MuscleDriver USA University

MuscleDriver USA University

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I have the best job in the world! That goes without saying! Today was simply incredible in so many ways. It was so awesome that I feel compelled to share some of the awesome things that I learned and saw. At night when I pray, I just give thanks because God has been so awesome to me in so many ways. I am on staff with two of the best Olympic Weightlifting coaches that America has ever seen. Our athletes are not only incredible, but they are all the most enjoyable people to be around. I simply love each and every athlete on the team, and now I get paid to coach them. Wow!

Today Dylan Cooper, the newest MDUSA lifter, and Braden Luedke joined us for practice. These are two of my amazing Junior lifters, and both are 17 years old. Today they both passed a monster barrier. I watched my two young bucks slap three slabs of beef (aka three red 25k plates) on the bar, and in both of their first attempts, they cleaned the weight with ease. I was so proud of my boys as I have watched them grow up so much in my beloved sport of Olympic Weightlifting.

Of course the rest of Team MDUSA killed it, but Travis Cooper did exceptionally well. Today was his last heavy day before the World Championships in Kazakhstan, and he was on fire! He took his opener in the Snatch of 140k/308 pounds, and it was so easy. Then he took his last warm up in the Clean & Jerk of 170k, and it looked like an empty bar. Travis is a 77k lifter lifting weights that most big boys can only dream of. The best part of this whole story is the training routine that he has used to prepare for the World Championships.

Travis has been working with Zach Greenwald, a muscular balance specialist, to correct some of the strength imbalances that he has formed over his career. The muscular balance work was programmed into a well thought out plan influenced by our coaching staff at MDUSA. The specialized plan was put in to affect because of a back issue that Travis was experiencing, and this was our way of addressing the issue. I would say that it has worked very well, and it has actually made me consider the possibilities of providing muscular imbalance work for all of my athletes.

Travis has spent 60% of his time addressing the imbalances, and the rest of the time has been spent on the core lifts of snatch, clean & jerk, and squats. Most of his lifts were performed in the 70-80% range with a focus on speed, technique, and timing. He has squatted very moderately, but spent a great deal of time on his deadlift. The results have been a perfectly tapered well-oiled machine. I can’t wait to see him lift.

I have always programmed assistance exercises around strengths and weaknesses, but Zach’s program is much more quantifiable. He takes about 30-50 different exercises, and based on years of research, gives a range of how the different exercises should relate. Now no one is a perfectly balanced lifter, but the goal is to work towards perfection. If all exercises are performed within the 80 percentile, then the athlete is considered stable, healthy, and safe.

Zach, Rebecca, and I are developing a plan that we are going to make available online that I believe will be absolutely revolutionary. We will all three be writing articles about the program to come, so keep an eye out for the information as it drops. I can’t wait to be a part of something so innovative. Zach’s program is going to be the secret weapon for a lot of you to hit numbers that you have been after.

Today we had Olympic Bronze Medalist, Cheryl Haworth in the gym. Yep that’s right! Today at my work, I hung out with an Olympic medalist. What did you do? Travis Cooper had her on his podcast, Weightlifting Scoop, so I recommend you get on and check it out. I was in the room listening and learning, so I wanted to pass on a couple of nuggets.

Travis asked Cheryl if she did anything special to calm her nerves during a big competition. Her answer was mind blowing! She explained that she literally tricks herself into believing that she only has to snatch. She fools herself into believing that she can snatch and then go home. It allows her to only focus on the one event instead of letting her mind wander about clean & jerks. After snatch, she erases the snatch from her memory, and pretends that she is just arriving at the venue to only clean & jerk. This type of visualization is hard to achieve, but with years of practice it could be a great tool for anyone.

Cheryl took a different approach to training than most. She focused on timing, technique, and efficiency while training. She rarely went heavy, and never to a maximum single. She used squats, pulls, and presses to get strong, and practiced the lifts for perfection. She told us that when she snatched 120k in practice, then she was good for 130k. With the clean & jerk, she knew that when she hit 140k, then she was ready for 150k at the meet. After watching Travis prepare for the World Championships, I am starting to see that this style of training has its place.

All of this and Chuck and I found time to get in a Front Squat session. I worked up to 200k/440lbs for a paused single. This was the most that I have performed in a long while, so I was incredibly happy. Chuck was able to crush a PR of 175k/ 385lbs, so it was a great day all around. Zach took the time to test my sumo deadlift because he is starting to put together some data on my muscular imbalances. We worked up to 190k/418lbs, and I was already stressed. That’s a 200lb imbalance with my conventional deadlift, so I am convinced that with a little attention to this imbalance I can make some big jumps.

I am excited to have Zach on my personal team. Zach along with Dr. Gray are going to be crucial for my comeback. Becoming the master of the mundane is the most important aspect of my training this go around, so the team I build around me is so important. I want to develop the perfect pit crew. Zach and Dr. Gray are a great start.

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