ON THE BENEFITS OF SUBORDINATE EXERCISES
BOTH IN REGARDS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BODY AS WELL AS THE WELL-BEING OF THE MIND
BY DONNY SHANKLE CPT
“Familiarity Breeds Contempt.” Anonymous
Exercises other than the snatch and clean & jerk when performed during training can have a decided effect on your optimum performance. Subordinate exercises when programmed properly in your training can improve muscle tone and conditioning, prevent injury, alleviate stress, build confidence, increase appetite, help monitor weight gain and increase strength. The monotonous training of snatching and clean & jerking can be a tiresome process for the weightlifter. The addition of other popular and weightlifting exercises can be invigorating to the mind and relaxing for the body. It is important to note the following exercises must be done in conjunction with the main two exercises snatch and clean & jerk and training should never entail solely these exercises alone.
Many of the exercises discussed here are already known by many people as being rudimentary forms of basic strength training. Other exercises listed will help improve your performance on the platform. The more popular exercises have been modified to give special attention to the weightlifter. Due to the fact that many advanced weightlifters have developed mobility problems over the course of years in their training I have adjusted many of the exercises. Fundamentals are what I am getting back to here while taking into consideration the desire developed by the weightlifter to improve their total and win. All set and rep parameters, you will notice, are kept minimal because I do not want to waste the effort of the weightlifter, but rather give the mind a momentary break from the constant hammering of snatch and clean & jerk with variation. These exercises continue to keep the weightlifter in the gym training which is necessary in becoming a champion.
For each description, when needed, I have included pictures demonstrating both the eccentric and concentric phases of the exercise. All exercises are to be done with strict discipline making sure to perform each exercise the way I have explained. Any lapse in form is due to a synergistic imbalance of the force-couple relationship and should be immediately corrected and conditioned to perfection. The development of every muscle from the prime movers to the smaller stabilization muscles will help improve peak force by keeping the body in the correct position during either lift. The weightlifting exercises listed are to get you moving faster, improve your strength, and teach you how your body is supposed to move. A healthy body and sound mind increases the neuro-muscular efficiency of the weightlifter enabling him to train maximally as much as possible.
All subordinate exercises chosen are merely personal favorites of mine I have learned over the years. Many involve the development of the lungs and posterior chain. A strong back is essential in this sport and will take time to reach maturity. I initially struggled with identifying the proper term for categorizing these exercises eventually settling on subordinate. I concluded that learning the snatch and clean & jerk are, of course, the primary discipline to be mastered by the weightlifter. Any other exercise performed outside of these two are subordinate to mastering the efficiency needed in understanding controlled power (a term I will explain in chapter 6). In order to fully grasp the concept of controlled power, however, the weightlifter must first understand how the body works against resistance and how it is supposed to move. Subordination implies a system of ranking. While I may rank these exercises beneath the elite classical lifts I do not do so in a negative connotation. The list of exercises given do have merit when performed correctly and properly. Combining the 5 factors of the champions mind (discussed in chapter 1) with the 10 virtues (discussed in chapter 2) to be embodied after gaining efficiency through repetition, the understanding and practice of these subordinate exercises creates a triumvirate of stability. To say that any of these concepts mentioned can do without one or the other is like saying a military officer is in no need of his enlisted troops. One is in need of the other to complete the mission, while the others are in need of a just leader to direct its strength. These subordinate exercises help to teach the weightlifter about his/her body as a form of practical study. The immersion of oneself in “study,” in my opinion, is a tool used by champions which helps them stay focused on goals. This constant “study” of the body and mind relationship through various forms of exercise allows such champions to avoid distraction, temptation, and setback. Use these exercises also as a way to correct deficiencies in your lifting and to keep training interesting.
Subordinate exercises teach the weightlifter sensorimotor integration as well as a better understanding of movement, natural stretch reflex, and the importance behind maintaining a strong back arch. Many beginning weightlifters lack the candid knowledge of how their body is actually supposed to function and move. With each exercise performed by the weightlifter in training they will become more familiar with proper muscle mechanics. For example, the weightlifter will understand that the function of the weightlifters shrug is to utilize bar rotation and the trapezoid muscle is to both stabilize a weight overhead and isometrically control a weight at the sides of the body.
This chapter is a guide to help keep the drug free weightlifter holistically healthy and proprioceptively acute. Every action must be executed with meditative tranquility and the exercises should be a thing of beauty to behold. I view the engagement of my body, no matter how I command it to move or perform, as an art form. Just as the dancer moves her body to the rhythm of music, or the sculptor closes his eyes and lets his hands chisel and create what he can only see in his mind, the weightlifter moves in sync with the barbell with incomprehensible power that has been tailored with patient care. Let us begin with the weightlifters push-up.