Many weightlifting connoisseurs would call Russia the motherland of weightlifting and quite possibly, Vostok and Sakhalin would be one of the weightlifting jewels of Russia. The winters here are very cold yet old men and young men make it to the training halls to pound more squats, presses and deadlifts. It doesn’t matter their social backgroung or physical ability, over 1200 male weightlifters exist in this region and train in 6 sparsely located gyms.
At our gym, we have weightlifting coach Shevchenko Vassyliev also known as coach Vass who has us train 6 times per week for 4 hours. Because I only work 6 hours a day (but have to work weekends), I am generally able to attend the 6 weightlifting training sessions. Coach Vass is a believer of the Russian weightlifting methodology by which we rotate through twenty five weight training exercises which come from three core weightlifting exercises: the front squat, the clean and jerk, snatch and the deadlift. Below is the way coach Vass regards these three weightlifting exercises as told to us (he obviously cannot speak English and doesn’t even know what the internet is LOL). By the way this was one of the pictures from a competition that coach Vass took, this picture is of a clean and jerk exercise in competition and is so old that it should tell you how old our coach is 😀
The front squat is an immense leg strength builder. The front squat must be trained every training day in different volume percentages to avoid over training the legs and lower back. We are lucky to have coach Vass giving us advice on the front squat but I have looked on the internet for front squat tutorials and most of the advice is just awful and is given out by men who hardly know the front squat. One of the few front squat tutorials I have found online is this tutorial of the front squat which teaches the squat lift properly. This front squat tutorial is by Rogelio of www.Manlycurls.com, a blog that is about male lifestyle including strength, fitness and natural weight loss. I have contacted Rogelio on his Manly Curls blog and we have exchanged our opinions on the front squat and how to do the front squat plus his tutorial and the front squat tutorial that our coach gives us. I find Rogelio to have some very interesting theories about the front squat and Rogelio would be a great author for a fitness book that covers strength training for natural lifters. Rogelio has published a book called “The Curly Hair book” which he gave me as a gift too as we have become friends by now.
The front squat should be performed below parallel and with weightlifting shoes to keep the lower back from rounding. It is very important to front squat over double one’s body weight as it is only then that the leg strength of the front squat starts becoming relevant to the clean and jerk and deadlift.
Clean and jerk exercise
The clean and jerk is the only test of true male strength and this lift is also the ultimate builder of general strength for men. The power clean helps greatly in improving the clean and jerk and the power clean is an essential tool for improving the technique of the clean and jerk too.
The clean and jerk should be performed at least four times per week and it should be performed hard at least three times, otherwise the progress will be very slow.
The deadlift is the best exercise to build the squat just as the front squat is the best weightlifting exercise to build the legs. The deadlift is the lift where the heaviest weight can be used which means that the deadlift cannot be trained as frequently as the front squat and the clean and jerk.
Coach Vass makes us do deadlifts two days out of six training days and then we will do variations of the deadlift such as shrugs, first pulls, pulls from block, barbell rows, straight leg deadlifts and leg curls. One should pay attention to the state of his hands as it is very easy to rip skin from the hand and have it become infected. We know of a weightlifter in one of Vostok gyms who had his han become so infected that it had to be removed! That was sad as this accident stopped his weightlifting career forever.
So we always do the three big exercises, the front squat, the clean and jerk, and the deadlift and then do lots of other fitness and strength exercises that are variations of these three core weightlifting exercises.