Warm Up: It’s More than Switching on the Radio

Daily Warmup at the Pacifica Barbell Club
After weighing in, general stretching would begin the day. Two interesting stretches that we used at the Pacifica Barbell Club were shoulder dislocates with the “shoulder stretching machine,” a broomstick, and ankle stretches on the “ankle stretching machine,” a step. Sit ups and hyperextensions followed stretching. After stretching, we used an unloaded bar to practice snatch and warm up the bottom position. Moving up to 95 pounds, then 115 pounds to repeat the movement and get the bottom position ready. With 135 pounds, Dick would push the bar down while the lifter sat in the overhead squat position trying to squeeze the knees wider and wider apart. Now, you’re ready for anything.

Dave Turner’s Hercules Barbell Club Method
Dave’s beginners use a simple program for learning and developing the rudiments of strength. Three days a week, the team members go through a ten minute warm up of shoulder “dislocates” with broomsticks, overhead squats with broomsticks, followed by front squats, then a “cardio-like” few minutes of snatches and clean and jerks with the broomsticks. Dave reinforces the terms used in lifting: “Get set,” “Push the floor,” “Jump,” “Dip,” and “Down.”

The issue of flexibility
Forget it! If you want it: squat, dip, straight leg deadlift. If you want more: overhead squat. If you really want more: guess what? Olympic Lift! Don’t try to truly increase flexibility during your warm ups…as you continue to train day in and day out on the O lifts your flexibility will quickly improve.By the way, Clarence Bass has an FAQ that argues this same point. Read this.

Performance of the Lifts
One thing Dick Notmeyer, coach of the PBBC, was adamant about, perhaps even obsessed about, was the insistence that his lifters never “power” the weight up but always take the lift to the deep position. He felt that power lifts taught the wrong pull and would fail the lifter on maximum attempts. I think the beginning lifter would be wise to follow this advice. The more experienced an athlete is as they enter the sport of O lifting the more likely it is for this athlete to find that their power is far beyond their technique. Hang in there for a few months and learn to do it right!

The Three Keys to Success in the Olympic Lifts
Dick felt that there were three keys to success in Olympic Lifting:
1. Leg Strength
2. Pulling Strength
3. Tranquil Mind

What to focus on during the warm ups?

Whether Olympic lifter, shot putter or discus thrower, one constant point that seems to resound throughout the great ones is “work on your weak points.” Perhaps that is the reason that athletes used to emphasis general conditioning over specific peaking programs; the athletes were constantly reviewing and restructuring due to a new awareness of a problem area. Some writers seems to appraise this as a false modesty when the athlete would respond “really, I’m not very good/strong at this or that,” yet it seems part of common mentality that you are only as strong as your weakest link. John Price, a good friend of mine and former Washington Huskie discus thrower, noted that this was the core principle of all the training programs while he was in college. The athletes at Washington learned this from a Swimming Coach who monitored the varsity weight room. Constant, diligent review of overall trends in one’s training, usually from studying training diaries or from a trusted friend’s advice, designed the next training program rather than a glossy magazine in the drug store. Use your warm up to review and CONQUER your weak points!

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