May 29, 2012
Yup. It’s another blatant product placement post. It’s a righteous one though because it’s not one that makes me any money. Because everyone knows that making money is for squares.
That’s not true. I like money just as much as everybody else. But you know what’s even cooler than money? Cool stuff. I for one, think it would be cool to see a bunch of people wearing shirts that have a drawing of mine on it. But more than that, I am a Donny Shankle fan. So if Donny Shankle comes up to me asking if I’d be interested in drawing a picture of Samson tearing off a head of a god-damned lion, I’m going to do my best to draw him a picture of Samson tearing off the head of a god-damned lion.
Check out Donny’s online store HERE.
Buy a shirt. Support a hero. Kill a lion.
And now, the obligatory Donny Shankle youtube video.
I’ve watched this video more times than I care to admit.
May 24, 2012
A friend recently e-mailed me, saying that he would like to implement a 3-4 day a week general strength program into his workouts. He currently does Crossfit 5-6 days a week but is looking for something a little bit more structured to achieve greater strength gains. On top of this, he has told me that he was thinking of breaking up his workout sessions into double days a couple times per week. This is great, because I’m of the opinion that even if you WOD 6 days a week, there’s still room for structured strength work, especially if you have time to break up your workouts into multiple sessions. It’s not that you’ll be able to do significantly more work, but breaking a 3 hour workout into two shorter workouts will help alleviate over-reaching and reduce risk of injury. So I wrote up a very simple 3 day a week plan with a lot of room for shuffling exercise around or adding things. Just the bare necessities here, If he wanted to add another day or more exercises, he could certainty do so. Training volume should be left up to him, as long as he keeps in mind that certain weeks should be high volume, and certain weeks should be low. So he should choose the number of sets accordingly. As far as reps are concerned, all of the Olympic movements should be kept in the 1-3 rep range, the strength movements in the 3-5 rep range, and the accessory movements in the 5-8 rep range.
A couple of guidelines:
1) This is not an Olympic weightlifting specific program. Were it specific to Olympic lifting, you would definitely be doing both the lifts all 3 days, would have room to perform the power or hang variations, and would have no need to perform conventional deadlifts.
2) I’m assuming that things like pull-ups/weighted pull-ups, lunges and muscle-ups are already being performed within the Crossfit workouts.
3) Obviously, if you perform 200 billion bodyweight squats the day before, it might affect your squats the next day, so if you are planning your own WODS, plan them accordingly. If you’re working out with the group, then adjust your strength work.
4) You are going to want to take your strength movements to a max once every 3 to 6 weeks.
Front Squat (S)
Clean and jerk (O)
Bench press (S)
Overhead Press/push press (A)
Back Squat (S)
Strict bent over rows (A)
The main thing to do is just to not overthink your strength training. Too many people nowadays get hung up on optimal strength programming when in truth it doesn’t really matter as long as you are performing the movements that you care about in a controlled manner on a consistent basis.
Hope this helps,
May 24, 2012
Want to hear a joke?
I had to take down my “LET ME WORK” shirts due to copyright infringement.
That’s fine. My only regret is that i didn’t have enough time to hold a “LET ME WORK” contest, where people send in awesome photos of themselves doing ridiculous things in their LET ME WORK shirts.
Other steps needed to make it BIG TIME:
1) Win a national weightlifting meet.
2) Get addicted to something. Go to rehab. Repeat.
3) Get on a reality TV show.
4) Release a few terrible hip-hop singles. (Oh, wait. Already did that one.)
5) Develop an interest in a cause that nobody cares about and then appear on a poorly produced TV spot advocating “protein awareness” or something along those lines.
6) Use the phrase, “along the lines of” in a sentence as much as possible.
7) Get too BIG TIME to finish a list of 10 things, so I stop at 7.
OK, apparently I don’t have to take the shirt down. Guess I’m not as BIG TIME as I thought. Note to self: need to try harder to get sued.
May 22, 2012
The following was written by my good friend and training partner, Cameron. When Cam isn’t snatching 100kg, drinking bourbon, or playing Diablo III, he is quite the creative writer. He is so entertaining in fact, that I think he deserves his own series on this website entitled, “I’m Just Sayin,” where he’ll go on sprawling rants on topics ranging from fitness to architecture, to the finer points of proper singlet fashion. Anyways, Cam and I were recently ranting about our disapproval of the widespread use of the term, “squat clean.” It’s not so much that it’s wrong as much as it’s just redundant. Let me be clear, people have been saying “squat clean” for approximately HELLA DAYS. It’s even described in some books as a squat clean. But when you’re in the trenches getting your Olympic weightlifting on, and your coach comes over to your platform saying you’ve been snatching for like an hour and a half and you really, really need to just move on to your cleans, There is no need to ask if he/she meant power or squat. A clean is a clean. A power clean is a power clean. And a hang clean is a hang clean.
And now I present the Norse fantasy epic that was the result of 10 minutes of two dudes bitching about gym terminology, A Clean by Any Other Name . . .
Long ago, the mighty Thor bestowed the Clean to the people of Midgard. There was much rejoicing, and the denizens of Midgard basked in the wonder and glory of the eternal wisdom of Thor, thanking him for bringing such joy to their lives.
People practiced it for years, with many practicing it in different ways, modifying the original intent of the exercise. Younger generations began to practice a form of the Clean in which they did not squat past parallel, calling it by the same name. And hence, the “War of the Squat Depth” began.
Farmlands were razed. Families were torn apart over the conflict. Cities fell into ruin. The world sank into a darkness that seemed impossible to lift.
Seeing the tragedy that had come of his wondrous gift, the mighty Thor dove into the depths of the Midgard, and retrieved a tablet of the most hardy and dense stone he could find. With his mighty hammer Mjolnir, he forged a tablet that would bring peace to the kingdoms of Man. This tablet, the Tablet of Truths, would be the final say in how to distinguish the various forms of practicing the Clean, forever clarifying any doubt amongst the tribes of men. He decreed:
“Let it be known from this point henceforth, if a man does not squat past parallel, he has performed a Power Clean. Ye shall refer to the Greatest of Gifts as a ‘Clean’, if he does pass parallel.”
With this clear distinction, the Kingdoms of Men knew how to designate the difference between the auxiliary exercise known as the “Power Clean” and the original Greatest of Gifts. It was simple, elegant, and a wondrous gift from Thor that had only been surpassed by the initial gift of the Clean itself. The war ended, and there was much rejoicing.
Years passed. Kingdoms rose and fell. When the 19th amendment passed, man extended the meaning of the term “man” to include women kind. Strong, beautiful women participated in the glory of this gift, and the mighty Thor was pleased with the wisdom of mankind.
There was peace…
As time passed, the ways of old began to pass into myth, practiced only by a few devout followers that were shunned by much of the rest of society. Late in the 20th century, the Great Awakening occurred, and the masses re-discovered the Greatest of Gifts. However, a confusion similar to that which once started the War of the Squat Depth swept across Midgard.
“If I perform a Clean, do I have to squat?” They cried in confusion. Rather than look to the Tablet of Truth, they searched for another answer, and a false prophet rose up in defiance of Thor:
“From henceforth, if a squat is required, we shall call for a ‘squat clean’. A clean that does not involve a squat past parallel will be called a ‘power clean’.
The mighty Thor heard the arrogant proclamation from the false prophet as it traveled through the cosmos to his home in Asgard, and he grew furious. The heathens had defiled The Greatest of Gifts that he had given Man. In their reckless ignorance, they had carelessly added an adjective to describe The Greatest of Gifts when no additional distinction was necessary.
Thor prepared to leave Asgard and return to Midgard to destroy humanity once and for all for their ignorance. As he prepared to leave, the Odin stopped him.
“Odin, I must destroy humanity. Such corruption of our great and wondrous gift surely indicates that there is no hope for them. The heathens have already defiled the majesty of the Clean and created what they call the ‘thruster’, and now they have renamed The Greatest of Gifts! Such arrogance! They could have at least called it a “Clean Squat” and got the order right! They are a miserable species that is not worthy of existence.”
“Thor, the humans mean well. Give them one last chance for redemption. Entrust one of their own to guide the lost back from the darkness. There are many upon Midgard who still follow your wisdom, and call the true name of the Clean as you uttered it millennia ago.” Odin’s calmly advised.
“Who could ever bear such a terrible burden?” Thor replied.
As their eyes shifted to Midgard, they happened upon a man of 30 years and strong build. His eyes focused as he took a mighty pull, squatting well below parallel and standing up with little difficulty.
“Bro, nice 308 pound squat clean” an admirer stated.
“That was a clean, a 140 kilogram clean.” His eyes shifted to a determined squint as his face twisted in disgust. “It has been called a clean and measured in kilograms by our fathers, and their fathers, and their fathers before them since the beginning of time. Do not defile The Greatest of Gifts from the mighty Thor.”
Thor and Odin were pleased by his use of the ancient weight system of the Gods of Asgard. They were impressed that he called the Clean by the one true name. They knew immediately that he was the one.
With a flash of light, Thor flew to Midgard and appeared before the man.
“Cameron of gym Midtown, denizen of Midgard, you are entrusted with this most sacred of tasks. There are those that have renamed my greatest gift to your kind. They add additional descriptive to a movement that is already clearly defined apart from its derived assistive movement. You know of what I speak, Cameron.”
“Yes Thor, God of Thunder. I know of what you speak. I shall be the prophet that shall deliver the truth to your people. I shall be your retribution. I will be your eyes and ears. When I see and hear the false name, I shall be your shepherd that leads the lambs out of the darkness.”
And now, I write to you all with a simple request. Do not, ever, use the term “squat clean”. There is already a clear distinction between the Clean and the Power Clean. No additional description is needed! Do not defile this great wondrous gift from the mighty Thor himself! The fate of Midgard depends on your compliance! Call a clean by it’s false name, and our world is doomed.
May 17, 2012
Let me preface this post with a big, fat “this post is not about Crossfit.” First of all, anybody who knows me also knows that I could care less about how other people workout who are not a) myself or b) my athletes. Crossfit has been nothing but a boon to the Olympic weightlifting scene in America and many of my friends compete in Crossfit/own a Crossfit gym/both. Secondly, bro’s were working out in boardshorts way before Crossfit gained such popularity. So I have been hatin’ on people working out in boardshorts way before it became popular to hate on people working out in boardshorts.
Honestly, I wouldn’t even classify it as me hatin’ so much as me simply stating facts.
FACT: I rip boardshorts like it’s the thing to do.
FACT: I have big legs.
IF A+B=C then you can assume that if you are able to work out in boardshorts (without them ripping) than you probably have underdeveloped legs.
And don’t even give me that, “oh it’s because you like to wear skinny jeans” bullshit. They don’t make skinny boardshorts! And if they did, I wouldn’t buy them because the material is the flimsiest, most constricting material ever developed by man. I used to buy boardshorts based on whatever is appropriate for my waist (36 and proud). Each time they ripped. And I was wearing them where boardshorts are meant to be worn . . . THE BEACH. I couldn’t imagine even trying to do any squats or lifting in them. Eventually I just gave up. If ever there was an occasion that required me to get in the water, I would wear compression shorts or standard PE grade workout shorts. And whenever one of my lifting buddies would come into the gym wearing boardshorts (he was a 77kg. by the way) I would mercilessly berate him to let him know that I didn’t approve. Was it out of jealousy or resentment? I don’t know. I’m not a psychologist. All I know is that boardshorts are not meant to be worked out in and I would tell that to anybody even if it was with my dying breath. At this point, it looks like I’ll be assassinated by Billabong or Hurley.
Anyways, I bought a pair of STRETCHY BOARDSHORTS from Jaco the other day. And you know what? They’re a pleasure to be in. But more than that, I squatted a few sets of 5 with 180 the other day no problem. Are they going to replace a singlet or COMPRESSION SHORTS? No way. I rep the singlet for life. I’m just saying I’d like to make an amendment to my boardshorts rule.
Boardshorts: still not OK.
Stretchy boardshorts: OK.
I’m glad we talked about this. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my traps.
May 9, 2012
The following is for the weightlifters whom I’m currently coaching. I decided to throw it on here for you guys in case you are new to the sport, don’t have a coach or don’t have any idea what your doing. It could give you some ideas for how you plan your own training. As always, I would use caution before listening to anything that self-proclaimed internet gurus have to say. It’s cool though. I’m no guru. I spend all my time lifting weights. And I didn’t start lifting weights so I could get smarter.
Our numbers are growing; and as we grow together as a team, so does our need to get organized. I suppose the first order of business is to explain to all of you the rationale behind our training schedule, if only to clear up any confusion you have or to give you comfort in knowing that there is in fact some level of reasoning involved in what we do in the gym. I’m not saying that this is the “right” way to train for Olympic weightlifting. Obviously there are many ways to go about planning a training program. This is just what I’ve found to work based on my experiences in the sport.
There are three “primary” lift days in the week. By “primary,” I mean that on these days, the primary focus will be on the full lifts or a variation exercise. Such variations could include work off the blocks, from the hang, or a combination of movements taken to a high percentage of your maximal weights. More often than not, I’ll have you work up in weight until you start missing or until you’ve found the weight in which you’ll be performing your work sets, after which, you will probably perform a few sets of drop sets or even work up in weight again with the same movement or a variation of the respective lift. In the past, CC and I have had great success with “wave” workouts or workouts that involve working up and down in weight multiple times per exercise. On one of those days, preferably the third day, you will take up the full lifts to a “max” single or at least a “max” with respect to all the work you’ve done earlier in the week or where you are in your training cycle. Keep in mind the sets and reps that you’ve been performing on your squat days will have a great impact on what you will be hitting on your heavy days. If you can only come in three times per week, then these will be your three days. I think this goes without saying, but these days should NOT be back to back with one another. That’s why CC and I traditionally have M, W, F as our primary days, Friday being our heavy day. If you can’t come in at least three times per week, then next month you should probably take the money that you pay me and buy something else with it, because you will not get better at this sport practicing it a couple of times per week.
If you have time to come in more often, than you have the option of two “accessory” days in between your primary days. These days are useful to work out the aches and pains that you’re most likely feeling from the day before as well as work on your technique. The focus will still be on the lifts, but the percentages will be much lighter when compared to your maxes on the full lifts. These days could be as simple as getting a few sets of power snatches and cleans in. Push presses, snatch balances and other accessory lifts can be performed. Just know that we are here to get better at snatches and clean and jerks. If you want to get really good at overhead squats, go ahead. Just know that it might not help you when it’s time to get on the platform. A few years back, I was able to overhead squat 190kg. My best snatch at the time was 130 and some change. Just sayin’. Lately, CC and I have been getting a little fancier with our technique drills, including things such as: no feet, no hook snatches, presses and jerks from the split, snatches off the risers, push jerks, squat jerks and whatever else we can think of. Last Tuesday, I had her stand on a line, jerk, and then hold her feet in the correct position. I placed mats next to where her feet were to give her markers, ensuring that she wouldn’t overextend her back leg. I’ll usually do my squats on these days due to time constraints on my primary days.
Speaking of squats, they should be performed 2-3 times per week. Stay tuned because, I’m working on a proper squat program for all of us to follow.
If you have time for a 6th day, then this will be your volume squat day. Anything else you do is up to you. If you want to bro out and super set concentration curls with tricep pull-downs, go ahead. Have fun. I’ll be there to spot you and make sure you get a few forced reps for optimal pump.
As far as my own training is concerned, I usually get 9 sessions per week in. I like to get a morning session in on my primary days to work out the kinks and alleviate some pain for my second session. There are times during the year when I will do more or less work during my morning sessions, sometimes using them as my squat days. So far, CC is the only one who will also occasionally get some double days in. Before the meet this last weekend, we both went in that morning to take up our lifts just high enough to break a sweat and make our warm-ups in the afternoon crisp and pain free.
Whelp, that’s it. The most important thing I can say is to not over think all this stuff. Just get in the gym and work out. Let me worry about all this stuff. That’s what I’m here for.
May 8, 2012
Here’s some footage of CC and I training with our homies at California Strength.
Do yourself a favor and go train in a different environment. Train with a different team. Make yourself uncomfortable. It will be the best thing you’ve ever done for your lifting. The last thing you want to do is be the strongest guy/girl at your gym. Lucky for me, we live next door to these guys.
Also. Jon scores double points for his low cut V-neck and tights combo. Anybody who hates on that is just plain boring.
May 7, 2012
Too tired to write anything. Here’s footage of CC’s clean and jerks from the meet this weekend. She went 6 for 6 (74/94), breaking a few more JR PWA records.
I had a pretty solid day as well. Snatched 141. Missed 144 but my technique is feeling more consistent. The only thing that was off was my jerks. I cleaned 166 but missed the jerk. All in all, I feel confident in opening up a little bit heavier next time. The next local meet is at my home gym, Midtown Strength and Conditioning. I won’t be lifting as I’ll be coaching at least 5-6 of my athletes.
May 4, 2012
I didn’t really get a chance to post anything this week. Life’s busy. You know how it is.
I’ll be sure to post more this next week. CC (and possibly myself) will be competing in a local meet this weekend at my buddy’s gym, Warriorz Fitness. I’ll be sure to at least get some video up from that. After this meet, I’ll sit down and start to plan out our training schedule leading up to the American Open. I’ll probably start by planning out our squats. If you’re interested in seeing how I organize a squat schedule, shoot me an e-mail.
In the meantime, here’s a few drawings submitted by my E-friend, Kyle. These were supposed to be submissions for the first annual NATIONAL PIN-UP DRAWING WEEK, but he sent them to me a little late and I forgot about posting them until now. Life’s busy. You know how it is.