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Q: How do I keep from getting dizzy after I clean?

A: Walk outside if you can in between attempts and get some fresh air. You can also try putting some eucalyptus oil or White Flower underneath your nostrils and behind your ears when you lift. If you need something a little stronger to clear your head, try sniffing smelling salts prior to lifting. You can also try increasing your folic acid intake with supplements. After you come out of your clean and move into the transition for the jerk, try giving a little yell. This will force you to breathe. Getting the bar off your shoulders for a half second as you are standing up from the clean will get the bar off your carotid artery. Practice doing this consistently every attempt and eventually you will get great at timing it perfectly. Getting dizzy could also be a matter of conditioning or strengthening the muscles around your throat. As you continue training this dizziness should lessen.



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.


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.


Get It Moving

Addition To Sub Ex’s
By Donny Shankle

Some of the additional subordinate exercises I outlined and described in chapter 4 are to help turn on the motor units. The classes of additional variation furthest removed from the Snatch, Clean, and Jerk which include exercises like the box jump, medicine ball chest pass, medicine ball overhead throw, etc. are used to get your muscle fibers firing. The more muscles you have firing the stronger you are and the more weight you are lifting. The strong weightlifter is the man or woman who can efficiently utilize the most muscle. The more you put in disciplined practice, the better you will be able to do this.

“The one quality which sets one man apart from another, the key which lifts one to every aspiration, while others are caught up in the mire of mediocrity – is not talent, formal education, nor intellectual brightness. It is self-discipline.” - Theodore Roosevelt

You have to do the lifts if you want to get better. This is the best succinct piece of advice I can give you handed down to me by my own teachers. It’s simple but all of the best competitors adhere to its wisdom. Keep any additional variation you use constrained within time limits. This will keep you from expending the valuable energy needed to regularly Snatch, Clean, and Jerk at maximum. The lower the class of additional variation, the less time should be given to the exercise. The higher variations of ‘subordinate exercise’ will resemble the actual lifts but even these should be time constrained. The highest levels of variation i.e. hangs, blocks, and powers can be given more time.


Ya Gotta Eat!

Turkey Chili
By Donny Shankle

2lbs. Leftover Turkey (Chopped)
1 Chopped Onion
1 Chopped Green Bell Pepper
1 Cup of chopped celery
2 Cloves minced garlic
15oz Can of diced tomatoes
15oz Can of whole kernel corn
5oz Can of Chopped Green Chiles
15oz Can of Pinto Beans (optional)
2 Cans V8 vegetable juice
1 Cup of Water
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 tbsp. Chili Powder
3 tbsp. Cumin
3 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Bay leaves
Salt (to taste)
Black Pepper (to taste)
Diced green onion

Are you looking for something to make with your leftover turkey during the holidays? Try this chili recipe. It’s perfect for when it’s cold outside and better than turkey sandwiches.

In a large skillet over medium heat saute’ your onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic in oil until the vegetables are soft. Then add the diced tomatoes, beans, corn, green chiles, V8, water, Worcestershire sauce and turkey. Stir and wait about five minutes before adding your spices. Bring your heat up until everything begins to boil. Now bring the heat back down to low and let the chili simmer for twenty minutes. Gently mash your beans as it simmers to act as a thickener. Remove the bay leaves when it’s done and garnish with green onion before serving. This recipe feeds about five weightlifters. Enjoy.



Do Not Warm Up Your Pulls So High
By Donny Shankle

As you prepare to Snatch, practice warming up your pull by pulling the empty bar to your sternum. For the Clean, you would aim for the navel. By the time you get to the Clean and Jerk, your pull will already be warmed up depending on whether you began your training with the Snatch. Too often I have seen fledgling weightlifters warm their Snatch up by pulling the bar up to their chin. I have even seen some weightlifters bring the bar all the way up past their head. This is too high and you potentially risk hitting yourself in the forehead. The emphasis on both the Snatch and Clean is in the fast change of direction. The speed should be disorientating to an onlooker. It’s a race against gravity after you have Finished your pull. The skills you develop in training will either bring awards on the podium or penalties from the judges. Do not incorrectly train these skills. This includes your training from the warm up with the bar to lifting a new personal record.