Strength and Conditioning

Olympic Weightlifting for physical fitness

Olympic Weightlifting for strength and conditioning                    

Over the last couple of months I’ve been getting back into Olympic weightlifting in a more focused way than previously where I was content with the 3 Power versions of the lifts, kept the sets to a few high volume reps while working on the other traditional strength barbell lifts.  At times it more resembled a crossfit approach than a more specific weightlifting one.

The power version of the clean, jerk and snatch worked a treat in delivering results on their own so there was never a reason to change, especially if you are a sports power athlete that requires you to be more explosive or build on your already established strength base. These 3 exercises is all you will need to reap the benefits of Olympic weightlifting for sport, even better yet if you are in a position to hire a properly qualified and experienced coach on hand to guide you through.

This is my case now as I’ve taken on my own Olympic weightlifting coach to guide me through the more technical sports of weightlifting versions. Weightlifting is one of those disciplines that benefit from an extra set of eyes to keep your movement pattern ensuring you make progress and reduce the possibility of an injury.

The following is a list of prerequisites that are required as you set up to the bar. The checklist is for the snatch. It’s important to cover as many of them as you are able to given the nature of the movements. Ideally you will have a training buddy that can provide you with the cues to set you up. Once set, it’s just a matter of continually working on replicating the movement pattern of the Snatch- Easier said than done

* Feet Hip width apart * Shoulders over and in front of the bar * Chest is Inflated and up * Arms straight and elbows out

* Upright position (back is tight)  * Hook grip * Hips Higher than Knees (80-100 degrees angle)

Now aged 47 my warm up and mental preparation is what gets me ready for Weightlifting. With my extended background in Kettlebells it’s an efficient way for me to prepare myself with the HKC movements and work the exercises until I’m sufficiently warmed up (depending on time of day and temperature this could be 10- 20 minutes)  The simple Kettlebell exercises I utilise are simple and effective. The TGU, Two hands Swing and the goblet squat. Once completed I simply grab the barbell and start on more specific movements relating to the lift. Overhead squat, Power snatches and full stretch movement using just the bar. By then my squat and overhead positioning feel comfortable and the core is ready to go.

Time to load it up.

The current exercise for the snatch that I’m working on have been identified as the ones I need to focus on where I am at the moment.  The points are what part of the movement they promote. It’s these that I’m currently working on in addition to dropping into a full snatch.                

Snatch grip high Pull                                                                     

* High transfer into power production * When comfortable (more experienced), done at maximum speed

* Start position of snatch (wide grip) * Pulling straps can be used

Full Snatch from Hang (Knee Height)                                                                    

* Enhances the ability to accelerate the bar in the second pull * Skill at receiving the bar

* Top of thigh /lower / explode up

Power Snatch                                                                   

* Emphasis on explosive phase * Accelerate as much as possible

* Avoid pushing head forward (promotes hips going back) * Lower than 90 degrees it’s not a power snatch

In addition the above I cover the necessary movement that basically add all over strength. The obvious ones are the squat variations, the pulling /deadlift movements and the overhead press. It’s important to have a balanced program that will allow you to work in all the element of strength, conditioning and power. For some the weekly turn around works well. For me at my age the two week turn around suits better as it allows me to cover all the moves. It incorporates rest periods/ aids in proper recover and just as importantly, doesn’t interfere with work and family.

Maintaining you water intake and ensuring your nutrition supports you goals will completer the package and ensure you are feeling up to the workout recover well and achieve you results.

Claudefit personal training Is located in the Northern suburbs of Mill Park.

 

Northern Suburbs Strength trainer

Northern Suburbs Strength Trainer

As an experienced personal trainer I have over the years learned and forgotten so many exercises that I feel sometimes I suffer from exercise overload. Continuous professional development has allowed me to keep the good and discard the unnecessary (It’s part of being a trainer).  Why bother performing 18 exercises when sometimes half can be more effective. It’s unfortunate that the fitness industry is always looking at ways to keep people entertained as opposed to keeping them fit.

It is with this experience that I hold my ground on what works and ignore the other sales orientated stuff that is served up by the truckload. I stick to what works and continue to improve on the fundamentals. So when you mix up only elements that work together it’s a win-win situation as a trainer and for client deliverables. The following is a basic template of just one of my plans that works a treat.

Please note that nutrition also plays a major apart in any well balanced program. What I cover here is the stuff that burns the calories, plenty of them.

One of my current mixes of exercises to get my experienced clients to perform during a session is the one where I call it the nasty 3. It’s quite simple in application and somewhat challenging when you commit.  It starts off with 3 solid core exercises followed by double kettlebell complexes and finishing you off with various boxing punch out / Heavy bag drills.

Depending on where client’s current strength and conditioning is, it’s quite easy to fine tune the effect with the right choice of resistance and kettlebell weight. For example if you have been using the 16kg kettlebells then jump to the next increment which is 20kg you are in another world of pain. You see traditional Kettlebells only go up in increments of 4kgs. (Evil laugh) I tend cover whatever energy you have left in the boxing section with the focus pads.

It’s part of the fun.

Core first

The exercises work well in providing a solid and somewhat challenging core routine.  The added benefit is that the limbs are sufficiently warmed up once you have completed the core work.  By then you should be well and truly “switched on” The reason these work well is due to the core being worked first and given the basic movements performed the whole body is being utilised to support the exercise leaving you prepared for the workload ahead.

  • Torsinator 5 sets of 10
  • Lying leg raise (holding stick)
  • Medicine ball throws (old school)

Kettlebell

The next component is the Kettlebell complex that involves only double kettlebell work. It’s important to point out that the clients who work with the doubles have already an establish base of strength, experience and fitness in working with kettlebells at my premises, so be warned if you are not proficient on the kettlebells. Get some instruction before you jump into the doubles.  Locating an RKC Kettlebell instructor here would be ideal.

  • Double Kettlebell Press
  • Double kettlebell Squats
  • Double kettlebell swings
  • Double kettlebell cleans

Boxing Workout

When it comes to boxing the benefits associated with this discipline can basically stand on their own when it comes to delivering  strength, fitness, movement and an absolute calorie burn. I like to incorporate the Boxing element with my clients as a great finisher to the more weight bearing movements. It allows us to flush out the tightness created with weights and gives me an opportunity to finish of the session on a high.

In addition I usually gauge how much energy my clients have and leave them with nothing with the proper use of focus pads.

  • 3 rounds of Skipping (keep a solid tempo)
  • 3 rounds of bag work (working at 80% exertion)
  • 3 x rounds of Mitt work (intensity at my discretion)

The above approach with my more seasoned clients allows up to basically mixing it up while still focusing on 3 vital areas of conditioning. That is Core, Strength & Cardio. This simple plan can also be used with my other clients with an emphasis on one element ( say Kettlebells) work in one core movement and introduce them to boxing. Either way it works out well.

The importance is to ensure the client receives a solid workout where you manage them to the end. Not smash them. It’s about making the session more effective. Not a beat down.

Remember thus is full body strength and conditioning workout. (GPP)  Not a sports skill workout. We are training the body to cope with whatever activity you follow. Be it running an obstacle course, trail running, Afl or rugby. Getting the body prepared will go a long way in the enjoyment of your chosen activity and even increase you skill training time.

Apart from being effective all over body workout it becomes just as dynamic when it comes to calorie burning. You will not be disappointed.

As we like to ask ourselves here, how many calories will I burn today?

All of them!

Strength and Fitness program

Strength training Mill Park

Most of the times when people are seeking to get fit and “back in shape” they often neglect the importance of getting stronger. You see by getting stronger all the other variables will sit on top of an already built up strength base and set you up to build a better fitness( cardiovascular) engine , be structurally resilient and with an understanding of movement you are well on the way in achieving your goal of “getting back into it”.

It pays to have a plan.

For the people who chose to ignore the strength component in their general fitness goals and think “I’ll just lose the weight with cardio”, you will simply be a smaller version of yourself and most likely be weak, have an ordinary immune system and not be strong enough to perform normal every day activities. To just do cardio and starve will leave your body depleted and not feeling too good and you will most likely go back to old habits.

Not everyone has to own a 100+kg deadlift, bench press or squat, however neglecting your strength is more of limiting factor in promoting a more active and healthier body and lifestyle.

The following is a basic yet effective two day workout that will deliver an honest all over strength base that is complimented by a 3rd running day. Keep in mind that with the use of Kettlebells you are still getting an adequate dose of cardio. Take my work for it it’s just the way the humble Kettlebell works. The running is what works well with any weigh management program and delivers you more than an adequate fitness base. Don’t neglect it as the longer you leave it the longer it will take to get.

Strength training program

Day one

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell back squat
  • Kettlebell front squat
  • Double kettlebell clean
  • Barbell Military press
  • Kettlebell double press
  • Kettlebell push press

Day one will cover the lower body/core with the traditional and effective Barbell squat while the double kettlebell cleans will sort out the posterior chain recruitment. The front squat with the kettlebells delivers more in recruiting the core and clearly gets the job done. The upper body is looked after with the military press and once again in working the double kettlebells the shoulders will be broad and resilient when you can manage the workload with an effective (pressing movement ) technique.

Day two

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell dead lift
  • Barbell upright rows
  • Barbell bent over rows
  • Chins
  • Barbell bench press – flat
  • Barbell bench press Incline
  • Barbell bicep curls

Day two will finish off the full body workout in working the hip hinge joint with the ever reliable and dynamic Deadlift. With the addition of the upright row and bent over rows the barbell will leave you fully worked (pulling movement ). The chins will take anything left you have in working your back. Add in the bench press with the flat and incline option and you have covered the upper body (Pushing movement).  Any program would be lost without the humbling barbell bicep curl. If you have anything left in reserve.

Strength based cardio reserve

Day 3 run

You need cardio remember? A 1-5 klm steady run as a beginner will do you good. It should be your minimum cardio base and should only be a shorter distance that you can manage and will complement the two day weight program nicely. It will allow you to get into a steady tempo and start to burn some extra calories and keep the weight under control. The message here is to be committed and stick to a program that will deliver a balanced return- a leaner, fitter and muscular looking body.

Remember a body that has a bit of muscle can burn more calories than one that doesn’t.

To cap it off all of the above is the active component in getting results. If would be dismissive if me if I didn’t include the element of nutrition and how much of an effect it has with any fitness/strength and well-being program. Neglect your nutrition and any results will be slow and minimal. Managing you nutrition is not always about weight loss, for some it’s about performance. As the saying goes, Junk in = junk out . Don’t be that person!

The above was just a basic (not to be confused with easy) start up program that takes up only 3 days of your week. Alternatively you can (with time permitting) treat it as 3 days on and take the fourth day off. It up to you, when you have committed to it for 4-6 weeks the results will be obvious and you will need to tweak it further.

This is where a personal trainer can assist you and ensure you are achieving results.

Strength Training with Oly lifts

Strength with Olympic Weightlifting  

When it comes to understanding and appreciating Olympic lifting it’s not just a matter of just doing the snatch, clean and jerk and you are done.  For the committed individuals who solely pursue this dynamic sport as their choice in exercise, it about learning all the intricacies that go along with the improvement of these 3 technical lifts. The fun part goes with learning the semi competition lifts, related exercises and the always important Strength exercises, add in some remedial lifts and the associated stretches and you have plenty of scope when it comes to learning and improving your Weightlifting for performance for fun, Fitness and Strength.

For the crew at Claudefit Personal Training it’s a matter of implementing the exercise that go towards the overall results for my various clients. We sometime incorporate the semi- competition lifts and sometimes we are kept just as busy with the related strength exercises.  For others who are possibly working out for sports performance, training in their local Crossfit boxes or they require more of a technical understanding the approach is different but still technical in that we break down the lift a bit more ensuring awareness of current strength levels and possible limiting factors such as flexibility and range of motion, basically a swat analysis on your body.

The following is a sample of a direct process in working toward the snatch for beginners to the more experienced in getting some conditioning in within a learning process. It ensures that the individual is able to move through the exercises and establish where they are at. No point in putting someone under load when they can’t even press the weight above the head.  So there is no way they will be able to catch it when they “give it a go” without understanding it first.

The session takes a top down approach form the point of the catch and works down toward the bottom position.  Most recreational trainers who concentrate on the leg and hip thrust don’t pay attention to the overhead position as they will work it out later. This is often what happens with no coaching or in commercial gyms where it’s something cool to try. Unfortunately the shoulder structure is not sound enough, stable/ flexible to appropriately accept the catch.

I’m not keen to test out my flexibility when I don’t know whether I can hold it first!

Weightlifting – The Snatch progress

Barbell Standing Military press – Without a doubt the shoulder press will let the individual know exactly where their absolute strength lies and can from this exercise alone establish range and lockout strength. The ability to hold onto the weight above the head with the shoulder blades elevated should also provide feedback on stability. A classic lift as the first exercise in this progression. As a stand-alone the Military press is an excellent exercise for upper body (shoulder) development.

Barbell back squat – With most sports the ability to generate power from the hips and legs can only begin with one of the pillars of strength. The barbell squat will add muscle quicker than any of the other available movements that tries to replica this fundamental movement. When it comes to pure strength the squat reigns supreme. It is why we work on this movement. All others exercises will be supported by leg strength. Remember it starts from the floor/ground.

Overhead squat – The overhead squat has many benefits. For the Olympic lifts the ability to apply this movement is critical in both holding a weight above your head and be able to squat down to the floor. A typical gym squat to parallel doesn’t cut the mustard with Olympic lifting. You need to be able to get down low. The overhead squat will let you know where you are at. Performed with a barbell or PVC pipe alone is enough for the beginners and is a nice warmup for the more experienced. Work this one well.

Pressing Snatch balance – When we get to this exercise we are now starting to work on a more weightlifting specific movement. It basically requires you to hold the barbell behind you as in a back squat position (feet  wider) and then in one slow movement lower your body into a deep squat while the barbell is maintained at best as possible in the same position. Think pushing yourself away from the bar here. The end of the movement should be the same as the bottom position of the snatch. A great movement to get that flexibility happening and with a bit of weight, a great muscle builder.

Heave pressing snatch balance – The next progression is similar to the previous one in that you are now working on a much quicker execution of movement. That is to drop at speed. One for the more experienced that will clearly challenge you.

Snatch Balance – The last one with this simple progression (not easy) is performed with the feet beginning in the pulling position with the barbell in the back squat position. The next step is to take a slight dip and then explode into the snatch position in quickly dropping and landing in a wider leg position. Once you have worked through the previous progressions this one becomes a bit of fun.

It’s Playtime

Once you have had enough of the technical work and practiced the particular elements that you are not too comfortable with (and got better) it’s time to work through the more dynamic and powerful varieties the snatch provides. The first two exercises allow you to with limited technical application power through the movement. The Muscle snatch is a great start as it rewards the stronger guys and girls who don’t quite have the technical and movement down pat. Next is the popular Power snatch where you’re starting to drop under the bar and it’s where you begin to appreciate the overall movements of this great exercise (eg; positioning, leg drive and hip power). At this stage the return on investment for pure strength, conditioning and power output should be sufficient for most, particularly the athlete wishing to reap the benefits for their sport. The last and most technical of the three is the Snatch which is more dynamic and is the true end results of the traditional Olympic lifting style. When you are performing the classic Olympic Snatch properly you’re most likely, flexible, experienced, well-conditioned and clearly one strong individual.

Overall al of the movements have an enormous benefit, it’s up to you to work through in a safe and progressive manner in reaping the rewards. The importance is to first get the patterning done and correct any deficiencies before you go all out to grip and rip the bar off the floor in becoming, a fitter stronger and more conditioned practitioner.

Strength and Conditioning (Part 2)

Strength and Conditioning

The second part is to add value to the previous two mentioned strength building methods. The following refers to the next phase relating more to the conditioning aspect with the use of a Kettlebell, why you have to run and a reminder why you should monitor your nutrition. Let’s keep it simple and practical. You should have plenty to keep you busy with your own sports specific skill work I’m sure.

Barbell supremacy for strength training

The two approaches to delivering results have been for a long time the tried and through methods of a sound conditioning program but are not the only ways of getting results. The barbell has for a long time been heralded as the one piece of equipment that has over time been replaced, copied , watered down ( via machines)  and often been challenged, yet it still serves as the only way in getting the job done for the serious types. The following exercises will certainly be of benefit in incorporating in most strength and conditioning programs. Here’s a sample of you can do with only the barbell.

Military Press – Basically this is a standing shoulder press performed with a barbell.  It’s regarded as the prime mover in getting those old fashioned broad shoulders happening and is also one of the assistant exercises in both the Weightlifting and Powerlifting methods. A must have exercise wit any program.

Bent over rows – When you have been working out for a while and have developed great core stability and know how to fold the hips back, this exercise is one of the primary back builders that is a favourite with the bodybuilding crowd. The Lat pull-down has often been used as opposed to this movement due to its ease in application. Within a true strength program why not use them both!

Front Squat – Another exercise that is one of the fundamental movements in the weightlifting method. On its own it’s a great leg builder that promotes a more upright posture and give the core a workout in stability of the upper body. A fantastic option if you don’t want to back squat.

Barbell complex – I thought I might as well sneak in this particular approach to barbell work. It’s generally for a bit of mental conditioning and is a sure fire way in getting the heart rate up. Can be done with a lighter than usual weight and it will be up to you how many repetitions you can handle . A great one to incorporate with a training buddy. You basically have to perform 3-5 reps and then straight away move onto the next movement. Give it a try and see how far you get. Eg: 5 x bent rows. 5 x cleans 5 x front squats, 5 x military press – repeat.

Push Press – Related to the Military press and Jerk the bottom line is that it’s easy to learn, helps you lift the heavier weights above the head and allows you to use you bottom half in generating the power from the ground up . An important skill to utilise for many sports. Performed in volumes it ensures the heart rate will be left elevated for a long time post workout.

Conditioning with the Kettlebell ballistics

My favourite tool in generating the volumes in delivering many conditioning requirements. It sits well with the typical sporting movements and its effects are immediately felt.  A workman like approach that only the Kettlebell can bring to the table. Take the Kettlebell version of the snatch performed with one hand and you are on another level when it comes to an elevated heart rate and the overall effect of owning a pair of wobbly legs.

The highly rated RKC snatch test requires an individual ( male) to perform 100 x 24kg snatches within a set 5 minute timeframe, It also has to be done with a better than average technique in order for you to pass. An impressive feat that is the expected standard of an RKC Instructor.

Another way to condition is to use the complex drills that when performed with a kettlebell seem to have a natural flow. Take for example a set of double swings, double cleans, double snatch, double press and double Squat for reps of 3-5 in a continuous manner.

For  simpler and just as effective conditioning drill , for some there is no need to take it further than the kettlebell swing that activates the posterior chain and develops and excellent overall conditioning . It aids in grip strength and when done in high volumes teaches you mental conditioning – Take my word.  The carry over effect of the swing will allow you to improve on you running as it shares many similarities with running mechanics.

Add in the Turkish get up with the related benefits of mobility, the renegade rows for core development and kinetic chain connection and you are done.

Running

The simplicity of running and the overall physical and mental benefits it brings needs to be appreciated. For a conditioning program it’s an effective cardiovascular workout that you can’t do without. As they say Athletes run, Pure and simple. For general fitness benefits you can use the treadmill or go for a walk, however the reality is if you are serious about your conditioning you have to run. If you don’t know how to run, you have to learn, if you tell me you have bad knees, you should not be doing strength and conditioning work (or  get fixed)and if you have “breathing difficulties” or “not designed to run” and “hate running” you are just not fit , so run – ok?

Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition you have to juggle the food intake that will allow you to fuel you work-out and need to get in the adequate quality of nutrients for recovery. In addition you have to ensure of the incoming calories for health and wellbeing. For a performance athlete you need the extra calories for a proper recovery phase and ensure that your essential Vitamin’s (B’s) are adequate. Your nutrition in recovery is important.

The weight loss nutrition is different to performance so be ready to eat a bit more, so becoming stricter should be expected. Enjoy the carbs ! Simply eating up as you see fit without a plan could potentially be causing a weight increase which is detrimental to bodyweight sports. A sound nutritional approach will go a long way in performance and keep you in good spirits. Eating crappy food will have the opposite effects.

Mobility

An important component that is neglected by many. If you are not able to get into position with no weight there is no point in putting you under loading and “working it out later” the diligent trainer should address any lack of mobility on areas such as ankle, hips, knee ,thoracic region,wrists mobility and work on improving range or positioning. No point in incurring an injury that will prevent you from you training.

No training means no improvement.

Claudefit Personal training is located in Mill Park and operated out from his own private facility catering to the individual who want to take their strength and conditioning to the next stage

Strength and Conditioning (Part1)

Strength and Conditioning

When people are looking taking up a workout program most of the time they want to get lean, become fitter and put on some muscle. For others their requirement are different in that they are not so much after a general program but need additional attention to their current strength training regime and are now ( seriously)  looking at stepping it up in order to be able to perform. For current fitness enthusiast and sports participants it’s got to the stage where they are needing more specific  strength variables in adding value to their sport or simply don’t have the skill-set to properly plan out and execute what’s required to breach the gap from where they are now to where they need to be.

Whether it’s to become more resilient to take the knocks, increase their aerobic capacity or simply increase work output a properly qualified and experienced Strength and conditioning coach can certainly help out.

Let’s cover a few of the pathways available to becoming more conditioned. It depends on what type you need. For example, the requirements for a cyclist will be different to a rugby player. However both are looking at improving their performance. So what are the tools in getting the job done?

The following is an outline of the equipment required in order to be in a position where you will get to that goal. It explains the various tried and true methods that have proven over time to work out. Given this knowledge it goes a long way in prescribing through a Strength and conditioning programs on what you need to do.  Otherwise it’s just a bunch of exercises that can be done anytime with only reaping the benefits of just lifting with no purpose. Remember, this is not for recreational weight training purposes. It’s for performance.

Olympic Weightlifting Method

If your sport is requiring  the type of conditioning that will deliver explosive power then look no further than the classic sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Many of us have become familiar with these two lift by watching the Olympic Games on the television. The clean and jerk along with the snatch are what most of us enjoy viewing on the telly. The sport is much more than that, In addition to it been highly technical and within the reach of most, it is the assisting lifts and semi competition lifts within your program that allow you to fully appreciate this power building sport. The assistant exercises like the power versions of the clean, jerk and snatch are usually enough for you to develop the explosiveness for your sport; the more classic lifts are for those who wish to pursue this as their chosen sport.

Here’s a sample template for one of my client who after participating in a Crossfit class has decided to refine his technique on the weightlifting component of his semi regular Crossfit classes. He sees me once a week for PT and in addition to his own home based training attend this local Crossfit box for a bit of fun. Given the nature of Olympic lifting it’s important to keep it simple and effective. The sample workout following was performed with lighter than normal weight to allow for teaching and not overly fatigue the body.

w/up Various drill incorporating overhead extension, ankle , hip and wrist flexibility.

Clean

Clean from knee height – Skill/Cond

Power clean – explosive/core/skill

Clean Pulls – Strength of pulling phase

Snatch

Power snatch – Explosive/core/skill/catch

The high (snatch) pull – pulling skill

Snatch from hang/or floor – speed work on catch/ volumes/

Drop snatch (from shoulders) – skill (practice overhead squat)

Jerk

Jerks from rack –Skill work

Jerk dips – Strength of explosive drive/ relaxed arms/ only hips/knees forward

Push press – Strength and conditioning for overhead movement /strength

Jerk/press behind neck – stability /alignment prep for catch phase.

In regards to athlete training here’s what a an expert in the field wrote – Athletes in certain sports will benefit from just performing power snatches and power cleans and jerks initially, along with some back squats, front squats, good mornings, and presses. They do not need to learn to do the classic lifts, nor to train with great intensities. The body control and awareness developed through performance of the lighter derivatives will do a great deal to enhance athleticism, balance, and proprioception, and consequently result in a greater improvement in performance. – Bob Takano

Powerlifting method 

When your sport requires you to become one strong hombre, the Powerlifting 3 are the most superior in getting the job done – Period.  The simplicity of the big 3 in combination cannot be beat.

Bench press

The powerful bench press and its many variations is favourite by most due to its ease of learning and oblious quick results has for many years been a go to exercise for first movement to do during the week. For sports application the ability to fend off opponents or generate the strength to push away is an essential component in keeping the opponent off you or simply holding your ground.

Squats

The squat is often hailed as the most dynamic movement the body can perform as it works not only the whole bottom half of the body by also gets the core involved in linking the resistance/weight to the upper body. Keep in mind that to hold onto the much heavier weights the upper body is also required to be strong enough to maintain the barbell in position. All up, its an extremely effective exercise in delivering true results when it comes to maximum leg strength. Get your squat on and get results.

Deadlift

An equally benefiting exercise is the hip dominant pulling strength developed from the basic and brutal Deadlift. The movement in its simplicity requires you basically lift a “heavier” weight from the floor. Well sort off. Once you have mastered a basic understanding of the flexibility to get into place and the hip power and balance required it then turns into a mental game when it comes to lifting up the bigger weights from the floor. An impressive feat when watching the big boys lift!  When performed correctly with proper mechanics it a safe and fun exercise that delivers all over body strength due to the recruitment of the muscles in getting the weight up.

 

When it comes to pure strength the above three cannot be neglected. Make sure you include these in you program if you are after real results. Otherwise just do a pump class. It’s pretty clear that by incorporating either the Powerlifting or Weightlifting methods and their variants will go a long way on improving your overall conditioning. It’s just a matter of having the right mix depending on your particular needs. The common factor here is clearly the use of the dominate Barbell. Part two will cover some of the reasons why the barbell is supreme.

If you haven’t figured it out yet.

Claudefit Personal training is located in Mill Park and operated out from his own private facility catering to the individual who want to take their strength and conditioning to the next stage.

Women’s Strength training

Women’s Strength training workout

Unfortunately many women think that once they start lifting weight they will all of a sudden get big or “too bulky”. This way of thinking has been around for as long as a can remember. It’s a pity that some simply don’t understand that a woman’s body simply does not release enough testosterone in the body to create this perceived increase in size. What I have found is that (with no offence) their poor diet and over indulgence in food over time has caused them to get big.

The benefits of getting some muscle onto you frame are many. One reason is to simply get strong enough to be able to cope with the daily workload and another is the fact that if you are carrying a bit of muscle your body it is in a better position to burn more calories when either doing low impact movements or attacking the local group fitness class. It cost a lot of energy (calories) in moving a more muscular body and the body is now programmed to burn more while still at rest.

A clear benefit when you are fitter and stronger.

So gear up and hit some of those weight and start building that body you are after. Simply doing cardio on the treadmill at home will not do the job. Apart from making you bored it not enough.

A sample workout that I roll out to my clients is as follows. It cover a full body program in my women’s only class and gets them stronger , fitter and with a sound nutritional plan much leaner, with nice muscles to boot.

Women’s strength exercises

Warmup – Mobility drills

These involve a quick series of drill that cover the most basic movements the body performs.it also depends on the weather in how long we will stay on the warm-up drills.

Kettlebell swing – A fundamental within the Kettlebell series of exercises the swing and it variants offers a dynamic workout to those hips, legs, core and is an absolute cardio workout. It’s basically one of my go to movements when it comes to looking after the ladies.

Kettlebell around the legs. – This movement involves the manoeuvring around the legs in a figure 8 patterns while keeping the hips folded back. It’s for a bit of fun while still providing a challenging workout those hips and thighs. Obviously you will be taught how to perform this movement before we hit you with a heavier bell.

Double Kettlebells deadlift – The deadlift on its own it a rewarding movement and is not specifically Kettlebell related. Due to the ease of the movement we don’t require the set up time when conducting a group session and simply grab two bells and hit those reps. The Kettlebell deadlifts happens to offer a better range of motion on the back phase those tight areas and sits quite comfortable at the top end. This allows me to get some high volume work in while keeping user friendly.

Double Kettlebell cleans – With a solid understanding of the basic Kettlebell lifts the introduction to the clean with the bells is a great way in teaching you to absorb impact, work those hips and keep the core tight. An added benefit is the workout the arms get in holding onto those bells. A fundamental move that allows you to safely pick the Kettlebells up in an efficient and safe manner.

Double Kettlebell squats – Once you have become efficient with the Kettlebell clean you are now able to pick them up and start you squat training. Once they are taught to be held in position your are then able to execute the front squat with the bells in getting those quads truly worked. Having the bells in from are that your core in works hard in keeping an upright position while also promoting a good posture. A great one for the ladies.

Double Kettlebell Shoulder press– One of my favourite movers for the upper body are the Double bell press. They allow you to have a nice overhead positioning and when worked in volumes also hit the core well. The aesthetics results with the press are sure to come when adherence to proper technique is applied along with a pair of nice looking shoulders. By the way ladies the arms get a solid workout and take a more natural shape in hitting a well-known target area of the triceps.

Single leg deadlifts – To fully appreciate how good this hits the gluteus, the use of a Kettlebell becomes an essential tool. When performed properly the gluteus get the best workout that I can deliver with any exercise. I have heard many comments after working my group with this exercise -never a complaint.

Once the strength component of the session is complete its fair to say that the cardio component was also looked after. You see by using the Kettlebell the effect on the cardio system also gets a workout so you don’t have to do the old weights first and cardio last program you get rolled out at most commercial gyms.

The cardio and strength are worked together.

For a finisher and depending on time I usually get the sandbags out and for a bit of fun do the drill for time. These put the icing on the cake for a greater calorie burn. They are safe and get the job done and given the already established fatigue on of the body certainly add value to my ladies group class.

  • Sandbag power press
  • Sandbag shouldering

In finishing we perform the same mobility drills that we did from the start. It allows the ladies to get their heart rate down and test out their mobility compared to when they commenced class.

It also puts them in a better frame of mind knowing the belted out a solid and rewarding workout.

Claude Castro runs his business Claudefit Personal Training in a private setting. Premises are located in Mill Park.

www.claudefit.com.au

 

 

Ladies Strength training workout

Ladies Strength training

One of the memorable phone calls from a client who was referred to me by former group fitness participant. She had already made up her mind that I was going to be her trainer (happy for referral) and I still remember what she had said. “I want to be strong all over, get it? I don’t like being weak” in addition there were other question related to what she was after , however the comment on getting strong is what stuck on that particular occasion. There was a history of dropping a lot of weigh in a short period of time and this process came at a cost. It made her feel weak and she lacked energy. In addition she was a smoker resulting in minimum cardio output.

After initially working with her on her movement patterns and educating her on the basics it was time to put her under loading. My choice of tool here is always the Kettlebell. As an RKC Instructor I’m able to get both the movement and strength work done in one session and introduce the Kettlebell swing in looking after the cardio component.

Fast forward a couple of months and we have an individual who can now move better, feel better and has a reasonable base of strength and a bit of cardio to go along with it.

Here’s a sample of a workout that we did in testing out her overall progress. The movements that we covered in one session to demonstrate how much progress had been made in relation to her goals. All over body strength, with no size and to be “toned”

Barbell Strength.

  • Standing military press

A classic lift that work the shoulders in developing a nice all over shape and if performed correctly is sale and also works the often requested triceps and core when greater resistance is used.

  • Barbell back squats.

One of the most effective exercise’s in delivering and all over body workout that primarily targets the legs, hips and core area. The upper body gets a workout n holding onto loading used. An honest and must do movement in working those shapely legs.

  • Barbell Deadlifts

This hip dominant exercise when executed with heavy weights adds a great deal of value to any program. When it comes to delivering an exercise that (with sound nutrition) goes a long way in delivering real results. It practically works all of you muscles in one movement.

  • Single leg Kettlebell  deadlift

I particularly use this movement in delivering an honest and dynamic workout for your gluteus. The ladies will certainly be putting this movement in their must do list.

  • Kettlebell Renegade rows

For an absolute and true core exercise the renegade rows performed with a kettlebell is right up there with one of my better core exercises once you get  solid base of strength and co-ordination happening.

  • Hanging Leg raises

A simple and yet difficult move to make if you core is not strong. Persevering with this exercise is sure to payback in a set of hard abs. With a strict adherence to quality nutrition the core will not have too much of a problem in showing up.

  • Gymnastics ring “chest” presses

For a bit of variety and challenge to the upper body the gymnastics rings press is a must do. It gets to the pectoral, triceps and front delts in a challenging and rewarding fashion. The core work in stability is also a handy bonus.

  • Barbell Bent over rows.

An old time favourite weight training exercise often performed incorrectly in some gyms. The bent over rows hits the back muscles, build solid strength and deliver s nice pump to the biceps as well. Once you are comfortable and know how to maintain the position results come quick with this strong pulling movement.

Stronger Ladies

These exercises were performed in one session to demonstrate to client that her basic movements were now strong enough in establishing a solid strength base as required. With the introduction of more Boxing her cardio fitness will also come up. She now feels stronger, more confident, her nutrition getting better and as changes are happening is happy with progress.

The feedback after a few days was that she was a little sore and her legs were slightly wobbly. It not my style to wreck a client however when we are performing these movements you are sure to feel it the next few days. The other side of this feeling is a stronger individual.

She is no longer feeling weak and now comes in more energised and ready to belt out more strength and cardio session at a greater work capacity.

So the message is simple. Ladies Don’t be afraid to get strong and reap the benefits it brings.

Best of all no size.

Claudefit Personal training operated out of his own private facility located in Mill Park. Contact details can be found on www.claudefit.com.au

Weight Training workout

Weight Training basics

One of my clients who’s been with me for around 18 months had mentioned how he used to do his Weight Training workouts in a fancy 24 hour commercial gym and would only use the available machines and would perform the very basic exercises that the gym offered. Sadly no instructors were around to assist if required either.  As a result he basically didn’t have use of Barbells to work from or help on technique. Like most he would rock up on Mondays and do the “Ol” chest and arms routine and a bit of abs. This is what most regular gym goers tend to do without a strict plan, even when their gym is properly equipped.

Currently we have been working out with Kettlebells, Barbells and Boxing , keep a focus on Nutrition and have based our program around weight loss. To date he has shifted “a lot of excess”  from his frame. So I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me to incorporate some of the more traditional exercises on one program to get a feel of how it all works out. We have over time covered the basic compound lifts for general physical preparation (as you should) but today’s workout was a bit of a variation on the basic with a bit of Claudefit experience chucked in for good measure.

It’s basically a variation on the Chest and Back routine with the addition of Gymnastics rings for on overload under fatigue and the use of the Deadlift and Kettlebell swing for an all body effect. Arm training was at the end after core and ensured that we worked ‘the guns” until they could not Lift anymore.

Focus : All a bit of fun while still getting the job done.

Chest: Incline Barbell press, Flat barbell Press and Gymnastics rings presses.

Back: Barbell bent over rows , Chins and Gymnastics ring pulls

Full Body: Deadlift and Kettlebell swings

Arms: Barbell Bicep curls and lose grip bench press

Core: Hanging Knee raises

Mobility: Included all the stretches and target areas as required.

It’s Strength Training

The above approach was to get in those two large body parts of the back and chest with a 3-5 rep max for 5 sets. The rest of the additional exercises where with a lighter loading and took it to a range of 8-12 reps. All for a bit of serious fun really. The session was then complimented by the ever reliable Deadlift with the classic 3×3 and chucked in several Kettlebell two handed swing 20×5 just to get the heart rate up – yeah we succeeded. Given the nature of the workout we were always going to cover arms and worked them to failure. If you had noticed the arms were certainly incorporated as assistant muscles with the previous movements. Core was taken care of with the Hanging knee raises with a mention of the Deadlift and bent over rows for the bracing component in the core work.

As always we finished off in recovery with related body part stretches and full body mobility drills to prevent any stiffness from becoming a hindrance This very basic (not easy) covers the upper body and gives the arms a more than effective workout. It’s not exactly bodybuilding as we focused on both strength and conditioning. For those who want the bodybuilding approach you need to go to a bodybuilding gym. Not a 24 hour commercial Gym.

The message is to plan well for you objectives. For general physical preparation, just cover all the major movements and incorporate some cardio, sort out you food and you are well on the way to results. For other who have particular need on strength and conditioning on a more specific level I suggest you speak with someone who knows how to program you workouts.

Claude Castro has been the owner of Claudefit Personal Training for 8 year and has over 35 year of practical application. Can be located on  www.claudefit.com.au

 

 

Olympic Weightlifting for Crossfit

Olympic Weightlifting for Crossfit

The Olympic Weightlifting movements are made up of only two major lifts, however in the process of becoming as efficient as possible to allow you to lift the heaviest as possible you have an array of options in relation to breaking down these two unique and dynamic lifts.

The clean and jerk and Snatch are the two dominant lifts that you can perform for absolute power transfer that also have an enormous carry over effect in several of the power sports and are a staple of the Crossfit training practiced by many during their famous WOD’s. I myself at Claudefit Personal Training use the power version of these lifts in relation to building up a power base for my clients who practice martial arts, play AFL, Rugby and in the past taken on the rigours of American football we call gridiron. In addition my ladies group fitness class

The following plan ( in point form ) is just a sample of the work that goes into teaching the members at my local crossfit Craigieburn box in relation to the snatch and other specific lift and strength related exercise. Add in some mobility drills you are well on the way in getting a grip on how to perform the Snatch. Or at least be armed with a bit of knowledge in practicing these exercises with a safe and technical approach.

After a warm up that involved a series of total full body mobility drills we covered the following:

Bottom positioning cues                                                                                   

* Feet Hip width apart

* Chest is inflated

* Upright position (chest inflated)

* Hips Higher than Knees (80-100 degrees angle)

* Shoulders over and in front of the bar

* Arms straight and elbows out

It’s important to emphasise the set up and ensure that all participants are able to ask question if they are not sure. Given the various skill levels it allows for the less experienced and new members to get a solid understanding of the basics.

Progressive exercise for the snatch.                                                                                 

Full Snatch from Hang (knee Height)                                                                                                    

* Enhances the ability to accelerate the bar in the second pull

* Skill at receiving the bar

* Top of thigh /lower / explode up

Power Snatch                                                                                                   

* Emphasis on explosive phase

* Accelerate as much as possible

* Avoid pushing head forward (promotes hips going back)

* Lower than 90 degrees it’s not a power snatch

Snatch/High Pull

* High transfer into power production

* When comfortable (more experienced), done at maximum speed

* Start position of snatch (wide grip)

* Pulling straps can be used

Snatch Shrug                                                                                                     

* Start up on thighs

* Emphasis on the final explosive phase of the snatch pulls

* Heavier weights

* Power rack/Blocks required

* Shorter range

* Straps required

Drop Snatch                                                                                                      

* From chest

* Drop into snatch position

Once the class was able to be taught these progressions, given the time to practice, and allow for question time, we simply moved onto the strength exercises related to the question asked. Most of the lifts performed by participants related to their own needs.  At Crossfit Craigieburn we are proactive in a high level of client deliveries so question time is important in allowing member to find the exercises most suitable to them that will best help them out.

Strength Exercises                                                                                                         

* Overhead squat            * Lift offs

* Front squat                  * Romanian Deadlifts (second part of pull) snatch and clean

In finishing off the session we quickly went over the remedial drill that particular class participants needed. With the use of the Kettlebell the job of opening up the hips and working on the overhead extension finished off a productive and rewarding class

Remedial                                                                                                           

* KB – Goblet squat

* BB/KB Overhead shrugs

* KB – Overhead stretch

* Hanging knee raise (decompress spine/ core/ hips)

Claude Castro is owner of Claudefit Personal training located in Mill Park. Is a Level two Weightlifing coach with the Australian Weightlifting federation and currently taking the Crossfit Weighlifting class held at the newly establish Crossfit Cragieburn.

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