Well what a day, where do I start. Got to the gym around midday, the workshop was starting at 12:30 but I didn’t want to be late. Introduced myself to Aaron who was running workshop and the other participants, there were 10 all up (6 boys and 3 girls).
Aaron introduced himself and gave a quick overview of what was going to happen, he also gave out some handouts that explained the powerlifting and had a bunch of cues for each lift. The day was going to be mostly practical with all of us doing the lifts and Aaron and his assistant ‘Buddha’ (he was a pretty rotund guy so it wasn’t a clever nickname!!), watching and correcting us as we went.
For all the lifts I ended up in a three some with 2 other guys of similar(ish) strength, which worked well.
For squat I really wanted to use the monolift so when Aaron said to grab a rack and start I went straight to the mono with the other 2 boys. This ended up being a great idea because Buddha joined us to show us how the mini worked which meant we got someone watching each time we squatted.
We started with an empty bar and then just worked up to something heavy(ish), no one was maxing out but we wanted the weight heavy enough so show up any issues.
Right from the start Buddha saw a couple of things.
The first was my back wasn’t tight enough, I thought I was ok here but when I got it right I realised how lose I was before. The second was some knee cave, for this he got me to narrow my stance a little, he got Aaron over for a look to and he spent a bit of time getting me to work on a cue of ‘spreading the floor’.
We worked up to 120kg for triples which given this was my 4 day of squat this week I was happy with how it went.
4 things for me from the squat:
- Even pressure across the foot, from heel to big toe to little toe. Think tripod.
- When you think you are tight you can get tighter, a lot tighter.
- Spread the floor, I think Ed Coan says open your taint but I can never really get that. Spread the floor worked ok for me.
- When you take your deep breath to brace down, keep the bar still and tight. I was lifting the chest which loses tightness and then trying to brace and lock down again. Not good !!
Next we moved onto bench, again I made sure I used one of the comp benches and worked with the same 2 guys. Benched well today, we worked up 100 for some triples and they moved really well. Good long pause and it moved smooth and fast(ish).
A few things to work on with bench but no major issues.
- Getting tight (really tight). The cue Aaron used was to try and tuck your shoulder in your opposite hip pocket. That sounds odd but my may of explaining is to push shoulders back into the bench and down towards the opposite hip so the back gets locked in really tight.
- For me getting my feet under me a little more helped with tightness. Also for leg drive which Aaron explained as more driving the heels into the floor but to do this throughout the left. So when you set up you tuck your shoulders, plant your feet and that tightness shouldn’t change.
- The last take out for me was to tuck my elbows a little more. (I blame too many years trying to be a bodybuilder and having the elbows high !!) Buddha also gave me a nice little tip of doing band pull aparts between sets, but to do them like a reverse bench press. This is to help with the pulling the bar apart cue. I liked it and it did help me understand this better.
All of this must have worked because bench felt very good tonight.
Deadlift went ok but given I deadlifted last night I only worked up to some triples at 140kg. Aaron was pretty happy with my deadlift. The main takeaway for me here which was a theme throughout the day was just getting tight and staying tight. Locking in the lats, and pulling the slack out of the bar.
Overall it was a great workshop with the some really nice people. Everyone was friendly and there were no egos in the room. The gym was very cool. Warehouse type gym only set up for powerlifting and strongman. Aaron does a lot of work in strongman in Australia including being involved in the strongman event at the Arnold each year. He is interesting likeable guy with great knowledge and a no bullshit approach.
To top it all off when I got home, the misses had done chicken wings for dinner and I even had a birthday cake. Happy days.