Total Pageviews


Sub Ex # 77

By Donny Shankle

Speed has to be trained everyday. It isn’t enough to train the muscle to be strong. You also have to train the muscle to move fast. Speed can be trained under the bar but sometimes a change of setting reinforces what you are trying to accomplish on the platform. Sprints get you out of the gym and focused more on moving fast. Around once a week before you begin lifting, go for a walk as a warm-up and include a few 15 meter sprints. This will get you thinking of moving the legs fast getting from point A to point B with a sense of urgency.

Reps: N/A
Sets: 5-10
Advanced Way: N/A
Duration: 5 minutes
Placement In Training: At the beginning of training in your warm-up.


Sub Ex # 75

By Donny Shankle

Handstands are a great exercise to get you practicing the bone on bone lockout you need while Jerking. They are also an easy exercise to strengthen your overhead stability. I do handstands at the beginning of training against a wall and push my head forward to stretch my wrists, upper back, and shoulders. Sometimes I will do handstands at the end of training. The inverted position circulates blood through the muscles of my upper body helping them heal. Hold each handstand no more than a minute.

Reps: 1
Sets: 1-5
Advanced Way: Handstands are already an advanced exercise
Duration: 5 minutes
Placement In Training: At the beginning and/or end of training


Tips For The Split Jerk

#3 - Squat More / Squat Less
By Donny Shankle

You may be missing your Jerks because your legs are not strong. Consider how strong the legs must be to complete a C&J. First you have to use your legs to pull the weight from the floor. Then you have to stand up with the weight out of the bottom of the Clean. Now you have to relax with the bar across your shoulders and then Jerk the weight overhead. You spend years in the squat rack building the leg strength necessary to Snatch and C&J. Two exercises which take seconds to complete. When you combine all of your competitions in a year, and add up the amount of time you actually spend on the platform lifting, your performances equal to no more than probably a minute. If you are short of lockout on your Jerk or your conditioning is so poor that you do not even attempt to “Dip and Drive,” you may need to evaluate your training and spend more time in the squat rack.

Maybe your legs are strong and you can front squat significantly more weight than you can C&J. If this is the case (aside from your timing being off in the Clean) then there may be an error in your weekly standard. You could structure your training better and allow for your legs to rest in preparation for a controlled or heavy training session. If your hips and legs are so fatigued from maximal squatting you are unable to complete the Jerk after a Clean then make a change. The day before you C&J to maximum, take your squats up to a percentage you can move the weights fast or remove squats from the training all together. The sport is Snatching and Clean and Jerking. Performance should not suffer for any variation including one as important as squatting. The squats are included in training to help you lift more weight and not impede you.


Why So

By Donny Shankle

Uncle didn’t only use the word “gradually” a lot in training. He also used the word “serious”. He didn’t approve of playing games or wasting energy before training. He wanted you to be serious before training, during training, and especially competition. Of course, we still had our laughs on occasion but these moments were rare and when you were lifting it was all business.

Quite often some weightlifters or weightlifting coaches have a persona to them which is sometimes misinterpreted as elitism. It’s not elitism. This behavior comes from being serious on the platform. It comes from spending years in the gym training and can potentially carryover into social settings. It comes from weightlifting coaches who teach weightlifters to be serious when they are lifting. These lessons do not always stop when you leave the gym. I can remember spending New Years Eve with uncle and sitting on the couch drinking some champagne watching television. The cartoon Family Guy happened to be on and I laughed at one of the jokes. Uncle came over to me with a disapproving look on his face. I thought he was going to tell me something about the champagne. Instead he said, “Donny why are you watching this? Cartoons are for babies.” It wasn’t the idea of relaxing he objected to or watching a comedy. It was the idea of weightlifters he was training to be fierce competitors finding amusement in things he viewed as childish. This is not elitism, bigotry, or an old school way of thinking. His seriousness had nothing to do with culture and everything to do with weightlifting.

Think about the exercises snatching, cleaning, and jerking. Most people I came across when I first started lifting didn’t understand them and always associated them with being dangerous. This has changed the past few years as there has been an increase in participation. Still, I can see how weightlifting can be viewed this way by people who are not familiar with the sport. You are moving fast and putting yourself in low positions with heavy weights. However, this is a skill and it’s a difficult skill to master. In its difficulty and potential risk of injury lies the reason you should be serious in training. If you spend your time not focused on what you are doing then you risk getting hurt. Even when you are serious you risk being hurt. However, risk is something anyone who wants to be great at something must confront.

If you love something and want it then be serious about getting it. Every time you step on the platform and hook your hands in, flip the serious switch in your brain on. When it’s time to train then train. Seriousness is found in the person who is passionate about becoming great. The world is full of enough fools and weightlifting has no place for clowns.



By Donny Shankle

I am not going to delve into the intricacies and ambit of coaching, but briefly focus on your mannerisms and how you should interact with champion weightlifters. Manage their adaptation, sit down, when you have to give cues give one at a time, and be a source of positive instruction.

Teach your lifters to move gradually in training and to put lifts together in competition. Brio is great but keep the back slaps and yelling to a minimum. Do not stand over them arms akimbo like a drill instructor. Pull up a chair and watch. Do not give too many coaching cues at once. Say one thing and let it sink into the lifter’s mind. Watch him apply this cue to his lifts and then work on correcting something else. Talk to your lifters and let them know you expect disciplined training. Doing so will encourage them to become professionals and look at you as a source of confidence not to be disappointed. Unite weightlifters you are coaching under one setting and let them find out who is the best. This will be your greatest challenge but possibly most important. When lifters train together as a team, talk to them as a team. Demonstrate to them if one weightlifter is showing up daily and making personal records, then all are capable of the same performance. This will teach them to be aggressive and confident in their durability. Something they will certainly need to sustain the tiresome training it takes to become a champion.  

Always be a source of encouragement. The weights will beat them up enough. This does not mean you should try to kindle a fire within weightlifters you are coaching. The fire must already be there and he or she must want to train, be in the gym, and compete. Cultivate the fire already present in them. Embolden them to never be content with winning local or national competitions. Remind weightlifters you are coaching that weightlifting is a world and Olympic level sport. Communicate they can become Olympians. 



By Donny Shankle

Think of massage as maintenance. The same way a car needs maintenance on its engine to keep from breaking down, your muscles need regular maintenance likewise to keep from breaking down. As you train you will develop adhesions in the muscles which can prevent them from working properly. If I were to tie knots all along a rubber band it wouldn’t stretch completely. To get maximum stretch you need to loosen the knots and get rid of them. Your muscles will stretch and contract much better with some massage to get rid of those painful knots.

You can either perform self-myofascial (SMR) release using a foam roller or see a masseuse. A masseuse who is also a weightlifter or used to working on a weightlifters body will be your best bet. He or she knows where the adhesions are to break them up. To really get into the adhesions try combining dry needle with massage. Also, sitting in a sauna for twenty minutes before you get a massage will help your muscles to relax. The areas which typically need deep tissue work are the IT bands, rhomboids, lats, quads, and glutes. I recommend getting a massage from a masseuse once a month during your de-load week. Perform SMR daily. Especially around areas on your body which have gone through acute trauma.


Sub Ex # 69

By Donny Shankle

If you are looking for some extra exercises to include in your training to improve your mobility try using the TRX. Here are a couple exercises I sometimes do both before and after training on those days my muscles feel like cardboard. The TRX is great because you can easily adjust the difficulty of the exercises by moving your feet. You can also move into each exercise smoothly saving you on time.

Chest Press: Start with the handles at you sides close to your armpits and from here press yourself up until your arms lock.

French Press: Start with the handles over your head and your arms locked. Bend at the elbow until the handles are behind your head keeping your elbows close to your ears. Feel your lats stretch and from here press yourself back into the start position.

Low Back Stretch: With the handles in front of you, lock your arms out and drop your hips as far back as possible. Let your legs bend a little. Your body should resemble a gymnastic pike position. Feel the muscles in your back stretch a few seconds and then bring your hips through.

Reverse Fly: Start with the handles in front of you and arms locked. Open your arms up until your hands are inline with your ears. Be sure to keep your arms straight.

Row: Start with the handles in front of you and your arms locked. From here pull yourself up keeping your elbows close to your sides.

Woodchoppers: Start with the handles against your chest. Let your hips fall to one side as the handles move up and away from you. Feel your back stretch and torso twist. From here, pull the handles back to your chest.

Peaks and Valleys: Set the handles about a foot from the floor with the tops of your feet in the loops. Start with your hips down on the ground in a prone position. The arms are locked resembling a lazy push up position. This is the valley. Bring your hips up into a piked position until you resemble a peak.

REPS: 10-20
DURATION: 5 -10 minutes
PLACEMENT IN TRAINING: Done both as a warm-up and cool down