June 26, 2012
I hate spending money, mostly because I never usually have any. But I really hate spending money on objects that are so simple and inexpensive that it is just plain stupid to waste any money on acquiring such an object. Straps are a great example of this. I live in straps. I strap up while snatching. I strap up for pulls. I even strap up while driving my truck to the gym. But after several years of lifting, I would rather work security for a Limp Bizkit reunion tour (all 48 shows) for no pay than waste 10 dollars on some poorly constructed lifting straps that will break after 3 weeks of use. I can see the headlines now, “Disgruntled ex-weightlifter in jail after snatching Fred Durst into crowd of dirt bags. He showed perfect triple extension.” I guess he got tired of all the Bud Light being spilt on him by the fans after the 3rd encore performance of The Nookie.
Here’s how to make your straps:
1) Buy rock climbing webbing. It should be less than 50 cents per foot. Panhandling is a great option here. I would suggest developing some sort of skill such as break dancing or singing in a barbershop quartet.
2) Cut rock climbing webbing. Scissors are free if you steal them.
3) Tape rock climbing webbing. Ask to borrow some tape from your friend and never give it back. It’s a great way to get free tape and escape the responsibility of buying him/her a birthday present. You will not be invited.
4) Lift weights every day. You will never break these straps nor will you ever need to buy the flimsy poser straps that you find at Sports Chalet.
Here is an instructional video. Thanks to Em for the wonderful camera work.
June 23, 2012
I never post anything on Saturdays. But this happened last night and I couldn’t wait.
She also snatched 78.
ALL of my athletes are killing it lately. I think we’ve all picked up some steam now that our numbers are greater. The next few months should be interesting.
June 22, 2012
Wednesday afternoon I decided that the team would take up our hang snatches to a heavy single. After which, we would perform a few back off sets doing one snatch from the ground and one or two from the hang. That morning, I had most of my lifters perform a drill where they would bring a bar to a 2 second pause at the knee, reverse the lift and perform a touch and go snatch from the floor to help them concentrate on pushing their knees back from the ground while keeping the bar close to their body. I did some work with cleans off the blocks because my hip has been giving me issues while pulling from the floor.
Anyways, that afternoon came around and I was feeling pretty good. Pretty damn good. As a matter of fact, my entire attitude completely shifted from last week to this one. I wanted to snatch 150. THIS week. Fuck it. TODAY. As I mentioned earlier, my hip has been giving me trouble while pulling from the floor and I was already making everyone else max out from the hang. Sounds like I need to snatch 150 from the hang.
I turned to CC and said, “I’m about to be hella stupid” as I loaded two more 20kg. bumpers onto my bar after successfully getting 140. 4 tries later, I got it.
I finally got that bastard.
Sooo I guess the next step is to do it from the floor. Then Get my 180. Then do it in a meet.
And then figure out what comes next.
June 20, 2012
Workouts have been going great for me lately. I’ve made a few adjustments to my schedule to preserve my anatomy a little bit better. For the younger guys, the formula is easy: they need more TIMES TURNING THE BAR OVER (TTBO). I, however, can’t handle as much TTBO as I used to. So I’ve been including more pulls, accessory exercises and segmenting the lifts a little bit more. I also bought one of those Voodoo bands off of Rogue to take the edge off my knee pain. But I would say the biggest difference is my increased intake of ice cream and frequent headbanging sessions to metal, sludge and hardcore music. I literally plan on eating ice cream at least 5x a week for the next 6 months. I also plan to rock out as frequently as possible.
Here’s a few PR’s from last night.
June 19, 2012
Here’s the video with everyone from my crew who competed. I recently acquired one other lightweight male to add to the stable. And he’s a hip cleaner OOOOHHHHHH. Sarah also sat this one out to help me count cards and coach up the lifters. There’s another local meet in 3 weeks. It’s a fun contest, held outdoors in a central park of a little hippie town. I’ll be lifting and catching some cosmic rays along with a few other lifters from my group.
June 18, 2012
The Midtown Classic was a success. I’m so proud of my team. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported all 90 lifters.
I’m still putting together the video of all 5 of my lifters who competed. So I’m going to go ahead and show you this.
That night over dinner, I was joking with my lifters about how I will always remember key, life-changing events that happen during the course of my existence. I went on to list things like loosing my first tooth, getting my drivers licence . . . and CC clean and jerking 98kg. We laughed. A big thank you to Evelyn and Edgar Hernandez for making the drive with the rest of their team. CC and Evelyn met back when we traveled to So-Cal for a local meet where they pushed each other to make some big lifts. That happened again on Saturday.
I’d be counting attempts behind the table when I would get pushed in the shoulder. A booming voice would say, “YOU WANNA GO, BRO?” To this, I would instinctively flare my lats (similar to how a cobra looks before it will strike) and engage in some friendly gaming that happens between coaches when choosing attempts. In the end, it makes for a great environment for both lifters and gives coaches an opportunity to sharpen their skills on meet day. It may be worthwhile for us to make the trip to the Cal State games, just so they can lift together again before CC goes to the American Open.
It was a different experience coaching 5 lifters at a meet instead of 1 or 2. I couldn’t have done it without the help of one of my lifters, Sarah, who helped me count cards and coach our lifters. She was especially helpful because we had multiple lifters during a session, 2 of which were lifting in their first meet. Plus it was like 100+ degrees and ol’ Coach Ben got pretty tired with all the power walking he was doing back and forth from the warm up area to the table. The plan is for everyone to become proficient in counting attempts for future meets, especially meets that I’m lifting in. I’m so proud of every one of my lifters and I’m excited to get back on the platform myself.
June 15, 2012
“Hark ye yet again- the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event- in the living act, the undoubted deed- there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike though the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.”
-Moby Dick. Chapter 36.
I’ve never read Moby Dick nor do I plan to in the near future. A friend sent that to me after we shared a few beers and I told him a few things I’d like to accomplish before I stop competing in weightlifting. Well, the conversation was more than just that. I told him about how much I love weightlifting, how it was probably the worst thing to ever happen to me (financially) and how much I’m going to miss it when I can’t do it the way that I’d like to anymore. It gives me identity. It gives me something to look forward to everyday. It’s not even that I think I’m particularly good at it. I’ve just been doing it for so long that it’s become a part of who I am. And when the time comes to leave it behind and move onto something else (hopefully something more lucrative) part of me will feel like I’m leaving myself behind. Another part of me will be relieved.
I love coaching. I plan on doing it long after my time lifting weights has ended (competitively. I still plan on getting jacked and swole out of my mind till I die). But coaching is not what gets me out of bed in the morning. There is something else that plagues me. 150/180. It’s a very simple, very mundane, very unimpressive goal. You might read that and think, “Really? That’s only a little bit more than you’re lifting right now. A 330 total wouldn’t even guarantee you a spot on the podium.” True. But here’s the thing about goals: you have to know that you’re capable of reaching them. I know with every fiber of my being that my body is capable of snatching 150 and clean and jerking 180. It is only a matter of timing, keeping my body healthy and adjusting to any changes that I might need to make in training. I’d rather take a long walk off a short pier than end my competitive training before I see my goals unrealized.
Here’s to chasing after your white whale, no matter what it may be. And then shooting it with a giant harpoon gun.
June 13, 2012
This weekend we’ll be hosting a weightlifting meet at my home gym, Midtown Strength and Conditioning. On top of that, it will be my first meet coaching 5 lifters. I won’t be lifting. As much as I would love to lift in front of a home crowd at my home gym, it’s much better to set one’s self up for success rather than failure. Coaching 5 lifters and then lifting myself would NOT be setting myself up for success.
Luckily, I’ll have some help. I taught Sarah and CC how to count attempts and help warm up other lifters. Eventually, I’d like to have all my lifters be able to do that for each other (because it would make my life a lot easier and I plan on getting more lifters). Anyways, I’m really happy with how all my lifters are progressing and it should be a fun meet.
Here’s some footage of some recent PR’s in training.
At this point, I’ve got 7 total lifters. Realistically, I could handle 2 or 3 more and still be able to focus on my training as well. Want to be on my team?
June 11, 2012
I was putting together a video of some of the PR’s made over the last few weeks, especially showcasing my new people. But my computer is garbage. So I’m still working on it.
In the meantime, here’s video of Derek pulling a classic Derek move by going for a 5kg. PR after missing the rep before at 120. Coach Ben was hoping for an Oscar by perfectly synchronizing his clean to music.
It draws a tear to my eye.
June 4, 2012
Now where was I? Oh yeah. Squats. Lifting. Squats and lifting. One must be careful about how much emphasis is put on strengthening the squat in an Olympic weightlifting program, especially when you’re programming for more than one person. The main reason for this is that the primary interest for any good Olympic weightlifting program is to see how much you are able to snatch and clean and jerk one time. I’m not trying to take away from the fact that there are undoubtedly certain points throughout a training cycle that you are going to want to put more emphasis on your squatting, which may include some grueling volume work. I myself have put myself though squat programs which are just plain silly with volume. But that was then. Now that I’m a coach, I look at squatting within an Olympic lifting program how they are meant to be seen in terms of improving performance on a platform: as an accessory exercise. As Olympic lifters, we do not get tested on how much we squat. However, it should also be noted that squatting is one of the only tools at an Olympic lifter’s disposal which will induce a systemic training effect. Pulls are great. But in my opinion, most people can’t overload them enough and at the same time keep the movement consistent with what is actually seen in Olympic lifting. When I do pull for an overload effect, I prefer alternative style pulls which may include 3 position deadlifts or Chinese style pulls. I actually prefer performing RDL’s for sets of 3-5 at about 100% of the trainee’s max clean. More often than not, I use sub-maximal pulls in conjunction with the Olympic lifts, so that the lifter must turn the bar over in a fatigued state and must focus to keep his/her body positioning consistent. In the words of Donny Shankle, “That’s why pulls don’t mean a damn thing in this sport. YOU GOT TO TRY.”
In conclusion, squats are important. But don’t confuse squats with a pissing contest. It does you no good to front squat 180 after 10 misses at the expense of your knees being too achy to clean 90 kilos for the next week and a half. I’m guilty of that more than anybody. And I’ve paid the price again and again. Use squats to get you stronger so that you can snatch and clean and jerk more kilos.