Follow by Email

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The righteousness of the iron samurai

If you can read, then you should be reading www.theironsamurai.com . The iron samurai is Nick Horton. he happens to be my BWFF- best weightlifting friend forever.  

First, Nick is an excellent writer , and he has a math degree- proving you can be good with numbers and write well.  I also agree with about 98% of his posts ( hey, I said we were BWFFs, not clones or fraternal twins).  And, his posts involve thinking, reflection, he cites other thinkers( never trust a "guru" who doesn't cite others, because not reading other people's work is a sign of ignorance).  In short, most of the blogs (and even many News articles) I come across a dribble, ranting mental diarrhea , or just restating heresay of others- Nick ,on the other hand ,is original and does analytical thinking, so you'll walk away learning something from his articles. 

Here are a few recent gems:

You Are Not A Unique Flower – You Are A Snowflake – Boring & Ordinary

Although the title makes me think, "dammit, I might be a snowflake, but I'm unique as hell", then stop reading, reading-on lead me to some thoughts I didn't already have. I took a little ride down the river of unknown unknowns ( yes, " unknown unknowns " is a real engineer term) and discovered something. Sometimes the things we think are weaknesses aren't really that important at all, so augment your strengths.  This isn't true for everyone, though I have seen a lot of people come to my gym complaining about some silly little thing that some ass-clown drilled into their head that didn't even matter. Seek truth. For more advanced lifters, your workouts might need to be focused on boring and ordinary things like an s-ton of repetitions in snatch and clean and jerk.

Coaches: Don’t Let Your Athletes Bite Children

This gem was also thought altering. He makes an analogy between violence reduction in society and coaching -- it's better than an analogy you'll find in a Freakonomics book.  Here's my favorite part on "why coaches fail":

"YOUR job is to enforce the structure that makes it all possible.

  • If your athletes have shitty form — that’s your fault.

  • If your athletes can’t do a single chin up — instead, they flail around kipping their shoulders off the bone — that’s your fault.

  • If your athletes end up at a contest pressing out all their snatches — that’s your fault.

  • If your gym atmosphere is negative — that’s your fault

  • If your athletes consistently fail to get better — that’s your fault."

    Yeah, so , this post is very Kaftka-you know read stuff that " wounds and stabs us". His hard words force the reader to look reflectively at themselves. Although pop gyms want to make working out fun, it's our jobs as the guardians of elite weightlifting to enforce structure and get results.  ie Discipline.   It's also why places like Asheville Strength and Risto Sports aren't like the set of the biggest loser, it's the athletes requirement to come in with intrinsic motivation and to follow the structures, to be willing to be disciplined.

    Real Coaches Don’t Make You Shit On Yourself, OR, Safety Is For Pussies?

    This one Segways to my last note on come to the gym with intrinsic motivation.  Nick also shouts out to Ivan Rojas, coach of Risto Sports. Athletes who are successful don't rely on a coach to yell at them, constantly. In my case, I had to accept that my coach was not going to constantly tell me how much he believed in me- I just needed to believe in myself. And, when you fully believe in yourself, everyone believes in you.  


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Two Common styles of Olympic Weightlifting Cleans

Amongst the best weightlifters in the world, there are two dominant styles of cleaning in the clean and jerk.  In this article, you can learn about the key differences and which style may be right for you and/or your athletes.  I’ll also give you visual examples of these styles and examples of countries which employ them most.

As reviewed in previous articles, all modern weightlifting systems (systems being defined as: scientifically based technique and programming, encapsulated by a philosophy of the science) can be traced back to the Soviet System.  The main specialists are Medvedyev and Vorobyev. These styles have roots in the philosophical differences of Medvedyev and Vorobyev.


Style 1:  Complete extension
In this style, the athlete will complete the clean pull almost identical to the snatch.  The lifter will pull the bar well above the mid thigh and complete the extension of the pull.  Just like in the snatch, they pull the bar past the knee then explode upwards with the bar until it reaches the hips. Once, the bar approaches the hips, the athlete quickly turns over the elbows, going under the bar as the bar continues traveling upward.  When the lifter meets the bar on their shoulders, the expert lifter will time the flexion of the bar so they rebound upward with it.

Weightlifting schools which commonly use this are followers of Medvedyev.  Many Olympic medalists from countries like China, Colombia, and Cuba can be seen using this style.   Its important to note that Medvedyev worked closely with China in the 1990’s, when they emerged as a weightlifting power.
Athletes who use this style tend to power clean a higher percentage of their full clean than style 2.

Below is a Video of 48kg Olympic Champion Chen Xiexia cleaning 113kg.  Note that she finishes the extension, before pulling under the bar.  As the bar reaches the hips, her torso is still upright.


Here's another example with Tatyana Kashirina, note when she starts her explosion then pull under:

Style 2: Pop and drop -- Pull to above knee, then pull under
In this style, the lifter pulls the bar to 2-3 inches above the knee, then begins the elbow turnover into the full front squat position, then explodes out of the hole, and stands-up with the bar.  Note, after the lifter catches the bar, they must use a reflex reaction of the legs along with timing of the bar flexion.

This is seen often in followers of Vorobyev.  Some Russian and Kazakh lifters employ this style such as Dimitry Klokov  and Ilya Ilyin.   Some lifters from South America, such as Neysi Dejomes of Ecuador a Youth world Champion who has competed for Risto Sports at the Arnold, use this style.  Interestingly, her coach is also a Russian Professor Emeritus of the Vorobiev school. 

Here is a video of Dimitry Klokov, Olympic Silver Medalist, who is very successful in this style. Note, that he’s already initiating the pull under by the time the bar is just below his hips.  Unlike Chen Xiexia in style 1, his body is tilted slightly backward when the bar is above mid thigh:


It should also be noted that lifters of this style will all "hit" at slightly different heights, some will be just above the knee, some will be closer to just below mid-thigh

Anecdotal story: At the last Risto Sports USAW competition held at Risto Sports Headquarters,  I spoke with Yasha Kahn( who was instrumental in bringing both Dimitry Klokov and Ilya Ilyin to the US for seminars) about where Klokov and Ilyin hit.  He described that, although both lifters believed they hit at the same spot on the leg before turning over, one would hit a little lower, one a little higher.

Side by Side comparison of the two styles
For your viewing pleasure, here is a side by side comparison of the two styles.  Style 2, what I'm calling "pop and drop", is illustrated by a sequence of Dimitry Klokov, photos by Rob Macklem.   Below him is myself doing style 1, what I am calling a "full extension" (Yes, I'm audaciously using photos of myself).  The differences are really clear in the second photo of the sequences.  We are at the same phase of the lift, yet, the bar is at my chest, while the bar is at Klokov's hips. Both are assumed to be around 90% of max lifts.
Comparison of two different viewing styles of clean and jerk.  Dimitry Klokov photos by Rob Macklem. Gwendolyn Sisto photos by Risto Sports


Arguments on which style is better or more efficient? 

Certainly, in the pop and drop style (style#2), the lifter is putting less work (energy) into the pull. Since you only need to catch the bar in a rack position, vs an overhead squat in the snatch, the idea is to only pull the bar as high as you need.  And, since the lifter is pulling actively only to just above the knee, the pull should take less energy than in style 1.

BUT, what about standing up with the bar?

Critics of the pop and drop style will argue that there is too much loss of acceleration by dropping into the squat position after pulling just above the knee -- translating to less energy available to rebound out of the hole in the racked position.  It is also a difference of seeing style 1 as allowing the lifter to follow through with the motion versus abruptly transitioning to the pull under in style 2.

Think about it...
In the full extension style (style 1), the lifter is pulling the bar higher, so the potential energy of the system will be higher at the top of the pull vs style 2.   If the lifter achieves an elastic collision with the bar-- that is they catch the bar perfectly with the hamstrings flexed, then extending as the bar springs upward-- the lifter will have more energy available to ride the bar up into a standing position. In short, you can pull the bar a little higher so its easier to stand-up with.

Which style should you or your athletes use:
Simple: whichever style you can execute flawlessly.  This will depend on your start position, which in turn depends on your body's conformation - the angles between your hips, knees, and ankles.

For me, personally, I hate style 2.  I tried it. Some days I would miss cleans with 80%, and it was no matter of leg strength. I felt like the bar was too far away from me and crashing on me. I felt that the reflex reaction was less natural, and I felt a loss of connection with the bar.

I find that style 1, the full extension, comes naturally to me.  By doing the full extension, I can point my knees out in the clean pull, by pointing my knees out in the pull I can initiate more power from my glutes and hamstrings, and, lately, when I rack a bar I will bounce right up with it.  I'm also fairly small build  (I have tiny girly wrists, my feet are small for my height), long legs, shorter torsos, and average length arms. If I was an anatomy geek, I would probably detail how the shape of my hips joints result in my need to point my knees out to get maximum hamstring recruitment, like many lifters on the Chinese National Team.

On the other hand, there is a lifter at my gym, Jesse, who does style 2 like a champ.  From day 1 of learning to clean, he just naturally starts to go into the pull under just past the knees. It works for his mechanics--shoulders on the broad side, points his toes straight in the start position.

My advice to coaches is to be aware of these differences-- that your lifters will have anatomical differences that will bias them towards one style or another.  And, with in each style, there will be a little variation lifter to lifter.  The most interesting part is that both styles follow the same general principles- keep the bar close to you, turnover the elbows quickly, time the bar with the extension of your legs out of the bottom rack position.

Popular Posts

Risto Sports: Official Sponsor of USA Weightlifting

Risto Sports: Official Sponsor of USA Weightlifting
USAW national team member in Risto Singlet

Carlos Andica training with Coach Ivan at Risto Sports

Carlos Andica training with Coach Ivan at Risto Sports

Ivan in the Warm-up room with the Andica Brothers

Ivan in the Warm-up room with the Andica Brothers

Arnold, Carlos & Joni Andica in Front of Risto Sports banner

Arnold, Carlos & Joni Andica in Front of Risto Sports banner

Oscar Figueroa,Olympic Silver Medalist, World medalist, approves of Risto's

Oscar Figueroa,Olympic Silver  Medalist, World medalist, approves of Risto's
Pictured at Salitre with Oscar Figueroa in center. We will be proudly be sponsoring Oscar with a pair of Risto shoes.

Risto sport's Leidy Solis- PAN AM Champion 2009

Risto sport's Leidy Solis- PAN AM Champion 2009
Leidy in winning form, wearing her Risto weightlifting shoes. Congratulations Leidy!

Exceeding expectations - www.ristosports.com

Exceeding expectations - www.ristosports.com
Classic weightliftng shoe design with modern accents

Coach Jonny Pan AM champ

Coach Jonny Pan AM champ
Afternoon coach, doing pwr cleans while his lifters finish up

More wild custom shoes

More wild custom shoes
note pawprints

Abs

Abs
More on Facebook

Custom Weightlifting shoe

Custom Weightlifting shoe
Made to customer specifications, detailed embroidery

Custom Youth Sizes available!

Custom Youth Sizes available!
Little Gwen wears these for technique work in the gym. She also likes to match mommy and daddy in the gym. Lifting time is family time!

Total Pageviews

Future Champion- Tough lifters wear pink!

Future Champion- Tough lifters wear pink!
Gwendolyn Rojas getting ready to snatch 60kgs at 20kg bodyweight and 4 years old.

Training in Bulgaria - Gwen and Coach Zdravco Stoichov

Training in Bulgaria - Gwen and Coach Zdravco Stoichov
Stoichov is coach of Peschalov, Georgiev, etc. Also of key interest: Similar to USA lifters missing out on their chance to medal at the 1980 Olympics , at the time of the boycotted '84 Olympic Games, Stoichkov outlifted the LA Games Gold Medalist at the Friendship Games/ Druzhba Games. The Druzhba Games were held in 1984 by Eastern bloc countries not participating in LA.

Ivan and Eric, the speedskater

Ivan and Eric, the speedskater
After a hard work out, Ivan and Eric go summertime cycling in Maine. Eric is a competitive Speedskater and a proud owner of weightlifting shoes. Ahhh ...nothing like summers in Maine!!

Gewichtheben - training at the German Olympic training center in Frankfurt am der Oder

Gewichtheben - training at the German Olympic training center in Frankfurt am der Oder
Me with the German Junior Team and Coach/German Olympian Lars Betker

Coach Burgener Shoe

Coach Burgener Shoe
Portion of all sales got to Charity. A perfect shoe for our CrossFit friends! A wonderfully patriotic, Americana themed shoe and T-shirt. GO USA!!!

Size perspective for youtube video

Size perspective for youtube video
In Beijing, junior lifter

Botev stops by Slavia

Botev stops by Slavia
Gwen, Stefan Botev (multi-time Olympic Medalist and world champion), and Ivan

Old Stuff - early Risto Weight lifting Shoes

Old Stuff - early Risto Weight lifting Shoes

Training in Kennedy, Bogota

Training in Kennedy, Bogota

Beijing - Gongti Area

Beijing - Gongti Area
Gwen lifting at second training location in Beijing near Workers Stadium, Gongti

Sylvia, Bulgarian Junior lifter, wearing Botev shoes

Sylvia, Bulgarian Junior lifter, wearing Botev shoes
Schoolage Champ, one of Stoichov's newer lifters. Sylvia also trains in Botev shoes. Her pair is also several years old and has lasted over 18K reps per year!

Wrestling World Champion (Greco) Nikolay Gergov working out in Slavia (BG), me in background

Wrestling World Champion (Greco) Nikolay Gergov working out in Slavia (BG), me in background
Nikolay Gergov is a Bulgarian Wrestling World Champion - Greco Roman 66kg category. Nikolai is already naemd to the 2008 Bulgarian Olympic Team. He is also competing at a meet at the Colorado Springs US OTC later this month (FEB 08). Anyhow, Nikolai just stops by for a workout in Slavia. He saw Ivan and I working out and asked Ivan for some technique coaching.

Lifters in Bucharest

Lifters in Bucharest

Good Leather Smells good

Good Leather Smells good
Really, this was a Candid photo..."wow, this smells good", says Little Gwen

Choayang Ti Yu Chang - Ivan with chinese junior lifters

Choayang Ti Yu Chang - Ivan with chinese junior lifters

Me with Blessed Udoh, in Spain (DEC 2004)

Me with Blessed Udoh, in Spain (DEC 2004)
Blessed won the silver medal in 48kg at the 2001 World Championships representing Nigeria. She also trained in Bulgaria for the 2004 Olympics. Sadly to report that she died in Nigeria, last year.

Spain- Ivan and Miguel Borrazas

Spain- Ivan and Miguel Borrazas
Our good friend Miguel has coached Spain's national team.

Training Bogota

Training Bogota

Ivan with Coach Ediberto Barbosa, fmr Col natl team

Ivan with Coach Ediberto Barbosa, fmr  Col natl team

Mock Competition in Bogota

Mock Competition in Bogota
Gwen out snatches the challenger

Rick Bucinell, breaking master world record in Risto's!

Rick Bucinell, breaking master world record in Risto's!

Ivan arm wrestling Peschalov

Ivan arm wrestling Peschalov
My husband "attempting" to arm wrestle Peschalov with his good arm. Ivan remarked "Wow, he's strong..he was really trying to arm wrestle me" ..no kidding ....ha ha ha

Belts, singlets, knee and wrist wraps. Custom styles available

Little Gwen doing workout with new lifters

Little Gwen doing workout with new lifters

Team USA with Risto donated gear at 2010 University World Championships

Team USA with Risto donated gear at 2010 University World Championships
Me lifting for Team USA. We won 15 medals, Ivan was Assistant Coach to Team USA. Risto Sports donated gear such as USA polos and t-shirts. Got to represent our country well!

Risto Sports,Order at:

http://www.ristosports.com/
info@ristosports.com

(207) 319-7607

Training, shoes, singlets, knee wraps, belts, straps
Eliot, ME

Tanya Morillas - 2004 in Spain

Tanya Morillas - 2004 in Spain
Training session at Almerimar. Subsequently, Tanya has been on Spanish national teams.

Dare Alabi , 77kg lifter (Nigeria)

Dare Alabi , 77kg lifter (Nigeria)
Nigerian lifter, Dare, lifting in Spain

warming up power cleans

warming up power cleans

Eliot, ME: Our team , our gym, some of our trophies

Eliot, ME: Our team , our gym, some of our trophies
My husband and I with the weightlifters we train.

Pink Weightlifting Shoes

Pink Weightlifting Shoes