Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shane: The Not-Thin Man

I had the great pleasure of working with two-time Olympian, Shane Hammond a few weeks ago. He is one of the most humble, affable elite athletes I have ever known. And grocery shopping with Shane is a complete riot.

Shane is built to lift. Maybe 5' 8" and well over 300 lbs, he has the long torso and short femur/tibia combo that are the dream of every weightlifting coach. Both Sage and I have longer femurs than this dude. And he's not just strong; he's also powerful and flexible. Take a gander at the calf musculature and squat positions.

Thin Man Update

Congrats to The Thin Man for making the USVBA Youth Continental Team (alternate for the A2 Team)! He still has much work to do, but has the long-term perspective in his head. Filling out that now 6' 8" frame and creating powerful, coordinated movement in a new playing position has been challenging, especially since the high school season has started. We had put a solid 10 lbs on him, but that melted away with the high school practice schedule. More calories, more calories. He is only a junior, so the hormones will kick in at some point. I am very proud of him for getting in three one-hour lifting sessions each week (before practice), so he can maintain the strength he has gained since last September.

Here is a video of The Thin Man first learning the front squat/push press combo back in November. This is one of the staples in his program, along with bodyweight squats, hex bar deadlifts, single leg squats, multi-directional lunges and step ups. How many 6' 8" dudes have this kind of ankle/hip mobility? Many more could, if given the time and the opportunity to learn. Good foundations are the key to long-term athletic development.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Visions of Eight

If you have never seen or heard of the the movie "Visions of Eight" you are in luck. Some wonderful person appears to have put several segments of the movie, which is seriously out of print, up on YouTube. This is a fantastic documentary of the '72 Olympic Games in Munich, as captured by eight different directors. I have embedded the part on weightlifting, "The Strongest," for you. It was directed by Mai Zetterling, the only female of the eight. Hard core weightlifting fans will recognize the superheavyweights that are featured. Which athlete was a librarian for his day job?

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Anyone figure out the gender of the blonde? Anyone able to "duck hop" like the dude at the beginning? I find this segment to be very different from any other sport movies. Simply fascinating and wonderful. If you can score a copy of the whole movie, I highly recommend it.