Nov 07

HOW ABOUT THAT, WE SET A NATIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING RECORD!!!

The following clips are a summary of the lifts for SSS lifter Jackson Roberts-Young competing at the 2016 Commonwealth Youth, Junior, Senior Championships in Penang, Malaysia. Jackson competed in the Junior 105kg class.

 

Central to the performance for Jackson was breaking the Junior 105kg Clean and jerk record previously held by 2 time Commonwealth Games representative Robert Galsworthy.  Standing at 176kg since 2008, its been long term goal for Jackson since he bettered the State record of 155kg in August 2015.

Such a pleasing result for an athlete who first competed in February 2015 to be able to claim a national record 20 months later and in the process improving that lift PR by 32kg.

 

It has to said however that some tapping of the brakes are necessary. As mentioned in the video clip Jackson is far from being a good snatcher. Although his reps improved in quality above 90% in the lead up it was a 1kg under his result from Junior Worlds albeit the starting weight was deliberately conservative to match the competition on the day. Missing the 2nd attempt was bad and there is really no excuse. Many Australian lifters will feel the same from the Commonwealth Championships, PR’s were hard to come by and not a lot of medals were won; weightlifting competitions can be very cruel, you are 1 second away from months of training being invalidated.

Further to the point of tapping the brakes on breaking a national record, where does it stack up all time?

Looking at the separate epochs of records in weightlifting (pre-1972 included the press), 1972-1992, 1993-1997 and 1998 to present, the Australian Junior records have been as follows……

As of 1992 the Junior 100kg records stood at Snatch 150, C&J 200 and total 245. The 110kg class was 160kg snatch, 197.5kg C&J and 353.5kg total.

As of 1997, the newly altered weight classes which would be altered again after just 5 years stood at 140, 170, 305kg for the 99kg class and 140, 177.5, 310kg for the 108kg class.

So in that context you can see where Jackson’s 177kg C&J stands. Although Galworthy’s 176kg mark stood since 2008, in comparison to what we saw from Harvey Goodman and his 200kg C&J record in the Junior 100kg class from 1986 though it isn’t particularly impressive.

In the table below, you can see how the records compare to the contemporary International standard.

Australia has fallen off the pace a little. From being 78.41% of the IWF mark in the 100kg class in 1992 and 79.43% of the superheavy record, Australia’s Junior male records are just 74.75% and 72%. The factors and explanation are beyond the scope of this article to discuss but they are plain to see.

A similar comparison of course is not possible of women’s records as 1987 was the first time that women’s lifting became an internationally competitive sport. For an immediate comparison and bright light Kiana Elliot’s current AWF records as a percentage stack ups closely with the best the current male Junior record at 81.6% (compared to Joel Wilson’s 69kg class records at 81.79%, however she has another year of Junior competition to go.

Oct 20

THE VICHY GYM.

 

 

“….what did French land ever give us?”

“We invented Democracy, Existentialism and the Blow job”

“Those are 3 pretty good things…”

You could probably add to that list, Champagne, soft cheeses and Berets, but I don’t think many people want to take credit for wearing Berets.

Add to the list one more. The coining of a new term: ‘The Vichy Gym’

 

 

June 1940, an armistice is signed between Germany and France (which had just been over run by it),  which led to the establishment of a puppet, Nazi-aligned southern zone of the French mainland, plus an occupied Northern zone.

From that point, until 1944 when the Allies liberated France, the French government controlling the southern zone established the town of Vichy to the south of Paris as its capital. Former WW1 war-hero Marshal Phillipe Petain was the Chief of State, he and the central government’s acquiescence to the occupying Germany forces led to his eventual trial and prosecution for treason. Signing an armistice with Germany, and later with Italy, the Vichy France period was taken as an opportunity for French nationalism themes to gain traction. Since the establishment of the 4th Republic in 1870 the earlier 20th century bohemian culture and modernism centered particularly around Paris, was seen as not being truly French. Making the best of a bad situation so-to-speak, this German occupation allowed some in France to turn against their own.

 

The Vichy Gym has an armistice with PED users who compete in regulated competitions. They are going-along with their presence in the gym. Beyond just letting recreational PED users exercise their free choice whilst exercising in the gym, the Vichy Gym allows the competition PED user to run seminars and leverage social media coverage off of circus performance lifts of the visiting lifter; a lifter who claims competition results devoid of acknowledging their PED use and certainly no shame in its truths.

In the commercial sense, it is necessary for a gym to leverage off of high performance and appear to be a serious gym. Impressing credulous potential customers has always and will always be a way of any commercial venture to separate people from their money.

This page has discussed many times the challenges of balancing competition regulation, free choice of individuals and the role of government. That balance is often poorly struck and leaves ironic scenarios of budding competition lifters paying high premium on advice from lifters who have only known a culture of training totally ingrained with PED use in competition.

From the WADA code……

All Athletes are prohibited from associating with any such Athlete Support Personnel pursuant to Article 2.10 of the Code. However,

Athletes should be aware that they are also prohibited from associating with any Athlete or other Person

who is currently serving a period of ineligibility, and who has, while ineligible, acted as an Athlete Support Person.

 

It’s serious stuff. The rules are non-ambiguous; those competitors breaking the rules on doping are stealing from those who are not. Associating with is giving cover.

 

2016 Australian of the Year Lt General Retired David Morrison AO, famously used the expression,the standard you walk past is the standard you accept’, in regards to the treatment of women in the military.

Just as equality of women in the workplace and in society is the topic area that never really goes away, the presence of PED used in sport is always pregnant within every discussion about high-level training and competition.

Free choice and competition rules separate general life from sport. You may hot-up your car, but it may exclude you from certain motor-racing. Hotting-up your car in principle is considered a niche hobby practiced by mostly male enthusiasts. An ode to one of the 20th century’s greatest inventions. Perform that same act covertly as a part of competition and you are a cheat….. its not the modification, it’s the cheating. Conflating an ethic of libertarianism with the ethic of fair play in a sport with rules is no brave or heroic act.

 

The argument over whether practices SHOULD be illegal or not, the intrusion of government in people’s private lives, and application to the rules are different arguments and should be seen as such. The ‘Vichy gym‘ that turns a blind eye to cheating advances no cause except that of its own hypocrisy.

Sep 19

THE BROAD CHURCH.

We have heard our Prime Minister use the term ‘broad church’ to describe the pluralism of his own party. One senses that this is a coping mechanism for how a politician has to put up with factions of a large party that may have significantly varying and troublesome views on controversial matters.

Shire Speed and Strength is also a broad church, one that encompasses quite a range of sporting pursuits. Some members are training quite generally, others have actual technical-tactical skills and competition that the gym works on.

This week in particular is a good example of the variety of training and competition which Shire Speed and Strength is involved in.

Ben Stanoff was victorious over the weekend in the Elite 75kg class of the NSW State Boxing titles.
 

 

Ben has been training at SSS since April and we have worked on both his general capacities as well as managed his training load calendar whilst he trains at Lion’s Den Academy gym.
 

Adrian Immarata is a Masters member of the SSS weightlifting team. With the 2017 World Masters games coming up next year in New Zealand, Adrian has been building from an off season of injury reform and coping with a new job and changed travel time. With the cancellation of a lifting competition in Sydney that he needed to gain a qualifying total, the decision was made to go interstate to safely make the total needed.
 
 

 

Only a conservative total was required but it was the travel and organization that obviously added to the stress of it all. 6 for 6 and a comfortable 212 total allows for progress towards the real goal, a 240 PR total next April.

 
In The Netherlands, SSS athlete Davina Strauss won the Women’s Beach Sprint Master’s gold. She also finished 7th in flags and 4th in the Open sprint. Her club Coledale sent an awesome team which included the men’s relay gold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Gridiron, Blake Muir is now with the Green Bay Packers practice squad as they start their 2016 campaign to win the NFC North. Nobody requires a reminder of the standard and level of play in the NFL. You can keep track of weekly progress at he and his brother Sean’s blog.

 

 

So as you can see, much is happening at SSS right now; SSS athletes may not always be competing but they’re always training. Whether it be direct skill development or programming support the church here is broad and inclusive.

Aug 24

UPDATING THE MIDDLE DISTANCE RUNNER STANDINGS.

Back in 2013 we posted about Mo Farah’s achievements in winning the 5,000m/10,000m double at the London Olympics.

The post served to bring to light the modern era of excellent middle distance runners and mentioned the exploits of Morceli, El Guerrrouj, Gebrselassie and Bekele.

Since then, Farah has gone on to win a second 5000/10000 double gold in Rio, leap-frogging Bekele’s bag of 3 Olympic Gold and a Silver. The point that was made in the article at the time, when Farah was fresh off his London games victories, was that his times overall compared to the generation of runners from 10-15 years previous were still slightly behind.

 

 

Bekele remains the 5,000m and 10,000m world record holder. Farah has not advanced his times since 2011, (before London), and holds only a few European and British records overall. Of course middle distance races are often tactical affairs but Farah does not have a top 10 time and Bekele has 7 races faster than Mo Farah’s best 10,000m time and 10 races better than his best 5,000m time.

There is no doubt that Farah is a tremendous racer, but in raw output we must remember the performance of Kenenisa Bekele whose times may stand for quite a while yet. If you didn’t see Farah run in Rio, watch the highlights below. And don’t forget to spare a thought to Finnish runner Lasse Viren, the only other athlete to complete the double-double 5,000/10,000m Olympic wins.

 

Jul 27

A FIGHT YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO.

The greater history of sport in Australia in the early part of Federation in the 20th century revolved around Cricket, Horse Racing and Boxing. A game we traditionally loved, and 2 games we could gamble on.

A major contributing catalyst to boxing’s early 20th century success and popularity was a major sporting event held in 1908. The Jack Johnson vs Tommie Burns Heavyweight championship title fight held at an outdoor purpose built arena in Rushcutters Bay was the biggest sporting event to be held in Australia for many years. The story of Hugh D McIntosh’s entrepreneurial efforts to bring the event to Sydney can be read about here on the ‘Sydney Living Museum’ website.

If you ever pondered the origin of the phrase, ‘The Great White Hope’ then the racial undertones of this fight and the multiple story lines behind it are incredibly informative.
 
 

 
 
More recently, mainstream boxing has been in the shadow of the rise of MMA and the UFC. Whilst big events like Mayweather v Pacquiao still attract big pay-per-view audiences, those super fights are seldom.

A fight on the horizon, might just be a contest worth paying closer attention to.

Andre Ward is scheduled to fight Sergey Kovalev on November 19th.

Ward must defeat Alexander Brand on August 6th for the fight to go ahead as scheduled, but if it does occur, it will pit the 2 best light-heavyweights in the world; both undefeated, and 2 of the top 4 pound for pound boxers of today.

Ward was the 2004 light-heavyweight Olympic Champion, is undefeated in both amateur and professional bouts and has a 25-0 pro record. His ability to switch from orthodox to south-paw, his length, his long amateur career and his always-coming forward style make him an appealing fighter.
 
 

 
 
There is no guaranteed victory for Ward over Brand. Brand is 25-1 with 19 knockouts, but it is the prospect of the next fight that generates this article.

Kovalev, like Ward has a long amateur career.

From 1997-2008 he was 195-18 before turning pro. His pro record is 30-1-0, the single draw coming from an accidental head clash that stopped the fight.
 
 

Kovalev has killed a man in the ring. In 2011 his fight against Roman Simakov was a total mismatch that resulted in Simakov falling into a coma and not coming to. Kovalev is a powerful hitter. He defeated the great Bernard Hopkins in 2014 and currently holds the WBA, IBF and WPO championships.

 

What sort of a fight are we hoping for? Well the fight of the year so far this year was the Shawn Porter v Keith Thurman fight.
 
 

 
 
Boxing journalist and your writer’s brother was at the fight in New York last month and filmed the pst fight interviews which you can start watching here.
 
 

 
 
In Paul’s early assessment, he feels that Kovalev has the edge. As we get closer, and if Ward wins his last warm up vs Brand, then you heard it hear first that this is a fight on the horizon that is worth getting excited about.

Jul 07

2016 IWF JUNIOR WORLDS

To be selected to one’s country is a tremendous honor, although weightlifting is hardly a well-contested sport in Australia, world-wide it is an entrenched competition that ranks as one of the worlds toughest to train for and succeed in.

Jackson Young qualified earlier this year for the IWF Junior World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia; quite a feat for someone who has only been competing since February 2015 and had a gridiron season mixed in with that time period.

Part of a 9 person team (4 females, 5 males), Jackson PR’d his competition snatch (124) and total (294kg), coming terribly close in the 177kg C&J attempt that would have set a national record.

 

Don’t say we don’t go the extra mile for our athletes. Scott detoured from his Europe trip to work on Jackson prior to warm ups.

3rd attempt Snatch at 124kg was a competition PR.

 

177kg was so close, would have been a new Australian record.

May 11

SO, ABOUT THOSE ‘DUCK FEET’……

So there is a lot of, ‘Old man yells at cloud‘ with this, but have you noticed that Ducks don’t actually have ‘Duck Feet’?

 

 

Ducks Waddling

 

Look closely, do those feet look like they are pronated to you? On the contrary, if anything ‘Duck Foot’ looks a lot more like supination in actual ducks, NOT pronation. Do we really need to ‘fix duck feet’ in humans?

 

               

 

 

When we look a little closer, we find that Birds walk on their phalanges (toes) and that the first digit of a Duck’s foot is actually pointed behind. We humans however, are walking on our metatarsals and calcaneus whilst Ducks have a fused structure called the ‘tarsometatarsus’. The metaphorical use of a Duck’s foot in talking about over-pronation quickly starts to collapse.

 

 

 

There is a variation of digital alignment in birds. In Anisodactyl birds (3 toes fore and 1 hind toe), of which Ducks are, you will see further variations in webbing. The alignment of the toes is a key feature in understanding that Ducks are NOT over-pronating when they walk. Over-pronation in humans occurs when the Medial Longitudinal Arch collapses and falls in…….

 

 

A Duck just can’t do that, they are on their toes, there is no ‘arch’ that CAN collapse and if anything, particularly in the case of totipalmate birds like Gannets and Boobies, the 1st digit supports the foot medially. The Wood Duck is also like this.

 

The Blue-Footed Boobie and the Wood Duck would not be able to over-pronate even if they wanted to.

The Ducks’ ‘waddling gait‘ is actually an overt lateral movement of the trunk and lateral displacement/elevation of the hip during the swing phase. It results in circumduction; the foot steps across the midline from a wide abducted position.

Even when underwater, ducks have a gait that positions their ‘toes’ forward, and as noted above, if anything there is circumduction.

                        Ducks swimming underwater video crystal clear water HD

Much needs to be made of aquatic vs terrestrial locomotion. The Duck has evolved to Paddle int he water, Walk on the land and also fly……. it is a remarkable combination of adaptations. Remember though, these adaptations did not all occur at the same time, but that they are all present in one animal is worth recognizing and in particular, worth seeing how the terrestrial locomotion shows up in the aquatic. How a Duck walks and recovers its feet from one step into the next also happens in the water and even more worthy is comparing the systems that humans and ducks have to achieve similar results.

In humans, the Windlass mechanism describes the ‘winding up’ of the plantar fascia, creating a pawing or shortening of the foot. It is described here….

              

All birds however have a system that creates a very similar effect to the Windlass Mechanism in humans.

 

Birds do not have muscles in their feet. Instead the Avian foot has an automatic clawing system that is acted by the tendons originating in the hip and knee of the bird. As a bird ‘sits’ or perches, the feet automatically grip tight. You may have noticed this with a pet budgerigar that grips your finger automatically. A shortening during a perching or sitting action by the bird will create a griping and clawing of the toes.

Humans do not use their feet in the water to swim like a duck does, the duck paddles, the human uses a fin and flipper locomotion. But just as the human has the Windlass Mechanism in walking, the ‘Digital Tendon Locking Mechanism of the Avian Foot’ assists with the hydrodynamic effect of the swing phase of a Duck’s paddling stroke. As the foot is recovered, and swings forward again, the Digital tendons act to minimize the profile of the foot in the water. It reduces the drag.

 

There is no doubt that there is much to be concerned about with over-pronation in humans. In the coaching of lifting, running, football and gymnastics, over-pronation will stick out immediately. Its not a particularly difficult phenomena to get an improvement with, indeed the interface with the ground by the foot is a massive part of improving lifting, running, football and gymnastic skill anyhow, so in un-coached individuals, application to the efficient model of any of these skills can improve over-pronation just by itself.

I don’t think its the case here, but its worth considering whether the misapplication of Avian foot mechanics as a metaphor can lead to a misunderstanding of human gait, stultifying the remedies.

May 02

SSS GOES TO THE NFL!!!

Its not every day that a SSS athlete joins the NFL; but it was yesterday.

 

 

In a turbulent end to the 2016 NFL draft, long time Shire Speed and Strength athlete Blake Muir signed an Priority Free Agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

 

The offensive line graduate from Baylor University who first enrolled at the University of Hawaii before transferring, had to choose between several NFL teams after visiting the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers in the lead up. Deciding on the best offer after the draft from San Francisco, Blake will now be the second Australian on the 49ers roster with Jarryd Hayne.

 

Blake has been one of Shire Speed and Strength’s original and best athletes, holding many of the lifting records at the gym. His performance at the Baylor Pro Day resulted in the best broad jump of all offensive linemen with 9’8″, as well as several other top 10 results compared to the drafted players at his position.

 

 

An excellent student as well who was also just 1 of 3 players at Baylor to be awarded the National Football Foundation Hampshire Award for exceptional consistency in academics and athletics, Blake will prove to be an extremely reliable and productive member of the 49ers.

 

You can as always follow Blake’s online diary over at his local gridiron club’s website and we will keep things up to date at our Facebook page regarding major developments as they occur in the lead up to the 2016 NFL preseason. Blake will have a short period with his new club before having some time to return home for their Summer off season when he can do as he has always done for the past 7 years, prepare for his season at Shire Speed and Strength.

Apr 28

WITH GREAT SADNESS…….

One photo stands pride of place.

Several years ago a man from Melbourne contacted me about preparing to play gridiron…. as a QB for the first time at age 50!!!! He flew to Sydney to train, took on the skills and programming advice, and through persistence and need as injuries at his club took hold, he played his way into the starting spot and led the team to a championship win.
Amazing.

 

Super fit, a self made man, intrepid Jon Johnston then pursued mountaineering. Trips to Russia and Sth America ensued and we kept up with each other via email. This year was his 3rd attempt to summit Everest after storms and earthquake the last two years. Over the weekend he fell into a crevasse with another climber and died in Tibet. He leaves behind a wife and sons.
No better example of someone who died doing what they loved, a Stanford graduate and man of immense energy.

Vale Jon Johnston.

 

Apr 16

“ITS A GAWD-DAMN MARSHMELLOW IS WHAT IT IS.”

Lifters value the interface between their feet and the ground. This is not a place for something with the consistency of marshmellow.

 

Whether you’re still 13 years old or not, your school shoes or something like them, will serve as your initial lifting shoes until you have invested in actual ones.

 

It seems strange to most people when entering an actual gym that what they call their ‘gym shoes’ are actually just their walking around shoes. The instruction they are given is that in the initial stages, their old school shoes or dress shoes will serve the role of gym shoes. These are made of leather, they have a hard raised heel and they are sturdy. They are far superior to the kinds of shoes people generally wear to the gym.

 

You could almost take a bite out of the sole of this shoe.

 

Heavy squatting, pressing and pulls will be much more stable when supported by a shoe with a solid sole, than one that is mooshy and soft.

 

Once you think about it, it becomes fairly obvious and a difficult thing to argue against. The cost of a pair of 2nd hand school or dress shoes at something like the Salvation Army can be had for around $8-$20. Yeah it might have been pulled off a dead guy, but you’re saving a lot of money in the early stages until you make the investment in lifting shoes.

Older posts «