Day 3. Shanghai University of Sport Velocity Based Training Workshop

While the practical session of Day 1 of this 2-day workshop focused on exercises like jumps, chin-ups & bench press, Day 2 focused on power cleans, squats and some landmine presses and other exercises.  I am not going to go into the squat and bench press data, as I have shown it so many times that is should be basic to anyone interested in the use of velocity for resistance training.  So in this Blog I will just show some landmine press and Hang Power Clean data and images.

 I am showing Lukas, one of Chinas top Judokas his Landmine press data on my IPad, with his friend Kat Krumpalova from Czech Republic looking on and the lovely Milo Lee translating. You can see the Push on his left forearm, below his rolled up sleeve.

 I am showing Lukas, one of Chinas top Judokas his Landmine press data on my IPad, with his friend Kat Krumpalova from Czech Republic looking on and the lovely Milo Lee translating. You can see the Push on his left forearm, below his rolled up sleeve.

The Average velocity data from Lukas right arm standing landmine press.  The first rep is lower due to the concentric start.  For most power exercises, the velocity drops off after 3- to 6-reps.  If the drop off is ~ 10%, stop the set anyway.  Sometimes a drop off of 5% should be the limit (eg. when peaking).

The Average velocity data from Lukas right arm standing landmine press.  The first rep is lower due to the concentric start.  For most power exercises, the velocity drops off after 3- to 6-reps.  If the drop off is ~ 10%, stop the set anyway.  Sometimes a drop off of 5% should be the limit (eg. when peaking).

The photos and text above pretty much tell the story.  Lukas, who is one of Chinas top judokas was interested in using velocity and the Push to improve his judo performance.  So we did a few different exercises like power shrug jumps (hang pulls), landmine rotations and landmine presses.  With power exercises, unlike strength exercises, you have to make a decision on how many reps to perform because the resistances are lighter and conceivably the number of reps performed before failure occurs is huge.  Think CMJ's - how many jumps could you do before you actually can't leave the floor - dozens, hundreds?  So what causes the set to stop.  My guidelines are 5-10% velocity decrease within the set.  10% is suitable for most exercises and during Preparation training but 5% is probably better for Peaking.  So you can see on Lukas fifth rep that his velocity tends to drop off  (about 25%).  We did multiple sets with Lukas and always by the 5th or 6th it would decline, say from 1.9 m/s to 1.6 m/s.  So to minimize velocity loss either do fewer reps (ie. 5 or less) or rest slightly longer.  Simple.  

Next up was power cleans and as ever, there was some zany Chinese stuff that I must admit I have also seen online from some CrossFit people.  The first rep was as per usual but then the 2nd and 3rd reps were "bounced" up ~ this can only be done with good bumpers and lighter weights.  I have no idea why you would do this (unless of course it is allowed in CF competition, then sure, you must train like that, but for anyone else...?).  But it gives you false velocity scores due to the "bounce acceleration"  as well as defeating the purpose of doing cleans from the floor.  So i decided we should change to hang power cleans.  Luckily we also had a coach/athlete pretty competent in Weightlifting to do the hang power cleans. Marko was from Slovenia and was an aspiring S & C coach/weightlifter basing himself in China to learn their weightlifting techniques.  Even though he had trained all week and this was his day off, he worked up to equal his hang power clean 1RM of 125 kg...and we all thought he had 127.5 or 130 kg in him that day.  For power cleans, using Push, what I have found is that 1RM occurs with a Peak Velocity of around > 1.4 m/s and Average velocity of ~ 1.0 m/s (during jump squats, it has also been found that Average Power is maximised when the average velocity is 1.0 m/s).  I am talking about a clean caught above the 90 degree position, that designates it as a power clean.  If an athlete can generate those velocities but cannot rack the barbell, then technique is the problem.  For example, I had a great young S & C coach in Sheffield UK full squat 221 kg (raw, no belt, no sleeves) but then miss a Hang clean with 132.5 kg at a peak velocity above 1.45 m/s and average velocity of 1.09 m/s.  Clearly he was strong enough, but the barbell was drifting out in front when he was trying to rack it - a technical problem.  But if your athletes get those velocities or higher, they can lift more, in my opinion.  Below are some photos of Marko doing 120 kg with a Peak of 1.45 m/s and Average of 1.05 m/s.  I told him he was capable of doing 125 kg that day and he did it (1.40 and 1.01 m/s).

So I have Peak and Average velocity data obtained using the Push on power clean/hang power clean from athletes whose 1RM ranged from 85 kg to 150 kg, which is pretty much the gamut of strength scores that most S & C coaches deal with (excluding competitive Weightlifters, of course).  While some get a lower average, say 0.93 m/s, by and large, most are very close to a Peak of 1.45 m/s and Average of 1.05 m/s.  Thus using Push and velocity data allows you also to make informed choices about the training direction for an athletes power clean (if your goal is to increase it).

So that wrapped up the day.  Later on I went with Dave Sutton and Zac Bo to the famous Camel bar in Shanghai and caught up with a few Aussie S & C coaches working in Shanghai (Matt Jay and Gavin Pratt) as well as a few other American and other nationality S & C coaches.  I had a few Aussie beers with a great bunch of people.  Next day I was off on the CRC train at 303 km/hr, travelling from Shanghai to Hangzhou for my Level 1 S & C course.  Stay tuned.

If these are your power clean velocities, then you can lift more!  

If these are your power clean velocities, then you can lift more!  

Dan Baker