The MIA Open in Miami, FL was a great time for the Mash Mafia Weightlifting Team. My hat is off to Danny Lopez-Calleja for putting together such an epic event, and for bringing so many awesome people to the same venue. Our team will forever be a part of this event. Caffeine & Kilos, Barbell Shrugged, Progenex, Kendrick Farris, and several other amazing people and companies were there, so it was almost impossible to not learn and grow as a person.
Our team rolled into that event already strong and hitting exceptional numbers, but like every meet I am looking for ways to improve. The key to learning from competitions is to carry a little notepad. In the notepad I have a page for each athlete. For each athlete I have a section for their warm ups, openers, competition PRs, all-time PRs, any qualifying numbers that they might need to hit, and a section for notes. The notes section is where I put things that I notice during the competition. Ask yourself does the athlete like warming up slow or fast? Does the athlete like silence or words of encouragement? More importantly I keep a section for something that I might notice that is a common flaw for all of the athletes.
At this competition, I noticed that a lot of my athletes were inconsistent in their movement patterns. They were varying their pulls on each lift, and other changes were being made. This inconsistency was causing them to miss lifts that they should easily make. I am not saying that they did poorly. On the other hand there were several PRs made and lots of medals. However good is simply not good enough!
Noticing this inconsistency was the spark that led me to changing our programming to one that is more movement based. Now I haven’t left my Bulgarian-ish roots, but my team was in need of consistency. While I was at the Olympic Training Center, I rarely witnessed a miss. This group of athletes was ironically the best group of lifters in American History. The very week that I we got home my team started a workout that was volume and percentage driven. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday they are doing snatch, clean & jerk, and versions of each twice per day. The morning is snatch driven, and the evening is clean & jerk driven with versions of the opposite in each session. There is also pulls, presses, and lots of other assistance work. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday there is a focus on squats, power movements, and more assistance.
Here is a typical Monday:
Snatch Push Press to OH Squat 30×2+1 40/2+1 50/2+1 60/2+1 70/2+1 80/2+1
Snatch 45×3 55×3 65×2 75×3 80×2 85×2 90x1x3
Press in Split Rack Position 6RM 6RM-5% 6RM-10%
Hang Clean & Jerk 30×1+4 40×1+3 50/1+3 60/1+2 70/1+2 80/1+2
Snatch Pulls 100%/2×3 working heavy
Jerk from Split Behind 30/2 40/2 50/2 60/2 70/2
Clean & J 45×3 55×3 65×2 75×3 80×2 85×2 90x1x3
Hang Snatch below knee/knee 30×1+1 40×1+1 50/1+1 60/1+1 70/1+1 80/1+1
Clean Pulls 100%/2×3 working heavy
I have already noticed movement improvements, and EVERY athlete has become more consistent in their movement and made lifts. Rabbit, my 77k freak, has literally exploded as a weightlifter due to the very program. We also added a 10 Burpee penalty for every miss 85% or under. Rabbit went from being the most inconsistent to the most consistent in just two weeks. The next time that you see our team realize that the most ripped athlete probably missed the most lifts, and in contrast the fattest athlete is the most consistent.
The other thing that has been surprising me is that my athletes are PRing right and left. They are tired, sore, and wrecked, but they are still hitting numbers that they’ve never touched before. It’s simply an improvement in movement! Instead of relying on muscle, my athletes are relying on technique and movement. The ideal program is one that mixes movement, volume, and Bulgarian. I still believe that one needs to go heavy to overcome the fear of heavy weight. Right now we are going to max once or twice per week, but the closer a competition gets, the more Bulgarian we will become.
During this incredible weekend I learned the importance of team bonding. We rode in a van 12 hours each way. We ate together, chilled together, and competed together. Wherever I went, they went and vice versa. If I was podcasting with Barbell Shrugged, so were they. They learned that nothing besides God, wife, and my babies comes before them. Since we have been home, our team is ten times closer. If you are a coach, I recommend doing life together. Be a General Patton and lead from the front. Don’t be a modern day leader, and lead from the rear!
The Mash Mafia Online Team is growing guys. Last weekend, two of our teammates killed it at meets. Several are being invited to join our onsite team. To join the team, get coached, receive video analysis, and skype sessions, go to: http://www.mashelite.com/join-the-online-team/.
Learn 2 Lift Seminars resume in August. We will be in Albuquerque, NM at CrossFit Sandstorm and Minneapolis, MN at Undisputed Strength and Conditioning. Go to www.MashElite.com/seminars/ for more information.