Saturday, December 08, 2007

That extra 5%

Jeff Wittmer won the 94 kg weight class at the American Open and also won best male lifter for that event with 156kg snatch/190kg c&j. Jeff is currently the 4th ranked male weightlifter in the US and competed in the Pan American Games this summer. He was the heaviest male to hit an over-double bodyweight clean and jerk at 190 kg.

His next quest is 200 kg (his best is 197 kg in competition I think, and the current American record is 205 kg, set by Tom Gough in 1999). Jeff made 190 with relative ease and then took 200 kg on his second attempt. While 10 kg might not seem like a lot--it is only 5% at these weights--it can be a significant difference. Notice that you can see the top of Jeff's head on the right; that is the barbell bending more under the stress of the extra 10 kg. So in addition to the extra weight, Jeff now has to deal with probable changing barbell mechanics as he dips, changes directions and drives the weight off his shoulders. At these weights, the lifter looks to time the depth and the speed of dip to perfection, capturing the whip of the barbell, and driving it high enough to wedge himself under the bar.

When the video is slowed to 1/16th of normal speed, we can see the difference in overall speed and change of direction with the 190 vs the 200. A mere 5% is all it takes to challenge this athlete to his physical limits. This is one mega-plyometric endeavor, that pushes a lifter's torso stability and leg power to the limit. Go Jeff go. Get that 200 kg clean and jerk in 2008.

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