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
Snatch what you can, Clean & Jerk what you must. A simple idea that presents the fundamental strategy for how we select openers and competition attempts for our lifters. There’s a reason why California Strength lifters have one of the highest rates of success competition makes in the country! This is a must read if you want to maximize your performance at your next weightlifting competition! (Exact lifting percentages included)Read More
When things are going according to plan, PR's are being hit and meets won, it is easier for the athlete to honor this trust. As the athlete advances in age and PR's become scarce due to advanced training age, this trust is often challenged and might require the coach to allow the athlete to be more involved in their training decisions. The partnership should shift towards that of a collaborative role between athlete and coach at this junction and may give a positive and welcomed sense of control back to the athlete...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
Being rested and primed to optimize your training through a thoughtful tapering process can offer you the edge over your competitors or mean the difference between a good meet and a great meet!
When implemented correctly, a taper prior to competition can increase strength output by roughly 7-10% (dependent on the individual), through a series of adaptations in the athlete’s body. This does not take into account the psychological benefits from having a clear plan of attack for what your training will consist of in the final weeks before competition and the peace of mind given to an athlete who feels confident that they have done all they can to perform when it counts the most.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