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I got a few questions regarding your experience working with a variety of novice trainees, from the complete beginners, former athletes, veterans, underweight, etc.
I know this is rather selfish question especially the last one but it would really benefit many other novices out there doing your program.
This is so right, I don't know if it can be emphasized enough, and not just for novices either. True story:
My son was, at the time, a national champion. The following year, he lifted in the Arnold and made the same total that won for him the previous year, with openers his snatch was 10 kg below what he was doing with straps, and his jerk had gone no where, probably 15 kg below his clean. He made 190, and then cleaned 200 twice only to miss the jerks. Afterward, ever the optimist, he told me, "I think I made a statement."
To which I replied, roughly, "Yeah, whatever is on the bar, you'll get it on your chest and stand with it. You'll clean the house; you'll go for anything. Yes, you've got balls. By the way, everyone already knows that. You proved it when you were 12 and it is still true today. Oh yeah, also, your grip strength is holding your snatch back. Yes, you are pretty strong, but you are only as strong as your weakest link. While we are at it, once again, you weighed in at a full four kilos under the limit. In four years, you've gained one kilo in body weight, if that. You're 21 years old. Yes, you made a statement and that statement is that you are not very smart."
If you haven't guessed, we have had this conversation before. This time, finally, he took things to heart. A serious discussion took place, especially about the eating. He always ate healthy, very "clean." I told him gaining weight is work, just like dieting to lose weight. You will have to be uncomfortable all the time. Just as one on a diet is uncomfortable, hungry, maybe weak, you will not feel good. Of course, increased sets and reps on the toilet occurred. But, he worked at it and made progress.
He did some serious work on his grip, started eating, and by the Nationals two months later he had gained 2 kilos bodyweight and put 10 on his total. By the PanAm Games, he actually had to cut a little to make weight (now weighing 4 kilos more than what he weighed at the Arnold five months earlier) and put another 10 on his total and probably left another five on the platform. In about five months, an advanced lifter gained four kilos in bodyweight and put twenty on this total.
It takes work. It isn't easy. But if you train properly and eat, the results will be there. If this story motivates one person to follow Rip's advice, I'll be happy, and so will that person.
I have had a few people I know ask me for help on deadlifting, and I put them through the basic deadlift set up. However a recurrent theme I am running into is that they do not seem flexible enough to get into the correct position and then put their back into extension without dropping their hips.
Now, I am wondering if this is generally a flexibility problem, or something wrong with my ability to cue. "Chest to the wall" doesn't seem to help enough.
They often feel tempted to drop their hips lower to get into extension, but with any weight on the bar when they attempt to pull, the hips will just rise until they get in a mechanically efficient spot and then we are back to square one anyway.
If this is a flexibility issue, are there any specific hamstring stretches that seem useful. And if it isn't, what is usually done to fix this?
When the hips drop, the hamstrings slack due to the closing of the knee angle. This obviously makes it easier to extend the lumbar, but it has shoved the bar forward of the mid-foot. We have found that
Thanks Rip. Am I correct in thinking that, the more the knees are pushed out in step 3, the lower the hips can drop while keeping the bar over the middle of the foot? Also, should, similar to the squat, an effort to be made to always keep the knees in line with the toes (so shoving the knees out should be preceded by pointing the toes out more than usual?).
Is there a general stance angle that you recommend in this situation? As from what I am aware the general recommendation is just to point the toes "very slightly out", which doesn't seem compatible with this fix.
You are correct; toes are pointed out more than very slightly. This allows the knees to drop out into the correct position. I can't find the poster text right now, but it's been posted here before and one of you clever people can find it for him.
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