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Training Video 19

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Q: Should I be doing deadlifts in my training?

A: I am a fan of deadlifting and enjoy doing the exercise. It’s a great exercise for developing strength and power in the back and hips. Also, if your confidence is improving at the SN and CJ then keep practicing them if you are already. When I do deadlifts in training, I make sure to keep my back straight. If you are going to bring the exercise into your training then fine, but avoid weights which round out your back. This is not only counterproductive to weightlifting but dangerous. Your back must always be strong because speed must always be trained. I also modify the exercise by keeping the chest and shoulders in front of the bar at the top of the deadlift. This isometric variation has a greater carryover for the Snatch and Clean. It teaches you to stay over the bar. Reaction, speed, and timing must constantly be trained. This reaction will not take place if you bring your hips through slow at the top of a heavy deadlift. Keep your deadlifts from going too far above the actual weights you are Cleaning. No more than thirty kilos and gradually work up to these weights. If you go above these numbers just make sure you keep your back straight and avoid bringing your hips through slow. Place them in your training after you SN or CJ. A few heavy deadlifts with a SN grip after you have Snatched are fine and the same idea applies to the CJ.


Ya Gotta Eat!

Other Favorite Foods
By Donny Shankle

Some of my other favorite foods include bacon, beans, and tomatoes. Bacon is not just a breakfast meat but goes great mixed in with vegetables or served on sandwiches. Also, instead of using cooking oils, I’ll often use bacon fat to sweat out onions, peppers, celery, and garlic as a start to rice dishes or soups. Bacon is high in protein and a great source of the mineral phosphorous. Beans are high in a variety of minerals to keep you strong like calcium and magnesium. Beans are cheap and also high in protein and can be served by themselves or mixed in with a variety of dishes. Some of my favorite beans are kidney beans, canned baked beans, and chickpeas. Tomatoes are best straight from the garden. I use them to make sauces or eat them raw with salt and pepper. One of my favorite ways to eat tomatoes is to bake them with a little olive oil and seasoning for breakfast.

Grits, avocados, royal jelly, and an assortment of teas and coffee are also on my list of favorite foods. Grits are ground corn and are served mainly with breakfast. They are like a porridge and very high in the vitamin B3 or niacin. Not much is needed to prepare grits. Boil them in water with salt and butter and mix in whatever you like. Avocados are one of those foods which like bacon go great with any meal. They are a fantastic source of fat and contain a list of vitamins and minerals which could put them on the super food list. I eat them mostly as a guacamole or mixed in salads. Speaking of super food, royal jelly contains all 8 essential amino acids and all of the B vitamins. Once I learned royal jelly is what the worker bees reserve for the larger queen bee, I had to include it in my diet. I eat a teaspoon in the morning and before bed. There are a variety of teas you can include in your diet as an antioxidant and to support your immune system. The benefits are too many to even begin to list them all and that is not the purpose of this book. My favorite teas are green, black, and oolong.

Get used to learning about nutrition, preparing, and cooking your food. Aside from the gym, the kitchen is the next place I spend a lot of my time. Learning about food and cooking is an easy way of teaching you to take pride in your work. Even if you burn something initially you will eventually get it right so long as you keep practicing. I have noticed people who have an appreciation for good food and who enjoy cooking tend to not be overweight. Whereas the direct opposite is true for people who eat the same unhealthy garbage and are impatient and picky. Cooking and learning about foods you enjoy to eat can be a teaching experience. Can you repeat what you have prepared for yourself for a guest? Can you repeat your performance before an audience?



Ease Up On Pulling The Day Before Heavy/Controlled Training
By Donny Shankle

Your weekly standard should include a heavy or controlled training session towards the end of the week. Refer back to chapter 7 for an explanation between the two. These training days are planned within the week to keep your mind and body in shape for competing. Weightlifting is not a hobby. Though it can be used as an excellent form of recreational exercise, it is a competitive sport. There is no mastering two things when you are trying to be great at one. Only one will become your endeavor. Those at the top of anything which require countless hours of repetition to become better know this. CEO’s, professional athletes, skilled tradesmen all know this. Heavy and controlled training sessions keep you sharp and ready to perform with the intent to compete always at the forefront of your mind. At the end of the day, you are a performer and your training should never lose sight of this. Use variations on the Snatch and Jerk especially the day before heavy/controlled training to get you moving fast. Combinations which remove the Clean are also an excellent choice on this day. The lifts can be done too but keep them light so you can concentrate on speed and footwork. There should be no heavy pulling on this day. Train diligently.


Tips For The Split Jerk

#6 - Avoid Cues Which Could Bring You Forward
By Donny Shankle

As you practice your Jerk, obviate any cues or thoughts which could potentially bring you forward. A successful Jerk is straight. The “Dip and Drive” should be in a straight line like you are trapped in a Smith rack. You stand a better chance of staying in a straight line if you do not think about bringing your lead foot forward or stepping out in front once you “Split”. This could potentially pull you forward during the “Dip and Drive”.  Once this happens, you lose the straight line. The lead foot should be aggressive but if you reach with it too far beyond the LOB you again risk being pulled forward during the “Dip and Drive” and “Split”. Instead, always think about bringing the rear foot back or getting the back knee down. Also, as you “Split” think about putting the bar over your ears or behind the head instead of pushing your head through. By practicing this way, your “Dip and Drive” will be straight.


Why Not?

A Hundred Reasons Why Not
By Donny Shankle

You will encounter many things in training you don’t know how to do … yet. Eventually you will know how. Learning is what training is all about. Whether it be performance of the lifts, gaining weight, remaining calm under pressure in competition etc., all of these conditions get better as you continue applying yourself. I will not entertain a hundred reasons why you cannot do something. I do not want to hear “I cannot eat another bite” or “the weight is too heavy”. Champions laugh at the excuses given by neurotics who mothball their potential.  Stop filling your head with nonsense. Your attitude goes a long way towards good training.


Ya Gotta Eat!

Homemade Marinara Sauce
by Donny Shankle

2 Chopped Whole Yellow Onions
½  Minced Head of Garlic
12 Peeled Tomatoes (crushed)
1 Chopped Handful Fresh Basil
1 Chopped Handful Fresh Cilantro
2 Tablespoons Crushed Red Pepper (rub in your fingers to release heat)
4 Bay Leaves
2 Cups Diced Mushroom
Juice from ½ an Orange
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Cup of Water
Salt (to taste)

In a large skillet over low heat, cook your onion, garlic, and salt in olive oil. While those ingredients sweat, put your tomato's (a little at a time) in boiling water until the skin breaks then transfer to cold water so you can easily peel them. Crush the tomatoes. Add your tomatoes to the skillet with your mushrooms, cilantro, basil, red pepper, orange juice, bay leaves and water. Let it cook covered for approximately twenty minutes stirring every four minutes. Use your own garden grown tomatoes for best tasting sauce. Serve over pasta with garlic bread. Enjoy.


Sub Ex # 70

By Donny Shankle

YTWL’s in the TRX are one of my favorite shoulder maintenance and stability exercises. I prefer them in a TRX versus a bench because I can stand up. I have never been an admirer of exercises done on benches but I do see there value especially when coming back from an injury. Since you are a weightlifter and spend all of you time lifting on your feet, the quicker you can get back to doing a variation of the YTWL exercise on your feet the better.

To perform the exercise hold onto a TRX and fall back to a degree which allows you to go through each letter of the exercise. With straight arms bring your hands up over your head and out at a 45 degree angle for the “Y”, with straight arms bring your hands together and then out in line with your shoulders to make a “T”, with your arms straight in front of you draw your elbows back to make the “W”, from the “W” position bring your hands up in line with your ears until your palms are facing away.

REPS: 3 to failure (YTWL is one rep)
DURATION: 5-10 minutes
PLACEMENT IN TRAINING: at the end of the session



Train Near The Ocean
By Donny Shankle

You breathe more during training especially after a heavy Clean and Jerk or high volume set. This is because your muscles need more oxygen to continue optimally functioning. The oxygen is used to create fuel for your muscles to properly work. The increased blood flow that happens through exercise also helps to get rid of metabolic waste. This will be easier for the body to do if the blood is filled with oxygen resulting in the muscles being less sore both during and after training. If you ache a lot after training and are not healing, you may want to consider moving or getting to the beach often. The oxygen is thickest at sea level and by breathing this rich air regularly, you will train not only better but longer. It recharges you. You will be able to lift heavy weights more often and your physical adaptation will be faster. Your mental adaptation will also remain positive if the beach you are close to has lots of sunlight. It’s no secret sunlight improves mood levels, increases your ability to meditate easier on positive imagery, and vitamin D is good for you. I am not saying if you do not live next to the ocean your training will be poor. For instance, I have trained just as good at high elevation. However, I have noticed a difference in my ability to train longer and perform better particularly the older I got when I lived near the beach. All athletes understand the pivotal importance oxygen plays towards their performance. This is why some sleep in special chambers or wear fancy nose bands which widen the nostrils.



Let The Weight Fix It
By Donny Shankle

Sometimes I’ll have a weightlifter ask me if the depth of his squat was low enough. Most of the time I will say yes and tell him or her to put more weight on. Regardless of whether or not you want to train your squat low, the weight will find the depth. A heavy squat will push you down. This is natural and as you keep squatting lower and lower, your flexibility will improve. It is for this reason the Back Squat is one of the initial exercises you master before moving onto the Snatch, Clean, and Jerk. Developing this flexibility with an easier exercise pays off once you move on to more advanced exercises. You will fail a few times and then a lot more but you have to keep squatting consistently and heavy if you want to improve. If you have any questions on whether or not your squat was low enough, give yourself the personal record then put more weight on. Let the weight fix it. Let the weight show you how much lower you are capable of going. Nothing in training comes easy and I encourage you to steer clear from the easy.  Do you know why the greatest weightlifters wear the sterling title of “strongest in the world”? It’s because they avoided the easy. They always put more weight on. Most importantly they never question their ability to achieve lower depths, stronger “finishes”, and higher podium placements.