Tag Archives: pendlayWOD

Dynamis

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Dynamis is a Greek word that is usually translated as the will to win.  And as a PED, it is without equal.  Dynamis is why some athletes always perform better in a competitive situation.  Getting 2 or 3 lifters together who are lifting similar numbers in the same weight class always leads to improved results.  If you are an 85kg lifter totaling 300kg, there is nothing quite so effective in raising your total to 310kg as training day after day with 2 or 3 lifters who are totaling 310kg. No one likes to lose.

In the book The Lucifer Principle Howard Bloom talks about how rats who lose a fight have lower testosterone, are less aggressive, and actually lose weight.  A similar thing happens to humans.  Wrestlers who lose a match have lower testosterone than those who win. Losing takes a toll on us whether we are rats or humans.  So it seems quite natural that we have an inborn drive to win.

Some athletes quite naturally have more will to win than others.  When eastern block weightlifting coaches used to test young kids to find their suitability for the sport of weightlifting, the tests often included a running event.  They weren’t testing to see how fast the kids could run, they were testing to see how hard they would push themselves.  Would they stop after 2 or 3 laps, or keep running until they were the only one left who hadn’t quit and given up.  Alexander the Great said he did not conquer the known world because he was the best general, or because his armies had outnumbered their enemies, he said it was because his soldiers had Dynamis.  The will to win.

I have noticed something lately in the Pendlay WOD group.  A more competitive atmosphere, even a bit of shit talking from certain people.  I think the lifter with the most Dynamis, or will to win, of anyone I have coached was Donny Shankle.  What set Donny apart wasn’t a big squat or a beautiful jerk, it was a will to win. I don’t think I have seen as strong a will to win either before or since.  But I am starting to see shadows of the same attitude in some lifters in Pendlay WOD.  And I love it!

 

 

 

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Goals

 

Setting goals is one of the most important skills you can have as an athlete. But setting goals is sometimes harder than it sounds.  If the goals are too easily reached, they can actually hold you back instead of motivating you to move forward.  If the goals you set are too difficult they can seem unreachable and discourage you.  Many people recommend setting a big, very difficult to attain main goal, then setting smaller sub-goals that will happen along the way to focus on as you move toward achieving the main goal.

If you are setting a goal for your 2k time on a C2 rower and your current time is 9 minutes, your main goal might be 7 minutes. You might set up sub-goals of 8:30, 8:00, 7:45, and so on clear till you get to your main goal of 7 minutes.

But I think setting sub-goals that are slightly different in nature from your main goal works even better.  It works better because it give you a bit of mental variety and a periodic break from ALWAYS focusing on the same old thing.  For instance when a beginner weightlifter decides he wants to snatch 100 kg, he might set his first sub-goal as a 100kg snatch deadlift.  Obviously you will need snatch deadlift more than 100 to do a 100kg snatch but it is a nice first step.  The second sub-goal might be to back squat 150kg.  A 150kg back squat also does not guarantee the ability to snatch 100, but the snatch deadlift and the squat are strength levels that have to be met and surpassed on the road to a 100kg snatch.  Other sub-goals could be meeting a certain number with the snatch from the hip, or power snatch.

The real trick is to pich sub-goals that are different than the main goal, but not too different.  Different enough that they give you a mental break but not so different that meeting the sub-goals does not move you toward your main goal.

 

 

 

 

 


Exercising verses Training

I recently got to know a woman who is very much like me in many ways.  She is goal oriented and driven in most aspects of life.  But she is clueless when it comes to eating and exercise.  She goes to the gym and puts in the time but does not see the results. She exercises, rather than trains.  And there is a huge difference between the two.

Folks who exercise often do not get results because even they do not know what the goals are. What exactly does it mean to get in shape?  Or to become more fit?   They describe their workout in a similar manner.  They talk about how much time they spent at the gym, or maybe some very rough description of what they did like I walked for a while on the treadmill then I did some weights.

Achieving your goals starts with setting the correct goals.  There is probably no goal more difficult to achieve than the goal of simply looking good with your shirt off or in a bikini.  There is no definitive end point when you can say yes, I did it.  And there are no performance markers along the way that let you know you’re moving in the right direction.  To be successful you have to set performance goals that are easily definable and that can be very accurately measured.  Accurately enough that you can see even very small changes that take place over an extended time.

For my friend that I spoke about earlier, the woman who “exercises” most evening, I would love to tell her to stop exercising and start training.  Pick one or two performance goals and go after those goals like you were an athlete.  Two goals that would be great for a woman who want to be in better shape would be to back squat 135 pounds for a set of 5 and to do a 2k in under 10 minutes.  If she achieved both of these goals the side effect would be far more in terms of health or just being in “good shape” than anything she would ever have achieved just going to the gym and exercising.  One of the reasons is that as soon as you start to focus on concrete goals, you just naturally move away from toxic dietary habits like skipping breakfast or lunch.  Because the consequences move from hazy consequence like “it’s not healthy” to a very real and immediate like, if I don’t get some food down I am going to absolutely die on my 2k tonight, or if I don’t eat I have no chance to get that set of 5 with 100 pounds that I have planned tonight.

And that might be the real secret.  Concrete performance goals make for concrete performance failures.  And no one wants to fail.


Weightlifting Diet addendum III

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My last blog on the weightlifting diet focused on eating the right carbs.  In a nutshell, ditch the bread, pasta, rice, and white potatoes in favor of more nutrient dense and high fiber foods.  Sweet potatoes, squash, zucchinis, carrots and other vegetables like these are much healthier because they contain way more nutrients, are more filling because they contain more fiber.  They also don’t lead to overeating like the “lazy” carbs do.   It is hard to get fat on zucchinis and carrots. It is easy to get fat on bread and pasta.

The weightlifting diet also needs to contain protein.  Just like the carbohydrate choices, your protein choices should be  nutrient dense.  Eggs are a great protein source.   Better if you eat the whole egg including the yoke, even better if  it comes from a free range chicken and not one that lives in a cage and eats only chicken feed.   Chickens that get plenty of exercise and eat a natural diet have a higher percentage of a omega 3 fat versus omega 6 and this helps a hard-traning lifter fight inflammation.

Other nutrient dense protein sources are organ meat and wild game.   Organ meats like liver have some of the densest nutrition of any food and I recommend eating liver  at least every couple of weeks. We had liver once a week the whole time I was growing up, it’s not my favorite but it certainly didn’t kill me to eat it.   Any wild game is usually more nutritious than what you buy at the supermarket.  It is almost always lower fat and the fat it does have will contain a healthier ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats.  Venison, pheasant, quail, and rabbit are all healthy and tasty.

The protein sources that are probably the least healthy are the ones most of us like the best, higher fat cuts of beef and convenient sliced lunch meats.   A good corn fed ribeye steak is probably the tastiest piece of meat you can eat. It is also one of the least healthy. Not only does it have more fat than it should, the ratio of a omega three to omega six is not the greatest.  It’s probably better for you than highly processed meats like most sandwich meats, but is being healthier than salami and pepperoni really enough to recommend it?

Protein is important for the hard training lifter, and should include a variety of protein sources. But cutting down on the lunch meats like pepperoni and salami and eating more wild game and organ meats instead will make you a healthier person and a better weightlifter.

 


Weightlifting Diet Addendum 1

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One of the benefits that you will notice immediately when you cut candy and junk food from your diet is a change in your taste buds.  If you constantly eat candy and crappy food, you will have a drastically decreased ability to taste normal food.  You will NEED crap like tons of salt and sweetener for food to taste good.  This is not normal, and it is not healthy.  After about 10-14 days of no concentrated sweets, and no super salty processed foods like pizza, and your taste buds will revert to their natural ability to taste.  You will find that many foods that you used to eat now taste way too salty.  And foods that you never realized were sweet, start to taste sweet.  Like milk.  If you have not had concentrated sweets for a while regular non- sweetened milk will taste sweet to you as will many things.  And I am not just talking about fruit, but you have to stop eating candy and junk food for a while before you can taste it.

 


Weightlifting Diet

There is no doubt that the diet of an average American stinks.  But as a weightlifter, you shouldn’t be eating like the average American.  How should you eat?  Well, many books have been written about that, but I think I can boil it down to a couple of key rules.

Rule 1:  Do not eat candy or sweets.  This takes zero smarts to figure out.  This includes candy bars, Pop tarts, most breakfast cereals, potato chips, cokes, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and other crap like that.  Including anything that has high fructose corn syrup.  When you start reading labels you will be amazed at how many things are made using this crap.  It is literally everywhere.

Rule 2:  Little as you can of high carb items such as bread, potatoes, corn and rice.  These are filling, but low nutrition foods.  They are also easy and convenient.  Actually too easy convenient, which is why I call them lazy foods.  For many people, if they took junk food and lazy food out of their diets, they would starve.  These are the foods that are making America fat and unhealthy.

Rule 3:  Eat more vegetables of all kinds, except the really high carb ones like potatoes and corn.

Rule 4:  Eat a variety of protein items like meat, nuts, and eggs. 

Now, if you are anything like me, when you first start eating like this you will struggle a little bit because out whole society is based around eating a certain way, with bread being a major part of most meals.  At first it will be a struggle to replace all the bread you used to eat with other items.  It might be hard to maintain your weight at first.  You will find that you have to eat A LOT of vegetables to get enough calories to replace the bread that you used to eat.


I posted this on the Pendlay WOD over the weekend.  Are doing everything possible when it comes to building pulling strength?5961860-orig_orig

In week 2 (starting Monday, October 9) we up the intensity compared to last week. The most important exercise for the next 3-4 weeks is the snatch grip deadlift. This is the heaviest pulling exercise we do, and therefore the one which will provide the biggest and the quickest increases in pulling strength. Pulls, high pulls, and the actual competition lifts assist in transferring this strength into increased bar speed in the snatch and clean but it all starts with brute strength and the deadlift builds that.

One thing that makes the pulling exercises more effective is doing them with an emphasized eccentric. You should try to lower the bar as slow or slower than you raise it. No need to do any super exaggerated 30 second eccentric, we just want to lower the bar either at the same speed or SLIGHTLY slower than we raise it. Usually in practice this means keeping tension on the bar, and not just dropping it. Some of you have seen me comment about breaking eggs, this just means you should imagine that you are setting the bar down on an egg carton, and trying to do so such that the eggs aren’t smashed.

We also want to lower it reverse order of how you raised it, so at the top you will first break slightly at the knee then flex at the hip joint until the bar is past the knee cap then squat till the plates tough the floor. After the plates lightly tough the floor reverse directions by extending the knee until the bar passes the knee cap (and the shins are vertical) then extend the hip on a deadlift, or extend the hip and shrug to finish the rep if it is a pull or high pull.

Doing deadlifts or pulls this way is harder. Sometimes much harder. The last rep or two of a set you might now be able to do it perfectly. Hell you might be hard pressed to do the first rep perfectly. But work as hard as you can to ATTEMPT to do it. Getting stronger is not easy.