Tout dans la vie est une question d'équilibre d'où la nécessité de garder un esprit sain dans un corps sain.


Everything in life is a matter of balance therefore one needs to keep a healthy mind in a healthy body.


E. do REGO

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Clean High Pull

The Clean High Pull

When people think of the weightlifting movements, they typically think of cleans, jerks, or snatches. While all three lifts (better known as the Olympic lifts) are great exercises, there are a number of variations that also can be used to help develop muscle size, strength, and power.
One such variation is the clean high pull. This article will discuss the benefits of performing the clean high pull, along with suggestions for program design. Following that, we'll take a step-by-step approach on how to perform the clean high pull correctly.

Benefits of the Clean High Pull

For most athletes, power is more important than maximal strength. Power, or speed strength, can be defined as the amount of work performed per unit of time. Research has shown that the weightlifting movements result in a superior average power output compared to powerlifting movements.
Further, the movement pattern used when performing the clean high pull is very similar to those commonly seen in many sports. The majority of the power developed in either the clean or the snatch occurs during the second pull phase (the movement from just above the knee until the bar reaches approximately sternum height).
In both the clean and snatch, once the bar reaches sternum height the lifter normally drops under the bar. However, this catch phase doesn't contribute to the power developed in these movements.
As discussed, one advantage of the clean high pull over the full clean is that the athlete doesn't have to catch the bar. As a result, you can typically use heavier loads. This is especially true for athletes with technique issues in the catch phase where a lighter than optimal load must be used because of their inability to catch the bar correctly.
This heavy load, combined with the fast bar velocity seen in this movement, is responsible for the high power outputs that occur when performing this exercise (an average of 52 watts per kilogram for male athletes).
Another advantage of the weightlifting movements, including clean high pulls, is the extremely low injury rate. As long as the weightlifting movements are performed with correct technique, they're as safe as any other training techniques.
Further, performing the weightlifting movements – including clean high pulls – may reduce injury rate by increasing kinesthetic awareness, strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments while enhancing coordination.


The Clean High Pull

When training for power, the program will typically combine a low number of repetitions (1-6) and extended rest periods (2-6 minutes). This combination of low repetitions and longer rest times allows for heavier resistance and reduced fatigue, allowing for the maintenance of bar speed and technique.
If greater bar speed is desired, then training loads of 30% to 70% of 1RM can be used. This approach can be used in sports where speed is more important than force development (high jump, volleyball).
Conversely, in sports that require greater force development (football, wrestling), loads between 70% to 100% of 1RM are appropriate.
By adjusting the number of repetitions performed, the rest periods between sets, or both, the clean high pull can also be used to enhance power endurance. Athletes such as longer distance sprinters (400+ meters) and rowing athletes require the ability to move powerfully over an extended period. Because of the higher repetitions (12 or more) being performed, the shorter rest times (45-60 seconds between sets), or both, the load on the bar must be reduced.
Regardless of the training goal (power or endurance) the clean high pull should be placed early in the sequence of exercises to be performed in the workout, for two reasons.
First, the exercise should be performed explosively. As a result, the movement should be performed before the body becomes fatigued from performing other exercises.
Second, the exercise must be performed with good technique, and this will best occur when the body is in a non-fatigued state.

Performing the Clean High Pull Correctly

The Clean High Pull

It's easy to say a clean high pull is like doing the first three quarters of a power clean, up to and including the second pull. However, because the clean high pull, like all weightlifting movements, is technically difficult to do, and because great technique is important to get the most out of all weightlifting movements, we'll take a step-by-step approach to performing this movement correctly.
There are variations of the teaching sequence thought to be best when teaching the weightlifting movements. I prefer to start from the bottom up, starting with the correct foot position.
  • Biomechanically, the clean is very similar to performing a vertical jump. As a result, when teaching the high pull, it makes sense to position your feet identically to how you'd place them if you were going to perform a maximal vertical jump. Typically this involves a shoulder-width stance with the feet pointed straight ahead.
  • Once the foot position has been established, you can now move to the correct hand position. Pick the bar up with a wide overhand grip and the thumbs resting on the bar but pointed in towards the center of the body. Slowly slide the hands in until the tips of the thumbs just barely touch the outside of the legs. This will identify the correct hand position on the bar.
  • The next step is to learn the correct grip. Once technique is perfected, a large amount of weight can be used when performing the clean high pull, placing a big demand on grip strength. Using a hook grip (thumb around the bar, fingers around the thumb and bar) provides the most secure grip. Initially this may be uncomfortable, however, this is the way to go if you're serious about performing the movement correctly.
To make the learning process easier it's best to begin learning the movement from a hang above position, where the bar is resting on the thighs directly above the patella.
  • With the feet and hands in the correct position, and using a hook grip, pick the bar up to a standing position and then slide the bar down to the above-the-knee position just described. The arms should be long and rotated so that the elbows are pointed towards the end of the bar. The head should be neutral and the back should be arched.
  • In this position the shoulders should be just slightly forward of the bar. If they're not, the correction required is to reduce the amount of flexion at the knee joint slightly, which will have the effect of bringing the shoulders into the desired position.
Once the correct start position has been learned you can begin learning the movements that make up the high pull. It's important to check your start position before you begin each repetition until the correct start position can be achieved automatically without thought.
  • The first movement in the teaching sequence is a jump shrug. Keeping a tight core, perform a jumping action, fully extending at the knees and hips as if trying to jump up and touch the ceiling with your head. At the top of the jump the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders should all be in a straight line.
  • Using the momentum from the jump, aggressively shrug the shoulders straight up as high as possible without bending at the elbows. Do not allow the bar to swing away from the body; the bar should slide up the thighs to approximately hip height.
  • When the correct start position and movement pattern for the jump shrug has been mastered you can move on to the next step – the low pull. This is just a continuation of the jump shrug, but adding a pull until the bar reaches the height of the belly button. At the top of the jump shrug allow the elbows to bend slightly until the bar reaches the desired height. It's important to keep the bar against the body and the elbows above the wrists when transitioning to this low pull position.
  • The final movement to learn is the high pull. Again, this is a continuation of the movement pattern already learned. At the top of the low pull, continue to pull the bar until it reaches sternum height. Focus on keeping the elbows above the wrists and the bar against the body as you move into a fully extended position at the ankles, knees, and hips.


The clean high pull is an excellent choice when the goal is enhanced power production capabilities. A high power-production is possible with this movement because it permits heavy loads and high bar-velocities.
The clean high pull, like the other weightlifting movements, is a very safe exercise once correct technique has been learned. Considering program design, the clean high pull can be used to enhance either muscular power or muscular power/endurance.
A step-by-step approach to learning correct clean high pull technique like the one above will allow most lifters to learn the lift quickly and safely. After that, all that's required is the necessary sweat!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The PERFECT Meal – What to Eat to Lose Fat & Build Muscle

As you know, I love to share all of the unique hybrid strength training & conditioning concepts we use with our clients and athletes at Performance U. But, let’s face it – what you eat and how you eat it can really make or break the effectiveness of your program, regardless of how good it is.
“Food is an important part of a healthy diet”
In today’s post I’m going to share with you the simple to understand and easy to apply nutrition advice we provide to almost all of our clients & athletes to ensure each meal they eat will help them more effectively burn fat, build muscle and improve their overall health!


We aren’t nutritionists or dieticians. So we don’t provide specific, individualized diet plans. We’re fitness professionals who read the scientific literature and rely on the expertise of top nutrition and supplement specialists to provide us with general guidelines that work universally for both men and women of all ages and abilities.
By following some basic, generalized and universal eating guidelines – like what I’ve provided you below – We’ve found that rarely is it necessary to use more specific and complex strategies unless we’re dealing with a medical condition, cutting water weight, etc. Which, is beyond the scope of this post.

The Perfect Meal

The two most common questions we get from our clients and athletes are:
-What do I eat to lose fat?
-What do I eat to build muscle?
Our answer to both questions is usually the same - Eat a Complimentary Meal!
A complimentary meal consists of these four basic food components:
-Lean protein (eggs, chicken, fish, bison, beef, low fat dairy, etc.)
-Fibrous carbohydrate (fruits and vegetables)
-Starchy carbohydrate (sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)
- Healthy fat (monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Omega-3 fatty acids – avocado, nuts, olive oil, etc.:)
Additional Complimentary Eating notes:
- Emphasize fresh/ local fruits and veggies, high-quality meats /eggs, fish
- Limit processed foods, simple sugars, saturated fats, hydrogenated oils and alcohol.
- Instead of eating three large meals (breakfast, lunch dinner), cut those in half and eat 4-6 smaller meals.

Why does Complimentary eating work?

We call it Complimentary Eating because each component of the meal compliments the other to maximize the nutritional benefits.
- Protein is the building block of muscle
- Starchy carbs are a great energy source
-Fibrous carbs are used to move it all through the body (and energy).
- The healthy fat to decrease inflammation, joint health, heart health, disease prevention and cognitive function.

How big should my meals be?

The answer to this question is: It differs for every person and should be based on how you feel and how much fuel your body requires that day.
In general, we recommend sizing your complimentary meal portions in this manner:
- Make the protein & fibrous veggies the largest portion on your plate
- Make the starchy carb and fruit smaller than the protein and veggies.
- Make the healthy fat the smallest serving on your plate.
Additional Complimentary Meal Portion notes:
-Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega-3s provide many health benefits, but as with any type of dietary fat, too much fat in any form provides excess calories in the diet.
- Some foods are multitasking, like Fish: it’s both a healthy fat and protein source. So it can remain a larger size portion on your plate.
- If you are left feeling hungry within an hour or so after finishing your meal, you probably didn’t eat enough. On the flip side, if upon finishing you feel full for hours – you probably ate too much. It really comes down to common sense, intuition and simply listening to your body.

Complimentary Eating, Fat Loss & The Thermic Effect of Food

A calorie is a measure of heat. And, your body is a heat machine! The term “thermic effect of food“, or TEF, is used to describe the energy expended by our bodies in order to consume (bite, chew and swallow) and process (digest, transport, metabolize and store) food. In other words, certain foods require us to burn more calories than others simply by eating them.
Here’s the general breakdown:
FAT – is very simple to digest. Your body simply keeps breaking down the fat molecules smaller and smaller, so it does not require much work to digest.
Ratio of 100:5 -For every 100 calories of fat you ingest you will burn approximately 5 calories in the digestive process
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES – take more effort to digest because of the glucose molecules.
Ratio of 100:10 -for every 100 calories from complex carbs that you ingest you will burn about 10 during digestion.
PROTEIN – requires the most work to digest because it is made up of 22 amino acids
Ratio of 100:25 -for every 100 calories you eat from protein, you will burn approximately 25 calories just to digest it.
- 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories
- 1 gram of carbohydrate/protein equals only 4 calories
Based on TEF, if you eat most of your meals in the manner as I described above, you end up consuming less calories and burning more. That’s pretty damn cool!

Final Thoughts

As I stated from the jump: Complimentary eating is not a specialized diet plan to peak you for a bodybuilding show or for those with medical concerns. What I’ve given you here is simply the GENERAL eating strategy we’ve found to be tremendously successful for almost ALL of the clients and athletes we work with.
No one is perfect and neither are the typical situations life throws at us through work, travel, family responsibilities. etc. So we don’t expect every meal our clients eat to be “perfect.” We simply ask them to do the best you can. And, to use our simple eating strategy to empower themselves with the ability to see through the confusion created by informercials and confusing industry expert jargon.
I mean seriously, it’s no wonder people (even health professionals) are confused about what to eat when there are 500+ page nutrition books on the shelves, which rarely provide us with more practical eating knowledge than I just did here in less than 1000 words.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

For Your Viewing Pleasure part2

4. Don’t forget to check out this weekend’s Good Reads post with over 50 articles from the past week. Between that one and this one, you should be set for a while.
Ok, that’s enough. Now for the real reason I made this post. I’ve got another great list of 20+ videos to share, so I’ll cut right to the chase. I nixed any of my own since it’s already over my pre-determined limit, but I have some new ones so be sure to subscribe to my page HERE to be in the loop.
Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
David Dellanave does Zercher squats with 315 lbs for 2 reps. Not only that, but he does it old school with no rack. I actually used to do these, so I can say from experience that David is strong as an ox. Awesome stuff, and bringing back an old school lift like this gives him serious style points in my book.
Neghar Fonooni puts a 260 lb sumo deadlift, over double bodyweight! This is a personal best for Neghar, but judging by the bar speed of the lift, it won’t be for long.
Marianne Kane shows a glute-focused workout. I’m a big fan of training the glutes, an clearly whatever she’s doing is working very well. Yikes!
Jason Ferruggia shows tuck front lever rows. I love inverted rows, but I’ve never tried these before so I’ll have to give them a rip shortly once I can get in that tuck position with my knee. -
Bret Contreras shows the gliding leg curl. This is an awesome hamstring exercise that I really like doing with suspension straps, but it also works well with the bar. Awesome stuff.
Jacobi Jordan squats 573 pounds at 21 years old. This kid’s got a strong future ahead of him, literally. Wow that’s impressive.
Eric Cressey shows the half kneeling 1 arm landmine press. I really like this one for a shoulder-friendly press that also works the core. It actually reminds me a lot of the reverse lunge/lumberjack press combo that I showed last month.
Smitty Diesel shows an innovative way to mimic floor presses without having to lie on the floor.
Brett Roy gets crazy at Defranco’s Gym. This guy is a FREAK athlete. This stuff is incredible.
Jim Laird deadlifts 315 pounds plus 360 pounds of chain. Yes, you read that right..360 pounds of chains. Holy moly. Strong work here.
Coach Dos shows multi-planar step ups. Give this a try for a new stimulus if you’ve been sticking to regular step-ups.
Danny Sawaya does 17 reps with a 32 kg kettlebell on the standing overhead press. This is really strong. Do this unilaterally and standing is a bear, but Danny makes it look incredibly easy.
Jen Grasso rocks some Bulgarian Split Squats with perfect form. This is tough with a barbell, by Jen makes it look like cake.
Elsbeth Vaino shows a good way to switch your arm placement with glute bridges to get more out of the exercise. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. I like putting the arms out wide like Elsbeth does, or even putting them on the stomach, which makes it a little harder by decreasing the base of support.
Chase Karnes does a 620 pound yoke walk. I have never done these, but I can only imagine how they must feel.
Mike Mahler shows his joint mobility routine. This is some really helpful stuff.
Zach Even Esh shares his home garage gym. This is freakin awesome for a garage and goes to show that you don’t need a ton of space and/or equipment to get after it.
John Meadows shows some cambered bar rows. This bar works great because it allows for an added range of motion. Great idea.
Kevin Carr shows a great stretch for the hip flexors. If you have a wedge, this one is awesome, but you can still do it almost as well without the wedge so don’t fret if you don’t have one.
Stevo Reed shows the tactical frog mobility drill. My groin hurts just watching this, which means I probably need to be doing it. When my knee heals up I’m going to try this out because I can already tell I’ll like it.
That’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, I bid you adieu.