T Nation

Big jerks (the good kind)


#1

Good week on the jerk for my Crossfit Crew so far.

Alex Vigneault jerking 350lbs 3 weeks from the Crossfit Games. This is actually a 35lbs PR after making just one small technique change.

Carol-Ann Reason Thibault also 3 weeks out from the Games with a 10lbs PR (her former PR was 2 years old) with a 225lbs jerk.

Jessica Cote-Beaudoin getting back in shape after recovering from a shoulder injury that bugged her for many months. Doing 230. Sorry for the crappy filming I didn't shoot it.


#2

Nice work! I wish I had the privilege to train in a gym with bumper plates and platforms!


#3

Some amazing jerks… Any idea’s for getting better at getting under the bar in the jerk? I feel most problematic to get my arms straight fast… Also feel it could be mobility issue, altough I feel a lot more comfortable when jerking behind the neck.


#4

Are the girls proportional stronger? (225 jerk vs 350)

Good progress !!


#5

[quote]Akidara wrote:
Are the girls proportional stronger? (225 jerk vs 350)

Good progress !![/quote]

I would say that in Crossfit a 245lbs jerk for a woman is equivalent to a 350 for guys


#6

Very impressive. Your athletes combine raw talent with skilled coaching. One wonders what they could do if they trained on the olympic lifts full time? I think you recently wrote that Alex is more of a high rep endurance guy than a fast twitch monster. Their jack of all trades training background undersscores their achievements with these jerks.

I hope crossfit is enlivening and improving the sport of olympic lifting in North America. It certainly is introducing the sport to a lot of people. I would think it must also be contributing some new talent.


#7

[quote]Ajax wrote:
Very impressive. Your athletes combine raw talent with skilled coaching. One wonders what they could do if they trained on the olympic lifts full time? I think you recently wrote that Alex is more of a high rep endurance guy than a fast twitch monster. Their jack of all trades training background undersscores their achievements with these jerks.

I hope crossfit is enlivening and improving the sport of olympic lifting in North America. It certainly is introducing the sport to a lot of people. I would think it must also be contributing some new talent.[/quote]

Oh it is… at this year Canadian championships there were at least twice if not three times as many athletes competing because many got their introduction through Crossfit.

Alex isn’t a slow twitch guy… he just has a humongously high lactate threshold (he doesn’t produce a lot of lactic acid) so he can keep on doing high intensity work for a lot of reps.


#8

About the high lactate treshold…is it (partially) trainable?
Or just genetic?


#9

[quote]Panopticum wrote:
About the high lactate treshold…is it (partially) trainable?
Or just genetic?[/quote]

There is a genetic component to it. His younger brother is exactly like him (he is only 17 and already is a machine in Crossfit).

Then there is his athletic background. He started training and competing for Crossfit last year. Prior to that he played okay for more than 10 years. Hockey is a “lactate sport” in that a shift on the ice tend to last between 40 and 60 seconds of intense work… and if the player is someone who is highly involved in the game his lactate system is taxed heavily.

In Canada, even with youngsters hockey is a year-round sport in that guys play during the winter (and early autumn/late spring) and have training boot camps/practices during the summer month as well as some summer leagues.

Add to that the off-ice conditioning work that revolves around the energy systems used in hockey.

I trained a lot of hockey players and most have a very high lactate threshold (their body delays the accumulation of lactic acid). So there is a training component to it. But it’s something that you need to work hard for a long time on to improve a high level. And training for it is VERY unpleasant.

And I feel that the sport you did as a kid will play a big role.

Take Alex training partner Ben. Ben is an amazing athlete, one of the very best I’ve trained in my life. AMAZING strength relative to his body weight: at 170lbs he just snatched 265 x 2 with a pause at the knees and can clean 340lbs, bench press twice bodyweight, military press 225, etc. He is so explosive it’s frightening. AND he has an amazing cardio capacity: he used to be on the junior national cross-country skiing team. He does the same training as Alex, is just as strong, has at least as much endurance if not more. But he has a very low lactate threshold… he builds up lactic acid very quickly.

See he has great endurance, but endurance and lactate threshold aren’t the same thing. And in Cross-country skiing he didn’t do as much of the later as hockey players.

So you can definitely improve your lactate threshold, but it will take a lot of effort doing very uncomfortable training to do that and someone who doesn’t have it genetically will not be able to reach the same level as someone who does.


#10

Thanks! Very clearly explained.

I heard that training the anaerobic lactic system leads to earlier use of this system, so lactic acid gets a problem sooner.But training it can delay it!? That really changes my perspective on training!

So, to be bothered less by lactic acid, it should be trained heavily?


#11

Yes, thanks for the explanation, CT.

I imagine that one advantage that hockey players (and athletes in team sports with similar metabolic demands) have is that a good chunk of their adaptation comes from the hours playing their sport; i.e. a time when their mind is preoccupied with the play and not with the pain they are experiencing as they challenge their lactact threshold.

It is one thing to sprint and race up and down a rink or field chasing a puck or ball for the sake of your team and another thing to sit on an exercise bike or an erg work with whatever equipment and force yourself to push against your lactate threshold, again and again…No fun, that’s for sure, and a difficult thing to do for months, let alone years, on end. But hockey keeps you doing it all the time.

People like your athlete who combines superb endurance with such exceptional strength amaze me. They violate the rules that the rest of us mortals have to live by. Good luck to you and them in their competitions!