By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
October 20, 2016
Sorry about the horrible pun in regards to the blog title. A lot of times, Jon is the one that puts a little pizzazz into the title of the blogs, and that is quite helpful due to the fact my titles have always been lacking. I find it kind of funny how I have no problem dropping 2,000 word stories yet can’t come up with some little title that is less than five words. That is just a part of my being I guess, for the toughest thing for me at my new job is my blabbermouth. You would think a guy that doesn’t talk too much would not have a silver tongue, but I have to tell you, I am a master of the bullshit. I say this because I have been thrown into a deep end of sorts, learning new stuff on the fly and getting comfortable with a system I was rushed through. You have to fake confidence in the interim, and boy am I getting good at it. Despite talking through a hole in the side of my mouth for half an hour, I still got a good survey from a customer even though I was talking about policies and procedures while desperately looking for the information the customer originally called me for. There has also been some moments where I wanted to yell at some people, questioning their ability to breath. I was talking to one guy that couldn’t get photos from his iPhone onto his computer. I asked him if he had updated his OS and his iOS platforms and he said yes. I then told him to look for his iTunes and Photos programs to see if they were uploading. He had literally no idea what I was talking about. Two programs that are standard on the OS and iOS operating systems and he was befuddled. Fortunately I was able to transfer him to the upper tier of troubleshooting….let his ignorance be someone else’s problem. I did like the calls where I meet someone that is much like myself, someone that has to know all the possible options. Granted, I mess up my phone time, but it is the least I can do considering I do the same thing.
I give you an example when I went to Fleet Feet this past Tuesday to shop for new shoes. I wanted something similar to the ASICS Nimbus or the Saucony Triumph, but also wanted to try some other things. I tried some other shoes in the interim, and just couldn’t bring myself to walk away from the shoes I was pretty familiar with. I mean, when I walked through the Dick’s Sporting Goods store, I marveled at how shoddy the Nike and Reebok running lines are in comparison. They were so small, poorly made and lacking in steadiness that my fat behind would roll through them in a month. Ultimately, I chose the new Saucony Triumph 3, the latest generation of that line, for I was very pleased with the two pairs of Triumph 2s that I owned previously. The best part of the transaction…they come in Mega Man blue and they match my phone case. See, accessorizing can be fun! Anyway, that means I will have to do some break in runs this upcoming week, mainly because I don’t know if it is fruitful to try and attempt six miles right out of the gate. But then again, I will be setting up a Mega Man playlist and that might just be impossible to avoid!
Okay, where was I? See, this is what I do. I’m extremely good at rabbit holing the conversation into some other territory. What was I initially talking about. That’s right, Olympic lifting once again. I have been talking a lot about this in previous posts, mainly because I am setting the ground work for my next major movement in life….the snatch. Anyway, I have been progressing pretty well with the movement, doing overhead barbell squats and doing some dumbbell cleans to kind of get my body into the mood for such a complicated movement. So far, I have been stretching out my body quite well, for on Tuesday I only slated myself 70 overhead squats but opted to do 100. Sure, just doing a standard 45-pound bar may not seem like much, but it does get heavy after a while and can cause some good torque on your wrists and body. Fortunately, I have been doing a lot of push-ups lately, so getting my shoulders and arms more flexible has been a good thing for me lately. Also, for the second straight week, I got a little work done on my body via a chiropractor. I still have a lot of work to do on my ankles, for I feel some problems arising again from the fact that I am sitting down so much these days. But that is part of the process, and there is a good reason why.
Now you might wonder why I talk about these Olympic lifts so often, and the reason is coming soon. Trust me. First of all, a lot of people don’t care about these movements because you see so many guys at the gym use standard weight lifting and supplements to get the size and girth they need. Sure, you get fit and strong and such from standard exercises and a certain diet, but does this really benefit you in the long run? Now, you can get big just from doing curls and leg lifts and bench presses and other stuff, but will this really benefit your total body workout? Probably not, and this is why you need to find a good trainer that believes in utilizing Olympic lifts when hunting for a personal trainer. Now it sounds intimidating, but the goal is not to necessarily become one of those beasts you occasionally see on the television when the Olympics comes around. Cleaning and jerking double your bodyweight might not be in the cards so to speak, but the other benefits of this type of lifting is more than just a simple weight barrier. This upcoming weekend, Jon is going to get his USA Weightlifting certification redone, so I definitely wish him luck in this. Straight from his coaching manual, here were some of the key points they will be discussing this weekend, which will ultimately be preached to me as I get better myself.
Ground Based and Functional Benefits: Weightlifting is not just a good way to get some muscle mass or get that body you think will make the lady’s heads turn, it is the perfect foundation for all sports. Think about it. You can’t be a good shortstop in baseball without a quick and strong core that allows you to jump on the dime and land on your stomach multiple times a game. You can’t be able to keep some behemoth interior player in basketball off the blocks if you have no strength in your feet and legs, maintaining a sturdy position to keep the guy from backing you down. Olympic style lifting is not just something that is good for Olympic weight lifters, it is good for everything you do, even if it is as simple as walking up a few flights of stairs.
Multiple Joint Actions: No muscle is left behind. Depending on what your focus can be, you can easily learn to work just about every available muscle in your body, giving you the kind of workout that is both functional and full body. For me, I have to change this up a little bit, adding some other stuff to the mix to help with the wear and tear situation that is my legs. But beyond doing stuff like hang cleaning and squatting while doing it correctly will get the kind of results I need. I ran six miles for the first time in a while last night night, and while my time was slow in comparison to the old days, I had more than enough strength to complete the run.
Develops the “Core” and Kinesthetic Awareness Simultaneously: What this parts discusses is in regards to the balance and strength a person develops when they learn to properly throw large weights around. Even if you think you can muscle up some rather heavy weights, eventually you will need some body fluidity to get the job done, which means you will be better at controlling your body in adverse situations. One example from yours truly is how much better I got at digging trenches and crawling through attics. I not only got better production due to loss weight and more stamina, I also had a stronger body to aid in the manipulation of these spaces. Being able to develop your total body during the process is imperative.
Generates Both Hypertrophy and Neural Adaptations: “The progressive resistance applied by weightlifters generates an increase in muscle fiber diameter known as hypertrophy.” One thing I have noticed over the last few months is the better consistency of muscle tightness around my body. While my running have been a little spotty, the weight room has still been running full steam for me. One thing that has helped during this push-ups challenge I am partaking in is the fact I don’t feel like I am burdened by it each day. While doing 50 push-ups doesn’t seem that hard, the slow buildup I am doing will help with the days where I start hitting over 100 or so. I have also been trying ardently to fix my squatting, and so trying my best to use my body properly is part of the test. One thing the guide did talk about was “absolute power,” which described the amount of power generated from certain moves through a wattage scale. Of course, being an old electrician it made me quite interested. Looking at the chart provided, the amount of power needed for the clean and jerk far exceed the standard squat and bench press, which is what a great many people try to use as their base of strength. More power generated means more power used, which means better caloric burn as well. This is the reason why Jon always tells me to do my olympic stuff first.
Enhances Flexibility and Improved Ability to Promote Force Attenuation: I kind of threw these two ideas together because they kind of go hand in hand. Not only do you allow your body to be used in the best way possible by actually utilizing it, you are also creating strength through the control of these lifts. Getting 135 pounds on a deadlift is child’s play, but getting that weight over your head with extended arms can be a challenge if you have never done it. Either way, these two ideas essentially go path hand in hand. With out a flexible and fully utilized body, you will not be able to balance and maintain the said weight where it is necessary. You will end up with a dropped weight and worse yet, you might not escape quick enough to get out from under it.
Now, just remember one thing when you begin your Olympic weight lifting regimen…don’t get caught up in the numbers and the reps. I’m looking at you CrossFit! The scary thing about the CrossFit crowd is the fact they sacrifice form and function for the sake of reps. Truth be told, form and function should be the foundation before you really think about the idea of doing it multiple times. While doing 50 snatches might sound like an idea, you really aren’t doing your body any favors by putting it through that sort of process. The potential of injury and exhaustion could create more problems for you down the line, for you will not be properly building your body in a way that is conducive to the benefits I just mentioned. And let’s not forget the idea of instruction, for you need some constant observation on your form and your body usage when it comes to this stuff. You can’t expect one or two people to keep an eye on some 20 people at a time. If anything, you wouldn’t want your observer to be dividing themselves between more than three people. This is all common sense to me, for I have seen enough fail videos and enough people get injured to see that trying to do 50 hang cleans in a row or 50 snatches in a row is not really that good for your body.
One thing that is mentioned in the guide for USA Weightlifting is the fact that it is not about having the biggest muscles or being able to do the most reps. The first mantra you should abide by is the idea of strengthening your body and keeping flexible, functional and healthy. So when you do these types of lifts, do them the right way with proper instruction and with rep counts thach benefit you, not hurt you. Fitness is about maintaining a good standard and growing with your gains…not injuring yourself all the time because you want to do the kind of stuff the internet is enticing you to do.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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