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Showing posts from March, 2008

Arch Madness

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Allez Dabaya!

Watch a nifty little documentary on Vencelas Dabaya, the 2006 69 kg world champion from France (via humble beginnings in Cameroon) here.

My Thoughts on That Heel Thing

Oh boy, here I go....

I remember the first time--it was about 4 years ago--I heard and saw a young assistant strength coach describe this "heels" method of teaching the squat. "Sit back, on your heels, drive through the heels and push the hips through." I had never seen anything like this. Why the overemphasis on the forward pelvic thrust and the slamming of the knees into hyperextension? In all my time around very talented and experienced coaches and athletes, I'd NEVER, EVER had anyone describe the squat in this way.

If you are standing still and just moving up and down with a weight on your back or in your arms to counter-balance you, you can get away with sitting back on your heels. In my opinion and experience, this is an unathletic, unnatural way to squat; and it usually involves little ankle mobility. Some people squat big weights and other swing big bells that way. That's fine if your feet are nailed to the floor.

But if you actually have to mo…

Verrueckte Katzen

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Creepy-Cool Big Dog by Boston Dynamics

Tell me this video doesn't generate some really interesting gut reactions. Who needs Imperial Walkers when you could have an army of these? If you know anything about motor control and locomotion, you'll appreciate this impressive work by Boston Dynamics.

Meet the Bar: Part 2

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Nghiep Dinh, 62 kg bronze medalist at this year's nationals, is one of the most powerful athletes out there. You can see the Cutman's training vids here. Nghiep is often faster than the bar into the hole. When the barbell is 2.26x your bodyweight, it is even more important to make sure the elbows get around fast. If they don't, the bar usually wins.

But when Nghiep gets his elbows around and keeps the bar close, he is able to get a solid receiving position so that even if his timing is a bit off, he is still able to rack the weight.

Watch Nghiep Dinh, at 136 lbs (62 kg), successfully clean and jerk 308 lbs (140 kg). He is fun to watch.

Meet the Bar

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I spent some time this weekend with Catherine Imes and the kettlebell. I had to work on "meeting the bell" when snatching and not letting it bang my forearm. This is a skill; it is about timing arm/wrist action and applying the appropriate force. This will take me some practice to be able to do consistently.

In the barbell clean, there is a similar skill in meeting the bar. Many novice adult lifters have some trouble with this skill, if they focus too much on just diving under the bar, regardless of the weight. Getting under the bar is a skill you need to have if you are going to lift heavier weights. Meeting the bar is also a skill you need, if you don't want to have the bar crash on you with the heavier weights. It is a skill you acquire with light weights. As you become more experienced, you will learn to gauge the depth to which you need to pull yourself under.

Meeting the bar is hard to learn with a PVC pipe, in my opinion. The pipe does not rotate and you…

Friday WOW (Words of Wisdom)

I'm still mired in video and other tasks for a few days. So in the meantime, if you've got CrossFit on the brain, it would do your mind and body good to check out this piece by Greg Everett of The Performance Menu.

Iron Maven vs. The Govenator

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Well, not really. That's me, Jackie Berube and the one and only Sage Burgener mugging for the camera (Coach Burgener was across the venue) when The Govenator himself swooped in, complete with sniffing dogs and body guards, to view the final clean and jerks in the 75 kg women's session. He was gracious enough to present the awards.

Jim Fetters, the Columbus Weightlifting Club's webmaster, has a great bunch of still images up on Flickr. This was my view of the competition.

It was a really long weekend, but a good one. And I made it home just before the ice and 10 inches of snow hit. I will post some highlights of the lifting and a few observations over the next week or so.