- Advice of the day : Facebook edition
- Ask First Pull Fridays
- Women Weight lifting
A great training system can counter two important issues we have across sports in North America. That is, it prevents early specialization and lack of long term progress, granted the candidate is suited for the… Read More »What is a training system and why it matters ?
As I am writing this, I just landed in Montréal, Canada. I’m finally home after a long 6 days trip to Cartagena, Colombia where the 2016 Pan American Championships was held. This competition was of… Read More »2016 Pan American Championships – Rio Olympic Qualification
Weightlifting is not as developed in North America as it is in other countries like China or Russia. One major drawback we face is the lack of a well defined sporting system. In Canada, we… Read More »Identifying weightlifting talent in North America
For most people reading this, it is the Christmas holidays, but this is valid for any period post competition throughout the year. Here in Quebec, the last provincial competition was held in mid December and… Read More »Holidays recovery : Active rest and contrast week(s)
Don’t miss out on Updates : Make sure you follow First Pull on Facebook and Instagram for daily pictures and advice You are responsible for your success. You are also your own worse enemy. Seeing athletes miss lifts because they… Read More »Paralysis by analysis : Stop thinking and start improving!
Don’t miss out on Updates : Make sure you follow First Pull on Facebook and Instagram for daily pictures and advice Sport footwear (and even daily footwear) need to be carefully selected as they have a crucial impact on performance… Read More »Weightlifting shoes concerns : a case against bad footwear choices
Don’t miss out on Updates : Make sure you follow First Pull on Facebook and Instagram for daily pictures and advice The road to your best self as an athlete is a long one. Weightlifting is hard, requires a lot… Read More »The system of training : differences and considerations
Don’t miss out on Updates : Make sure you follow First Pull on Facebook and Instagram for daily pictures and advice The more I coach and the more people I coach progress, the more I realize how important it is… Read More »Get your head on straight : Making progress and keeping a strong will to progress
Assistance exercises may serve many purposes. For one, they can help a lifter understand movement patterns to fix technical errors. Assistance exercises exist for every part of the lift and should be employed if needs… Read More »Non conventional assistance exercises
I get e-mails all the time asking me about how to program, how each movements should be included, and how to get started in weightlifting or progress. I have developed templates that I use and… Read More »Simple and Basic Programs : 3 days a week and 4 days a week flexible program templates
I was never a big fan of strict yearly plans – it may be the Canadian in me, but I like the grey area more than the black or white area. I have developed a set… Read More »Training Guidelines : Autoregulation is the single best training principle for high results
One of my biggest pet peeve, in weightlifting, is missed jerks. According to Russian literature and coaches experience, the jerk is the competitive lift that is the most often missed. According to what I have seen… Read More »Why do we miss jerks : Programming, Pelvic alignment and other important technicalities of the jerk
The whole point of the planning of the training process of weightlifters is to make sure they lift the best they can on a given (scheduled) date. Unlike other sports (mostly team sports), sports like… Read More »Peculiarities of the pre competition training phase
How to develop excellence in lifters (or any sports really) can be tricky – but a common sense-based approach and progressive method is the prerequisite. A sporting background in another sport is not necessary in… Read More »The basics of weightlifting : Preparatory stage
On May 15 to 17th, our nationals were held in Mississauga near Toronto. I’m told a total of 202 athletes were registered which is a sign that our sport is slowly growing. It always impress… Read More »Review of the 2015 Canadian Senior Nationals
Although weightlifting success is not a 100% dependent on Leg strength, strength of the legs is of great importance for the weightlifter. Every athlete is different – yet we could define them as either Technicians and Strength based… Read More »Leg strength problems : Why your squat won’t improve and some ideas on how to fix it
Adam Mattiussi is a great up and coming 77kg lifter from England. His best result in competition was a 131kg snatch and a 165kg clean and jerk at the 2014 Under 23 European Championships. This… Read More »Interview with Adam Mattiussi (77kg, England)
Programming is often considered an art and a science at the same time. Different countries have different ways of planning the year of their lifters – in terms of exercise selection, volume/tonnage, intensity/%, frequency of… Read More »Thoughts about programming and developing eliteness
Better late than never…Happy new year to everybody! For me, 2014 has been crazy with experiences, athlete recruitment, athlete development, programming and travelling for competition and a few seminars. Looking back, it was a great… Read More »5 weightlifting lessons from 2014 : Implications for training, competing and reaching high results
I had the chance to contact Lydia Valentin – who is arguably one of the greatest female lifter at the moment – through her friend Sayra Yever. I would like to thank her for help… Read More »Interview with 2 times Olympian Lydia Valentin (75kg, Spain)
Coaching weightlifting is my full time job and I would argue that I could not have a better job. I love weightlifting, I love teaching it and I love working with different people from very… Read More »On the topic of first impressions, confidence and passion
Developing a high level athlete of any sports takes time and steps cannot be skipped. A young talented athlete needs proper support from the family as well as proper financial support for all the expenses… Read More »Developing young lifters the right way : Not skipping GPP is key
Small details matter in weightlifting, especially from a coaching stand point. When discussing small details of technique, some may say that it is just geeking out or over analysis. Small details are what explain success… Read More »Challenge of The Pull : Hip action during the pull
Training methodologies have evolved since the sport was developed. We could probably say that without any doub training methodologies were first refined as a result of different decisions made by sport authorities in regard to… Read More »On the topic of training methodologies and principles
Most weightlifting coaches and most participants (athletes, official, or club directors) have to debunk myths or beliefs about the great sport of weightlifting. While there are many beliefs that can find roots in the history, most… Read More »Olympic weightlifting for children and Teens : Safety and Growth
Assistance exercises are often debated and debaters tend to have a wide range of opinions. I have encountered and discussed with coaches and athletes that defend how useless they think assistance exercises are just like I have… Read More »The lack of specificity of weightlifting assistance exercises : Part 1
In Part 1 of this essay, I covered various strategies and ideas for recruiting young individuals in the sport of weightlifting. I went over the role of the coach or club manager in the… Read More »ESSAY ON TALENT RECRUITMENT, IDENTIFICATION AND RETENTION (PART 2: Talent identification)
Finding new athletes, especially kids and teens, is of extreme importance for the competitive success of a weightlifting club and overall success of the coach. The coach or the director of the club always has to… Read More »Essay on talent recruitment, identification and retention (Part 1)
This is a well timed interview as Marie-Ève just won the Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games only a few days ago. Marie-Ève is an incredible athlete who has quite an interesting story to tell.… Read More »FP interviews Olympian Marie-Ève Beauchemin Nadeau (69/75kg, Canada).
The weightlifting community is rich with different thoughts, methodologies, and training philosophies. Athletes and coaches like a large variety of programs, training cycles and correctional fixes. Some go for the very specific methodology and some go… Read More »On the importance of upper body strength for weightlifting
This is the final part of my essay on the second pull where I ultimately challenge some of the conventional thoughts on pulling mechanics. In part one, I explained the relations between the second… Read More »Essay on the Second Pull Part 3 (Final Part) : Should the double knee bend be coached?
On numerous occasions, I have made the point that debate and exchange of ideas are healthy and good learning experiences. I exchange ideas and discuss weightlifting and its subcategory (programming, technique, etc.) on a regular basis… Read More »Guest Post by Don McCauley : The catapult finally explained!!
This is the second edition of the advice I post on regular basis on First Pull’s Facebook. The first edition covered the seven first tips I have posted and keeping up with the tradition, I… Read More »Advice of the day 8-14 : Facebook Edition 2
In Part 1 of this series, I made the point that the third pull and second pull can be considered as the same pull. Following this, I would like to expand on muscle sequencing,… Read More »Essay on the second pull Part 2 : Muscle sequencing
A few months ago, I wrote about the speed and mechanical characteristics of the First Pull. Since then, I have wanted to tackle a few technicalities about the second pull. By most standards, the second pull… Read More »Essay On The Second Pull Part 1: The third pull may be considered as part of the Second Pull
For a little while, I have been posting advice of the day on First Pull’s Facebook. The tips touch pretty much all aspect of weightlifting : coaching, injury, programming, psychology and technique. The thing about… Read More »7 Advice of the day : Facebook edition 1
Every now and then, there is an article that gets published on weightlifting which argues that knowledge or characterization fine points of weightlifting technique don’t matter for most trainees. Ironically, these articles often conclude that technique is what… Read More »On the topic of weightlifting technique: My rebuttal to the naysayers
Consistently learning is the key to high level weightlifting performance. Wikipedia describe learning as the process by which you acquire new or modify existing knowledge and skills. When observed, weightlifting performance- defined as the performance of… Read More »Understanding the demonstration effect in the coaching process
Today, I present you an interview with one of the few women lifter from UAE ( United Arab Emirates). She certainly is the first woman from UAE to compete internationally. She indeed competed at the 2014… Read More »Interview with Amna S. Al Haddad from UAE
When it comes to programming, a coach’s job is all about the dosage of intensity and volume so that the athlete reaches the goal both of you have selected. The coach has to predict how… Read More »Programming 101 : Basic short term programming for weightlifting (beginner template)
The process of training humans has to be based on some kind of facts and beliefs, individualized and very well calculated. That is, every trainee is different biological wise, personality wise and background wise. The… Read More »The 3 type of athletes and differences in the coaching approach
The overhead squat has definitely gotten popular over the last few years and it could be due to the love crossfitters have for it. There is a common shared belief that the overhead squats helps… Read More »The usefulness of the overhead squat for enhancing weightlifting results
This title is quite the tease, but it is still a decent question. First Pull is – and will always be- a site dedicated to weightlifting and to some extent physical preparation (since most of… Read More »How to beat Rich Froning and win the Crossfit games
One of the many tasks of a coach is to provide a great training atmosphere that is conducive to results. In other words, we want to limit any distractions and any waste of time so that… Read More »Training atmosphere : training through adversity and admiration
THE WHY AND HOW OF WEIGHTLIFTING COMPLEXES : A SIMPLISTIC GUIDE TO THE USE OF COMPLEXES (PART 2 : ”HOW”)
A bit less than a month ago, I wrote about the pros and cons to using weightlifting complexes to improve technique and strength. I outlined the reasons you should or should not include weightlifting complexes.… Read More »THE WHY AND HOW OF WEIGHTLIFTING COMPLEXES : A SIMPLISTIC GUIDE TO THE USE OF COMPLEXES (PART 2 : ”HOW”)
While learning how to lift correctly and efficiently is a process that takes time and refining the skill of weightlifting takes even more time, the task of weightlifting is, in essence, simple enough. The goal… Read More »The use of ratios for weakness identification and programming
I had the pleasure to interview Anaïs Michel (France) who has been rising to the top in the last few years. Her accomplishments in 2013 alone are amazing : She finished in 4th position at… Read More »Interview with Anaïs Michel (48kg, FRA), 9th at the 2013 Worlds
In my last article about how to be a successful weightlifter, I talked about how I think that having a strong will is probably the most important psychological trait to possess for success. If you… Read More »Sport Psychology corner : How to enhance motivation towards training for higher results
Weightlifting is an amazing sport, but it is also an incredible test of one’s character. The lifts will expose your physical and psychological weaknesses quicker than you can think. There is a natural tendency shared… Read More »How to be a successful weightlifter
The why and how of weightlifting complexes : A simplistic guide to the use of complexes (Part 1 : ”Why”)
Weightlifting training methods can be based on a simplistic, or complicated, or auto regulated or carefully regulated system. They can all work to some degree as long as it is suited to you and your… Read More »The why and how of weightlifting complexes : A simplistic guide to the use of complexes (Part 1 : ”Why”)
One of my many goals with this First Pull Project is to promote weightlifting, especially in Canada. With that in mind, I am quite pleased to have had the chance to interview Mr. Kobaladze whose… Read More »Interview with Canada’s strongest man, George Kobaladze
I am always amazed at how popular mobility work has become in the last few years and how stability work is often ignored. People stretch to no end, but they don’t work on their stability.… Read More »The importance of stability for weightlifting performance and how to achieve it
My undergrad in Kinesiology made me familiar with many sciences that are relevant to the understanding of sports in general, including weightlifting. I already had some prior knowledge, but I was able to learn even… Read More »The low down on sport psychology : Making it work for us.
It is such a great honor to have been able to interview Vlad Rigert. Vlad is the son of acclaimed and legendary weightlifter and coach David Rigert. Vlad is a weightlifter himself who has posted… Read More »Interview with Vlad Rigert, son of the Best lifter of the 20th century DAVID RIGERT
The road to success in weightlifting is a rocky one. Physical attributes – such as strength, flexibility, coordination or neuro-muscular qualities- and technical abilities – or how the person uses his physical attributes to produce… Read More »Importance of the development of psychological traits for success in weightlifting
I am very excited to have been able to reach out to Artem Ivanov, who kindly answered my questions even though I knew he was busy training. Mr. Ivanov lifts for Ukraine and, fortunately for… Read More »Interview with Artem Ivanov, 2 times silver medalist at the World Championships (94kg)
I first wrote about the jerk last September. In that article, I reviewed basic concepts of the jerk such as the how the potential for stability varies with the base of support and the differential… Read More »Fixing your Split Jerk : Foot position, overhead stability and your double chin
Straight bar paths are not the norm nor needed for success in weightlifting : Review of the scientific litterature
Perhaps it is just semantics or it’s the popular obsession with bar paths that led me to write this article. Anyhow, If you are a weightlifter, then you live and die by the principle that… Read More »Straight bar paths are not the norm nor needed for success in weightlifting : Review of the scientific litterature
I am thrilled to present you the following interview. Damon Kelly, from Australia, is the 2010 105+ Commonwealth championships gold medalist (Delhi) where he set a clean and jerk record of 221kg, beating his 217… Read More »Interview with Damon Kelly, 2010 commonwealth gold medalist
Reader Dave, like many others who I have been involved with, inquired about my opinion of crossfit. Indeed, in the past many crossfitters have commented or sent me a message through facebook to ask what… Read More »Ask First Pull Friday : Do you like crossfit?
From time to time, I get e-mails asking me what assistance exercises I use, like or value in my programming. Assistance exercises should reinforce technique, correct muscular imbalances, create symmetry between the limbs, develop strength… Read More »Common – but overlooked- assistance exercises for Olympic Weightlifting
Weightlifting is a sport where your best performance has to happen on a very specific date – the competition day. On that day, the lifter has three attempts in each movement (The snatch and the… Read More »Specific sport training is a double edged sword
The popularity of Crossfit, as a mean of general training and fitness, has created (at least momentarily) interest for the sport of weightlifting. Whether I/we like crossfit or not, the fact of the matter is… Read More »Considerations for coaching crossfit athletes
For this third edition of Ask First Pull Fridays, I received a question from Angela who inquired about correct pulling technique. Angela had a question about how one should be pulling during the lifts. Concretely,… Read More »Ask First Pull Fridays 3 : Should you pull to your hips?
If you searched around on the internet for a way to improve your performance as a weightlifter (or as a practitioner of the Olympic lifts), you would find a thousand ways to do it. You… Read More »On Improving the skill of weightlifting : One of the best advice I can give you
Ask First Pull Fridays 2 : On the topic of pulling yourself under the bar efficiently and developing the confidence to do so
Last week, for the first edition of Ask First Pull Fridays, I talked about the controversy of whether knees should go out or not during a squat. This week, for the second edition, I answer… Read More »Ask First Pull Fridays 2 : On the topic of pulling yourself under the bar efficiently and developing the confidence to do so
Son of one of the greatest weightlifter of all time (Yurik Vardanian), Norik was kind enough to answer my questions for your reading pleasure. Norik has trained in the USA as well as in Armenia.… Read More »First Pull Interviews Olympian Norik Vardanian
Since the creation of First Pull, I have received many e-mails where I have been discussing weightlifting in some form or shape with readers. The discussions have been extremely interesting and this led me to… Read More »Ask First Pull Fridays : Should the knees be pushed out in the Olympic squat?
Maximal Neuromuscular Power Depends On Specific Characteristics Of The Central Nervous System : Part 1
The understanding of [sport] movements requires the knowledge of neuroscience notions. Many people over the years have focused on mechanics of movement – that is biomechanics- and have offered very valuable insights into weightlifting technique. If… Read More »Maximal Neuromuscular Power Depends On Specific Characteristics Of The Central Nervous System : Part 1
In defense of Sport Science : what it has given us and how it can help us solve weightlifting problems
There seem to have been a disconnection between what sport science really is and how it is believed to be. I noticed that there seems to be a common belief that sport science is not… Read More »In defense of Sport Science : what it has given us and how it can help us solve weightlifting problems
It goes without saying that I am very excited to publish today’s interview. I had the chance to interview a very talented Canadian women weightlifter who happens to have nice perspectives to offer on many… Read More »Interview with Christine Girard, bronze medalist in London 2012
Transfer of learning : Importance in skill acquisition of weightlifting & implications for coaching and programming
In my last article about skill acquisition, I made the statement that improvements, in the cognitive stage of skill acquisition, are mainly due to thinking and planning as well as the ability of the athlete to… Read More »Transfer of learning : Importance in skill acquisition of weightlifting & implications for coaching and programming
The recent ”spurt” of popularity of Weightlifting, by different actors such as Crossfit, may also have given the impression that weightlifting is a ”work out” which in turns may influence the way the lifts are… Read More »Weightlifting is a skill and it should be trained as a skill
About two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to watch the upcoming documentary ”American weightlifting” made by Greg Everett (See interview here). I wanted to review this documentary because weightlifting documentary are a rarity (there… Read More »REVIEW :American Weightlifting The Documentary
I wrote earlier about the special conditions women have in the sport of weightlifting as well as important notions to be considered in planning their training. Since then, I have been contacted by many to expand on… Read More »The technique of women weightlifters : Biomechanical improvement through the years.
In weightlifting, the first pull is defined as the moment where the bar leaves the floor until it reaches the knees. This small window of time allows the lifter to set himself up in a… Read More »Speed and mechanical considerations of the First Pull
One important thing you have to be conscious of when coaching weightlifting is the need for individualization of weightlifting technique. Weightlifting technique depends on an individual’s morphology, preference, strength or weaknesses and, ultimately, on learned… Read More »Examples of Technical Individualization
In many sports, elite sportsmen and sportwomen increase the frequence of training in order to achieve maximal performance gains in their discipline. Weightlifters are no different. It is common among elite weightlifters to train twice… Read More »Twice-daily versus once-daily training sessions
As a practitioner of weightlifting or as a coach, you always have to answer questions that are related to weightlifting injuries. For the most part, the only promotion weightlifting ever get in mainstream press (at… Read More »On the topic of weightlifting-related injuries
A recent study by Whitehead et al., published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning research (published August 2013) has looked into this matter. Whitehead et al. studied and analyzed the best three snatch attempts… Read More »Jumping back in the snatch : A technical error or not?