I’ve just spent a really interesting weekend being taught how to lift again by an Olympic silver medalist. It’s not often you can say that you were in a room with someone who holds one of those precious items, and even rarer that he’s willing to show you everything he knows, so naturally I thought I’d blog about it. We on the course had two days with the guy, and he was cool enough to allow idiots like me to take him aside and ask him questions about how to coach people, what percentage should be Olympic lifting, what percentage should be standard strength lifting and so on. Some of the answers really surprised me, but made a lot of sense. As with anyone who is really in the know, this guy was more than willing to share pretty much everything he knew with us with no difficulties. I must have done the guys head in, we all sat down for dinner and a couple of pints in the evening and I just peppered him with questions. Then we met for breakfast and I started again. One of the lads on the course had it right: “can we bottle what you know?” He also had lots of info to share about youth training in weightlifting including a video of a 15 year old non weightlifter (actually an ice-hockey player) cleaning and split jerking 80kgs, kids as young as 7 learning the movements of the snatch and clean and some great games and drill for kids to learn weightlifting. That’s the sport of weightlifting as opposed to powerlifting (which is a misnomer FYI).
If you’ve read up on functional training then you’ll know one of two things. Firstly, that most of what’s written is bollocks, and secondly, that you don’t really understand what it is. No one can, there’s literally too much info out there, most of which has nothing to do with being functional. It’s a nice buzz word now to say that you train functionally, y’know, pulling cars, doing farmers walks, doing 100,000 burpees, climbing walls. Maybe that’s one definition. The best definition I’ve heard of functional training is that the body works as a unit the way it’s supposed to, with no flexibility issues, strength through the joints, balance and coordination. The way to get to that level is surprisingly simple. Do complex, multi joint movements, strengthen weaknesses, stretch and loosen tighnesses.
I also came to a conclusion over the weekend that really did my head in and has been bothering me every time I think of training for about 2 months. I am going to have to totally revamp the entire coaching process of how we do resistance training and conditioning. This is the worst news ever for me, it’s a massive job. Basically my problems are manifiold, but I’ll try to put a few of them down, mostly so I can read them back to myself.
1) There is an attendance problem. Not that people have problems attending, but because we’re not a traditional sport’s team with a match on Saturday, people can attend when they want. This is fine for casual trainers but not so good for fighters or competitive guys as phases of physical training (strength, conditioning) have to be managed. One night off for a fighter throws the whole process.
2) People do the things they like most. I gave someone a programme that I wanted them to complete about 2 months ago, a huge part of which was the deadlift. About 1 day’s deadlifting has been done since. However the benching has been done in great amounts, because he likes that.
3) When no one is looking, people go through the motions. They’ve been in work all day, they’re tired, if something is on a piece of paper for them to do, they just do it to get it done. Not always ideal.
So basically I need a few things to happen
1) My wife to divorce me. This would allow me to live in the gym in one of the dressing rooms, and work lots more hours one to one with everyone.
2) A new coach to emerge from the woodwork. I shall call him mini me, and he can do all of my donkeywork. Actually if 1) happened as well, he could move into the gym too and we could be like The Odd Couple. Think of the hilarity!
3) The government to sit down with Stephen Hawking and through a combination of science and robotic vocals to create a new day, with 6 more hours or so in it for me to coach.
Since none of those is likely to happen anytime soon (well, except for No.1) the only option left is for a structural revamp of the conditioning programme. How will I do this? I just don’t know. All I know is that I want to produce the strongest, fittest athletes I can, so I think that we can all expect to see changes in the way things are done. However just to cover a few bases I’ll continue to e-mail Hawking every day.
Anyway enough of my problems. Tomorrow I’m strength testing the fight team again and expecting to see some improvements from most if not all. That’s at 6pm. I’ll stick some results up to see if there’s been improvements. I’ll have to code them and do them anonymously though to protect their identities.