Archives For olympic weightlifting


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!

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.

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.

Only Be Determined

Donny —  October 21, 2010 — 6 Comments

By Donny Shankle

You’re going to have a chance one-day,

Maybe just a choice for others,

To make a decision or pursue a path,

Know your wisdom is no guarantee of success.

Whether it be conditioned victories that ended in defeats,

Intimate love eclipsed with unbearable and painful loneliness,

Cold homelessness atop uncertain accommodations,

Or simply a belly full of condensed broth.

It will never be a question of your ability to persevere through chances and trials,

Failure is a guarantee and at times a blessing,

Have the conviction however to never let it end there,

Fierce determination is the surest way to manifest a dream.

Every time a challenge is presented run to it,

Dig your nails in the fucking earth and crawl to it,

Do not dare miss your chance to live forever,

And surely don’t give a damn to those the quill will never be dipped for.

Remember man at his best overshadows his worst,

You will never get to do any moment of life over again,

Live with that pain everyday and apply yourself infinitely again and again,

Or lie forever with the worms as they drink the pools of tears from your eyes.

Everything you do ensure it is done with the determination of being the best,

Leave lasting impressions to those who cross your path,

Intend for men to never forget the exertion it took of their lungs to keep up with you,

Make love to your woman with indelible passion she will tremble to feel again,

There is no soul on God’s green earth who lives without mistake,

Wash your hands of it and seize your moment,

Don’t let any second rate son-of-a-bitch rob it from you,

And certainly don’t be the coward who stinks of nothing but self-pity for himself.

Let your determination be a parasite on the minds of your enemies,

Show no mercy to those who did not work as hard as you did,

Be gracious unto those who helped you along your way,

Pray your stubbornness will last as long as the beating of your heart.

New choices and chances spring forth daily,

Be as determined as the slave who broke the chains of his master,

Their will only ever at the end of the day be just you,

Be determined until the day you walk on water,

Then you can rest.

Jon North Hits a 160 kg Snatch!

admin —  October 4, 2010 — 4 Comments

Great Job Jon!

Training plan…

glennpendlay —  October 1, 2010 — Leave a comment

Thought I might briefly explain what will be going on in our training over the next three weeks.  First of all, we are going back to something that is not part of my “normal” strategy but it seemed to work 4-8 weeks ago, and I hate to argue with success.  Instead of squatting every or at least most workouts, we are doing the vast majority of our squatting on  Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.  This is because it is something different that we tried for a change of pace, it worked, and therefore its worth trying again.  Wednesday afternoon and Saturday mornings will be devoted to squatting, nothing else.

On everything else the main thing I am trying to do  this next 3 weeks is do as high a workload as possible.  Most of the time we will be going up to a maximum for the day on each exercise, but the emphasis will be to get as many doubles and triples as possible each week on the snatch and clean and jerk and related exercises.  We might even get crazy and try odd stuff like a set of 5 or 6 on hang snatches here or there, just get the volume up.

Well this is the plan for the 21 day period starting Oct 4th.  We shall see how it goes…

For Information on California Strength Open October 3rd 2010 Click Here



Snatch to 80%

Clean and Jerk to 80%

Front squat to max clean and jerk


snatch 3 sets of 3

clean and jerk 3 sets of 3

posterior chain work, 4 sets of 10


Snatch to max with 5 second hold at knee, 3 back off doubles

clean and jerk max with 5 second hold at knee, 3 back off doubles



Max on snatch from hang below knee

Max on power clean and jerk


Snatch and clean and jerk to 85-90%

posterior chain, 2 sets of 20, light



Squat 4 sets of 8

RDL 3 sets of 5

Posterior chain, 4 sets of 10



Powersnatch to 80%

Powerclean to 80%


Powersnatch to 90%

Powerclean and jerk to 90%

2 sets of posterior chain, 20 reps light



snatch to 80%

clean and jerk to 80%

Front squat to clean and jerk max


Snatch to 90%

clean and jerk to 90%


snatch 5 doubles

clean and jerk 5 doubles



squat, 4 sets of 8

RDL 3 sets of 5

posterior chain, 4 sets of 10