Tuesday, June 05, 2007

TPS EFS Seminar: Part V

A bit of reflection on the afternoon technique session: We split up into three groups, with one group at the cage, one at the collegiate rack and one at the monolift. One group had MK, one JW and one MB, and DT floated from one to the other. I started at MK's group. We looked at squats first, then bench. At first I thought either the groups or the leaders would rotate, but it didn't work out that way, so people began moving between groups. I had hoped to take more pictures during this part, but there wasn't enough light to do so without a flash, and you can't go around shining bright lights at people when they're trying to lift.

I volunteered to go first for logistical reasons: I wanted to get my question out of the way before they added weight to the bar. MK looked at me squatting with the empty bar and then with 95 lbs. I was really annoyed at myself because, had this been right after I left Jerusalem, I could have used 135lb with no problems. I was falling forward a bit, and MK ask me if I am keeping my weight in the middle of my feet. I never thought about it this way before; just lifted my toes instead. I learned a lot watching the other guys squat, also. Some of them I could tell what was wrong, but others were a revelation. Often it was minor adjustments that were necessary, but it takes someone who knows what they're doing to see the minor adjustments.

After squats MK looked at my bench and pointed out some issues with my elbow position. I realized that to get my elbow position correct I need to pretend I'm doing a close grip bench but with a wide grip. Doesn't make much sense when I write it, but makes perfect sense when I'm horizontal. I haven't lost what I learned in Jerusalem, thank god. While the other guys were having their bench looked at, I moved to JW's group, which was right next to mine.

JW looked at my bench and noticed that I had a dead spot just above my chest, where the bar sort of floats before I push it up. Aha! On the rare times I got stuck in training, it was just above the chest, so I guess I am still anticipating getting stuck even if it is a weight I can do in my sleep (empty bar). It was fascinating watching the other attendees, some of whom hadn't used a PL set up on their bench before. It is not a comfortable position. :-) MK's delivery is more low-key, and JW's is more interactive. The latter was getting other people to pay attention and pick out the mistakes that the person on the bench was making, if any.

There was good discussion in both groups. I asked JW about working with high schoolers and he gave me good ideas as well as book and dvd suggestions. I lost track of time and didn't get to join MB's group and have my deadlift analyzed. I also wanted to ask MB about kettlebells. I know my technique on the dead is more solid than that of my squat and bench, and I am going to visit my old gym soon, but it was still a squandered opportunity. As people were starting to leave, I asked MB about the hook grip and he graciously showed me how it should be done. Apparently my fingers are long enough. :-) He also said it will be painful.

The seminar was supposed to start at 8:30 and end at 5:00. It actually began at 9:15 and ended at 6 or so, with lunch going a bit overtime. So while we certainly didn't lose any time - and JW was very clear about asking each of us if we had additional questions before he wrapped up his session - the late start was an unnecessary stress factor. I'd arrived at 8:15, so I was feeling ornery about my missing 45 minutes of sleep.) Overall, learned a lot, and the only other thing I'd adjust would be to have a formal rotation of the presenters or the groups so that each person has at least two presenters looking at each of his or her lifts. My initial thought is to have three groups, DL, SQ and BP, and people and presenters swap at regular intervals, but I haven't given it enough thought.

Last thoughts: totally worth it. I needed to be around serious people again, and a face to face meeting has a lot more impact than an online exchange. I'm going to budget for another seminar this year, and if if it is at TPS, bring my gloves and schedule some time for a workout at the gym the next day. I'd also write down my questions in advance.

3 Comments:

At 9:01 PM , Blogger Chris D. said...

Once again awesome write up. Sounds like it was money well spent and a good time overall!

 
At 2:36 PM , Blogger Alberto Caraballo said...

The big question now is where do you go from here, and when do you begin:)

 
At 4:33 PM , Blogger M@rla said...

Great to learn from the experts. Squat is, to me, the second-most difficult form to master (deadlifts #1 for me). They both feel so weird at first, but then when you finally "get it" it all seems to fall into place, it feels right. Of course I'm not doing the weight you are, but I remember the first time I did a squat, I think I kept going up on my toes. I'd been told somewhere to "keep my back straight" which is fine , but I was interpreting it as "keep my back perpendicular to the floor." Physically impossible! heh. Probably lucky I didn't hurt myself.

 

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