I have just come back from a China tour
Just got back from a 9-day lecture/workshop tour of China, including the following three cities, Nanning, Shanghai and Hanghzhou. I will be adding photos and writing about this trip over the next few weeks, across a number of Blog installments. First stop was Nanning, in Guangxi province in the south of China, where I visited the provincial sport school/academy - think institute of sport for elite athletes, not a university, in this case. Some of China's best weightlifters are based there. I was asked to help with some hip/knee niggles the top female lifters were having, which when the physio and head coach explained to me, I thought this typically occurs due to flexibility or "tone" imbalances between the front leg (tighter hip flexors, "weaker" ER) and rear leg (dominant ER) in the split jerk (I did a Thomas test on the top lifter with the niggling pain, to verify). In the photos you can see me explaining the most likely cause of the niggling pain and then showing the head coach some partner resisted isometric clams as an activation exercise for the lead leg (weaker ER, tighter HF) and i also showed some more integrated progressions (bridging, then mini-band around the knee squats etc). I think these ladies train twice a day, 5-days a week, so it is more a matter of throwing a few things in at the start or end of training and with the constant "drilling" of 10 sessions per week, hopefully some of the imbalance at the hips is "negated" enough to reduce the niggling pain. Sometimes the thing with elite, specialist athletes, they become so good and dominant in a movement that the major muscles can get ahead of some of the others and sometimes just a little bit of basic regression stuff can be added to redress this, without changing their real training. I prefer tweaks, not overhauls, if possible. I wasn't there to see to much of the session, unfortunately, as they wanted to whisk me to the track & field session to help with some sprinters, but as you could expect, the female weightlifters train the house down. There are about 4 to 5 lifters in each of the lighter weight categories but I think only 1-2 in the heavier ones, they each have their own mat (platform), I think about 16 platforms. So competition and atmosphere are great. No music, there is enough "talk", self-afformation and support! The heaviest lady muscled cleaned 120 kg and then did three reps of push press with it, at an RPE of about 8.5! Only saw the men warmup briefly, they are right next to the women, but in a different and bigger gym (only a wall in between, so you can walk through, but not see or be distracted by each other). If I remember correctly, they had a squad of 32 lifters...again 4-5 in each of the lighter divisions but only 1-2 in the heavier ones. They had a big notice board with the years best comp and training lifts in the snatch and Clean & Jerk, as well as power snatch and power clean, snatch and clean pull, front and back squat, deadlift (I think) and jerk support (I think)...it was in Chinese and my translator was trying to translate very quickly. If my memory is correct, the best squat for the men was 315 kg and front squat was 275 by the top 104 kg lifter (I think his C & J was 225 kg). All the other lifts for all the lifters were pretty much in the usual ratios to the comp lifts, as is to be expected.
OK stay tuned for more from Nanning and then some info from my 2-day Velocity Based Training workshop in Shanghai (population 24.2 million...so more people live in that city than in all of Australia!)