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It’s Not All About Snatch and Clean & Jerk
Ok that’s a crazy title, since I am the Head Coach for Team USA Junior Men down here in El Salvador at the Junior Pan Ams. We are having a great time, and we have already picked up three medals with John Stang going Bronze in snatch, clean & jerk, and overall.
Not only am I coaching some of the best young talent in the country, but also I am coaching with some of the best coaches in the county. Last night, I was chatting with two of my favorite coaches CJ Martin (Invictus CrossFit) and Kevin Simons (Coach of Harrison Maurus and CrossFit Games competitor). I will tell you right now that if you are not following these two guys, then you are missing out.
It’s moments like this when I realize what a blessed life that I live. I get to actually talk and hang out with brilliant individuals like these two coaches. Most people will only get to read their books, articles, and posts. I actually get them buzzed on coffee, and then I can ask them anything that I want.
Last night we were talking about how most coaches only perform lifts that directly affect the snatch and clean & jerk. They will snatch, clean & jerk, squat, and pull. Those are all great lifts, but these coaches are forgetting to balance out the body. The human body is a complex machine that moves on multiple planes, and was designed to move on those multiple planes.
Weightlifting is mainly a bilateral sport minus the jerk. However the jerk is normally performed with the same leg. That means the body isn’t being used equally side-to-side or sagittal plane. The hips are designed to move independent of one another. In weightlifting, we normally keep the hips as fixed as possible except in the jerk. However, in the jerk we only step forward with the same leg. This will cause a shortened hip flexor on the side that is stepping forwards, and a shortened QL on the leg going back. That means the opposite hip flexor is lengthened, and the opposite QL is lengthened.
Long story short, that alone can cause some major asymmetries. As we were observing the lifters in the training hall last night, we were noticing a lot of asymmetries. So how does one correct those asymmetries? Start by using assistance exercises to balance out the body. I would use unilateral exercises and asymmetrical carries as staples in any program. Here are some of my favorite exercises:
• Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats
• Simple walking lunges both loaded and body weight (however use the body weight lunges for high reps 200-400m total)
• One arm OH Kettlebell or Fat Grip DB Lunges
• One arm Farmers Walk
• One Arm OH Fat Grip DB Carries
• One Arm Bottom Up Kettlebell Carry
These are just a few, but they will get you started. Look, it’s not all about getting your athlete to lift the most right now. It’s about getting them to lift the most for the next ten years.
Remember this, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. If you want to know one of the main ways that I will try to get my American lifters to medal, this is it. If they can lift longer without major injury, then eventually they will out last and out total the cheating competitors. That’s the goal!
CJ and Kevin have really inspired me with this concept. They probably don’t even realize it, but they have. I have been searching for a way to get Americans to medal in the Olympics, and this will definitely be added to the toolbox. The toolbox looks something like this:
• Team Mash Elite Weightlifting Affiliates all over the country coaching young athletes, recruiting awesome athletes, and identifying talent
• Providing college scholarships with awesome coaching
• Providing athletes with financial support to train and live comfortably
• Incredible coaching with a shift in mindset
• An atmosphere that is conducinve to high energy training in America and not copying a foreign country
• Programming that focuses on longevity of the athlete
I hope this short article inspires all of you to look at your programming a little differently. It’s not all about show me now! It’s about show me for the next ten years!
I hope that you guys are enjoying the path that Team Mash Elite is on. We are working hard to educate and entertain all of you with our knowledge and abilities with the barbell.
We are still looking for partners that are interested in:
• Becoming a Mash Elite Weightlifting Affiliate
• Financial partnership
• Assistance with Grant Writing for a 501c3
• Identifying Foundations and Grants
• Administrative assistance
If you are interested in finding out more about these partnerships, email me directly at:
I hope you all are following Team USA at the Junior Pan Ams. You can catch it all live at www.FloElite.com. We already snagging those medals, and I can tell you right now that we aren’t finished. Let’s go!!!