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 encountered coaches and athletes that are so much into assistance exercises that the main lifts just does not get the required attention to make it better. In my discussions, I have noticed that people have different thoughts about different assistance exercises when, actually, I don’t think we really need to single out an assistance exercise more than the other one. The most common argument for the use of certain exercises over others, is specificity. I don’t think assistance exercises need to be that specific to be useful and here are my thoughts on this matter.
As weightlifting is getting more popular and gets more people interested about competitions and competing, we are seeing a lot of new athletes – and some not so new- in the master division. We are seeing incredible performance by master lifters at the international level and they should get the recognition they deserve for their accomplishment. In the last few weeks, I received a few emails about this topic which I answered but I figured, that judging by the interest, a post about it would be interesting to others as well. Here are a few thoughts about things to consider when starting this sport at an older age.
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 and third pull and I explained the muscle sequencing of the extension during the second pull in part 2. It would be a complete mistake to go over the pulling mechanics of the second pull without at least touching on the famous double knee bend. The double knee bend is the flexion of the knees in the second pull after they have straightened in the first pull. Thus, it is a pattern of knee action that we see in various degree in lifters. Should it be coached? Should this double knee bend be intentional? We shall explore this further. I want to give credit to Bruce Klemens for I used many of his pictures in this post.
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 am posting seven other tips. These tips cover pretty much everything weightlifting-related : programming, coaching, injuries, sleep, psychology and technique. I am making them available on here so that these can be easily searchable.
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 we can be productive and get the best out of every training sessions. If serious about their progress and their training, trainees should have strong work ethics, be respectful and not let feelings of adversity or admiration get in the way of their goal. It’s hard for a coach to teach how to focus without sounding like an elementary school teacher. Spurted by recent events and based on my experience, this article should be seen as a lesson on how training atmosphere is important.
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. There is no doubt that the weightlifter has to be mobile in key body parts in order to be efficient. Weightlifting without mobility would not be the athletic and dynamic sport it is. There would be no such thing as receiving the bar in an extreme position of knee and hip flexion (bottom of a squat), for instance. That is, weightlifting requires full range of motion of every joints. However, the weightlifter also has to be able to stabilize the weights and he has to be able to do so at maximal range of motion.
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 recruitment of the lower limbs during the catch or recovery. However, for some unknown reason, it seems that in general the snatch and the clean always get all the attention and the jerk is barely ever discussed. I am guilty of this too, since most of the technique articles I write cover mostly the snatch. I shall make wrong right.
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 at all time the barbell should be close to your body. For one, the closer it is, the more mechanical leverage you have : You and the barbell become what we call the barbell-lifter complex. The barbell-lifter complex has a center of gravity of its own, meaning that the heavy barbell pulls the lifter forward and the lifter is exerting tremendous force to not let it happen.
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 Clean and jerk). This make it similar to other event-type sports, like boxing, where proper strategies have to be used so that the sportmen is in top shape on that given date. Simply put, the lifter cannot/should not put in a bad performance because competitions dates are limited. A specific approach has to be used to peak at the right moment. However, specific training comes with drawback – such as increased risks of injuries.
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, she wanted to know if you should pull all the way up to the crease of your hip because she was told it should never happen. It is a very interesting question in itself and it should be a good reminder to everybody, coaches included. If you would like to send your question for the next edition of AFP, you are more than welcome to do it through here or here.
Without further ado… Let’s explore how one should pull.