Dave Spitz shares the story behind California Strength and his life’s work, to return the United States back to relevance in Olympic Weightlifting.Read More
In a perfect world, you would be able to train year round as hard as you possibly could and never get hurt but training at the ragged edges of your ability can come at a price. As a result, surgery may be necessary to get you back to baseline or give you another shot at achieving your athletic goals. Here are five strategies you can implement to help you optimize your recovery after surgery.Read More
We are often asked to try out and review several products during training. Over the years, we’ve picked out our favorites and tend to lean towards the same products, even as a team. Below are some of the key items that most of us carry in our gym bags to help us get through training sessions and competitions.Read More
If Cal Strength were the Avengers, Jaden Washington would be Captain America. He’s polite, well-mannered, works hard, and always does the right thing. Jaden is representing Team USA at the IWF Junior World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan this week and I thought it would be fitting to do a little Q&A with him.Read More
While there are no perfect models to predict how and when athletes will rebound from physical or psychological adversity, if they remain in this sport long enough, the progression will inevitably be cyclical in nature. When telling an athlete to trust the process, it is easier to do so when there is visibility into the journey by those who have traveled the road before them.Read More
Experiencing discomfort in your wrist while Snatching or feel like your turnover is too slow? Nicole Lim and the California Strength Weightlifting Team weigh in on whether or not you should release your hook grip when receiving the Snatch overhead.Read More
Any exercise that requires an overhead component is largely considered a core exercise. To improve stability in your overhead movements like Snatch and Jerks, we can apply unstable components to specific movement patterns in order to increase our kinesthetic awareness. One method in particular that I have found to be a huge help over the years are perturbations.
Demonstration Videos IncludedRead More
For the most part, exercise (like weightlifting) can improve your sleep quality and duration. However, it is common to see your sleep habits disrupted as a result of aggressive exercise and that can impact your recovery. Some studies suggest that excessive or aggressive exercise can overstimulate the bodies natural stress responses and stress hormones, leading to an increased heart rate and alertness. Throw into the mix a pre-workout Fast Twitch RTD and you could have trouble falling asleep missing critical recovery gains as result. We have pulled some tips that you can implement TONIGHT to dramatically change your sleep habits and improve your recovery.Read More
Everyone can Snatch, everyone can Clean but only champions can Jerk. - Ivan Abadjiev
Looking for a sure fire way to determine which Jerk variation is right for you? In this week's Technique Talk, we break down the similarities and differences between the Split, Power and Squat Jerk variations in an all out assault on demystifying one of the most technical movements in Olympic weightlifting.Read More
Managing your training weight should be complementary to your weightlifting program and long term goals. Like all things weightlifting, cutting weight is a skill in itself and is very individualized. At California Strength, we practice individualized but simple weight cutting techniques that have been fool proof for our athletes time and time again.Read More
During my preparation for the 2016 Open, we needed to increase strength while maintaining my metabolic capacity, and the solution was adding The Barbell WOD programming to my training arsenal. The Barbell WOD provided a spotlight focus on my Olympic weightlifting while still allowing me to recover enough to complete my daily Metcons. The strength that I gained as a result of the programming has had a huge impact on increasing my 1RM's in the Olympic lifts and building CrossFit-specific strength in barbell cycling.Read More
I fell in love with the most impossible, monotonous, soul-destroying sport and I wasn’t going to give up. I sat down with Dave and discussed what we could do differently to get my heiny off the plateau and back to climbing the Mount Everest of kilos. With some research, we altered my program to accommodate the physiology of small women. After three months of testing, I finally PR’d and by a considerable amount. Just like that, I felt like I was back on track with the rest of the best 48’s in the nation...Read More
Daily body maintenance with a focus on preventative care if key. Most overuse injuries are often the result of what were originally smaller aches and paints that manifest overtime into common weightlifting ailments (ex. Patelar Tendonitis, Shin Splints, Elbow Tendonitis).Read More
Following the completion of a macrocycle, it is beneficial to prescribe at least one complete week off from training. Stepping away from the barbell allows time for the body to work out any aches and pains that may have amassed from a year’s worth of hard training and allows your Central Nervous System to recharge..Read More
Knowledge: Scientific and Practical
While our programs are grounded in good science, we also rely heavily on our own evidence based reality. This is a reality that has been forged from working with athletes across a breadth of various sports with a wide range of training ages and abilities. We take a scientific approach and blend it with this practical knowledge to form the fabric of the Barbell WOD. While the basis of our program may on the surface look Soviet, there are some very noteworthy departures.
We use Block Periodization models leveraged from some of the most well known coaches and researchers such as Verkhoshansky, Roman, Medvedyev and Bondarchuk. We then combine the traditional block methodology with a Percentage + Progressive Overload (PPO) strategy developed here at California Strength. Using the PPO strategy to drive intensity and training consistency is especially useful when combined with implementing a large range of exercise selection.
Over the years we have found that allowing our athletes to achieve continuous success (small and consistent PR’s) in a variety of exercises yields long term interest and helps to drive motivation. Achieving success during training is imperative to the long-term success of our athletes and with the wide range of exercise selection used in our programming, these PR attempts come often with the implementation of non-competition exercises ranging from hitting a double in the Low Hang Snatch to a 5 Rep Max Back Squat. Having a wide variation of complementary exercises allows us to consistently operate at the edges of one's ability. This high degree of varied exercise selection combined with the PPO strategy helps drive skill acquisition while guarding against overuse injuries and neural fatigue.
Applying this method to the Barbell WOD has shown to not only provide a structured approach for those who may find themselves jumping from program to program in the past, but also the blend of exercise selection and Percentage + Progressive Overload challenges its members while avoiding an inevitable burnout or plateau that comes as a result of unstructured programs.
Anchor Dates and Feedback
Taking into account the principles above, we begin to build the Barbell WOD program by structuring our annual goals and Anchor Dates. The goals of the Barbell WOD have always been to improve technique and movement through building strength based on structural balance ratios. Anchor Dates like the CF Open provide the timeline used to structure each Mesocycle in order to be ready when it counts in competition.
Athlete Feedback is a useful tool for all coaches but tracking this feedback and then applying it to your program can be a challenge. We are able to use the analytics and tracking features in the TrainHeroic App to gather data from the entire Barbell WOD community. Decisions made from this data allows us to combine input from past experiences, past athletes, and past successes and failures to use as cornerstones for improving the Barbell WOD programming with every cycle. As people continue to join the Barbell WOD, our Feedback data expands and we are able to zero in on exactly what our athletes need in their programming.
A quick look at Dave’s book shelf inside California Strength..
Supertraining by Yuri Verkhoshansky and Mel Siff
Tapering and Peaking for Optimal Performance by Inigo Mujika
- The Snatch, The Clean And Jerk by R.A. Roman and M.S. Shakirzyanov
While many of the principles with respect to force production are similar in the Snatch Pull and the Clean Pull there are also some noteworthy difference in how the pulls develop. Below are factors that influence the differences in the mechanics of the Snatch and Clean Pull.
- Grip width in the Snatch is wider than the Clean.
- Relatively speaking, Clean weights are 20 - 25% heavier than Snatch weights.
- The Acceleration of the bar begins more gradually in the Snatch and ends with 10-15% greater Velocity than the Clean.
- The “fixation” height or the height at which the bar is stabilized in the catch positions is 25-30% higher in the Snatch than in the Clean
Here is how we account for these differences….Read More
In this article we want to discuss a concept that may seem obvious at first glance and yet it is an area where mistakes are made frequently. The issue we want to address is how an athlete should attack progressively loading heavier weights on a bar in the Snatch and Clean in a given workout. As an athlete loads heavier weight on a barbell, the bar cannot continue to be accelerated using the same force or achieve the same peak velocity. For example, Spencer Moorman cannot pull 160kg with the same speed as he can pull 100kg. Therefore we must have an approach and a strategy to counter this slower bar speed as he makes progressively heavier attempts.Read More
Ivan Abadjiev once confided in me, “Anyone can Snatch and Clean, only true Champions can Jerk!”
At the time, I didn’t fully appreciate the complexity of the Split Jerk, but after hitting a wall in my own lifting as a result of my Jerk and after trying to teach athletes how to perform the movement over the last decade and I am now in full agreement.Read More