Wednesday, December 23, 2009


An interesting quote from Glenn Pendlay on the GoHeavy forums:

"Funny you should mention upper back development. After I got home from the Junior Worlds in Romania, I had a conversation with several people about the differences between those on the medal stand, and those placing 10th or below, which was, often, precisely the differences between the Medal winners and the American lifters.

You couldnt tell a medal contender from a B session lifter by leg size. At least I couldnt, not thighs, hamstrings, or butt. Some of the lifters with the most impressive legs were either B session lifters, or bottom of the A session. Many of the medal winners didnt have huge legs.

What I found to be the most noticable quality that seperated medalists from lower caliber lifters was general leanness, and upper back/posterior delt muscle. That really stood out to me while in the warmup room and seeing various lifters without their shirts on and with singlets pulled down. The top guys were LEAN usually, and, VERY musculasr all across the upper back... not neccessarily high traps, but just very thick and muscular on the backs of the shoulders, around the shoulder blades, between the shoulder blades, etc...

I discussed with Dr. Michael Hartman for about an hour, what to do with this observation? Does this mean the winners tend to be people who naturally are muscular in this area? Is a slightly different pull or other technical difference in the top lifters building muscle in this area? Would it pay to do extra "non-weightlifting" exercises to build this area, like barbell or dumbell rows? I believe the chinese do a fair amount of dumbell rows...

I am not sure what the answer is, maybe a combination of things. But I am glad to hear this observation from anther person... "

Monday, December 21, 2009

1988 Olympics: 90kg Class C&Js

More footage from that mystery DVD I have. I still don't know whom it belongs to.

Somewhere out there, waiting to be converted from VHS, is some rare footage of Antonio Krastev and others lifting in NY area competitions. Stay tuned in the next couple of months.

What You Need to Do

You need to do two things to get stronger: add weight and do more reps. The answer has never been: lift light weights for high reps, or lift heavy weights for few reps. The answer remains: Lift heavy weights for high reps. - Dan John

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Push Press

Supposed training of Misha here.

Gelnn Pendlay on the push press:

My advice on push press is to #1 get your squat and front squat up. That's a whole other thread, but it's safe to say that you wont be push pressing 300lbs with the same squat numbers that you are push pressing 230lbs with. You'll need strong legs.

When I push pressed 440lbs, I had done 770 for a triple on the Olympic style squat wearing only a belt, and 606lbs for a set of 10 without even wearing a belt. Rob McAdams push pressed 375lbs weighing about 200lbs, he squatted 400lbs for a set of 20 OL style with no belt, and did front squats with 440lbs and more wearing only a belt. It's hard for me to imagine a 300lb push press with much less than a 500lb OL style squat done raw. I'm sure its been done by some freak, hell some freak out there probably push presses his max squat. But if you're aiming for 300lbs on the push press, I'd aim for 500lbs on a raw squat done deep and a stance close to what you are push pressing with.

Now as to training the push press itself... I would do them twice per week if you are no good at them, if your technique is bad. Do this just to learn the movement. If you are skilled at them, cut it back to once. But do overhead work 3 times per week if you can. Do a variety of movements. Military press, push jerks, even snatch grip push press, and regular push press with the bar behind the neck. Benching once per week won't hurt you, but if you bench too much, it cuts down on what you can do overhead, at least in my opinion.

A good workout emphasizing the push press might look like this


5x5 on military press


3x5 on push press


3x5 on bench press

3x5 a little lighter on some other overhead movement, like push jerk, or snatch grip push press

Start conservative, build and after 4 or 5 weeks change the reps or one of the exercises.

For variety, you can do complex exercises... for instance, on one of the days, you can use a weight you can do around 4 or 5 reps on the military press, press it for 3 reps then push press it for 3 more, for 3 or 4 sets.

Or, if you know how to jerk, take a weight you can push press say 5 times, push press it for 3, then jerk it for 2 or 3 more... again for 3 or 4 sets.

These complexes are killers! Don't overdo them.

That's basically it, get your squat up, and practice overhead work. Its nice to see someone interested in my favorite upper body exercise. A big bench is cool, but there is always the equipment controversy. A big jerk is simply a thing of beauty to me, but there are always those who scream "it's all technique" and dismiss the strength needed to do it. But a big push press, I don't know, to me, its just the absolute coolest expression of shoulder/arm strength there is. I think a big push press is a damn cool thing.

Just remember that the real "meat" of a program isn't so much the exercises or the days of the week... it's how you plan/approach your progression. Make sure you keep good track of what your doing... try to make small steady jumps on your weights, try to do things in some sort of systematic way and not be jumping all over the place. And last, listen to your own body, use your own head! Listening to others is good, but if you listen TOO MUCH, and don't think for yourself, you'll end up flying all over the place always trying the latest greatest thing. Pay attention to what is working for you, and what isn't. Make changes in a reasonable fashion, know why you are changing, and change one thing at a time so you can monitor the results.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why do you Squat?

“I love to squat. When I started lifting at age 13 I had one of those cement filled weight sets. There were a few iron plates that my dad let me have. I had no squat rack so I had to clean and press the weight overhead to squat. Fuck, I did floor presses before anyone, including me, knew what they were because I had no bench either. When I was around 18, I went to a friend’s gym and wanted to do a Tom Platz squat workout. I hit 315 for 15 and 225 for 25. Then I staggered outside and went down on all fours puking for at least a half hour. I couldn't walk right for a week and had to crawl up the stairs to my bedroom while my Mom heckled me from the bottom of the stairs.” EFTs

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2009 Senior Metropolitan Championships

Video from the Senior Mets:

Full Playlist here:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Benefits and Application of Jump Squats

One exercise I am frequently asked about is jump squats. I use jump squats fairly often with athletes because they are quite a versatile movement and can be used to accomplish quite a few different things. They can build strength-speed, build power, improve rate of force development, and of course build up plyometric capacities. In addition they can be used at the beginning of a workout for no other purpose then to increase muscle motor unit recruitment and enhance subsequent strength work.
-Kelly Baggett

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The Repetition Method.

"In the 1970s, the great Olympic lifter Vasili Alexeyev used a variation of the repetition method for part of his training, sometimes doing power cleans non-stop for 2-3 minutes. He would do various hybrid exercises: front squat and push press, squats with the bar on his hack and drop squats, etc. The bar weight was light but would work every muscle cell. He would do a warmup by throwing a 220 pound barbell over his head backward 100 times. Then after practicing the snatch for over 2 hours, he would spend an hour in the pool, lifting his legs hundreds of times to strengthen his abdomen. Then he would leap merely 1000 times, He would use many exercises to gain great strength arid to raise his work capacity, and of course his total."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Records

If you've ever wondered about the best lifts ever, here's a list.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Five Things I Learned from Doug Hepburn

Great advice from a strongman legend

by Charles Poliquin

Long before anabolic steroids became a common shortcut in the Iron Game, there were several amazing athletes who achieved Herculean levels of maximal strength. Their formula for success contained the optimal mix of principle-based training, sound nutrition, adequate recovery and a drive to improve. One such athlete was Doug Ivan Hepburn.

Hepburn was born in Vancouver, Canada, on September 16, 1926. Born with a clubfoot and cross-eyed, Hepburn took up weight training when he was 15 and overcame his disabilities to become incredibly strong - by age 18 he could squat 340 pounds, bench press 260 and curl 140. Many strength historians argue that at his peak Hepburn was the strongest man in the world. Here's why.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Five Lessons I Learned from Pierre Roy by Charles Poliquin

Although the Eastern Bloc countries, especially Bulgaria, have gotten the most press about their weightlifting methods (and, unfortunately, their drug suspensions), in Canada Pierre Roy is considered one of the most accomplished weightlifting coaches of the past several decades. Case in point: He coached two athletes at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, one being Jacques Demers. Demers won the silver medal over Dragomir Cioroslan, who went on to become the head weightlifting coach for the United States. Pierre also coached several more athletes who competed in the World Championships, such as Denis Garon, who clean and jerked 490 pounds as a heavyweight, and more than 50 athletes who competed in the Canadian Championships.

Roy is a man of a few words but is very precise in what he means. Like all geniuses, he simplifies things and loves to use principles to dictate training orientation. Here are five lessons that he impressed upon me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another split

Pulled this from a collection of Glen Pendlay writings:

I've even seen people who after a while on a 3 day a week program, switched to a 4 day split, doing squats and pressing exercises on Monday and Thursday, back and pulling exercises on wed and Saturday. I don't see this as retreating from the principles of the 5 by 5 at all. you are STILL working your whole body, or very nearly so, every training day. squats work the back, they work everything... and deadlifts or stiff legged deadlifts work the legs, not as much as squats, but they still work them. this is in fact the favored program of mike stone, probably the best ex phys guy on the planet and former head of sports science at the Olympic training center.

the main thing is to go about it in a systematic way.
one of my lifters, josh wells, who made the junior world team in 2004 in weightlifting, and can jerk close to 400lbs weighing around 180lbs as a teenager, did this program about a year ago in his "off season" to try to gain some general strength.

Monday, squats (5 sets of 3), push presses (3 sets of 5) then glute ham raises or reverse hypers

Wednesday, snatch pulls (5 sets of 2), powercleans (5 sets of 2), chin-ups (5 sets of 10 with extra weight, hanging from a 2" bar)

Thursday, front squats (6 sets of 2), push jerks (5 sets of 2), military press (3 sets of 5), then glute ham raises or reverse hypers.

Saturday, powersnatches (5 sets of 2), clean pulls (5 sets of 5), barbell rows, (5 sets of 5)

obviously this is geared toward Olympic weightlifting.... this is just as representative of the 5 by 5 training style as the simpler 3 day programs... because we did it systematically, sets across instead of failure, gradually moving the weights up, gradually adding then subtracting volume of training to force the body to adapt

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Splits and Programs

There seems to be a rough division between those who split train and those who do whole body workouts - the first being bodybuilders, the second strength athletes. But I've also noticed some fine examples of elite lifters/strength athletes who break things up, sometimes just for parts of their training years.

Here's a quote from Derek Poundstone, a super-strong guy who had the 2008 WSM in reach before slipping on the final atlas stone:
What is your current training split like?

Monday is shoulders, traps and abs, Tuesday is arms and cardio, Wednesday is usually off, Thursday is lower body (squats and deadlift), Friday is chest and back every other week and Saturday is Event training with CT Strength. (link)

Dan John offers his world famous One Lift A Day (OLAD) which I read as the feral child version of split routines, ancient in origin, and clearly un-sustainably intense... I've yet to try it, though I have done a spontaneous one-lift-day (just back squats) and it was great. Hard work that for some reason, that day, was exactly what I wanted.

I posted masochistically appealling hybrid of Dinosaur and Westside before... there's two routines in there that are pretty full body but interesting in the break up.

Of course a classic split like push/pull is still sort of full body if you are doing lifts like deads , cleans, rows, presses, and squats.

Only so much time but so many choices...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

LBH Schedule Updates

There will be no weightlifting at LBH on Friday, April 3rd.

Weightlifting will start late (~7:00PM) on Monday, April 6th.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

2009 Australian National Club Championships

From the QWA website:http:

The 2009 Australian National Club Championships Webcast
See all of the action LIVE at

Commencing at 09:00am Saturday March 28th, Australian Eastern Standard Time. In EST, that's Friday, March 27th at 7:00PM.

FYI, LBH will NOT be open this Friday evening.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Protein Requirements for Strength and Power Athletes

"So here’s my recommendation, strength/power athletes should aim for 1.5 g/lb protein per day (again, this is about 3.3 g/kg for the metrically inclined). So for a 200 lb strength/power athlete, that’s 300 grams of protein per day. For a 300 lber, that’s 450 grams per day."

From Lyle MacDonald.

Meal Plan for 300 g/day Intake Meal Plan for 450 g/day Intake
Meal 1 2 whole eggs, 4 egg white, 1/2 cup shredded 2% cheese, 1 cup 1% milk 3 whole eggs, 4 egg whites, 3 cup shredded 2% cheese, 1.5 cups 1% milk
Meal 2 5 oz. chicken breast, 1/2 cup cheese 7.5 oz. chicken breast, 3/4 cup cheese
Meal 3 8.5 oz. ground beef 12.5 oz. ground beef
Meal 4 5 oz. canned tuna, 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese 7.5 oz canned tuna, 3/4 cup 2% cottage cheese
Meal 5 5 oz. chicken breast, 2 cups 1% milk 7.5 oz. chicken breast, 1 cup 2% cheese, 1 cup milk
Meal 6 1 cup 2% cottage cheese, 30 grams protein powder 1.5 cups 2% cottage cheese, 45 grams protein powder

Full article with backing info, studies, reasoning, etc., here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Child's Play

Alexeyev breathed deeply as he gazed upon the room. He said, "I have done it with my own hands. I have a talent for carpentry. I have clever hands--I have what peasants used to call 'hands of gold.' I have laid the bricks in much of the courtyard walls. I have cleaned stones for my garden. I have built stools and tables here. I have built this room." At the rear of the building is a gazebo that Alexeyev also built with his golden hands. It contains a Ping-Pong table and a chinning bar. Asked if he used the chinning bar in his training, he looked surprised and scoffed, "Nvet. It is for the children, but even they are too wise to use it."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Classic Complexes

My conviction that Alexeyev's priceless experience will not be lost was strengthened when I saw that at the end of 1976 he conducted a trial get-together at the Podolsk sports base to train the young heavyweiahts. I won't try to describe in depth Alexevev's method (he has written about it in his dissertation as a science degree candidate) but I'll explain the reason for its great effectiveness.

Usually the athletes lift barbells and then immediately drop them. This takes several seconds. According to Alexeyev's method, the sportsman finds himself under the weight for a period of two or three minutes. The entire organism must sustain this prolonged effort, as the athlete completes several consecutive exercises without letting go of the equipment. The weight of the barbell is relatively light, but the varied work with it affects every muscle cell.

By the end of the two-week session, all Alexeyev's students had increased their bodyweights as a result of muscle growth and at the same time they'd increased their abilities. Here is what Sultan Rachmanov said: "At first I trained in mv own way. I didn't believe that Alexeyev's advice would help me. Now I believe ... My shoulders, my back, everything is filling up with strength. There is this to consider. Not everything will come my way, but I'll take the most important! (At the USSR championships in Karaganda, Rachmanov, who up until then had not been a 400 man, became the third prize winner with the distin- guished sum of 420 kilograms. In the fall this athlete took the USSR record in the snatch. And who is to know, perhaps he will be the successor to the glory of the hero of the Munich and Montreal Olympic Games!)

Each of Alexeyev's students noted that thanks to this unusual system of working they have acquired a good amount of self-confidence in their own strength. Yes, and I too have noticed with what incredible ease the athletes picked up the 160-kilo barbell in the snatch at the end of the training session.

The 1976 annual Heavy Athletics ran a detailed article which Alexeyev called "The Experience of My Training.' In this first scientific publication of the strongest athlete, the author refutes some unsound (although they've existed for ten years) methodological concepts about how to develop strength in athletes of the heavyweight class.

He writes: "In the first years I trained according to the accepted methods. But then, from 1966, I decided to significantly increase the size of my training weight. This immediately brought results. By the end of 1967, I had gained 32.5 kilograms in my triple sum total and by the end of 1968--42.5 kilograms. For athletes of the superheavyweight class, the average rate of growth had by this time significantly increased."

Vasili includes a great variety of exercises in his training. "Besides exercises in the-· snatch, jerk, or press, pull and squats, I have used many other exercises with the barbell and weights. Bends with the barbell on the shoulders; bends with the barbell on the shoulders while Iving on the 'horse' bracing one's hips, with the legs secured; jumps with the barbell on your shoulders; press on crossbars with weights; bending and unbending the arms in the elbow joints; squats on one leg; throwing the bar upward and behind; and other exercises. In addition, in the first year of the time span analyzed, these exercises consisted of, on the average, 360 lifts in the preparatory period and 158 lifts during the competition period. In the second year, correspondingly 841 and 506 lifts, and in the third 880 lifts a month."

From The Science of Winning.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yuri Zakharevich - 210kg at 110kg Snatch (1988)

Undoubtedly one of the greatest lifts ever.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jeff Scott's Thoughts on the Jerk

I trade e-mails quite frequently with Jeff Scott where we discuss weightlifting technique and training progressions. Below is a recent exchange we had about the jerk and foot placement.

Q (Me): On stepping through in the jerk: Since the initial movement (dip/drive) needs needs to be as close to vertical as possible, how does one best attain a sufficiently forward foot placement when there should be little movement in the horizontal plane?

It often feels like my foot can only go so far in front relative to where my torso is. Do I need to work on pushing myself forward under the bar once it has been thrown off the shoulders?

A (Jeff): Some would say that since the jerk should be thrust upwards and backwards, there is no need to step forward. Dennis Reno offered photographic evidence vis-a-vis Ilya Illin that showed him with no forward displacement of the front foot. His split was strictly down and to the rear...or at least it appeared so in the photos. Wherein lies the truth?

Joe teaches the step through technique which is predicated, in part, on the assumption that when the weight is very heavy, it will slide forward and the throw will be forward too. If you always throw it up and slightly back, then your forward displacement can be less pronounced. The jerk is very technical and few people practice it enough to become very proficient at it. If you are having technical difficulties in your jerk performance, I would suggest more jerking and more exercises to help the jerk. Make it a movement of emphasis for a twelve-week cycle and see what happens. If you aren't doing any concentrated work on the jerk as a movement unto itself, then it is difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions about your technical issues.

The most important thing is this: do you lose most of your jerks to the front or to the rear? If it is to the front, then you need to step through more. If it is to the rear, you may be stepping too far forward and/or throwing it to the rear too far. I think from observing you that you lose most of your jerks to the front which means you are throwing the weight slightly forward and "short stepping" your split. The weight is not aligned in a vertical plane with your hands-shoulders-hips. The only way to correct this is to mark the platform (chalk, for example) and split to the markings, front, rear and sufficiently sideways, every time you jerk...or throw up and back to the same point every time.

Also, consider this -- what exercises, other than the jerk from rack and C&J do you do to improve your jerk? Are you doing jerk drives? Are you doing jerk supports? Are you doing behind-neck jerks? Any partial front squats? If the answer is none of the former, then you are not doing enough to improve your jerk.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Larry Mintz Memorial - Feb 7

at the Lost Battalion Hall.

What else are you doing on a Saturday morning?

Friday, January 30, 2009

NYC Platform Locator

The following map was put together by that bad apple, Yoon. Find a platform near you:

View Larger Map

Keywords: Manhattan, Olympic Weightlifting, Oly Lift, Bumpers, Platform, NYC, Snatch, Clean, Jerk

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2008 Meets in NY and NYC Area

FDU Open January 17, 2009 @ FDU (Madison, NJ)
Mintz Memorial Meet Feb. 7, 2009@ LBH (Rego Park, NY)
Rudy Sablo Memorial May 3, 2009 @ Garden City
NYC Open September 26th, 2009 @ LBH
Metropolitan Championships October 24th, 2009 @ L B H
Adirondack open November March 29 in Albany, NY
The Dark Dungeon Open III December 13, 2009 @ Totally Fit (Bethpage, NY)