Friday, 26 March 2010


This morning, I had a very interesting training session with one of my clients. I have been training Andrew for about a year. When we started training Andrew had so called "bad knee", which according to his words qualified for surgery. He was a keen runner (which due to his knee problem he couldnt continue) and his only experience with weight training was - isolation movements and machines. Over the first few months we worked mostly on stability and techniques for basic lifts like deadlift, front squat, single legged stuff, etc.
Andrew has become much stronger, his knees are perfectly fine, he not only came back to runnning but also enjoys heavy lifting. Sounds good... however, there is one problem - his confidence. Although it has grown over the months, he still has got a little voice in his head telling him - " you cant do it" when he approaches a weight that is close or slightly above his PB.
I know he has got a great potential and is much stronger than he believes he is, but he stops his progression through psyching himself up - NOT to lift/push/pull beyond his comfort zone. Is it possible to overcome that fear, without actually getting your client injured? This morning, I have decided to do something, that is against most of the theories I have learned about the training. I have combined heavy deadlifts and heavy cleans in one session. Shouldn't have worked - but ..... Andrew hit his new PB on both lifts, with a perfect technique and great confidence. How did it work... After the warm up we built it up to heavy deadlift (in Andrew's case it was 80% of his 1RM). He did 3x deadlift with this weight and then immediately moved to 3x clean with 60% of his 1RM. After 2 mins of rest I have increased the weight on the bar for cleans (up to 65%) and kept the same weight for DL's. He repeated 3 deadlifts followed by 3 cleans.
Then: DL's up to 85% 2 reps
Clean up to 70% 2 reps, Rest (plenty 2-3 mins)
DL's up to 90% 2 reps
Clean up to 80% 2 reps, rest as above
DL's @ 90% 2 reps
Clean up to 85% 2 reps, rest
DL's @ 90% 2 reps
Clean 90% 1 rep, rest
DL's @ 90% 2 reps
Clean 100% 1 rep, rest
DL's @ 100% 1 rep
Clean - new PR, rest
DL's - new PR
Note there was no rest between deadlifts and cleans. As soon as he hit his PB on cleans he realised that the heavy deadlift was there to trick his mind. Andrew said, that cleans felt very light after performing heavy deadlift(s). The method worked for Andrew, I don't know if it works for anyone else. It only shows that most of the time we have to think outside the box to get the best out of our clients. Andrew has made me really proud this morning.

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