Category Archives for "Weightlifting"

Is the Safety Squat Bar a Missing Piece of the Puzzle?

If you’re tired of a crushed torso in the catch of a clean…
If your back rounds during the pull of a clean, snatch, or even a deadlift…
If you can’t support a big squat…
This is your article.

I believe the safety squat bar is one of the major pieces of equipment that allowed me to deadlift 804 pounds while squatting 805 pounds (raw number). If you need to get your core strong (especially when core is in reference to the spinal erectors), then the safety squat bar is your missing piece of equipment.

Back Strength

Every great strength athlete in history has had a massive back. I remember the issue of Flex Magazine where Ed Coan was compared to Dorian Yates. At the time, this was everything I was about. I loved bodybuilding, but I loved strength a bit more. I mean – what boy doesn’t want to look like a comic book character? Dorian was known for his massive back in the bodybuilding world. However, here was the powerlifter standing right beside him and not getting dwarfed. Ed’s back was massive. It’s no surprise that he deadlifted 903 pounds.

This goes for all the strength studs in all the sports (such as Lu Xiaojun, Pyrros Dimas, Mariusz Pudzianowski, and Bill Kazmaier). When it comes to the function of the different muscles of the back, it’s the spinal erectors we most need to focus on. I know right away that a coach is a fraud when they reference sit ups as a core exercise. If you want to strengthen the core in regards to maintaining a rigid torso while lifting or playing sport, you are going to need to pay attention to the spinal erectors. If you have a six-pack and a weak back, you are going to get crushed on the football field. Crushed!

The Importance of Spinal Erectors

When I say spinal erectors, I’m lumping several muscles into this one group because they have a similar function: the extension of the spine. These muscles are the longissimus, iliocostalis, spinalis, and erector spinae. These attach to the top of the pelvis, the ribs, and the spine. Each set of erectors only cross a few vertebrae, so each region needs to be addressed. A balanced set of erectors is a sign of massive strength.

If you ask any great strength athlete about the squat, they will tell you the real struggle is maintaining extension of the spine. I know right away if one of my athletes needs extra work in the spinal erectors. If you don’t know, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does the athlete’s back round during the pull of the clean or snatch?
  • Does the athlete’s back round excessively during the deadlift – and does it continue to round more and more?
  • Does the athlete’s back round during the catch phase of a clean?
  • Does the athlete lose extension during the eccentric or concentric phase of a squat?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you might want to use the safety squat bar.

Physics of Strengthening the Extensors

I went into this deeper in Squat Science, but here’s a brief version. One great way to increase the demands on the spinal erectors is to increase the spinal flexion moment. The spinal flexor moment depends on two factors: 1) the load on the bar and 2) the horizontal distance in the sagittal plan relative to the torso between the bar and any intervertebral joint. Increasing the spinal flexor moment could be accomplished by 1) increasing the load, 2) inclining the body more, and 3) moving the bar higher on the back or in front of the body.

So here’s the point I want to make – the safety squat bar moves the weight toward the front of the body. The part of the bar that holds the weight is bent toward the front of the body.

FORGET OPINIONS ON THE SQUAT. HERE'S THE SCIENCE.

TRAVIS MASH'S SQUAT SCIENCE

After combing through the research and interviewing the experts, the result is a guide that will refine your technique and boost your squat in a safe and effective manner.

I love using the front squat to strengthen the spinal erectors. However, the front squat is limited because the bar will fall off of the shoulders. The safety squat bar is a little more forgiving. Therefore, you can apply more of a load to the spinal erectors.

My absolute favorite exercise to build the spinal erectors is the safety squat bar goodmorning. Not only is the weight in front of the body, but now you are also inclining the body more – which just further increases the demands on the spinal erectors. Now each section of your back is working harder than ever to maintain extension.

Using the Safety Squat Bar

The safety squat bar goodmorning has multiple variations like:

  • Chain suspended safety squat bar goodmornings: as far as specificity to the pull this one is my favorite because it starts with a concentric contraction.
  • Seated safety squat bar goodmornings: this takes the hips out of things and puts all the stress in the back. This is a great way of targeting the back.
  • Using pauses and tempo: I like pauses because you can use isometrics to target the weak spots of your pull or squat.

The safety squat bar has unlimited uses. If you are saving for a piece of equipment, I recommend the safety squat bar being the first additional piece. Here are a few other uses:

  • Injury squats: if an athlete hurts either one of his or her arms, you can still squat. Let’s face it – the squat is pretty much essential for all strength and power sports.
  • Safety squat bar front squats: my friend and mentor Coach Joe Kenn has made this movement popular. You simply turn the safety squat bar around and position it to simulate a front squat.
  • Saftety squat bar box squats: I like these to emphasize strengthening the back during the drive phase into the bar.
  • Safety squat bar walking lunges: I love the safety squat bar for lunges because it is stabilized on the back.
  • Safety squat bar isometric walks: I love doing isometric front rack walks, but breathing can be quite the chore. With the safety squat bar, you will receive similar demands to the spinal erectors without the issue being lungs.

I’ll leave you with this bit of anecdotal evidence. When I was on the way up in powerlifting, I was stuck around the 625-pound marker. I knew instinctively that I was lacking in my ability to maintain spinal extension. I have a bit longer torso comparatively to the rest of my body, so strengthening the spinal erectors was even more important to my success in the strength world.

As you already know, I am a big fan of Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell. I read an article he had written about the safety squat bar. I immediately ordered one. The first exercise I added was the safety squat bar goodmorning. I remember feeling so weak on day one. If I remember correctly, 135 pounds for 3 x 5 felt really hard. (Now I want to add that the bar weighed quite a bit more than the typical standard bar, but to keep things easy I always count every bar as 20 kilograms / 45 pounds.)

To make a long story short – over the next 12 weeks I increased my safety squat bar goodmorning to 3 x 5 at 405 pounds. This had a direct impact on my raw squat because over the next six weeks I was able to push my raw squat to over 700 pounds. If you are following along, that was a 75-pound increase in 18 weeks. Obviously I had an extreme weakness in my spinal extensors. This is an example of what can happen if one continues to seek out and strengthen all of their weaknesses.

WESTSIDE BARBELL METHODS IN WEIGHTLIFTING?

COACH TRAVIS MASH GETS INSIDE THE MIND OF LOUIE SIMMONS

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash takes a look at Louie Simmons's Westside Barbell strength principles and applies them tom the world of Olympic weightlifting.

 

Sample Program: BLOCK ONE

I love giving you guys as much as I possibly can. If you were having trouble maintaining a vertical torso in the clean, your back rounds when you squat, or your back turns into a horseshow when you deadlift – then this would be a solid accessory plan to check out.

I kept things really simple, but you will easily be able to see all the uses of the safety squat bar.

Block 1
Week 1
Day 1

Tempo Safety Squat Bar Back Squat (5 sec eccent, 2 sec pause bottom, 4 sec concentric) – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walks – 3 x 40 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 10 x 3 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – 3 x 10

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat with Belt – 10RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 10
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – start with 25% of Squat for 3 x 8

Week 2
Day 1

Tempo Safety Squat Bar Back Squat (5 sec eccent, 2 sec pause bottom, 4 sec concentric) – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walks – 3 x 40 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 10 x 4 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – 3 x 10

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat with Belt – 10RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 10
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5-10 kg from last week for 3 x 8

Week 3
Day 1

Tempo Safety Squat Bar Back Squat (5 sec eccent, 2 sec pause bottom, 4 sec concentric) – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 5
Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walks – 3 x 50 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 10 x 3 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – 3 x 10

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat with Belt – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 10
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – Take original weight for 3 x 8

Week 4
Day 1

Tempo Safety Squat Bar Back Squat (5 sec eccent, 2 sec pause bottom, 4 sec concentric) – 5RM, then -10% for 5+ stop one set before potential miss
Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 5RM, then -10% for 5
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walks – 3 x 50 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 10 x 5 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – 3 x 10

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat with Belt – 10RM (9 RPE), then -15% for 10+ (stop one set before potential miss)
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5kg to top set in week 2 for 3 x 8

Program Explanation

This is a plan that I will use when my hip heals. This workout will bulletproof your torso. To start with I am using tempo safety squat bar squats to strengthen all positions of the squat. Spinal extension is normally a capacity thing. That makes tempo the perfect prescription when the goal is improving torso strength.

I definitely used safety squat bar chain suspended goodmornings to strengthen my spinal erectors, specifically for the pull. This is spinal extension and hip extension in its weakest position and without any eccentric loading. Of course after the first repetition, you will be able to take advantage of eccentric contractions. I recommend resting the bar in the chains during every repetition for the sake of specificity.

Safety squat bar isometric walks are one of my favorites for strengthening the core in a way that emphasizes spinal extension. Loaded walks also stabilize the hips as weight is transferred back and forth during the walks. Loaded walks are great for strength athletes. If you are a sport athlete (like football, soccer, or basketball players), that unilateral hip stability will still come in handy when making cuts side to side.

Safety squat bar front squats are great for teaching athletes to maintain a vertical torso during the front squat. You will still feel the bar on the upper chest near the anterior throat. However, the weight will be displaced toward the rear of the body this time. The weight won’t be a disadvantage this time – it will actually be to your advantage. You will get better because your body is learning the proper movement versus strengthening the spinal extensors. The other advantage is of course the strengthening of your quads.

Safety squat bar hyperextensions are amazing for strengthening the spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings. Remember again the three ways to increase the spinal flexor moment: 1) moving the bar higher on the back or in front of the body, 2) increasing the load, and 3) inclining the body more. When you add a little weight to the bar in this exercise, you will maximize all three. One advantage of hyperextensions is that they are a little easier to recover from versus goodmornings. Goodmornings stretch the muscles under maximal load versus hyperextensions maximize loading during the concentric contraction. That’s why I put these in the middle of the week, so the athlete is ready to go hard again at the end of the week.

If you follow me at all, you know that I save my highest volume squats for the end of the week. Here we are throwing in some 10-repetition maximum safety squat bar squats. You’re welcome! We’re adding some muscle all over the entire torso, hips, and lower body with an obvious focus on the spinal extensors. We are also using straight safety squat bar goodmornings to once again maximize the strengthening of the spinal erectors. Just like chain suspended, this movement will help strengthen the spinal erectors and hip extensors for pulls, squats, and all athletic movements. However, this movement is more eccentric minded, so safety squat bar goodmornings will benefit squat movements a bit more specifically.

Sample Program: BLOCK TWO

Block 2
Week 5
Day 1

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat – 3RM (first rep paused 3 sec)(8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3 (no pauses)
Wide Leg Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 3RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walking Lunges – 3 x 40 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 1RM (paused 5 sec in bottom)(8 RPE), then -15% for 2 x 5 (no pauses)
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – stay at a moderate 8 RPE while progressing, 4 x 6

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Back Squat with Belt – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5kg to heaviest set from week 4 for 3 x 6

Week 6
Day 1

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat – 3RM (first rep paused 3 sec)(9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3 (no pauses)
Wide Leg Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 3RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walking Lunges – 3 x 40 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 1RM (paused 5 sec in bottom)(9 RPE), then -15% for 2 x 5 (no pauses)
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – stay at a moderate 8 RPE while progressing, 4 x 5

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Back Squat with Belt – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5-10kg for 4 x 5

Week 7
Day 1

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 3
Wide Leg Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 3
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walking Lunges – 3 x 50 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 1RM (paused 5 sec in bottom)(9 RPE)
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – stay at a moderate 8 RPE while progressing, 3 x 5

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Back Squat with Belt – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – take original weight from week 1 for 3 x 8

Week 8
Day 1

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat – 3RM, then -15% for 3+ (stop one set before potential miss0
Wide Leg Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 3RM, then -10% for 3
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walking Lunges – 3 x 50 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 1RM (paused 3 sec in bottom), then -15% for 5+ (no pauses, no misses)
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – stay at a moderate 8 RPE while progressing, 3 x 5

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Back Squat with Belt – 5RM, then -15% for 5+ (stop one set before potential miss)
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5kg to top set in week 6 for 3 x 5

As you can see, most of the movements are similar to the first block. There are a few variations to avoid the law of accommodation. You will notice a few (+) sets, which are AMRAP sets (as many repetitions as possible). You will also notice that in most cases I don’t want any misses. Here’s the thing about hypertrophy. The number one way to increase muscle size is mechanical loading or increasing loads, and lifting these loads to near failure. Going to failure will lead to hypertrophy, but it will beat you down – leaving you overtrained or under recovered (whatever you want to call it). To maximize hypertrophy the goal is to go to near failure as often as possible.

It doesn’t really matter if you’re talking about low repetitions or high repetitions. When you are hitting repetition maximums (whether it’s threes or fives), you are maximizing hypertrophy because you are going to near maximum. When you are hitting plus sets of six or more, you are still creating bigger muscles. If you want to get stronger, eventually you need to create bigger muscles.

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2019...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

I hope this article and workout helps all of you build the strongest backs on the planet. If you aren’t using a safety squat bar now, hopefully this article will convince you to buy one. I’m not selling safety squat bars, so this article is from the heart. You can buy from whomever you want to. As always I love hearing about your improvements, so comment here or hit me up on Instagram.

Metabolic Flexibility with Mike Nelson – The Barbell Life 233

Nutrition goes way beyond calories and macros.

A key to longterm success is determining how your body individually reacts to protein, fat, and carbs – and then training your body to better utilize these macros.

That’s what Mike Nelson talks to us about on today’s podcast – in addition to topics like genetics, caffeine, insulin, and meet prep.


Here's the best way to reach your diet goals in 2018...

Get nutrition coaching from the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Nutrition Plans

* Expert Coaches to Guide You

* Real-World Solutions for Real-World Issues

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • The problem with intermittent fasting
  • How to transition to higher carbs
  • Why he advocates for caffeine pills
  • How to eat for soft tissue benefits
  • Seeing which macros you respond better to
  • and more…

Feats of Strength: Mash Online Meet

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on my personal blog describing the mission of our 501(c)(3) nonprofit weightlifting team and our future plans. You can read that one here if you want to.

SUCCESS AND GOALS

To summarize, we have succeeded in some areas and look to improve in a few others:

  • Our athletes are succeeding
  • Four on the 2018 senior world yeam
  • Two locked on the 2019 youth world team
  • Four looking to make a Junior Team next year
  • Two more youth making a bid for a youth unternational team
  • Three up and coming seniors looking to make Team USA
  • We want to develop the at-risk program by hiring a full-time person

We’ve been overwhelmed with your generous donations. Meanwhile we are trying our hand at using our resources to raise our own funds. What better way than to let all of you join in on some fun competitions?

THE ONLINE MEET

Coach Crystal McCullough developed the Feats of Strength Online Meet happening January 10th-13th. We know that we cater to a diverse group of barbell lovers, so we made a few different divisions:

  • Olympic Weightlifting (Snatch and Clean and Jerk)
  • Powerlifting (Squat, Bench, and Deadlift)
  • SuperTotal (Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Squat, Bench, and Deadlift)

Here are some of the prizes you can look forward to:

  • Prizes include the top male and female athlete being offered a spot on Team Mash Mafia with Coach Mash as your head coach!
  • $500 in gift certificates from Mash Elite Performance
  • Beautiful kilogram change plates from Intek Strength
  • Gifts from Wodfitters.com being considered
  • Gifts from Harbinger Fitness being considered
  • Gifts from MG12 being considered
  • Gifts from Nike Weightlifting being considered

SUPPORT THE MASH MAFIA BY COMPETING IN OUR ONLINE MEET

THE MASH MAFIA APPRECIATES YOUR SUPPORT

*Smash Weight and Win Prizes

*Join in on the Fun

*All Proceeds Donated to Our Non-Profit Team

MAJOR UPCOMING FINANCIAL NEEDS

It should be fun for our followers. 100% of all the proceeds will go to our non-profit 501(c)(3). We have a lot of fundraising for 2019 mainly because our athletes are going to be flying all around the world with Team USA. Our coaches are being required to travel to Fiji, Cuba, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, and Thailand just to name some of the countrie we have to go to. Since it is the Olympic qualifying period, we might have to travel to other countries for the sake of our athletes.

The secondary goal is hiring a full-time person for our at-risk program. We want someone who can develop the program, build relationships, and help transport the youth. It’s a lot, but we want to impact our community. We can do it with your help.

If you have any questions, you can email info@mashelite.com. We know our goals are high, but we have some amazing followers who want to see our athletes succeed, and that want to see the at risk youth in our community given more opportunities.

I hope that you guys will help us out this holiday season. If not, no big deal! We are just happy that you follow this crazy team.

Upping Your Mental Game with Colin Iwanski – The Barbell Life 232

Everyone wants to talk about training.

A lot of people understand the importance of nutrition and recovery.

But hardly anyone really talks about what is just as crucial… the mental game. That’s what we talk about today with Colin Iwanski – the man who has been hired to get USAW athletes operating at their peak mentally.

I have seen good athletes become great by learning how to remain calm at the right times and amped up at the right times. Some people are born to be great competitors – but even they can improve. So listen in to this one!
 

Want to Win the Mental Battle in Training and Competition?

Overcome the Mental Struggle with Performance Zone

Mash Elite brings you a proven approach to increasing confidence, eliminating negative thoughts, confronting fear, and functioning at peak capacity.

 

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • What’s the one thing you should be thinking about when approaching the bar?
  • Using anger as a motivator
  • How to think on the platform vs. how to think in the back room
  • Breathing the right way and breathing the wrong way (so many get this wrong!)
  • How to find the perfect level of mental intensity for you and your sport
  • and more…

Lessons from Pyrros

At the World Championships, I had the chance to sit down with Pyrros Dimas and talk weightlifting.

Once again, I’m never going to get past the fact that I get to hang out with one of my favorite athletes of all time. That’s right, I didn’t say favorite weightlifter. I said favorite athlete.

I’m not a weightlifting purist like a lot of you are. I absolutely love the sport, but I also love football and basketball. I would still consider myself more of a strength and conditioning coach because I love coaching athletes from multiple sports. It’s simply more challenging, and it keeps me from getting bored. I simply love coaching athletes. I love the great athletes move through space and the way they compete with such confidence.

WINNING

I remember reading about (and sometimes watching) Pyrros battle with such greats as Siemion and Huster. Pyrros had the unique ability to win. Only a select few athletes have the ability to raise their performance level when victory is on the line. Michael Jordan comes to mind when talking about this ability. Michael Jordan had the ability to take over a game when victory meant the most – like the NBA playoffs. I remember watching Jordan play game five against the Utah Jazz in 1997. Jordan had flu-like symptoms, and he still rose to the occasion with 38 points for at two-point win.

Pyrros had that same ability. If a world record were needed for the win, then Pyrros would hit a world record. This ability to rise above the competition is what drew me to Pyrros – not to mention he’s jacked. I’d say the reason I like Pyrros and Lu Xiaojun is because they are both amazing and jacked athletes. I mean is there a male athlete on earth who doesn’t want to be jacked? Maybe, but I sure loved being muscular when I was a competitive athlete.

HIS CURRENT WORK

Anyway I guess that’s enough of me being a fan boy of Pyrros, but I definitely wanted to give a little context before getting into the rest of the article. Most of you reading this know that Pyrros is now the Technical Director for USA Weightlifting. That really means he is one of our national coaches along with Mike Gattone. At the international meets, these two help guide the decisions made during the competition – such as attempt selection, warm-ups, and training during the final weeks. They do a lot more than this (such as helping coaches like me decide strategies for my athletes), but at least you have the watered down version of what Pyrros does for USA Weightlifting.

In my opinion, there is something more important that he does. That’s what this article is all about. It’s my way of passing on the information to all of you, so that you can turn around and use the information with your own athletes. After all, this is Team USA – not Team Mash. I want USA to field the best team possible. Yes, I want my team to crush. But at the end of the day when I am in my deathbed, I want to look back and see that I did everything in my power to improve the sport within the United States.

Here are the two takeaways from my talk with Pyrros:

  1. Eccentrics from the hang to improve positions
  2. Laying a foundation for high intensity and high frequency blocks

The Positions

While we were sitting there, we started discussing a common theme amongst US lifters that Dimas had noticed. Yes, it was a surreal moment to sit down and have a discussion with my childhood hero. He noticed most lifters were not staying over the bar long enough. Instead of driving with their legs for as long as possible, they were moving to hip extension too soon and pushing their hips into the bar. This causes the bar to be in front or to loop behind.

This type of movement creates an inconsistent snatch, and it causes a clean to be in front. You will notice a lot of American lifters catching a clean and collapsing forward. Their elbows will drop, and their thoracic spine will round. Most people try to address the problem as a weakness in their torso. However, a lot of the time they are simply catching the clean forward a bit. This creates three problems for the athlete:

  1. Almost impossible to catch a bounce out of the hole.
  2. Makes it harder to stand up from the catch phase of a clean.
  3. Takes energy away from the Jerk.

So are we all doomed to lift like this forever? I for one hope not. There are two things that you can do to rectify this flaw. First, you can simply use verbal cues to try and correct such as:

  • Stay over the bar
  • Feet through the floor
  • More legs
  • Pretend you have longer legs than you do
  • Knees back and chest up

I should say to only try one at a time with these. Less is definitely more in the sport of weightlifting. If these don’t work, you can try the suggestion from Pyrros. He said to use eccentrics from the hang to strengthen the positions. We know that eccentrics are a great way to get stronger, and the best part is that eccentrics are a great way to get stronger specifically.

Benefits

Chris Beardsley is an exercise scientist who I have been following for a few years now, and so should you. In his book, Strength is Specific, there are three basic biological mechanisms that determine how much force we produce: the length-tension relationship, the force-velocity relationship, and force enhancement during lengthening. These three factors determine why we are stronger at certain muscle lengths, at certain contraction speeds, and in eccentric versus concentric.

When we train, adaptations happen specifically around these three factors. That means the way we train is very important to the type of adaptation we gain from training. By spending more time in the correct position during the eccentrics, we are teaching the body to be stronger in the specific joint angles that we want the body to be in during the clean or snatch.

Plus it’s easier to maintain proper positions during the eccentric contractions. We are around 125-130% stronger during the eccentric contraction of a lift versus the concentric. To summarize, we are spending more time in the correct positions during the eccentric contraction, and it’s easier for the athlete to stay in the correct position. This type of training leads to specific adaptations strengthening the body in the correct joint angles – not to mention improving the movement neurologically as well from the practice and improved pathways. Just like any other sport, the more one practices yields improved performance.

LIKE THESE TECHNIQUE TIPS?   THIS IS JUST THE START...

Join the Mash Mafia Online Team and get technique analysis from the best coaches in America

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* Drills and Exercises from Expert Coaches

* Fully Customized Programming

Putting This into Practice

We’ve been doing hang snatches and hang cleans with a five-second eccentric on each repetition. We’ve been using eccentrics in the main session of the day and in our morning technique sessions as well. We’ve also been adding in five-second eccentric hangs followed by slow concentric pull snatches and cleans – only speeding up at the last second to finish the lift. We are dialing in that perfect position.

Our goal is for all of our athletes to make at least 85% of their snatches. Obviously that means they are constantly hitting at least two snatches – and most of the time all three. When an already strong athlete is hitting at least two snatches, they become very hard to beat. When an athlete drives with their legs, stays over the bar, and squeezes the bar in, they create a tighter bar path leading to more made lifts.

Preparing the body for high intensity and frequency

Some of you might know Pyrros was born in Albania. He started lifting in Albania with a Russian influenced program. He was able to form a base filled with general physical preparedness. When he moved to Greece, he entered into a Bulgarian influenced program and trained two to three times per day everyday. His workouts were filled with daily maxes in the snatch, clean and jerk, and front squat.

I asked him his thoughts about the Bulgarian program. He told me that his time training in Albania with a Russian style program prepared him for the demanding Bulgarian program. By accident he stumbled upon a program that I consider to be the optimal way of training. You have to spend quality time preparing the body for the extreme demands of high intensity and high frequency.

When we were discussing Hunter’s training program, he wanted me to focus on the eccentric hangs. He told me to pile the volume on her. His exact words were to kill her. Most of my athletes are training towards a February/March competition, and these competitions are very important for all of them. All of them will have endured an 8-10 week training block of hypertrophy and strength work. After that, each block and each week will become more and more high intensity and high frequency. Variance in exercises will decrease and specificity will increase as we start to express the newly built strength.

We can all agree that absolute strength is best expressed with intensities of 90% and above. The only debate is how much, and that answer is very specific to the individual. Accessory work will be less during these high intensity and high frequency blocks, but we will always keep accessory work in the program to target specific weaknesses and asymmetries.

A look inside

Here’s a sample of what we are doing right now:

Day 1 – AM Session
Three-Position Snatch from Mac Board – 55% for a three-position snatch, 60% for a three-position snatch, 65% for a three-position snatch, 55% for a three-position snatch, 60% for a three-position snatch, 65% for a three-position snatch

Day 1 – PM Session
Low Hang Snatch with 5 sec eccentric from Mac Board – 75% for 9 x 2 (60-90 sec rest between sets)
Front Squat – 10 x 3 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – stay at a 7-8RPE for 3 x 8

Day 2
Push Press- 5 x 5
DB Bench Press – 5 x 10
Dips – 4 x submaximal reps (use weight if getting more than 10 reps)
Hang Snatch Grip High Pulls – 60% for 3 x 10

Day 3 – AM Session
Tempo Eccentric and Concentric Snatches – 55% for a tempo eccentric and concentric snatch, 60% for a tempo eccentric and concentric snatch, 65% for a tempo eccentric and concentric snatch, 55% for a tempo eccentric and concentric snatch, 60% for a tempo eccentric and concentric snatch, 65% for a tempo eccentric and concentric snatch

Day 3 – PM Session
Low Hang Clean w 5 sec eccentric from Mac Board – 75% for 9 x 2 (60-90 sec rest between sets)
Snatch Grip Deadlift w 5 second eccentric – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats with DBs – stay at a 7RPE for 3 x 10 ea leg

Day 4
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk – 3 x 20 yd ea arm
Strict Bear Crawls – 4 x 20 yd
Stability Ball Stir the Pot – 3 x 20 sec ea way

Day 5 – AM Session
Slow Pull Snatches (focus on staying over & squeezing, Pause in Catch 2 sec) – 60% for 2, 65% for 2, 70% for 1, 60% for 2, 65% for 2, 70% for 1
Behind the Neck Jerk Steps – 40% for 3, 50% for 3, 60% for 2 x 3

Day 5 – PM Session
Snatch Complex: Snatch + Low Hang with 5 Sec eccentric from Mac Board: 2RM (9 RPE)
Clean and Jerk Complex: Clean + Low Hang with 5 sec eccentric + Jerk: 2RM (9 RPE)
Strict Press – 10 x 3 at 80%
Bent-over Rows Paused on Chest 1-2 seconds – 5 x 10 at 60%

Day 6
Back Squat with Belt – 10 x 10 at 65%
TRX Leg Curls – 4 x 10

Travis Mash's Masterpiece for Strength Training and Programming

The Mash System

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash gives you every trick in his programming toolbox plus FIVE 12 week strength programs for weightlifting, powerlifting and athletic performance and more.

Blessed to have Pyrros

I hope this helps all of you. A lot of coaches in America have mixed feelings when foreign coaches are hired in America. I can assure you that hiring Pyrros was a great decision. He brings so much wisdom to the table. I mean, think about it for just a second. Yes, he’s a three-time gold medalist (along with one bronze), but that’s only the beginning. How many people do you know who trained in the ‘real’ Russian system and in the ‘real’ Bulgarian system? Not to mention, he received his Master of Sports from the Albanian government. That’s a lot of experience and education he brings to the table. I for one have learned something new from him each and every time we’ve talked.

Some might expect him to be overbearing with all of those accolades, but quite the contrary. He is very receptive and open to discussion. We are very blessed to have him and the rest of the members of USA Weightlifting. They have worked very hard so far this quad to get the athletes ready to make this Olympic run. It seems like they are coming up with something new every month to help our top athletes. We finally have a group focused on medals and international performance versus having a group just happy to have an easy job. There’s nothing easy about what any of them are doing. They are focused and committed, making it easy for coaches and athletes to also be focused and committed.

It’s their commitment to all of us that makes me want to open up to all of you. For once I feel like that Team USA is one big team and not some segmented group of individual teams. If you’ve ever been to a big international competition, you will see an atmosphere that is very different from just a couple of years ago. The coaches are sitting around helping each other and coming up with strategies that will help everyone. It seems that all the coaches have their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s nice to see us coming together.

Danny Camargo on the Dark Days of Coaching Mattie Rogers – The Barbell Life 231

In my opinion, Danny Camargo is one of the best (if not THE best) coach in American weightlifting.

I’ve had the privilege of talking with him often at major meets – so I’ve seen firsthand the way he coaches and the way his athletes perform. And of course he is most known for coaching the super popular Mattie Rogers.

Danny and Mattie

Now while Danny and Mattie have a great relationship now as coach and athlete… it wasn’t always that way. And in this episode, Danny opens up and tells us all about the struggles they went through. But he also tells us how they made it through – and what he’s learned along the way.
 

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2019...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

 

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • Why the backroom is where weightlifting REALLY happens
  • How to tell if you need time off or if you’re just being lazy
  • Why Mattie calls the shots in training, and he calls the shots in competitions
  • How CrossFit made some ugly changes
  • Why he had a “bad breakup” with weightlifting… and how you can avoid it
  • and more…