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Every Day

Going To Maximum Every Day
By Donny Shankle

Going to maximum everyday may sound intimidating. But after you have lifted this way for a few years, you begin to see it’s not. Many lifters like to refer to this system of training as the “Bulgarian System”. This system, however, has a lot more to do with training in a group as a professional and less to do with taking the weight to maximum every day. The group environment within the Bulgarian system is the essential pillar to keep the adaptation within training from abating. Regarding yourself as a consummate professional, and training with other professionals all competing against each other for a spot to lift on a world stage are enough to keep the returns coming. So long as you continue to fight instead of take flight and quit. The group must be composed of champions passionate to still improve. Youth, health, and single mindedness within the group are also required to take it to the maximum everyday. It isn’t courage which gets you through this type of training. Courage can be spoken of after the fact. To get through going to the maximum everyday is about having the right attitude. Get aggressive and attack.

Lifting at the maximum everyday is a very rudimentary idea and common sense for a champion. If you lift heavy weights, you get strong. No shit. If you constantly challenge yourself, you will adapt to the challenge only to be presented with a new challenge to overcome. Once you have put in many repetitions training this way, you start to gradually develop into a master weightlifter. The amount of tonnage you can lift each week rises. Your body and mind in turn change and becomes stronger from all the continued load you put on yourself. The gains will continue to come so long as you remember to move gradually and train in a group with other champions who lift efficiently and aggressively. It’s the misses that take its toll on you in training. Therefore, before you begin lifting to the maximum everyday I would suggest you first learn how to lift. The structure within going to maximum everyday is simple. It also isn’t so strict to not include going by feel some days. It’s the group environment, however, which will keep your feelings and your teammate’s feelings honest. If the person to the left and right of you is still pushing it to the maximum everyday, why shouldn’t you be able to?



It’s All In The Hips
By Donny Shankle

As you pull off the floor with a tight back the next thing to do is bring the bar into the hips or as close to the hips as possible. This will be different for each lifter depending on the length of their arms. Once there, you bring your hips through powerfully on the “Finish” of the pull and extend your body tall. This follows with moving your feet and quickly changing direction getting yourself under the bar. It’s all in the hips. This is the seat of your power and where all of your strongest muscles are located. This is a fact that will never change and it’s why weightlifters spend so much time squatting. The squat improves hip power while at the same time strengthening your legs and back. Focus on making your entire body strong with extra emphasis on training yourself to powerfully bring your hips through. Spend some extra time moving your lighter sets fast or practice jumping exercises before lifting begins. This will get the hips firing and call the muscle fibers in and around the hips, back, and legs to come to work.


Getting Started

Excerpt From Ch. 1
By Donny Shankle

A good coach will also teach the lifter how to deal with aches and injuries, discuss the parameters behind training so they know what it is they are doing and why, exemplify a life that practices good diet, and teach the lifter about good nutrition. The coach should teach you that what lifts the weight is not your muscles but your mind. Whenever you approach a bar, you do it with alarming confidence. Caution is for the uncommitted and untrained. A good coach will go over the principle of adaptation with you. Adaptation explains the physiological process behind what is taking place within the lifter. This way the lifter begins to understand why he always must go through stress in order to move past comfort zones. You must constantly push your threshold to maximize your power. If you continually push the lifter into the corner, he will either quit or attack. Once the lifter starts doing this, his psyche is beginning to understand the gravity of importance behind keeping a positive attitude. This transformation that takes place is quite extraordinary. Once the weightlifter has shown he can safely lift from the floor, the coach should begin using heavy singles, doubles, and occasionally triples in the programming. The coach should keep variation to a minimum and should only include such variation on an individual basis. Good coaches know not all lifters should be trained the same. However, all lifters must snatch and clean and jerk. Consistency should always be talked about and practiced as well as getting stronger. That is how you win.


Training Video 14

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Go For The PR… Put The Work In… Repeat
By Donny Shankle

You wake up, eat some breakfast, get to the gym, and start warming up. As far as what exercises you will be doing, there isn’t a lot of selection to choose from. You will snatch, clean, and jerk. Variation will sometimes be used on an individual basis. After training you will rest, get some lunch, get back to the gym, and train again. The process repeats itself leading up to dinner. Then you fall asleep thinking of competing in front of the world and becoming a world champion. In the morning you wake up, get your shoes on, and do it all over again.

The templates we talked about in this book will show you an order to follow. The principles covered will give you an idea of how to train. The chapter on recipes will show you how important it is to eat and give you an economical means to eat well. Take your vitamins, follow the four blocks to building a world champion, the five factors of a winning mind, and never avoid the hard. Too many lifters fail searching for the easy road instead of just putting in the hard work. Train smart and constantly challenge yourself. We’ve talked about a lot of things in this book. I’ve purposefully treated it more or less as a journal. I enjoy sitting down with weightlifters and talking. Everyone has something to share which can help you lift more and compete with greater confidence. The joy (and headache) of putting this book together gives me a sense of completion. The training, however, still goes on.  There are more kilos yet to be added to the bar, records to set, and weightlifters to battle against.

Go for the personal record and if it’s not there then put in the work. In a nutshell, this is the long term process of building a winning total in training. If you could shake one of those magic eight balls and ask it “How do I become a great weightlifter?”. Three of the answers it would give back would be - go for the personal record… if it’s not there put the work in… repeat. It can be mundane a lot of the time but your attitude and sense of adventure will decide whether or not it stays that way. Stay positive. If training is getting boring then change up the setting. Find new weightlifters to do battle with and don’t coach each other. Compete with each other. Fight for new PR’s. If the PR’s are not there then put some work in. Repeat.


Power (Pt. 3)

Violent Power + Controlled Power
By Donny Shankle

Combining violent power plus controlled power, both at their zenith, is what you need to hoist the most weight over your head. Once you learn how to do this, you are moving into mastery of the lifts and on your way to being a champion. A champion lifter has learned how to do this with every single attempt.

Sounds easy right? Well, I thought so too when I first started but, it has been a helluva journey learning otherwise. Every time the weight on the bar increases it's like starting over. It is sort of like learning math in school. Once you learn addition, you then learn subtraction, followed with multiplication, and later division. Once you get that down someone throws algebra your way and later on trigonometry and calculus. It just keeps adding up and you learn the more you know the more you don’t know. Weightlifting is the same way. Each increase in weight you lift will help you learn something new about what is on the bar and yourself. This will help you tackle the next weight. The strength you needed to snatch 120 kilos is not enough to snatch 130 kilos. You might even be applying the violent power 100% but without the controlled power it doesn't matter and vice versa.

Violent power plus controlled power is about combining aggression with reaction. Once you are able to do this at will every time, without thought, is when you are able to put the most amount of energy into the lift. Power is then measured by the rate of time in which you can complete the lift. A fast lift under control is a powerful lift. Powerful lifts have no time for error. Train diligently.


Power (Pt. 2)

Controlled Power
By Donny Shankle

Controlled power is something which comes from training everyday. It comes with practice in the gym. It comes with adaptation. As the repetitions add up, your skill begins to improve and your strength increases. It is this increase in strength along with learning how to move the bar that makes for an efficient weightlifter. During your first year of training, you are building muscle coordination and a connection between you and the bar. This connection is easy to learn. The challenge lies in whether or not you can efficiently lift weights in competition that win, and proceed to swell your confidence with each increase in weight. Can you control your power? Can you make it work for you? Or will you have it control you?

At the heart of controlled power is strength. Strength of both mind and body which comes with disciplined practice. The stronger you are, the better you will maintain proper positions when you lift. Controlled power is displayed by any great athlete who has put in the hard work at their discipline. It is the exhibition of one of weightlifting’s ten virtues. Do you remember what they were? Controlled power is moving with coordination and gracefulness. It is greater than violent power but at the same time nothing without it. To lift under control, without violence behind it, would be like living a life without going through adolescence. Controlled power is something beautiful to behold because it is something which is worked hard for. This is not something which can be mentally switched on like violent power. It needs to be tailored with care and determination.


Tips For The Jerk

#2 - Don’t Lose Your Aggression After The Clean
By Donny Shankle

One of the main reasons weightlifters will miss their Jerk after a Clean is because they lose their aggression. The C&J is made up of two separate movements each requiring 100% concentration and intensity. If you ease up on your aggressiveness just prior to Jerking because you think you have spent yourself completely on the Clean, then you have already missed the lift. I can’t get across to you in polite words just how important it is to take whatever self-confidence and violence you put into making your Clean easy, and then having to double it for the Jerk. Show some damn grit and complete the lift. The best Clean and Jerkers are the weightlifters who look pissed off and intimidating when they lift. The competition isn’t over until the last Jerk comes down and the weightlifter who brings it down last usually ends up winning.

There are a couple combinations you can use to help you train this aggression. Toying is probably the best way to train it. Combinations break up portions of the lift to help boost your concentration at stages you are deficient. Thus learning how to lift aggressively at each stage. An example would be Push Press + Jerk. The Push Press gets you thinking of driving hard with the legs and changing direction quickly. Then you follow up with your Jerk the same way. Toying is similar to Combinations but there is one more movement involved and the bar is kept in your hands for a longer period of time. This fatigues you considerably and eventually pisses you off enough you fight your way through the exercise. Both aggression and conditioning improve as you practice Toying with weights. The Shankle Complex is an example of Toying. Refer back to the SUB EX chapter and review Combinations and Toying.