Here, I’d like to discuss the point of using pulls and the reason we go to percentages so high relative to the snatch and CNJ. This is in stark contrast of the Soviet methods in training. As both teams have developed world champions in all weight classes, I think nobody’s in the position to actually judge. Hey, as long it works.
But before that, if you’re wondering why I had a Chinese coach come all the way to Malaysia to coach me, it’s because China has this sports agreement with nations around Asia. They want to develop sports around Asia. Whether there’s a political motive behind this movement, is up to anybody’s guess and yes I’ve questioned this. My coach says it’s a diplomatic relation thing (And I still need a visa to enter China, my own “home” country?!?). This may be interesting though. The Chinese government recognizes all with Chinese roots, as their own and should we want to return to China (emm, not too keen, wasn’t even born there), we can just apply. Provided of course we have the qualifications required.
First, let’s explore the Soviets principles of using the pull. The pull is used to overload the pulling height in lifts. They pull between 60-120% of snatches and cleans. On average, the Soviets like 2-6 repetitions per set, between 80-99%. At 100-109%, they like to use 2-5 repetitions. Sets used, are usually at about 8 sets for triples at loads of 95% and up to 3 sets of doubles at 115%.
Their analysis have uncovered that at 100% of your snatch and clean, your pull height in the second rep is 0.5-1CM less than the first and in the third, it’s 1-5-2.5CM lower.
At 110%, it drops to 5CM lower than the max height
At 120%, it drops between 5-7CM lower than max height.
So all in all, if you actually think about it, pulls aren’t really something you ought to do much. But that’s based on Soviet literature.
In the above video, at 0.19 to 0.49, you’ll see Yoon Jin Hee one of Korea’s lifters. She does this up and down pull, which in the Western weightlifting world, I believe is called the “Clean style deadlift” or “Clean deadlift” depending on which coach you’ve been listening to. For the benefit of the majority of the readers on this blog, who are from English speaking nations, I’ll call it the clean deadlift.
Now in the Chinese principals, this is what the clean’s for;
- Teaching the body, of the most accurate angles for exerting the maximal amount of power
- Accurately moving the load from the quads to the hips once the bar hits knee level. Important so to not tilt forward
- Strengthening the entire back structure especially because a lot of Asians have long torsos
The pulls, according to the Chinese principals has nothing to do with increasing the height of the second pull. That’s settled by the block work and high pulls. The reason you see some lifters going up and down when they’re pulling, is because they’re finding the feeling. We’re reminded constantly to imprint the best feeling we have during the snatch/CNJ. When we’ve this feeling, we’ve to find a way to align ourselves and find this exact feeling. When we find it, we pause and wait and repeat till we get it over and over. Sometimes, closing your eyes will help.
This is another difference in their theories. It’s pretty simple and logical. Somewhat similar to the conjugate methods preached by Westside Barbell.
If you squat 180KG, you’ll be able to deadlift 200KG. If you rack pull below knee, say 270KG, you’ll probably pull 240KG. However, the carryover from the floor pulling and off platform pulling, may not translate so much to the classic lifts.
We actually have a ratio of about 70-78% for snatch to snatch pulls and 72%-82% of clean to clean pulls ratio. Why I say it’s about there, is because these coaches will analyze speed of pulling and the type of lifter. Su Dajin 1RM in his pulls can be higher than Lu Xiaojun, but Xiaojun will always outlift Dajin in his snatches because of his muscle fiber build-up. Zhang Guozheng will certainly pull more than Shi Zhiyong but Zhiyong can outsnatch Guozheng. I don’t know how to teach this, but you’ll see it after a while.
Now what happens with lifters like this is, we spend more time on the block. This is because their strength deposits are so much higher, there’s no real point to increase that. Spend time on power. I’m one of the lifters that are like this, but because I was stubborn thinking, I needed to improve my floor pull strength, I refused to listen to my coach. I know, you’re probably thinking idiot, but these are the mistakes I had to make before I could learn. Lesson learnt, coach knows best. Usually.
Then we explore block pulls.
Block pulls put you in a far more advantageous position thus enabling you to snatch and clean more, if you’re quick enough. The reduced distance between the “pocket” and the bar start height forces you to explode more quickly and in weightlifting, it’s all about power. Being able to take the shortest distance to produce the most amount of power, is going to make you even more powerful in the longer distance. No, you cannot dispute that, because I’ve got floor pulls and pulls from a platform to save my ass in this argument. Besides, arguing isn’t going to get you anywhere, especially with so many nations all employing the methods written above.
It’s usually better to employ the block pulls after your heavy floor pulling. Against all research and science, the Chinese believe after a power movement, (snatch, CNJ), you should move directly to a strength specific movement like the squats or pulls. Now what happens is, your body has already turned the maximal amount of fibers from the snatches/CNJ’s, and by training the strength movement now, your bodies will be stronger and faster.
Now right after the strength movements, you want to do some more speed movements just to “nail” it in place, that you must move fast. If the question of how true this is arises, I don’t have research papers, but my best training sessions are always in the evening when I’ve done a morning workout. Or when I did some quick sprints before my morning workouts. So I suppose this theory, works, for me.
Now a few notes here.
- You can use block pulls to your death. 10-20 sets, whatever. It’s up to you. Just make sure you pull it high enough and drop
- Similar to the squats, the stronger you are, the less time you need to be spending on the floor pulls. You don’t need that much strength deposits.
- Repetitions should stick between 2-4 reps most of the time.
A sample training could be found here. Good luck my fellow weightlifting friends.