When someone is learning the Olympic lifts, there are a few steps that they should take before adding weight to bar. The Snatch and Clean & Jerk are complex athletic movements that require a great deal of neurological conditioning. The Olympic lifts are like most highly coordination required athletic movements like: golf, throwing a baseball, or catching a football. They require a lot of skill, but the main difference is the Barbell can kill you. There is a certain amount of conditioning and stabilization required before hitting really big numbers. A Major League Baseball Pitcher doesn’t start out throwing the ball 100 mph. He conditions his arm throughout his career to take those kind of velocities. Donnie Shankle didn’t Snatch 170k the first day that he grabbed the bar.
CrossFit has introduced the world to the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Everyone knows that I personally love the sport of CrossFit for what it has done in making the Barbell Famous. My love for the sport prompted me to write this blog, so that I might inform some of the rookie lifters. My goal is to keep them from making some of the mistakes that I made in my career. I also want to prepare them to lift the most weight that their body is capable of without getting injured. This blog is to inform rookies on how to start their weightlifting career.
There are three important steps for training rookies: perfect positions, stabilize positions, and get strong. There are several positions that must be perfected in the sport of weightlifting like: start position, position of the first pull, second pull, and third pull, the catch position, and the jerk. Before attempting the Snatch and Clean & Jerk with weight, I recommend perfecting all of these. When Jon North and I interviewed Shane Hamman on Weightlifting Talk (http://www.spreaker.com/user/weightlifting_talk/shane-hamman), he revealed to us that he spent a month with a PVC Pipe and empty bar before adding weight. Shane is only the best heavyweight in American History. Shane could squat 1008lbs and deadlift over 700lbs before he took up the sport. I see guys that can’t squat 300lbs trying to add weight to the bar the first day they try to Snatch. The MashMafia Athletes start out with: Position Pulls, Snatch Grip Sotts Press, Clean Position Sotts Press, Paused Front Squats, Overhead Squats, and Jerk Position Presses. There are others depending on what individual needs are required. We also focus on mobility especially ankle, hips, and thoracic spine. We want to make sure that are athletes are in perfect positions in the deepest part of the front squat and overhead squat. In weightlifting the lowest man/woman wins!
Stabilizing occurs with a series of isometric exercises like: paused front squats in the top and bottom, overhead squats paused in the top and bottom, pausing the pulls at each stage of the three pulls, and the Sotts Press again. During the perfecting and stabilization phases, we are trying to get our athlete’s General Physical Preparedness as high as possible. I want my athletes strong all over man! I model after the Chinese and Russian athletes training. If you watch Klokov or Lu Xiaojun, you will see two jacked lifters. Klokov does all kinds of strength training like bench presses and presses. When you watch videos of Lu, you will see him doing shoulder lateral raises and triceps dips. When my athletes start, they will be doing bench press, back squats, front squats, standing shoulder presses, deadlifts, pullups, dips, glute/ham raises, and bentover rows. If I find obvious weaknesses, then the athlete will be prescribed extra exercises to bring the weaknesses up.
After a 4-8 week initial phase, we will start to add weight to the bar, and a weightlifter is born. If you are patient in the beginning, the chance of reaching your full potential is increased immensely. Get those positions perfected, strengthen them, and get jacked out of your mind! That is the way to weightlifting glory! My goal at my Learn 2 Lift seminars this coming year is to teach the exact program that we use, so that all of my attendees will reach their maximums. I want to help all of these new people that are coming into the Barbell Sports how to master the movements, so that they can come to love and embrace the Barbell Life like I have my whole life!
In this video, towards the end you will see my freak athlete Rabbit still doing the Sotts Press. Notice his position:
Next year, Learn 2 Lift seminars are scheduled all over the US: Dunmore, PA, Jersey Shore, Miami, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Rhode Island, and we are scheduling Minneapolis and Wilmington, NC as we speak.
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