatch Up these Grip Tips

Grip training used to be the territory of only strongmen and the Sorin family, but no more! To really excel at the Olympic lifts or even as an athlete a strong grip is a vital part of the equation. I am no grip expert, but have learned a ton from a guy that I asked to help us on this issue. 

Today I asked Adam T. Glass (of Industrial Strength Grip and The Movement Minneapolis) to give us some awesome tips on how to improve your grip for the Olympic lifts. Adam is an amazing grip athlete and a seriously strong dude (Check out his youtube channel), but here is proof that we can learn some stuff from Adam. This is an amazing 550 lb deadlift on a 3 inch diameter bar.


RIDICULOUS!

Expand your toolbox: Snatch Variations

Sometimes you just love something and cannot get enough of it. Maybe it’s your dog, I’m sure he is all that. Maybe it’s cookies, who am I to judge? Maybe it’s Lifetime movies of the week, seriously I am not judging. In my life that “something” is the snatch. I love doing the lift, I love coaching the lift, and I love trying all the versions of the lift that I can think of. The snatch is numero uno in my book.

Before we dive into all the variations lets talk about the basics.