The guys and I have all learned quite a bit over the last 12 weeks of training, and will continue to learn more and more from Coach whenever we see him. Here are just a few of the things that I/we have learned:
- The most obvious thing was summed up nicely at dinner after our competition: "What we didn't know when we started lifting could fill a book...and what we thought we knew could fill an entire parking lot." Our YouTube education led us to believe a ton of stuff that had to be corrected once we started working with coach.
- Your best lifts happen when you're tired: the endless volume we experienced each week caused insane fatigue in our bodies. Coach said that this would force us to not try and muscle our way through the lifts and instead would force us to rely on technique. This held true even on the day of the meet where we went through a very vigorous warm-up that made me exhausted...and then helped me smoke my lifts. My 90kg snatch felt like a peanut.
- There's no such thing as enough food or sleep or caffeine or creatine when you're on a Soviet System weightlifting program.
- The "first pull" and the "double knee bend" that American coach's are so fond of talking about aren't really things. The way the bar comes off the ground is secondary to the position you're in when the bar is at your knees. Re-bending your knees isn't something you should worry about: just keep pulling.
- Speaking of the Soviet System, what we thought we know was all bullshit. Even the Soviets don't actually use the Soviet System anymore because everybody thinks they are smarter than the system. It works.
- GET YOUR KNEES OUT during the pull. Knees out will clear up your bar path and make coach (hopefully) stop yelling at you.
- I suffer from a common affliction called "weightlifters disease". Coach also refers to it as "pussyitis" and is quick to remind me that I have it and that I am one.
- Weightlifting is a sport, it has to be practiced. A ton of reps at moderate intensity allows you to drill your technique. If you were practicing basketball you'd want to spend time doing drills rather than just playing games.
- Your squat number tells your entire life story.
- Great weightlifters aren't always the strongest ones or the ones with the best technique, but they always have the huge cojones necessary to get under a heavy barbell.
- I'd much rather train the snatch than the clean and jerk...but in competition I really liked the clean and jerk over the snatch.
- Stop complaining. If you walked into Coach's gym and told him you were tired or hurt he'd laugh and then watch you hit or tie a PR later in the session. Just shut up and lift.
- Snatch Pulls are the stinky dingleberry that's left over at the end of every session.
- Squat every day. And then squat some more. Squats are a beautiful thing.
- Deadlifts don't mean dick in the world of weightlifting. Sure, if you can deadlift 625 pounds then cleaning 300 will feel really easy, but you still have to jerk that weight.
- Between the belts and shoes and knee sleeves and singlets weightlifters rank right up there with wrestlers and hockey players as the smelliest athletes.
- You're not allowed to drop a lift behind your back at a competition, even after they give the "down" signal.
- GET YOUR KNEES OUT.
- Shut up and listen to your coach.
That's just in the first 12 weeks. We are going to continue working with Coach Rojas to get better and I expect that we are going to learn a whole hell of a lot more.
Have a great day and go lift some heavy shit!