An Attempt to Match the Old York Courses

When I reference being 43 in this article, it will give you an idea of how old this is…

That “thump” you heard was my rear end crashing down. I decided to do my own little variation of York Course Three and try to get to the Bronze standards on a few of the lifts. Well, I tried. I did learn more in the last hour and change, though, than I have in about six months.

One arm clean and jerks: okay, I’ve done them. But, I keep missing jerks in meets, so I paid attention today. I only got up to 151 with the right (160 is bronze for my weight) but I noticed that I was falling left just like I do in meets. I split with the left foot front.

All of a sudden, it made sense why Dave Turner gave me Dave Webster’s article on the jerk. I am not “Pushing my head through.” And, I don’t do it on snatches either, so I either dump them forward or lose the rack behind. Head through!!!

I decided to do reps with one arm snatches and did fives with 81. (Oh, my revolving dumbbell is 11 pounds, that is why the numbers are odd.)

I got an easy three with the bronze Military Press, 175, then did my front squat workout. I am amazed how hard I am breathing after doing right arm, left arm, right arm, left arm, two armed then squat. I added a bunch of power cleans after the squats. Then, I finished with Snatch Grip Romanian Deadlifts. I want to be able to do strapless sets with maybe 40 pounds over my meet projection for smooth sets of five.

So, it is only six days after a meet, in which I was not satisfied, and I am seeing the problems:

1. The one arm stuff highlights my jerk tech problem.
2. The soreness in my lats from Wednesday’s York Three: Dan John Protocol System tells me that my pulling muscles need more work. (One arm snatches kill my lats and traps. Snatch RDLs point out my pulling errors from the knee area, then crush my mid back.)
3. Anyone who can do Gold standards in the one arm lifts is VERY strong.

As I was going through my archives, I found an old xeroxed thing that the Soviets made about correlations between training exercises and the platform lifts for advanced lifters. The Power Clean was first, followed by the Power Snatch, the Clean, then the Overhead Squat. The Power Clean was also Johnny Terpak’s ‘secret’ for athletic success (I agree, but most coaches would, too). Bob Bednarski through Power Cleans in on Thursday (Only lift that day) during his big breakthrough year of 1966.

These big movements like the one arm lifts, and power clean and snatch seem to really build the system. I think that I am going to continue working through some variations of what I have been doing this week to see if I can get that triple bodyweight total.

Which is hard to do at 43 and a fat guy.

I just found an article discussing the old East German training theories. It really interested me because so many of these ideas have surfaced among the resources that I use and respect. A quick and inadequate overview:

1. Squat once a week, generally with 5 sets of 5. For part of the year, all five sets are the same weight, other times, one increases all five sets.
2. “Hip Snatches,” or High Hang Snatches into the split are done twice a week. The reps are 3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1.
3. Presses are done four days a week. Bench, incline, decline and military are rotated through each week with lots of the lifts done off of “pads” or cushions, so when they come down, the bar has a little “pop” off the pads.

Reviewing the programs, as well as some of the throwing drills, I started to understand why Eric Lindquist has made such progress in a year. His dad bought him a set of chains and O weights and he has started this interesting little cycle of:

Day One
Squat with Chains
Press Behind Neck with Chains (sitting on a low Box)

Day Two
Press with Chains (sitting on a low Box)

He alternates this M-W-F, so one week he squats twice, the next once. Then, when he visits me, we always work on the snatch, generally, Power Snatch followed with an overhead squat, followed with a hang snatch, then a full snatch from the floor. We also pull sleds, farmers walk, toss heavy stuff…the usual.

As I looked over my “Transformation Program,” one of the criticisms I would now make is the need for additional pressing. So, I will be reconsidering this in the next few weeks. Although this may only be interesting for thrower types, I thought that the insight of squatting seriously once a week, pulling twice and doing a variety of presses four times a week paralleled my personal and coaching experiences with overtraining by squatting too often.

It just seems something to think about.

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