Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Doubles for Power!

By Jim Schmitz
U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team Coach 1980, 1988 & 1992 Author of Olympic-style Weightlifting for Beginner & Intermediate Weightlifters manual and DVD

Reps and Sets for Strength and Power

Over the years I’ve tried many schemes of reps and sets in search of the best number and combinations in order to develop the greatest strength and power. I tried them on myself in the beginning, and then later when I became a trainer and coach, on my athletes. There are many different systems and combinations of sets and reps, and they all may work, but I’m going to tell you what I’ve had success with and why.

I’m a big believer in proper technique and form, at least to the best of one’s ability and physical capabilities. Therefore, I’ve found that doing doubles (2’s) with medium to heavy weights is the best way to get strong with good technique. The reason is that the first rep is no problem, but the second rep must be done correctly in order to be successful. If you do doubles, you must make the second rep absolutely as correct as you can or you won’t make it, or if you do, it will be sloppy.

Therefore, you use weights that are around 80–85% of your best single. This is a weight that you know you can do, so you aren’t afraid of it or you don’t have to use your entire psyche on the lift, but can concentrate on your technique, especially on the second rep. Also, you don’t take the first rep lightly, thinking ahead to the second rep, or you will miss it or do it badly and be unable to do the second rep. You must concentrate very much on the first rep and even more so, on the second rep. You want to make the first rep with your best technique and the second rep with identical technique. When you do these doubles, there is no rest between reps, only enough time to get set and go. The first rep you think about before you do it, and the second rep is pure reaction, you just do it.

The rest of this article and more tips from Jim can be read here on the ironmind website (a good source for lifting tools and strength equipment).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Polish National Team Training

Excellent video of the Polish team in training.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


My personal library of weightlifting and strength books recently increased a little. Here's where it stands so far:

Essentials of Weightlifting and Strength Training
by Mohamed F. El-Hewie, MD.
Just purchased, so I can't comment on this yet, but you can see his forum and get a sample of his work here.

Strong Enough? by Mark Rippetoe. A collection of thoughts and essays. A very fundamental approach to getting strong via lifting heavy stuff - the only proven effective method..
Sold off. Not worth it.

Weightlifting, Olympic Style by Tommy Kono. The multiple world and Olympic champion (and former Mr. Universe) lays down the fundamentals in a very easy to read, informative and enjoyable book. Illustrative examples are taken from his own experiences. Might be the best book to start a lifter with.

The Weightlifting Encyclopedia: A Guide to World Class Performance
by Arthur J. Drechsler. Exhaustive and comprehensive.

From the Ground Up, by Dan John. A 97 page pdf free from the author's website. Informative and well worth the price. An excellent work that contains nuggets from his experiences and has a great orientation towards lifting and training. It was my first lifting "book."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Serge Redding

Just because.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dr. Mohamed F. El-Hewie, author of "Essentials of Weightlifting and Strength Training" has a forum dedicated to weightlifting and strength training.

In this post he describes his sequential exercise preference, from mobility to stability. From exercises requiring most coordination to least.
This movement hierarchy - from fine movements to gross movements - is a good ordering tool. It sets the trainee on the tasks that require greatest motor skill precision first, when he is fresh.
El-Hewie's is a well experienced lifter and trainer, with excellent knowledge and unique insights.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Powerful and Efficient Cleaning

Ben Turner (gold medalist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games) displays incredible power and speed under the bar.

Note: the barbell is elevated just high enough for the lifter to successfully rack and recover.

Check out more videos of Ben and his teammates at the Queensland Weightlifting Association (QWA) website:

Friday, February 8, 2008

The back!

Nick McKinless puts together a good run down of back specialization. The back serves all athletes in their endeavors, is really fundamental to health, posture and strength, and as a bonus can look damn impressive when well developed, to boot (see the pic below).

Training Hall Santo Domingo Worlds 2006

An awesome flckr photo set from Rob Macklem showing the world's most powerful training for the world championships in 2006.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

LBH and training update

I returned to Lost Battalion Hall last night for my first training there in over a month. It was an easy night for me, snatching up to 50% only (45kg).
Overall the LBH team is coming out of the winter in good form. I'm not the only one making a mini-comeback from illness or injury, and the team looks likely to contend in upcoming local competitions in March and May.
Recently Masters lifter Jeff Scott nailed a 125kg C&J in competition. Look for him to make his presence known beyond local meets as national masters' competitions come up.
My current personal goals are to make a successful comeback with no returns to illness and finally get the 200kg total in March.
An DVD with lots of LBH action from the last year is in production, and expect more videos on the LBH team youtube site all year long!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Eating and Muscle

Splendid Specimens: The History of Nutrition in Bodybuilding details the history of eating for muscle, and in way, you can see how the diets of the muscle guys, from old time strongmen to body builders, often pre-date diet trends adopted by the public at large.
I like the caveman, or meat and leaves approach, personally.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Doug Hepburn

Let's follow how Doug trained for the 1953 World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden: He worked out three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Cleans 280 - 2 reps
300 - 2 reps
320 - 8x2 reps

The first clean was made from the floor and second from the hang.

Bench press - regular grip
350 - 5 reps
400 - 2 reps
450 - 5x2 reps

Full squat 475 - 5 reps
520 - 3 reps
550 - 5x3 reps

Snatch 200 - for several reps
240- 2 reps
260 - 8x2 reps

First from floor, second from hang.

Bench press - same as Monday

Squat - same as Monday.

Friday: Entire workout same as Monday.

It was interesting to note that he relied on bench pressing to keep up his pressing power for the Olympic press. His official lifts at the World Championships, which he won, were 371-1/4 press, 297-1/2 snatch, and 363-3/4 clean and jerk.

More on this club-footed champion.