Saturday, January 11, 2014

How to add 50 percent to your lifts

No I am not talking about using performance enhancing drugs or other illicit means. I am talking about steady work, mindful nutrition, and proper rest over a long period of time. The reasons I titled the post the way I did was to 1-grab your attention, and 2- after reflection over my last (and only) 5 years of Olympic weightlifting, that is exactly what I gained on my snatch and clean and jerk. In my very first weightlifting competition in January 2009, I snatched 90kg and clean & jerked 110kg in the 94kg class. Cue Video.
5 years later in the same weight class I snatched 135kg (50% increase) and clean & jerked 165kg (50% increase). Yes I made those numbers at least a year earlier in training. But these are official totals that I weighed in for, at doping controlled meets. 

One of the main things is just to keep working. There will be emotional highs when you make PR's and the roller coaster can swing the other way when you plateau for long time periods. The trick is to not get too emotional about the highs and lows. Realize that there will he good times and bad times. Over a long time period you can look back and see that you made huge progress. Just by working daily with the right things; diet, sleep, and training. Don't give up. Don't get irrational. Just keep grinding it out. You can get your enjoyment by looking back at the last year, or 5 years, and see what you accomplished. Just know that the one bad day here and there didn't matter in the big picture. The longer you lift the harder the personal records are to break and just because you make a PR does'nt mean it's yours to keep forever. You have to work very hard just to maintain that level. I will give you an example of how hard personal records are to break once you are an intermediate lifter or above. In the summer of 2010 I was  able to front squat 180kg for 1 rep. In  the spring I was 2012 I was able to front squat 180kg for 2 reps and in that summer I did 200kg for a single rep. In the spring of 2013 I was able to front squat 180 for 3 reps and 190kg for 2 reps.  That is a lot of hard training over the years to add small gains like that.  Another example is cleans from block. In December 2012 I made a PR by cleaning 160kg for 1 rep off blocks. After 13 months of hard training and multiple attempts I was able to clean 160kg for 2 reps off blocks. Another example of hard work equalling incremental gains. 

Another important factor is to have good coaching and programming. You can find yourself down a bad rabbit hole if you do not have an experienced coach correcting bad habits along the way. Someone to identify your weakness and target them. Also, someone to give you support, encouragement, and kick your ass with accountability once in a while as well. I was lucky enough to have Christine Girard working with me the last few years.

You can read my journey from a 200kg-300kg total.

You can listen to this interview with Cody Abbey from Mavrick strength about my journey.

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