This will likely be a long series and will follow a somewhat repetitive structure. For each lifter I will put up the video of all their lifts then in italics I will show what I wrote on the day, (my immediate predictions/reactions) then what I think after seeing the video. The formatting of the post will be a little awkward since there will pictures of key frames.
Edinburgh University put forward a lot of lifters which is promising for the future. I am proud of the effort put in by the club. In particular the support given to each other on the day, club culture is a huge benefit to lifters. Some people came to watch all the lifters despite having a busy schedule, for that I am very grateful. A huge thank you to Eirik Mølmshaug for the videos. It is a massive help and greatly appreciated.
Lifter 1 : Ian Paul (105kg)
Easy to predict lift timing since class very small. Concerned about the jump from 95 -> 100kg. Had some trouble in training lately and I think that lift can sometimes get in his head. If he backs his positions he will do well, cue traps. CnJ: I have no concerns about the clean, max near 140kg so the limiting factor is entirely the Jerk. If the back foot lands first and doesn’t try to press the weight he will Jerk well. Since he was late for weigh in, lifting as a guest, allows for a pressure free competition – Good/bad, try reminding him to have fun because of this.
Snatch 1 95kg – 0:07
Good lift, with a heavier weight he will want to avoid rushing out of the bottom position. He was 2-3 scoops deep though so it was easy work for the big man.
Snatch 2 100kg – 0:23
Very smooth again from Ian, shoulders finishing behind the bar at the top of the pull but maintaining a straight bar path which is excellent. The feet position could move a little wider so had to recover forward cause of the torso angle. He had some struggles in training banging the bar away.
Snatch 3 103kg – 0:37
A 3kg PR for Ian, the pull is smooth and finishes close to the hip. His shoulders are finishing further behind the bar compared to the previous lift so he will need time getting comfortable hitting this weight on a regular basis so the lifts look the same every time. He had to recover forward after the lift so the bar probably came away from him. His foot positioning was better on this lift compared to the previous so he was able to hit a deeper position.
Clean 1 117kg – 0:50
The clean is very comfortable for Ian, he has a big excess on this part of the lift. The main focus here will be on the jerk. On the first two lifts the re-adjust was not as smooth as I would like. It is somewhat of a double movement, this costs a little bit of leg power. The arms were a little slow on this lift so the feet had landed and the arms were still going. This caught up with him and was deemed a pressout. The bar positioning was a little too far forward and meant he had to run to try and catch it. The picture on the right shows the centre of balance a little in front of the hips, elite lifters do this as well, they counter with a crazy amount of shoulder flexibility. A frustrating opener since he would require a big jump on his final lift.
Clean 2 117kg – 1:07
For this lift the bar goes a little forward on the jerk. The main cause for this is the foot weighting on the jerk. His knees are a little beyond his toes and when he reverses his dip and drive he is already moving forward ever so slightly. You have to watch the lift in slow motion to see it. He manages to recover this lift well. (the judges buzzed a little early, probably guilty from the Easts).
Clean 3 125kg – 1:30
This was a massive improvement over the two previous weights. The Jerk adjust was much smoother and allowed a faster paced lift. His shoulder positioning was further towards the rear so the weight was over his hips. This made the weight look much easier than the previous attempts despite the large jump in weight. Looking at the picture to the right, you see that there is a more equal distribution of weight. For Ian this was a technically good lift.
For Ian this was a interesting competition, he was unfortunate to miss the weigh in, this meant that he was lifting as a guest. He would’ve finished first so we prepared a trophy for him so that he wouldn’t sleep in. (made by my gorgeous girlfriend) For his training, more time spent Jerking weights and making sure that he has accurate footwork. Improving his upper body strength with basic movements like bench press, dips or weightlifting specific movements like push press and power variations of the lifts will benefit his lifting. A 11kg total increase from his last competition is a great return from training. His next goal is moving towards the 240kg total mark and moving up the classification of lifters.
Lifter 2 : Mike Kennedy (105kg)
First competition so focus on making lifts, 6/6 is the goal. In the warm up make sure he is relaxed and not wasting too much energy doing a lot of lifts. Get him in a routine. No concerns on the snatch apart from squatting it up (lolwut). On the Clean and jerk aim to remind him to not come onto his toes too early and drive the bar straight. Tell judges about elbow extension.
Snatch 1 82kg – 0:07
Very smooth lift, for a big guy, Mike has a sick bottom position. His chest dips a little on the first pull which is not uncommon on tall lifters. As long as his shoulders rise as well, it’s not as punishing since their torsos get to act as a large “whip”.
Snatch 2 86kg – 0:22
Decent lift from Mike. Had to gather himself at the bottom of the lift but his deep position gives him the margin for error there. His breath at the bottom of the snatch is a concern, odds are he is losing trunk pressure, with heavier weights it will cost him.
Snatch 3 90kg – 0:38
Technically superior to the other lifts, the chest does not drop at all on the first pull. this will allow him to fully use his legs on the second pull, rather than mule kicking the bar when it is out in front. His foot weighting in the bottom position is superior to the previous lift and needed less time to recover this lift. Again he takes a breath at the bottom of the snatch.
Clean 1 105kg – 0:55
Very smooth lift from the man with the sickest singlet going. Very efficient pull, his arms are loose so he completes his elbow turnover fast. On the jerk he is rocking back to his heels a little too much in the future he will want to drive with his whole foot for as long as possible.
Clean 2 110kg – 1:18
On the jerk, the problem is starting to appear more pronounce. The picture to the left shows him with his toes off the ground. This is an inefficient position for delivering maximum power to the barbell and will have to be corrected in the future to make heavier weights. It is an odd one since at the bottom of the dip and drive his toes come into contact with the ground then his balance shifts forward and spits the bar to the front.
Clean 3 110kg – 1:41
Similar flaws on this lift but he doesn’t shift his weight as far forward, he drives faster with the arms and makes the lift.
There must be something with the big guys that makes them need more sleep. Unfortunately Mike also missed the weigh in so had to lift as a guest. On the day he lifted very well for a first competition. Made 5/6 lifts and his technique was robust on the day. For his training in the future he will want to focus on his strength levels. Being a taller lifter he will take a while to develop but he has made great progress. For his jerking, making sure that in training his entire foot remain in contact with the ground will ensure that his jerk doesn’t lag as much.
Lifter 3 – Michal Martin (94)
On the snatch I want him to receive the bar with his hips rather than using his arms and torso to take the load. Making his opener will set him up well for the other lifts. Hopefully he doesn’t get too pumped for the snatch and tire himself out. Keep a steady pace in the warm up room, quite a large class. Make sure to keep other coaches are on top of the lifter order. Remind him about his upper back on the clean. If that is solid, he makes the lift.
Snatch 1 97kg – 0:09
For the most part, a solid opener from Michal. His receive position is a too narrow from his back strength. The picture to the left shows how early he had received the barbell. Notice how narrow his feet are during this lift. It forces him to use more upper body than necessary to make this lift.
Snatch 2 102kg – 0:31
On this attempt the pull is superb, shoulders and hips rising together. He receives the bar early but unfortunately he can’t save the lift since his hips aren’t taking enough of the weight. The bar was received in almost exactly the same position but with the foot positioning it requires huge amounts of upper body strength to save this lift.
Snatch 3 102kg – 0:42
Similar to the previous, just needs to move those feet out to be able to keep that torso upright. Had received the weight early.
Clean 1 120kg – 0:55
Very smooth from Michal on this lift, the foot placement on the clean could be a little wider to make it easier on his torso angle but it is a good lift. The Jerk is solid with excellent foot placement.
Clean 2 125kg – 1:14
At the bottom of this clean Michal’s back rounds a little a t the bottom of the clean, when recovering the clean he loses his upper back tightness and has to grind the squat out. He shows a good amount of fight to recover the lift but his legs were gassed for the jerk. Despite this, the jerk is technically sound. The bar simply didn’t go high enough.
Clean 3 125kg – 1:34
Similar error in foot placement for the clean. Since he was tired he cut the pull a little short on this lift. (He had to follow himself). For this attempt he was able to keep his upper back, this made for an easier clean recovery and made the Jerk.
Once Michal is able to correct the small errors in his lifts he will be able to shift far heavier weights. He is in the process of moving up a weight class and that always takes time. If you compare his mass to the lifters at the heavier end of his weight class he has plenty of room to grow. For his training he should be focusing on moving his feet out on both of the lifts and using his flexibility. He is in the unfortunate position of having been unable to squat for the previous few training blocks, hopefully his will be remedied soon and he can fall into more regular programming.
Lifter 4- Ian Mclean-Foreman (94)
Expect big things from this monster, he has an excess of strength and at the top end of his weight class. Hopefully his small cut didn’t hurt him too much. Impressed by his zoning out the other lifters during the day. Just snorlaxing at the back of the room. On the jerk try to make sure the bar goes up and back and that the lift is leg dominant. Keep an eye out for other lifters’ weights, aim to place but focus on his total first.
Snatch 1 102kg – 0:21
Easy opener, judges made him wait a long time. Had the cheek to say “Are you serious” I liked his comment after the fact that he was embarrassed by this. His arousal level was just sky high.
Snatch 2 107kg – 0:48
Another easy lift for Ian, bar speed on the second pull is very fast,hips and shoulders rising at the correct rate. Very good technically.
Snatch 3 112kg – 1:18
Very smooth snatch from Ian here, his finishing position is superb, makes for a very efficient lift. Arms are loose and the bar finishes in the hip. shoulders finish behind the bar and he is aggressive on the turnover. The only downside is that he doesn’t trust his bottom position yet (understandable since his back rounds and the bottom). In time this will improve and he won’t have to pull the bar quite as high. Fantastic effort from Ian here though.
Clean 1 137kg – 1:47
The clean is effortless here, the concerns are on the jerk. His knee travels far beyond his toes here on heavier weights this will make the lift too quad dominant and will limit the lift. (Also concerns for knee pain). He pushes to early with the arms and ends up shifting his hips back. It is a snap “pushing” you down as opposed to a press on the barbell.
Clean 2 142kg – 2:33
Easy clean, an upper back round is starting to appear, he is very strong and able to easily counter it. The Jerk is a little smoother this time around, his hips still move back slightly so odds are he is still a little arm dominant, he sends the back a little further to the rear and thus is able to make the lift. The foot placement means that the front foot is carrying a large part of the weight. He is strong enough to counter this though.
Clean 3 146kg – 3:20
A huge lift from Ian, we went for this weight to force two other lifters to move up their attempts (was confident in his ability to make the lift where as the other people were struggling to make the clean recovery). The upper back round is a little more pronounce so this would appear near his top end, still an easy clean. The jerk was not bad technically, the errors are consistent. Given time and effort it is easy to fix. The foot placement is a little more favorable this time, this means that the weight is supported by both legs. Big fight to recover the clean, hugely strong. Great lifting.
Awesome performance from him, finishing second in his class. Ian has improved dramatically this year, once his flexibility improves and he gets comfortable hitting bottom positions he will explode weight wise. For his training going forward he doesn’t have to spend that long working on getting stronger, his training is better served on working on his weaknesses. Plenty of Jerk practice and flexibility work. For racking the cleans, exercises like wide grip power cleans are a good way to force that back to be more active recovering a clean. A massive competition from Ian, impressed with all aspects of his lifting, should be an exciting training year.
The big dudes are always an interesting bunch since they tend to shift the most weight, it can be awkward in a competition for them since they are last up. Means they have to wait around all day. It can be a good idea to sleep / leave the arena for a bit since you can be sapped energy wise watching lifting all day.
I enjoyed coaching this competition day, it was more relaxed for me since I competed the previous day and was able to invest myself a little more emotionally. Competing is always fun as it puts your weaknesses under a microscope, pressure is such a great performance driver and I look forward to seeing these guys compete again. Unfortunately it also means back into preparation cycles for these units.