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Monday, April 4, 2016

Top 7 signs your weightlifting coach is full of Sh*t

Weightlifting has gone main stream. People are now looking to cash-in and make as much money as possible off of unsuspecting new clients.  So, buyer beware.  The below list gives you some guidelines on how to know if your coach is legit. 


1. Your coach can only name weightlifters from the last 5 years

If your coach has only heard of Ilya Ilyin and Dmitry Klokov, then they probably have not been around long, nor have a basic understanding of weightlifting history.  An extra minus 5 points if they cannot name a single female weightlifter outside of Lydia Valentin.   Minus 20 points if they can't name the last American to medal at the Olympics in weightlifting.

I understand that not every coach is going to have geek-like encyclopedic knowledge of weightlifting stats like I do. And its ok. They just need a general understanding of what some of the biggest lifts have been done pound for pound as a measure of goodness.  One must know where the sport has gone before trying to move the sport forward.

2. They use terms like first pull, second pull, pockets, and triple extension

These terms do not exist in the scientific communities of weightlifting.  These are simply pop culture terms of people trying to dumb down weightlifting to the masses; unfortunately, this winds-up bastardizing technique at the same time.

Weightlifting is talked about in actions, periods, and phases. Think about it- there is no pause in the pull; it is one continuous motion.  That is why we cannot segment the pull. We can , on the other hand, discuss phases of the pull. You can read more on www.ristosports.com/blog

Here's a short educational video I made just for you:



3. You can hear them yelling, "squeeze" at every competition
This is a personal favorite of mine.  A lifter has a lift overhead and the coach is yelling, "Squeeeezzzzze". 

Squeeze?  Really? Really? Squeeze what? What is the lifter squeezing.  The lifter is keeping their muscles tight while they wait for the down signal -- so , maybe, yell "tight".  But "squeeze"-- that implies that the lifter has a walnut between their butt cheeks and is trying to crack it by squeezing their glutes (not advisable to ever do whilst lifting).

Bad cues make bad lifters.

4.  They brag about being "USAW level 1" certified or their level as a USAW coach
Look, USAW level 1 is a nice course.  It is definitely not designed to teach you everything you'll ever need to know about coaching. 

I mean Ivan Rojas is the Olympic Coach of Panama and has coached 2 international teams for the USA, and in the USAW system his official level is a "Club coach". 

It is far from a comprehensive system. Additionally, the science of weightlifting programming is not taught at universities in the USA , so there is about 0 formal academic training available in the USA on weightlifting.

When evaluating a potential coach, ask for how they were trained in coaching-- did they take actual coursework? Bonus points if they studied weightlifting coaching in a country where it is a profession like Colombia or Germany.  Did they at least apprentice under someone who was able to take courses in a formal weightlifting educational system?

5. Every problem is due to Mobility
Mobility, mobility, mobility.  It's like the biggest buzz word in crossfit and weightlifting. All they talk about is mobility, and everytime a lifter has a little problem with their technique, coach tells them to do more mobility exercises.

Guess what-- you know why a lot of new lifters have bad overhead squats - because their abs are too weak and they are squatting in sneakers.  Shit, if I had abs as about as supportive as a string bean and was squatted in shoes as squishy as a marshmallow, I probably would have a crappy position too.

Most people have weak abs; you can have a six pack and have weak abs relative to your leg strength.

The formation of people's bones and bodytype will also dictate what their bottom position looks like.

And, too much mobility might destabilize you in some positions.  Your coach should be able to tell you how much mobility is good.

Your coach should do a full diagnosis of your technique, strengths and weaknesses before jumping on the mobility band wagon.


6. They have a max-out day once a week and allow you to PR at anytime
Guess what if you want to get anywhere in the sport maxing out once per week does not work.  All modern weightlifting systems used by people who have produced Olympic medalists have planned max out points. 

Yes, when you are a beginner  maxing out is easy!  Sure, when you just start and you are lifting so far below your potential, you will PR frequently. This early period of improvement is temporary.  When you start lifting closer to your actual potential, maxing out whenever can lead to undue injuries and stagnant improvement.

7. They think you can be elite at crossfit and weightlifting at the same time
These three questions have the same answer:
How many Olympic medalists do you know compete at the Crossfit Games?
How many crossfitters who medaled at the crossfit games are competing at the Olympics?
How many Crossfit Games medalists also medaled at the last weightlifting World Championships? (guess what Thorisdottir, Davidsdottir, and Sigmundsdottir all lifted at the 2015 worlds)
Answer: 0 .

Weightlifting is all parasympathetic nervous system and fast twitch fibers.  Crossfit is a mixture of both nervous systems and uses type 1 and type 2 fibers, because it has those events with running and swimming and burpees ....etc...

Russian Olympic Silver medalist Oxana Slivenko almost qualified for the Crossfit Games in 2014, and she was not weightlifting at the level she lifted at the Olympics at the same time.
 

12 comments:

Unknown said...

So I guess all the Bulgarians are full of shit... I guess in the end, I don't care if my coach is full of shit, as long as I see results...

Gwen Sisto said...

Hello my friend unknown. Yes, agreed. It is all about results in the end.
On the Bulgarians, I actually trained there in 2008 for the 2008 Olympic Trials (there are several old posts on this blog about it). They did not max out everyday or even every week, despite internet folk lore. The closest thing to internet rumors on Bulgarians is Abadjiev's training system. And even his system, one could argue, is based on planned max out points. His system, although, did not achieve the same results in the US as with his stints in Europe.

By the way, this article was meant to be funny and to give new lifters some guidance for finding a good coach....

ivan rojas said...

Dear unknown

You said..the Bulgarians ae full of shit..it seems you know them well. Please let me know in which training center you trained and what year.
We trained at the Slavia training center in Sofia(trained in Varna in the 90's). Actually our company started in Sofia. Our original name was Botev Sports (some kind of partnership with Stefan Botev).
Having been involved with "the Bulgarians" at that level let us know the process they followed to produced elite athletes. Actually they didn't max out all year round...and yes they did pulls (at some points more than the Russians) and finally they did a lot of back squats (not only front squats).
Would love to know who you are and we can probably excahnge our experiences in Bulgaria..
Have yourself a great day..
Coach Ivan

Anonymous said...

"One could argue"... no one could argue that because its wrong. I have talked with lifters who trained directly under Abadjiev and they all said the same thing. You ignore the pain and lift as much as you can, every day.

Jaen Black said...

HAHA!! tell it, gwen!! or IF you have know gwen sisto since she was a teenaged lifter...you MIGHT know a thing or two...thanks for posting this, girl!! i send my folks to y'all for shoes...plastic soles don't cut it with me...carry on, y'all!!
jane black

Gwen Sisto said...

Jane!! Nice hearing from you. I knoooowwww, plastic gets softer the longer its used...the exact opposite of wood. Crazy.

Anonymous-- I actually trained in Bulgaria-- with Olympic and World Champions. I met and studied from primary sources in Bulgaria. Facts are facts-- they don't all max out every single day. I even have studies -DATA- from the 90's showing they didn't max out all the time (see Risto Sports Soviet System book).

What you are talking about is one coach...and, yes, I talked to people who trained with him in California too - they didn't hit 100% every workout. AND, think about why they were unable to crank out Olympic medals.

Or you can come to my training center and learn why..the door is always open.

Unknown said...

I have long been doing in the gym, but still can not get a good muscle mass. Now I weigh 85 kg, my height is 190 cm.
And now my questions:
What exercises are better for weight sets?
What drugs are best used for the first cycle?
Where better to order products? I have seen many sites, like isteroids or thepharmacom.com. Аs they are safe and reliable?
Thank you, guys

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Anonymous said...

Bulgarians maxed out everyday. When donny Shankle took Jon North under his wing they were maxing out 10 times a day.

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