LASTING PRINCIPLES | YASHA KAHN | WEEK 5
WEEK 5 | TRAINING WEEK/CYCLE – WINTER CYCLE COVERING WEEK(S) 13 (REDUX)
HIGHLIGHTS OF TRAINING PROGRAM:
Competition prep for the winter cycle continues. Repeat of week 13 again to prepare for my competition. Heavy waves.
BEST TRAINING SESSION OF THE WEEK(S):
Week Day 13 Day 1 :
Wall Squats 4(10)
1(1)75%, 1(1)80%, 1(1)85%
1(1)75%, 1(1)80%, 1(1)85% 1(1)75%
Clean and Jerk
1(1)75%, 1(1)80%, 1(1)85%
1(1)75%, 1(1)80%, 1(1)85% 1(1)75%
1(1)80%, 1(1)90%, 1(1)100%
Bodybuilding – 15 minutes
YASHA’S COACHING POINTS FOR THESE LIFTS:
For the Snatch: Pull bar to chin before going under with mover vertical forearms. As soon as you turn bar over meet the bar with tension where it is. Don’t go to the bottom of your squat after you’re done pulling it go to where the bar is and create tension under bar before riding it down.
For the clean: Elbows forward, pull higher, meet bar tighter with upper-back more straight.
For the Jerk: Continue to try to push knees out more on dip and drive higher with legs. Receive barbell overhead with shoulders much more elevated and elbows pointed behind.
Weightlifting? The text read. Yasha was still in town and was asking if I’d be at my gym that afternoon. I told him I would and was happy that I’d be able to lift with him and have him coach me again before he left for a month. Yasha was planning to leave the week before my competition to spend a full month in another country and this unexpected opportunity to get some more in person coaching was really what I needed. I was still having trouble adapting to the changes he was trying to make in my snatch.
It just so happened it was probably the hottest day of the summer in my poorly air conditioned, badly ventilated, and sparesley fanned gym. Yasha, crazed lunatic that he is, asked to turn off the one fan I had pointed at the platforms. I agreed to let him because it was the only way I’d get the very modest Yasha Kahn to take his shirt off. It was a long running joke that I’d have the only gym hot enough in New York to get him to do so such a promiscuous thing. It’s not weird…
Anyway, I was sweating my ass off so naturally Yasha had me work harder pushing my pace by sharing a bar with me. He also had me do additional work to drill weaknesses.
Yasha continued his coaching focus almost exclusively on the height to which I was pulling the bar in the snatch and the position of my elbows/forearms. He also had me focus on the instinct to pull my body rapidly to the height of the bar as I went under and to immediately become rigid under the bar rather than just pulling it high and going to the very bottom of my squat to receive it.
In the instagram video I included above, you can see two different snatch attempts. The first appears better because, well I made it. But the second, although I missed behind, was closer to the kind of pull that Yasha is trying to get out of me. Because of my focus on the extended pull, I wasn’t able to react fast enough to snapping and pushing up into the bar at the highest possible moment and instead I just dropped to the bottom of the squat. I missed behind because I wasn’t able to create tension and stop the slight backwards trajectory of the bar.
As Yasha says – if you drop to the bottom or your squat too fast rather than just repositioning your body to the height of the bar and trying to slow it down sooner, you miss behind. This is of course implying that the bar path is not exaggeratedly arced.
Suffice to say I wasn’t pulling the bar consistently and continued to make the same, exact mistakes I’ve been making with this so Yasha had me do a number of sets of a pulling drill in between my classic snatch and clean and jerk sets to force me to feel it and to end my snatch practice with good motor patterns. And this is was about the time I dropped about 20 kilos of water weigh and experienced minor heat stroke. It’s ok though, I heard extreme dehydration is good for the pores. Let me be dramatic… it’s my blog.
Yasha dropped the bar down to 50 kilos and had me do one to two pulls from the floor trying to literally pull the bar to my chin with my forearms as vertical as possible with my elbows as high as possible followed immediately by one hang snatch below the knees. The idea is to do the correct pull and then do the correct pull again to the exact same height, then snap under as fast as possible stopping the bar immediately with as much tension and rigidity as possible. We did a bunch of sets at 50 kilos, and then 60 kilos, and then 70 kilos, and finally 80 kilos. Every set I received the bar a little lower but he told me to stop the bars movement and my downward descent no lower than with my hips at parallel. As we added weight, he’d cue me to keep pulling the bar to the same height.
Then it was on to clean and jerk. Yasha took one look at my clean and told me to try moving my hands closer. And by closer I mean, pretty damn close. I was grabbing the bar literally right outside of my shins, and for an orangutan proportioned man like myself, it felt very close indeed. But it accomplished the purpose that Yasha had in mind. It forced me to receive the bar in a very upright position with my upper back very tight and extended. Damn him.
I asked him if I had to jerk with this hand position or if I could adjust my hands out and of course he told me to keep my hands where they were. It was awkward at first, but caused me to drive the bar more aggressively with my legs which of course was part of his intention. It also exposed my soft upper-back position in supporting the weight overhead as I split. My shoulders were dropping and my elbows were not locked in a tight position. My elbows were not pointed back to engage my traps and upper back as Yasha talks about here
So after clean and jerk, Yasha of course had me do more jerks at a lighter weight to drill a more immediate and strong lock my shoulders in this elevated position when I push under the weight. I did a shit-ton of sets of clean + 3 jerk drilling this over and over and focusing on the shrugged overhead position.
Yasha found horrible things for me to do to make me get what he was trying to say rather than wasting more words. But isn’t this what great coaches do anyway? They find ways to get the best out of you and they’re creative in how they get you to do what they’re asking. Sometimes it’s a cue, sometimes it’s an entire conversation, sometimes it’s them withdrawing from you, sometimes it’s them changing something so that you can see and feel and understand on your own.