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Eddy van Oort op 3/24/2009 @ 10:51 am

korte krachttraining
bench: 10x4 6x50 3x6x60 2x70
squatmachine: 10x80 2x10x100 (explosief uit, 3 sec terug)

Eddy van Oort op 3/18/2009 @ 10:44 am

90-80-70 versnelling rustig
60-50-40 versnelling 90% + coast
6 x 30m startspelletje
300-200-150-200-300 200m wndrust (~= 3′)
(46.9 28.6 20.9 28.1 45.2)

150m te rustig aan gelopen als ik ‘t terugzie, had een 19-er moeten zijn.

Eddy van Oort op @ 10:41 am

bank 10x40 8x50 3x6x60 1x70 0x75
squatmachine 10x70 2x8x100 6x120 , “diep”.

Eddy van Oort op 3/11/2009 @ 9:05 am

2 x 6 x 200m in estafette vorm, on flats
(30.6 30.0 30.5 30.3 32.2 31.3) (rust: 1:16 1:20 1:20 1:21 1:17)
23′ rust/medizin bal oefeningen
(33.3 32.3 32.1 31.9 31.9 31.0) (rust: 1:19 1:20 1:18 1:21 1:16)

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Stukjes van discussie op werpers forum The Ring

Throwers Forum -- 2004.04.13

Dave Caster

9:18 PDT, 8/11/98

Ken, some things I've observed recently (and have been told) have piqued my curiosity regarding the use of sleds for pulling purposes in order to increase capacities that could help out a shotputter. I remembered a while back that you had mentioned that Chris pulled the family Blazer as a part of training. I was reminded of this when I ran into a friend of yours while in Seattle, and he showed me some articles about Chris, and coincidentally, there was a picture of him pulling the vehicle. Now, I have also seen some footage of that youngster in Bayonne, NJ (DiGiorgio, I believe his name is) and he does pulling drills as well, using a sled and going uphill. As well, I remember some information from Andy Baran, I believe written to you, regarding Timmerman's pulling of a tractor tire. Now I do not know if pulling things (whether they be sleds, tires or Blazers) is a commonplace practice in the training of accomplished shotputters, but the common thread here is a bit hard to ignore.

To add to the whole pulling query, a recent visit out to Westside Barbell evidenced use of sleds after workouts for restorative-recuperative purposes (with the sleds being pulled in somewhat odd ways-more on that later). During that same visit, I was a bit shocked with some of the physical improvements Louie Simmons had been able to achieve with his own physique since the last time I saw him. He credits a good deal of the added thickness (and his increased strength levels and decreased amount of injuries) to the use of the sleds.

Now, his use of the sleds is not limited to pulling of a dragged weight with a harness. He has implemented, with the use of heavy construction strapping for means of attachment to the ankles, methods to drag the sled-forwards, backwards and sideways-in ways that offer even greater benefit to the hamstrings, glutes, and hips that could otherwise be achieved by a more traditional pull. Always one to take things a step further, he has hooked the sled up so it can be pulled with the hands, and he pulls the thing, facing away from the sled, with a simultaneous walk-and-arm motion movement (with the arm motion including, but not limited to, a pec-deck type contraction, or upward thrusts as in a punching motion, wide circles and the like-executed while walking/pulling the sled along), and he has claimed that this has really helped thicken him up-and is quite exhausting (try it, it will really pump you up fast). He does these drills after workouts, using I believe between 25-90 lbs. when incorporating the arm action. Pulling time varies with his energy levels, but he has gone upwards of 45 minutes + with these drills after a workout (he has built up to this, of course, over time). He has experienced a 30 lb. increase in his deadlift during the time he started using this strategy.

It looks to me like dragging stuff has some interesting fringe benefits. My questions to you are simply:

How often does Chris employ his Blazer pulling protocol?

Does he pull any other objects?

When did he start this sort of exercising?

Are there any other interesting wrinkles he employs in this sort of exercise mode?

Any input you have here would be greatly appreciated. Louie has a way of driving home a point when he strongly believes in something, and when he gets like that, I listen, because he has always been right on the money (for us, at least) with any of the protocols he strongly advocates. Now that the throwing season is over, it's time to get cracking on new wrinkles and I wanted to see if you had any insights to share along these lines. My E-Mail address is CASTERD@FNBROCH.COM if you have any thoughts you'd like to share. Thanks again.

Ken Sprague

Dave, thanks for your questions concerning Chris' inclusion of the "Blazer pull" into his strength training program. In answering those questions, let me begin with the underlying rationale.

1. It makes sense to me that, whenever and to what degree possible, adding resistance to a "natural" or sport-specific movement is the most effective means of strength training for an athletic endeavor. Neither barbells (even Olympic lifts and squats) nor machines are much good for building strength which can be specifically applied to a throwing movement. Additionally, both machines and barbells constrain/restrict the natural movement of a joint and simultaneously "wire" (with multiple repetitions over time) that "unnatural" movement into the athletes repertoire. [An ideal device for the thrower would one that adds resistance throughout the throwing movement---of course, none exists.] Hence, the primary reason for a sled or Blazer pull---from my perspective---would be to apply gross resistance through a mutiple-joint natural motion.

2. A secondary perspective on the Blazer pull is that the puller moves through varying positions of stability and instability and, in doing so, stresses the "stabilizing" muscles---ie, his/her body learns to perform in unstable positions more akin to real world athletics.Conversely, stability is inherent in the technique of most lifting movements (that's another relative minus for traditional lifting movements). Remember, the Blazer pull is all-out, leg-by-leg exertion---lots of instability.

Now to your specific questions:

1. [How often does Chris employ his Blazer pulling protocol?] Everytime he trains his legs, he pulls the Blazer. Sometimes the Blazer pull is the only leg exercise.

2. He pulls no other objects.

3. [When did he start?] He's been pulling the Blazer since he was 13---about five years.

4. [Any other interesting wrinkles?] With a harness, he pulls the Blazer facing forward and backwards (he's moving backwards). If you try it moving backwards, you'll be amazed how closely the leg-drive and body position duplicates a glider's motion out of the back of the circle.

Notes: The repetitions/resistance can be modulated by using the brake. If Chris is on a low-rep/high resistance mode, I modulate the brake----much like a longtime training partner can anticipate how much to help during forced-rep bench presses.

Other times---I suspect this is why Louie is thickening from the sled pull---Chris is on a higher rep bodybuilding protocol. He might pull the Blazer up a slight grade for 50 yards---a great pump.

You also mentioned that Louie attaches straps between his ankles and the sled---that sounds analogous to the use of cables and selector stacks to get the "natural" high knee movement. Sounds great.

One last note: Chris' use of sand-filled innnertubes for jumping movements is based on the same resisted "natural" movement premise as the Blazer pull.

Dave, thanks again for your questions: it provokes lots of self-analysis.

Brad Reid

My father (who was my trainer) always told me that weightlifting had its limitations -- one obvious one being that it developed vertical strength almost exclusively. But, in most sports, you have to apply your strength at some other angle or combination of angles. The sled and car pulling and pushing mentioned by Dave C. and Ken S. get away from standard weight training where everything is pushed and pulled vertically. It also ties the upper body and the lower body together by offering resistance in the body's midsection, either front or back, depending on whether you are pushing or pulling on an object. As an experiment, someone might try anchoring some big rubber bands to a wall and bench pressing against a bar passed through the strand loops from a standing position (pressing horizontally). Instead of the typical bench press lying on your back, a standing bench press pushed fast and with a pop would tie in the abdominals and other stabilizers needed by weight throwers. There would be no bench there to support you, just your abs and other stabilizers just like in a put or a throw. I'd recommend that the stance be one foot forward for a powerful base and that the athlete actively engage the entire body in an attempt to lock out the arms aggressively. I can think of two or three other variations on pushing or pulling for the torso but you all get the idea.

Ken Sprague

Dave, our approach to forming Chris' weight training "philosophy" has been to find the workout program that best suits Chris' personality. In short, he goes "all-out" during every workout. [I'm not saying this is the best, or even a reasonable philosophy for everyone --- but it's the best mesh between Chris' mind and body.] Now to answer your specific questions.

1. Where the exercise permits (ie, squats), Chris (after several warm-up sets) uses a 1RM or 2RM weight. After 1 or 2 reps on his own, he completes the set with an additional 4 to 6 assisted reps. This has been his year-round training method since he was ~10 years old. No periodization. No "light" days. Always super-high intensity.

2. Chris does deep back-squats with his feet positioned shoulder-width apart. He has never done front squats. He has done partial squats out of the power rack. It's important to note that Chris' primary leg exercise (until he was 15 years old) was the leg press. I MADE A MAJOR MISTAKE BY HAVING HIM RELY TOO MUCH ON THE LEG PRESS AS THE PRIMARY LEG BUILDING EXERCISE---the reliance caused a (functional) muscular imbalance between leg and back strength. I'll expand on this in a later post---it's important to consider with a young thrower.

3. He has no predetermined workout (at least nothing micro-planned) when he walks into the gym. The only predetermination is that it will be "leg day" or "upper body day." The selection and sequence of exercises are determined during the workout. There are "key" exercises that usually find the way into the workout---unless soreness or fatigue intervenes.

4. For the first time, Chris is doing a high-rep "bodybuilding" routine. This is a prelude to his moving to Stanford---the intent of the change is to prepare him for a potential (coach-mandated) change in program.

5. The inner-tube jumps are part of every leg workout. He uses poundages between 15 and 50 percent of his 1RM squat weight---the speed of movement and height of the jump is a function of the weight. He jumps as high and fast as possible on each jump (sets of 3 reps).

6. He has never done snatches; he has done cleans for no more than a dozen workouits over the past 8 years. THIs HAS BEEN A MAJOR MISTAKE ON MY PART IN CONJUNCTION WITH RELIANCE ON THE LEG PRESS---I regret not advising him to consistently perform snatches, deadlifts and power cleans over the years.

Dave, thanks for your interest. As I mentioned above, I'll post my feelings on my mistakes in training Chris over the years. Maybe the post will prevent similar mistakes by other parents.

Dave Caster

Ken, thanks a lot for sharing Chris' training strategies. Your observations regarding mistakes along the way are very helpful (and a more detailed analysis would definitely help us all out).

I remember you mentioning the "assisted rep" strategy in the past . . . and operating on your suggestion back then, we gave it (and variants thereof) a whirl, and have found it to really jump the strength levels real fast! It works best for those of us who have a lot of the fast twitch fibres (and we use it either opposite from a percent training day in which similar lifts are moved quickly for 50-65% of 1RM during the same training week, or just by itself for a few weeks, with the percent training rotated back in after a few weeks depending on recovery rates, staleness, etc).

What is most interesting to me is the relative non-use of the olympic lifting variants over the past 8 years, yet the high degree of success he has experienced, and the high levels of USEABLE THROWING STRENGTH he has attained. I question whether or not this omission is a mistake; those who have looked into the way the Soviets made their olympic lifters so incredibly strong and successful will find that they did a good amount of the kind of training Chris has done with the squats and weighted squat jumps in order to be able to do the things that they did.

Ken, I have some simple throwing volume questions for you. How many times a week does Chris throw, and how many throws does he typically take in a session? It would also be interesting and beneficial to know how this volume has changed over his throwing career.

Thanks again for your insights, they are really helpful.

Ken Sprague

In a response to Dave Caster, I noted a mistake I made in developing Chris' weight training program over the years.

Succinctly, an inappropriate (unbalanced) exercise selection created an apparent imbalance between Chris' leg and lower back strength.

I noted that Chris' primary leg exercise until he was 15 was the leg press (through which he built a unique level of strength in his quads and hips): he could do SINGLE-LEG (full flection through full extension) leg presses on a Hammer Strength machine with 40-45# plates.

Now the mistake: he did no exercises to develop comparable strength in the lower back.

Ideally, during a glide put, much of the power of the leg drive is transferred through the back and winds up in the throw. If the back is a functional weak link, much of the available force from the leg drive is not transferred into the throw. That's the apparent case with Chris.

Why I believe this to be the case is that Chris gets nothing from his glide: his standing throw is equivalent to (and sometimes greater than) his standing throw. Also, his first tries with the spin (which uses the back less as a "hinge" for the transfer of leg drive) exceeded his best efforts with the long-practiced glide.

Technically, the weak-link manifests during the glide as a bent knee: Chris never straightens his leg---even his best throws find his knee bent ~45 degrees at the point of releasing the shot. The bent knee is (probably subliminal) a way to protect the back from the unacceptable forces of the leg drive.

I noted my feelings that I made a mistake by not encouraging the use of the snatch and clean: long term implementation of the snatch and clean would have probably allowed the lower back to keep pace with the strength development of the legs from the leg press. I should have said---and it would have been accurate---that I made a mistake by not including exercises that would correspondingly strengthen the lower back. Cleans and snatchs, per se, are not necessary for a thrower to build power necessary to throw far. [Deadlifts, hypers, reverse hypers (a Venagus favorite) are good alternatives.]

The moral to this story: when using "isolated" movements (I loosely include leg presses in this category), be sure to include a sufficient selection of movements necessary to adequately stress all major muscle groups important to the throw.

Chris has developed what Dave describes as "useable throwing strength"---but he will throw much farther when the weak links are abated through a focus on correcting his weak links through a renewed exercise selection. [Dave, in this regard, his September 15th goal is 6 unassisted reps with 600# in the deadlift (looks like he'll make it).]

Fortunately, over the past year, we have taken greater care in developing strength that appears specific to the spin (relative to the glide) that should allow him to quickly excel with the spin when he begins that technique at Stanford in the fall.

Dave, answering your question concerning Chris' throwing volume would be misleading: his throwing volume has been a function of the Northwest weather (there is no indoor season and a very short outdoor season). No time to gradually add volume. No longterm approach.

I've read and analyzed John Smith's thoughts in this regard: If I had a question in regards to throwing or indegrating throwing and lifting, I would precisely follow his advice.

I have always emphasized building power for Chris, knowing that he would get good technical advice when he went to college. [That's the primary reason (with the weather) that he hasn't yet begun the spin---we wouldn't know where to begin without the possibility of building bad habits.]


Dave Caster

Ken, thanks once again. I appreciate your thorough analysis, and I am in agreement with you on the things you said about lower back strength-you are singing our song here (and it doesn't surprise me that Venegas likes those reverse hypers; they are wildly beyond any other back drill around-and one heckuva lot safer and easier to specifically implement in a program than the quick lift variants, if you're concerned with the simultaneous cultivation of other capacity concerns).

We've tapped John Smith's brain on the throws volume stuff to be honest (as well as on technique, implement weight rotation and the proper drills to use when beefing up the short-long glide), and he has been invaluable to us in allowing gains to occur during a year that we also decided to strip all the bodyfat off (28 lbs worth). I was curious as to if there was anything special that Chris employs in throws volume cycling by way of comparison to what we have already learned from John.

The things you have said speak volumes towards how important strength and explosiveness is to the shotputter.

Ken Sprague

George, in the short of it, the Blazer Pull represents a variable resistance device (vehicle-harness) which permits a reasonably natural sequence of human motions.

The workout can be geared toward muscular endurance or strength by varying the resistance/reps----resistance (and corresponding reps) can be varied by selecting a higher/lower incline or modulation the brake.

Chris has pushed/pulled the Blazer as far as a quarter mile (when working muscular endurance) on a slight incline; or, he has been limited to as few as 6-7 "lock-out" reps when incorporating a steep incline. The bottom line: the resistance is variable to meet the goals of the athlete.

I've found it used for best results at the end of a traditional (squats, etc) leg workout. It can't be done before other exercises because it's so thoroughly exhausting. [In fact---and it's hard for me to say this because I try to hold on to traditional training protocols---I suspect pulling a vehicle coupled with squat-jumps with sand-bags would be a complete and maximally productive leg-back workout for a shot/discus thrower (a complete workout for a hammer thrower).

Another point to reiterate about the Blazer Pull is: the completeness (ie, includes more muscles in the movement that are performing near capacity) of muscular effort of the legs and torso is not matched by any other training device. Both free-weights exercises and machines tend to inhibit and isolate natural motion.

Dave Caster

Luke: Chains and bands are simple ways to change accomodating resistance in your major (and minor) lifts. Example-when you bench, the further the bar gets from the chest as you push it up, the easier the weight is to move because of the advantageous change in levers. That's why if you put a bar in the power rack 2/3 of the way off your chest and then bench press it off the pins, you can do hundreds of more pounds than you could from the chest itself. If you hang heavy chains off the bar in such a way that, as you push it up, the chains come off the ground and their weight is borne by the bar (and you), this leverage advantage goes away, and you have to push like hell in what was previously the easiest part of your bench or squat-the second half. The exercise becomes much more productive in this way. We do the same thing with heavy rubber bands. These are harder than the chains, as the increase in weight is not as linear, and it feels like the bands want to shove you through the bench. In a nutshell, use of these devices match the weight lifted to your strength curve-something a lot of machines were designed to do, but fall short of because they don't work the body as well in the smaller stabilizer muscles as free weights do. The chains and bands are the best of both worlds. And a nice side benefit is that it encourages your stabilizers to work harder to steady a bar that is bearing a goodly amount of chain freely hanging from it and moving around a wee bit.

The amount of chain or tension of the bands is wholly dependent on what you are trying to do, and how strong you are. If you are dynamically training your bench, and you customarily use around 220-250, moved quickly, about 35 total lbs. of chains will work well (such that the resistance at the bottom of the movement is 220-250, and the resistance at the top is about 255-285). You can attach much more, if your goal is to build absolute strength.

George Torres: Regarding dragging sleds and the like-we have been dragging things and pushing them in an attempt to increase general physical preparedness and increase influence of the training effect on the stabilizer muscles, much as Ken Sprague has outlined in his informative previous posts regarding Chris' Blazer pulls. Our interest was piqued thru hearing of Chris' use of this protocol, and the practice of dragging sleds and other objects as practiced by Louie Simmons and his lifters at Westside Barbell.

Now, Chris pushes and pulls the family Blazer, and Ken has said a lot about that. We've combined this tactic with some of the neat dragging drills used at Westside. Louie got my attention when he said that he had hooked a sled to his ankles, and would drag it, walking backwards, changing the rigidness of his leg in order to move the effect of the exercise around to different muscle groups. He said that he felt like he could levitate after doing these-and it reminded me of what Ken said about the potential benefits (to a glide shotputter) of pulling the Blazer backwards.

So we tried the following combo, and boy, did it work: We attached 2 chains to the sled, with handles. We would load the sled with enough weight to cause good tiredness after pulling it continuously for 200 feet. We would face the sled, holding one handle in each hand. To our ankles we attached approx. 20 lbs of chain (to each ankle). We would then walk backwards, simultaneously pulling the sled with our arms, and shuffling the feet to pull the chains along. After a few 200 foot trips, removal of the chains from the ankles made you feel like you were going to float away!

While that is all well and good, if it does not help your throws, it may be a waste of time. Interestingly, we noticed that we could now more quickly and accurately execute one of our favorite shot drills, the double hop glide.

I don't know if it is due to increase in strength, increase in innervation of the muscle groups required to do the drill, or because of more adequate stabilizers-I only know that it made the double-hop more productive . . . and, for my daughter, more do-able with overweight shots (something that was a problem before, but is a snap now).

Fancy sleds are not necessary. A Finnish powerlifter that I correspond with simply takes a long rope, laces it through two 50kg plates, ties the rope to his lifting belt and drags the plates along the ground. Simple but effective.

You can use a lot of weight and pull like all get-out, or use less and pull longer and faster. You can pull uphill; you can pull through long grass. If you use less weight, you can pull the sled backwards as I had mentioned before, and pull your hands back in a rowing motion or wide in an inverted fly motion and really light up all those middle back muscles that are somewhat hard to reach, while walking backwards. You can vary how many times a week you pull, how you pull, how you attach the pulled-pushed object to you, and distances per drag. We like to do 200 foot pulls. The Finnish powerlifter does shorter, 20 meter pulls. He pulls this way with 100kg 3 times a week, following his reverse hyper work, which follows his regular weight training work. As Ken mentioned before, this sort of exercising can be quite a taxing workout all by itself.

The lifters at Westside also add in this twist-they will pull the weight fastened to the back of their belt, simultaneously pushing a wheelbarrow. Try this-it's pretty exhausting.

One last thought-this sort of pulling will really tire out (of all things) your feet, especially if you get up on tip-toes for some pulls, or pull those chains around your ankles sideways in a shuffling manner. And I can't help but think that stronger feet must help an athlete who has to forcefully but deftly and speedily blow thru the ring on tiptoes.



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