Donny —  December 5, 2010 — 7 Comments

(I did a Skype session this morning with David Woodhouse a Weightlifter in the United Kingdom. He left some very nice comments I would like to share. STAY TUNED to listen to a clip from the session and learn some secrets behind becoming a great weightlifter.)


Just wanted to send you a quick note to say I really enjoyed our session today.

There are a number of points you made that I think will benefit me:

1. I can still improve even approaching my mid 30s!
2. Take a good 20 or 30 minutes between snatches and cleans to ensure the quality of the cleans is maintained
3. Importance and function of drop down (flushing) sets
4. Use of hypers post workout to help with recovery
5. Importance of at least doing bar work on off days
6. Minimising the amount I jump back during the pull (all horzontal movement is lost vertical movement)
7. Eat alot more calories – especially quality meat!! (this means being organised and preparing foods)
8. Reduce (eliminate) the use of anti inflammatories

I’ll check in with you again with an update at the end of January

Best regards


(If you would like to schedule your own Skype consultation with Donny please email him at

Donny Shankle is a three time national champion and world team member in the sport of weightlifting. Donny is the only weightlifter in the United States to beat in competition a defending world champion in over 30 years and was named the country’s most inspirational weightlifter in 2007. Donny is also the only American weightlifter to have trained both as a resident athlete at this country’s regional Olympic training complex and under the tutelage of the world’s greatest weightlifting coach and teacher Ivan Abadjiev. Donny is a marine corps veteran of the Iraq war and resides in San Ramon, CA. He is currently in pursuit of the London Olympics.

The next two weeks will be our taper before  the AO.  We are cutting from 11 to 9 workouts per week this week, and the morning workouts will lighten up a little.  Jon and Rob should be feeling a lot better by the end of the week.

The last 4 weeks of training before the American Open are following the usual 2 heavy weeks and 2 weeks of tapering that we normally use for an important meet.  We have one more hard week to go.  There will be a lot of heavy attempts this week, and not a lot of reps beyond 2.  We will continue with the practice of squatting only on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, simply because it seems to be working and Jon is finally breaking PR’s again in the squat.  How we taper the last two weeks will depend in part on how this week goes…  wish us luck!


Donny —  November 17, 2010 — 2 Comments

By Donny Shankle CPT

12 1/2lb. Veal Patties (get your butcher to prepare them for you)

12 Mini Brioche Buns (organic flour)

2 Handfuls Fresh Baby Spinach

12 Slices American Cheddar Cheese

¼ Cup Hot Cream Horseradish

½ Cup Stubb’s Hickory Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Couple pinches of salt

Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Nothing irks my nerves more than driving past a burger joint and seeing them advertise ¼ lb. burgers like its some grand spectacle I should be thankful for. ¼ lb. MY ASS! Here is a recipe for burgers that is guaranteed to add a whopping 15 kilos to your total.

Get enough coals hot to last you about 30 minutes of cooking. Salt and pepper up you burgers then put them on the grill directly. Wait about 3-5 minutes before you flip them and then layer a piece of cheese over each one. Burgers are done when the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Cut your buns in half and spread some horseradish on the bottom half and Stubb’s on the top half. Place each one of your burgers on the prepared buns and put a generous portion of spinach on each. Don’t be shy to add any extra fixins’ you want. Serve with some pickles and for those weightlifters who need to gain weight we are getting close to the holidays so drink down those bites with some organic egg nog. Enjoy.

By Donny Shankle CPT

Not Competing enough (8)


Competing as often as you can will shape you into an awesome competitor. Showing alacrity at every chance to compete will teach you so much about weightlifting.

Do not get caught up in the vainglorious idea of, “I’m so good I only need to compete on the big stage.” This does nothing for you and will only cause you one day to “bomb out” on the big stage. Get in their and show people all the hard work you have done.

Weightlifters are competitors and thrive off winning and learning more about their weaknesses to continue winning so one day their persona becomes legendary. Leonardo went through countless rough drafts and portraits for hire before he painted his Mona Lisa. You in turn will compete many times before you display something the world will never forget.



Guaranteed to add a couple kilo’s on your total

By Donny Shankle CPT

Inability to Keep a Tight Back (1)


The most common mistake made by weightlifters first starting out is their inability to keep their back straight while pulling the bar from any position. Every lifter will develop his or her own style which is conducive for them. In fact, some of your elite champions do not follow textbook style technique (whatever that is.) However, there are certain positions through the lift which must be followed very strictly in order to complete a successful lift. Holding a straight back is essential for the weightlifter to generate the most power out of the legs and keep the chest from dropping in either the pull or finished catch position. A bar caught with a rounded back and collapsed chest and shoulders leaves no position for the bar to be received. Elbows in turn will drop to the knees which can seriously damage the wrists and in competition this action is illegal. A rounded back when pulling from the floor will leave the bar out in front of the body instead of against the body which will result in a slower lift, missing the lift, and the overall safety of the weightlifter is in jeopardy.

Many young weightlifters develop this bad habit initially from not practicing good posture throughout the day. More and more young people are living very sedentary lives. Through years of playing video games and being on the computer hunched forward looking at the TV or monitor has grossly affected their physical development. Even while you are reading this now how is your posture?

The spine is in a weak position lazily hunched forward, additionally, the chest being forward causes the lungs to not develop properly (another mistake discussed later.) If the torso is continually supported by leaning forward and bracing the elbows on a table or your knees, then the stabilizer muscles become inactive. The result of this is clearly seen on the platform when a young lifter struggles to keep their back straight chest and chin up. All the more reason in today’s technological age to encourage an exercise program for young people. Lack of physical play is detrimental to a young person’s growth and development of kinesthetic awareness.

Constant reiteration by the coach and continual concentration by the athlete on keeping the back straight is the first step in breaking this bad habit. Exercises like the back raise and squat can be applied to training to help strengthen the muscles of the back. A straight back is crucial to applying the most force against the bar safely and efficiently. Once the back is strong enough to stay out over the bar until maximum extension of the hamstrings has been reached, the weightlifter will begin to move heavier weights quicker and with more confidence.

*Over the next 20 days I am going to talk about 20 mistakes a weightlifter can avoid to achieve victory on the platform. All advice given was collected through observation and experience as a competitive weightlifter. Topics discussed will be random and in no particular order. Everything from the basic’s above, to diet and the metaphysical will be discussed. It is my hope these idea’s will help bring any weightlifting aspirations you may have to fruition before the eye’s of the world. I realize each idea could be elaborated on in more detail, but I leave that for you to contemplate and discover.

Roasted Prime Rib

Donny —  October 25, 2010 — 2 Comments

"That'll build some muscle on ya!"


Donny —  October 25, 2010 — 2 Comments

By Donny Shankle

One 5lb. Prime Rib Roast (bone out)

Black Pepper

2 Yellow Onions

4 Garlic Cloves

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Lee & Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce

Prime rib is one of my favorite meals. I always enjoy finding new ways to cook this gorgeous cut of meat. Here is a simple way you can prepare a “no moobs” dinner.

You may notice the first thing in this recipe is no salt. I cook the roast over hot coals with a chunk of hickory wood on top. I let the hickory and charcoal do its thing and find salt is not needed this way.

First get you grill going with enough coals to cook for about 2 hours. While your coals are getting hot make sure your roast is completely thawed and trimmed. Take a knife and score holes throughout the roast and insert your garlic cloves. Cover the entire roast in olive oil and generous portions of black pepper. Set your coals to one side of the grill for direct and indirect grilling. Place your roast over the direct side and turn about every 3 minutes. Once all the sides have a light char on them move your roast to the indirect side and put the lid on. Check the internal temperature about every half hour. Once the thermometer reads about 150F take the roast off and wrap in foil. Wait ten minutes and carve up the thickness you want. Should be perfectly medium rare/medium.

Saute’ your onions until caramelized with your L&P. Take a pinch of those onions and place on top of your steak. This dish goes great with grilled asparagus and baked sweet potato fries.