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-   -   USAW Sports Performance Course Review (https://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=83004)

Mike Steadman 07-08-2013 09:50 AM

USAW Sports Performance Course Review
 
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This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the USA Weightlifting (USAW) Sports Performance Course hosted by Coach Harvey at CrossFit Wilmington. Coach Newton is world renown scholar in the realm of strength and conditioning. As both a competitive weightlifter and coach for over fifty years, he has worked with Olympic caliber athletes most of his life.

As many of you know, I attended the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar. However, I am relatively knew to both CrossFit and the sport of Weightlifting; which is incorporated into a lot of CrossFit programming. Part of being a good coach requires constantly seeking knowledge. In this day and age, it’s no longer enough to read a book and take a test, certifying you as a fitness professional. You have to get out there and get hands on training from quality instructors. What better way to compliment the weightlifting instruction I received at the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar, then to attend a course held by USAW?

I was fortunate enough to have a small class, no more then fifteen attendees. USAW emailed us the study materials for the course approximately two months prior. The study guide consisted of an instructional video, which can be seen here, and step by step instructions for learning the lifts.

The course itself consisted of approximately 5-6 hours of lecturing to include video analysis of various Olympic lifters. USAW teaches a completely different progression for learning the lifts compared to CrossFit. USAW stresses the importance of the hanging possessions, both above and below the knee. In particular the second pull, or position above the knee, is where the majority of the power is generated. Proper technique is imperative here for moving the weight from this position into the clean or overhead snatch. USAW athletes spend the majority of their initial training in this position, utilizing blocks to provide assistance for the weights. Blocks allow the athlete to rest the weighted bar on a stable platform and focus the upward explosion. For the longest time I muscled my way through this movement, now after receiving proper instruction, I have been able to increase the amount of weight I am able to clean by almost 40% .

The hands on instruction on day one lasted for nearly five hours. Although we had a limited amount of weight on the bar, the focus on technique and form was exhausting none the less. We started with the clean, then progressed our way through the snatch and jerk. By the end of the training session, everyone was fairly exhausted. Up until this point, I wasn’t familiar with the difficult nature of a weightlifting training session. Pushing weight over your head takes a strain on your hands and shoulders.

On day two of the course, we began with a brief lecture on programming. Weightlifting is a sport that requires longevity. USAW recommends a crawl, walk, approach when it comes to training. Athletes spend three to four months on the blocks alone before advancing the weight overhead. This emphasis on technique might not be conducive with what the majority of Americans are looking for in their strength training programs. A high level of patience and trust between you and your coach is necessary for beginners looking to learn the lifts.

Upon completion of the lecture, we had three more hours of hands on practical application before conducting a mock weightlifting meet. In weightlifting you have the opportunity to conduct three lifts for each exercise. The athlete who is able execute the lifts with the heaviest amount of weight is the winner. However, if you attempt to lift a heavier amount of weight then your competition, but are unable to do so, you do not receive the points for the lift. Therefore, the competitors have


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