This is a guest blog post from someone I met while attending the StrongFirst Level 1 in Utah.
He is a coach and friend of mine and a overall great guy, Ric Garcia.
I saw that he was attending a Dan Green seminar and I asked him to take notes.
Thanks for this Ric, really appreciate it.
On January 8th I attended a FREE seminar held by Dan Green.
If you power lift (PL) odds are you know who Dan is, but for those not familiar with him here is a bit of background info:
Dan is world record holding RAW power lifter in the 240lb class.
He has an 848.5lb squat, a 523lb bench, and an 837.5lb deadlift in competition for a WR total of 2209lb. UNREAL!
The seminar filled quickly with over 200 people looking to learn from one of the strongest humans in the world. It was 7 hours long and filled with an incredible amount of info, which blew my mind since it was free, but here are the top five things I learned at the seminar.
#5: As your strength and size increase/change in different areas you must adjust your technique/leverage accordingly.
Strength is a skill and it takes a lot of repetitions and practice to find the groove that will allow you to lift as much as possible in competition. Dan did a great job of highlighting the fact that the groove you used when you started training may not be the best groove for you right now. As your strength level and body structure change to deal with the increased demand from heavier loads, your groove in your lift may have to adapt to take advantage of different muscle groups growing in strength and size.
#4: Use a linear progression for your loads and reps but you should do as many sets as you can handle while maintaining technical proficiency.
Dan is a very intuitive lifter. I don’t know if this is an approach a beginner could take but as you gain experience and learn your body it would be interesting to experiment with. He sets a minimum number of sets and reps but will continue with a programmed load for as many sets as he can handle with great technique. I have always followed a very strict set/rep scheme so for me the biggest take a way was that I need to work harder (more volume) on the days my body can handle it.
#3: Movement quality should never be sacrificed to move more weight.
I was a bit hesitant to start PL because you hear stories about how terrible some lifters move. I told myself I would get as strong as possible but I would not sacrifice my movement quality. It was awesome to see an elite lifter put a huge emphasis on range of motion and quality movement. Dan really stresses these two qualities because it is the only way for someone to handle the amount of volume he does without injury. If you are hurt you can’t move weight, so make sure you can move well enough to train consistently and demand a lot of your body.
#2: If you lift as a RAW Power Lifter you should put a lot of focus on the Front Squat (FS).
Although the FS isn’t one of the competition lifts in Power Lifting, Dan puts a huge amount of effort in his training towards the FS. He told us about his first international competition to justify the importance of this lift. He competed in Russia and posted a 615lb squat. At the time this was a PR for him. The lifter that followed was smaller than Dan but out squatted him by 200lbs!!!! Dan couldn’t believe it until he saw the guy without knee wraps. His quads were HUGE! Since then Dan said he has focused on increasing his FS to build his quad strength and size and increase his upper back strength. Both of these are critical for a RAW lifter because they do not have the benefit of equipment to help these areas. This brings me to the most important point he made…
#1: If you are a RAW lifter you can’t train like a geared one.
Squat and dead lift suits help you with hip extension. Heavy knee wraps help your knees lock out. Bench shirts are so sophisticated now that some can add up to 300lbs to your bench and basically make it a pure tricep movement. RAW lifters do not have the luxury of any of this so they can’t use the same training methods as those who lift with gear. Dan puts a huge emphasis on performing the competition lifts as much as possible to build technical mastery of each lift. He hammers his quads and glutes with lots of heavy volume in the front squat, and high bar back squat. In addition to his sumo dead lift he does stiff leg DL, deficit DL, and Romanian DL to add strength and size to his hamstring and glutes. He benches competition style and only makes adjustments in hand width, speed, and length of pause to work “weak” areas. He doesn’t put much emphasis on his shoulders and triceps and takes a more bodybuilding style approach to them and focuses on adding size to those body parts. This is much different than what some other power lifting methods preach but it has obviously worked for Dan. Success leaves clues, and I personally will be adding a lot of these techniques and principles to my own training.
Ric Garcia – SFG II, SFL, CK-FMS, Original Strength West Coast Instructor, Primal Move Fundamentals.
Connect with Ric on Facebook.
Check Out Dan’ Green PowerLifters Facebook Page