Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Muscle Clamp Barbell Collars

These are the best training clamp to use for weightlifting in my opinion. They slide on very easily and with a turn of the lever they clamp tight. The muscle clamps stay tight even when the barbell is dropped. If you have a fair amount of weight on the bar and you drop repeatedly, you may have to re-tighten the muscle clamps at the end of your set. 

I will say that they stay tighter than any other clamp I have used. You can get them for a fair price on amazon.com. I have had this set for 2 years and have had no failures with them. They worked out much better than the Rogue collars I used in the past. One pair I want to try out are the griplock collars sold by Bells of Steel.

My Platform

This extra cushion platform was built so I could appease the neighbours noise complaints. I will explain how it is constructed:
You will need the following:
Rubber mats. 
Lots of old carpet. 
Lots of plywood. 

The frame awaits carpet for the sides and plywood
on the center.
The first thing I did was lay 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood down in the center of my garage. Put them were you want your 8x8' platform. This will make your base of your platform.  Then I put 2 more sheets facing the other way. I screwed them together. 

Then I made an 8'x8' perimeter with the 2x6" on edge around the plywood. 

Next I filled up the center with with old sheets of 4'x8' 3/4" plywood until I got to the top of the 2x6" frame. If you do not have plywood around or you want to save money; you can lay 2"x 4"x8' boards on edge in the center then cap it with plywood to have a smooth top.

Now you are left with 2- 2'x 8' empty wells on each side of the platform. This is where the  rubber weights will be dropped.

I layered 2'x 8' carpet and carpet underlay strips in the wells. to provide cushion. When I got closer to the top I
Almost finished. Just need to add the 2 floating
plywood sheets fastened together with carpet in between.
Cap it with a rubber mat and lay it down in the trough.
used a 2'x 8' piece of plywood to go on top of all the carpet layers. Then I put another layer of carpet on top then another 2'x 8' piece of plywood on top of that. So I basically had a plywood/carpet sandwich for my top layer screwed together. Then I added a 2'x 8' rubber strip on top to finish it off at the right height of my platform's center.

Note: especially if you are lifting with a women's bar, you will probably want to make the side wells 30" wide by 8' long and the center 3'x8'. The collars on a female bar are a bit more narrow so you will want the weights to land on the sides instead of the center of the platform.

If you want to take it a step further, you can build this whole platform on top of carpet. Or you can use a carpet on top to drop the weights on. That will dampen the noise a bit more. Here is a video of dropping 150kg on the platform:
Oh yah, don't forget to put your doggy bed in front of the platform so he can watch you train!

This platform will dampen noise and the blow of the weights hitting the concrete. Post any questions of the platform construction in the comments section and I will be happy to answer.

To get started, you do not NEED a platform, the only required equipment is a barbell and bumper plates.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

175kg Split Jerk

I had a great session today. In my second exercise of the day I made a PR for split jerk. 175kg or 386 pounds.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Doug Hepburn Columbia Olympic Bar

I have been lucky enough to come into contact with one of Doug Hepburn's old bars from Columbia steel. The story goes: When his weightlifting bar company went out of business he gave his surplus bars away with the condition that you could never sell them. You had to use them or give them to someone for free. Well, my club at the time, Semi Weightlifting had a few of the bars. My coach at the time (Dieter Stamm) was gracious enough to lend me one of the bars for my own training at home. I used this bar for 4 years. This bar was used since the 1970's. It still has better spin and whip then the Pendlay Nexgen HD bushing bar, but the DHS bar has better spin than the Columbia bar. One of the ways I test the knurling is when I roll my calves out on the barbell, I can really get a grasp for how well the collars move. The knurling is almost non existent and the colour of the bar is rust. There is no chrome or zinc finish. I actually like the lack of knurling for a training bar though.
You can see in the pictures that there is very little if any knurling left on the bar. I had to use tape to mark the snatch lines as there were not really visible. I have not had any issues with this bar and only lubricated the collars a few times. I believe this is a bushing bar.

Here are some lifts with the old bar.

As you can no longer buy one of these bars, Bells of Steel makes an economical weightlifting bar that is worth checking out.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Christine Girard on First Pull

I read this great interview on my coach Christine Girard: http://firstpull.net/2013/10/24/interview-with-christine-girard-bronze-medalist-in-london-2012/

There you will read the journey she has went through leading up to herbronze medal finish and what coming home was like. You will also read about how she started coaching athletes and how the birth of her weightlifting club Kilophile was started.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pendlay Nexgen HD Bar

The end view of a Pendlay Bushing Bar.
I have periodically used a Pendlay Nexgen HD bushing bar over the last year in my Olympic Weightlifting training. The whip, and the knurling is good, but I prefer the DHS needle bearing training bar instead, due to the spin. The spin can be quite sluggish on the Pendlay bushing bars and need regular oiling. One way I can tell if the spin is good is when I barbell roll my legs over the shaft. On a needle bearing bar the barbell rolls nice, on the Pendlay Bushing bar the barbell does not rotate well and ends up pushing forward instead of rolling.

Top view of a Pendlay HD Nexgen Bushing Barbell.
The one thing the Pendlay bar has over the DHS bar, is that it does not have center knurling. I have one of the original Econ HD Pendlay bushing bars from a few years ago and let me say that the Nexgen series is much better in terms of spin, whip, and knurling. They are all tough bars though, made in the USA with minimum 190,000 PSI tensile strength, and they are all backed with a lifetime performance guarantee. In terms of price for performance, I would say this is an excellent choice for people training in the Olympic lifts.

The Pendlay Bearing bar does have better spin than the bushing bar and is worth the extra $200 if you are a serious Olympic Weightlifter. Unfortunately, you can no longer buy Pendlay barbells as they were acquired by Rogue. There is a barbell company that makes a decent product for the budget conscious lifter though. Bells of Steel has a decent barbell and bumpers.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Interview with Norik Vardanyan

Some interesting points I found from this interview: 1: 19 year old Armenians make a living from weightlifting, enough to support their family. 2: You are not allowed to sit at the Armenian weightlifting training center during training. There are no chairs. http://firstpull.net/2013/11/12/first-pull-interviews-olympian-norik-vardanian/

A Closer Look at Chicken Nuggets

Take a closer look at the Chicken Mcnuggets you order from Mcdonalds. A microscopic view of a popular food choice: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/27/strange-fibers-found-embedded-inside-chicken-mcnuggets/#_ I am not surprised that there is foreign objects in processed food. The more processes a food goes through, the more chance of contamination. I would have liked to know exactly what the foreign objects were though. I like this video a bit better, all kids should watch. It is a cool experiment by Jamie Oliver in which he explains where chicken nuggets come from:

The Artist and The Olympian

Donny Shankle makes some attempts at a 160kg snatch with Pendlay Elite bumpers while an artist struggles with her finishing touches: http://www.theartistandtheolympian.com/ Quite a cool little video. Always good to see Shankle.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013 Athlete Advance

This year's athlete advance featured my coach Christine Girard as a speaker. I was really looking forward to go but I needed to coach my brother in his first powerlifting competition. It sounds like I missed some good information by the summary email of the key points I received: http://www.csipacific.ca/content/Athletes/AthleteAdvance02.asp Key Points from the Athlete Advance: John Underwood Talk: Life of An athlete. -You don't gain benefits when you train, you grow when you rest! -He also emphasized that one night of heavy drinking wipes out 2 weeks of training and that as little as 2 drinks in an evening can cut your REM Sleep in Half. (REM sleep is when the body is most active in repairing itself). -Protein: John went over the value of protein and re-stated that protein dissolved in a liquid post works wonders and that athletes should consume protein before bed (whey protein was recommended as the best type). -He suggested that athletes must make sure they are getting adequate sleep (a minimum of 6 hours and an average of 8) and that if you are getting up early for morning practice on not enough sleep, you are not gaining the benefits from the training that you should. -A negative central nervous system effect takes time to build up (3 days) so make sure you are sleeping well 3 nights before the competition. -The negative effects of blue light on sleep (Blue light is from computer screens etc.) Athletes should have a minimum of 30minutes free from screen time before going to bed. Ideally Athletes would only have 13 hours of screen time per week. -To check your brain recovery he suggests that athletes measure reaction time (using an app or website) and keep a log. When reaction time raises significantly it shows your brain is tired.(much the same as using HR to determine when your body is tired) So basically eat & sleep well, and lay off the booze! It is important to all of us who train hard!

Monday, November 4, 2013

2013-11-04 Training

Had a really good training session today after taking a light week. Dinner was pork chops and squash with this recipe: http://themeanestmomma.com/2012/03/09/balsamic-glazed-baked-pork-chops/

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Andrew's First Power Lifting Meet

Today my brother Andrew Ott had his first power-lifting competition. I am not a power lifter but I was thrilled to coach/support my brother in iron and blood, in his first competition. Andrew had started lifting weights 8 months ago but started with a power lifting focus in August. I heard through Joel Klassen at his gym BLM Barbell that they were hosting a meet in Abbotsford called the fall classic. I mentioned this to Andrew and he was on board with the idea. It was a good chance for Andrew to test his max lifts in a great environment. Andrew competed as a raw(un-equipped) junior lifter in the 74kg category. Andrew talked about his openers with me and we picked conservative weights as this was his first comp and did not know true max lifts at this point. Andrew Squatted 115kg, 125kg and because this was a grinder I chose 127.5kg for his 3rd squat but that was a no lift. Then he benched 80kg, 85kg, then 87.5kg was a no lift. For dead lifts Andrew started with 152.5kg, then 162.5kg, that went up easy so I challenged him to try to dead lift my clean PR of 175kg. Andrew smoked it, so next comp he will have to try to hit over 180kg for sure. Andrew went 7/9, made PR's in each lift, and made a 385kg total at 72.8kg as a junior in his first competition. A big congratulations is in order!