Training By Feel Part 2

Draper High Pull
Draper 110

This should really be labeled “if you’re not ready to train by feel yet” because using restraint and not diving right in is sometimes harder than very difficult training.

Previously I shared a program here that I might use for a beginner lifter who’s just starting out in weightlifting. What I want to do now is expound on that idea and take it a little further to help get an athlete ready to push his/her limits with the training by feel philosophy.

For starters it’s important to place your athlete under increasing stress as they prepare to push their limits. For newer athletes and even for athletes who’ve lifted for a few years it’s important start by building a base by pushing the volume of your lifts without maximal intensity. The reason I avoid max intensity/loading for new lifters is the lack of technical training and ability to adapt to the invariable CNS fatigue that will happen. Depending on the athlete some the prep duration could be weeks or month’s. The key is to keep the intensity around 80-85% while keeping the volume high. Check out the outline below for 4 weeks of a potential program to prep athletes for more high intensity lifting.

Week 1-4

  • Day 1
    • Backsquat – 3×5 starting at a weight of your choice that will allow you go complete all reps. After that put the appropriate weight on the bar for a 10 rep max.
    • Snatch – 6×3
    • Snatch DL – 5×5 at the max weight for your previous working sets
    • Snatch Grip PP – 5×5 working up to a heavy set of 5
  • Day 2
    • (Power Snatch/2 + Snatch) x 5 by feel working up to a heavy
    • (Power Clean/2 + PP/2) x 5 adding weight each set but completing all sets and reps.
  • Day 3
    • Front Squat – 5×3 to heavy set of 3
    • (Clean/3 + Jerk) x 5 working up to a manageable that allows you to complete all sets and reps
    • Clean DL 6×3 at max complex weight.
    • Push Press – 5×5 for max set of five.
  • Rest
  • Day 4
    • Backsquat – work up to a heavy set of 5 and drop for a set of 10
    • Snatch 4×3 up to heavy 3
    • Clean/2 + Jerk 4×1 up to a heavy complex
    • Snatch DL 3×3 @ max weight for day
    • Clean DL 3×3 @ max weight for day
  • Rest
  • Rest

The unspoken part of training is that having a coach is going to help immeasurably during this process. Getting started with this type of training isn’t as easy as following a program you found online but more of a developmental process in learning to push your body further than you thought was possible.

Embrace the fatigue of training and embrace the idea of getting comfortable being pushed past your limits daily!

CP

 

MTBC Podcast v.2

School-of-Champions-Bulgarian-Training-Documentary
Your stipend will depend on your training.

Were in the process of getting a podcast going to highlight our training philosophies, history and where we want to go. I (Cory) haven’t been able to take part yet so Mike’s done the first two solo. If you want some good info delivered at a high intensity level this podcast is for you. I’m not exactly vouching for the scientific validity of the information shared but that doesn’t keep it from being useful if you listen carefully.

 

Click here to hear v.2 of the MTBC Podcast

Training By Feel

The debate for using percentages to plan your training has always been interesting to me.IMG_1727

Until little over a year ago I used a lot of percentage work in my programs to help forecast where I wanted people to be and give them some direction. As I’ve coached more and had the opportunity to work with smaller groups of athletes  I’ve found that using percentages can be limiting. If your squatting 3+ times a week and training the snatch and c&j hard you’re going to have ups and downs in training. When that happens the specified percentage work might not be what you need for that day. Your snatch heavy single might not be your normal heavy single and you might need to drop a few kilos to do “back off” sets. Conversely if you’re feeling great and your percentage work calls for something around 80%, you would miss the opportunity to go for a PR that might be right around the corner.

None of this means that you don’t follow a plan or your coach isn’t programming in advance for you, they are. The difference here is that your coach has the advantage of having a more long term view of your training while keeping an eye on the day to day and making tweaks based off of how your moving and how fast/slow you look.

Check out this simple 3 day program. This could easily be expanded to 4-5 days depending on the amount of time your athletes had to work with.

Day 1
  • Work up to a back squat heavy single after that drop down do a heavy double.  After that drop down from there and do a set of 5. 
  • Snatch up to a heavy 4×2
  • Add 20% to your 4×2 doubles and do snatch pulls 5×3
Day 2
  • Work up to a FS heavy single and back squat that heavy single 4×2
  • Clean/3 + Jerk 4×1 at a moderately heavy weight
  • Add 30% to that weight and clean pull 5×3
Day 3
  • Snatch Up to a HS @ 110% from Monday.
  • Clean and Jerk 110-115% of day 2
  • Back squat up to a heavy single, drop down and work back up to within 95% of first heavy single. After that do a heavy double and then set of 5.

The basic idea here is that you start counting working sets at around 80% and add weight until you fail or complete your sets. This style of training takes time to adapt to both mentally and physically. Learning to feel what your body thinks is heavy on a good day and then measuring that against what you feel like on any given day takes time. It’s easy to overdo it in the beginning because you want to lift as heavy as possible but over time you’ll learn when to pump the breaks and not go for broke when it’s not there. Conversely, knowing that you could PR on any given day can help you take an aggressive attitude into training. That aggressive attitude and the intensity it produces is one of the biggest things I’ve seen when using programs like the one listed above.

Learning to take chances is important in training and given the freedom to do so I think you’ll find that there are great gains to be had if you choose this style of training.

A System That Works – Phase 1

IMG_1678As I mentioned in my previous blog, I’ve spent the last several years writing programs for people at various levels to achieve the common goal of getting better at the snatch and c&j. Along the way I used a variety of program types, rep schemes and percentages to attain that goal. Not all of them were bad, but much of what I wrote was far to busy and more complicated than it needed to be. At this point I have 3 basic programs that I’ll put my athletes on depending on their experience level and where they are in relation to the next competition.
The reason for my change in philosophy had to do with observing how other high level athletes train and the need to develop a simple system for athletes who don’t spend their entire day training. While the system can be adjusted to work for an athlete that can train twice a day, the base system is designed for 5 days a week of once a day training.
What I want to share this week is our stage one program. I would put a newbie lifter on this program or someone who’s only been lifting for 1-2 years and doesn’t have a solid base yet. This program can be adapted for either 3-4 days of lifting depending on what you can handle or how much time you have.
Both programs are below. 4 days a week first and 3 second.

4 Day Program

  • Day 1
    • Backsquat – 8-10 total sets ranging from 4-7 reps each set. Reps should divide at halfway point. First 4-5 sets 7 reps, second 4-5 sets 4 reps. Add weight each set as possible.
    • Snatch (variations will be added as needed but full snatches should be the rule for starters) –  5-7 sets of snatches at 3-4 reps for each set. All sets and reps should be as snappy and fast as possible.
    • Snatch Pull/DL – 5-7 sets at 4 reps each.
    • Snatch grip press – 5-7 sets at 5 reps each
  • Day 2
    • Front Squat – 8-10 total sets ranging from 3/5 reps each set. Reps should divide at halfway point. First 4-5 sets 5 reps, second 4-5 sets 3 reps. Add weight each set as possible.
    • C&J (variations will be added as needed but full C&J’s should be the order of the day) – 8-10 sets of clean and jerks
    • Clean Pull/DL – 5-7 sets of pulls
    • Clean grip press – 5-7 sets
  • Day 3
    • Repeat day 1
  • Day 4
    • Repeat day 2

3 Day Program

  • Day 1
    • Backsquat – 8-10 total sets ranging from 4-7 reps each set. Reps should divide at halfway point. First 4-5 sets 7 reps, second 4-5 sets 4 reps. Add weight each set as possible.
    • Snatch (variations will be added as needed but full snatches should be the rule for starters) –  5-7 sets of snatches at 3-4 reps for each set. All sets and reps should be as snappy and fast as possible.
    • Snatch Pull/DL – 5-7 sets at 4 reps each.
    • Snatch grip press – 5-7 sets at 5 reps each
  • Day 2
    • Front Squat – 8-10 total sets ranging from 3/5 reps each set. Reps should divide at halfway point. First 4-5 sets 5 reps, second 4-5 sets 3 reps. Add weight each set as possible.
    • C&J (variations will be added as needed but full C&J’s should be the order of the day) – 8-10 sets of clean and jerks
    • Clean Pull/DL – 5-7 sets of pulls
    • Clean grip press – 5-7 sets
  • Day 3
    • Backsquat – 8-10 total sets ranging from 4-7 reps each set. Reps should divide at halfway point. First 4-5 sets 7 reps, second 4-5 sets 4 reps. Add weight each set as possible.
    • Snatch (variations will be added as needed but full snatches should be the rule for starters) –  5-7 sets of snatches at 3-4 reps for each set. All sets and reps should be as snappy and fast as possible.
    • C&J (variations will be added as needed but full C&J’s should be the order of the day) – 8-10 sets of clean and jerks

 

Two Rules For Lifting

IMG_1520Time is the best teacher for pretty much any profession or vocation and coaching weightlifting is no different. Over the last 3-4 years I’ve written many programs and coached a variety of people with some never entering a competition to others who went on to see competitive success. In both cases I’ve always tried to apply the same set of principles to each set of lifters.
Number 1 being that technique is personal and number 2 being that strength is not.
Technique – People are built differently and thus need tweaks during the initial teaching progression to help them develop good positions and habits while learning the lifts. And while I shy from absolutes I would say that without fail, everyone needs a coaches eye to avoid positional pitfalls that could linger with a lifter for some time.  The only real exception to this are the folks who don’t have access to a coach.
 I can sympathize because when I started lifting 5 years ago there were no coaches in the area and I had to do the best with what I had. Since then, the world of remote coaching has blossomed and having offered some of that myself, I never saw it as a viable option for really helping people learn proper positions for the lifts. That’s not to disparage those who offer remote coaching but for me there wasn’t enough of a connection to really warrant charging someone for it. The key is if you have access to hands on coaching by someone who has some track record of success go get it. Most CrossFit gyms have a competent weightlifting coach on staff who can help get you pointed in the right direction.
Strength – The snatch and clean require loads of leg and lower back strength. The way you develop that strength is through sport specific squatting and pulling i.e. highbar backsquats and pulls that resemble the snatch and clean rather than powerlifting deadlifts. Simply squatting and pulling will get you stronger but remember that weightlifting isn’t about absolute strength, it’s about specific positional strength. The rules I use for squat and pull loading are this.
  • Backsquat, frontsquat, backsquat – in that order usually with a day between days of squatting.
  • Pulls generally follow the lift you’re doing so for my athletes it would look like this – Monday snatch pulls, Wednesday clean pulls and Friday either snatch or clean pulls depending on what the lifter needs. Percentages for pulls usually run 110-120% of your snatch or clean.
Weightlifting is a simple yet difficult sport and over complicating it only makes things worse. Make sure whatever program you’re doing includes Snatch’s, C&J’s, Squats and Pulls and everything else will fall into place.

Site Update

2014-05-20 18.59.19I haven’t done a good job keeping the blog updated since the new year but I am in the process of doing a slight overhaul and adding more info about my own “old guy” training as well as updating some of the training principles I’ve written about and used in the past.

I want to cover how always being open to learn and listening to the athletes I’ve coached has helped me develop a system that’s effecting and flexible. How others have taken those principles and had success after their time with me is done. How nothing is new and being afraid to share your ideas because you think you own them is foolish. How technique is personal and if you’re approach to teaching technique doesn’t take your athletes into account you run the risk of hurting peoples performance and stifling their growth. How the initial teaching progression you use is potentially the most important part of your system and failing to teach the lifts properly can set people up for months and years of remedial coaching. How seeing people do it wrong is as valuable a learning tool as seeing someone do it right. How if you’re not squatting at least 3 times a week you’re not pushing your development as a weightlifter nearly as hard as you need to.

For those of you who follow along thanks and look for some posts in the near future!

 

New Training Space-

IMG_0057I’ve spent the past two weeks cleaning up my garage and purchasing equipment so I could move my coaching and training home. As of this Tuesday, we’ll have our first training session in my garage. The setup will be really simple with around 250kg of weights, a squat rack and rubber mats to lift on. I’ll be using the Rogue WL bar and women’s Bella bar I purchased earlier in the year.

IMG_0056I’m hopeful that this change benefits my current athletes by offering a more controlled environment with more appropriate equipment for weightlifting. Along with that,  I hope to attract athletes who wouldn’t normally visit a Globo gym. Days and times are as follows:

  • Tuesday – 6:00-7:30 p.m. If you want to show up at 5:45 p.m. to get loose and ready feel free.
  • Saturday – 11:30 a.m. until. This isn’t an open invitation to stay at my house and lift all day but Saturdays usually go long so putting a quitting time down is superfluous!IMG_0075
  • Private coaching is by appointment only. If you’re interested in 1 on 1 weightlifting coaching,  contact me at ponderstrength@gmail.com to setup a date and time.
  • I’m expanding my program offerings to cover conditioning, strength and skill development for athletes from various backgrounds. If you’re interested in improving your stamina, strength and skill contact me at ponderstrength@gmail.com for more info.